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Funds for extension agent get approved

McDuffie County Commissioners took action Feb. 15 that will allow funding for a full-time county extension agent.

Agent Frank Watson said the search for his replacement had stalled, but the recent decision to add a part-time 4-H assistant position had increased interest in the full-time job.

Commissioners agreed to thaw the budget to allow the Extension Service to hire an agent. With that, the name of the likely replacement was announced. Rich Smith works in Wilkes County and has a strong background in forestry. Mr. Watson agreed to help smooth the transition.

Commissioners also considered and reluctantly approved the county's $5,000 contribution toward a joint city-county authority charged with putting properties back on the tax books.

The city of Thomson already has approved $5,000 for that board and has donated at least one property.

The new agency "can't operate on nothing," said Commission Chairman Charlie Newton as he waited for a motion.

"I'd like to give it an opportunity," County Manager Don Norton said.

Commissioners also acted on recommendations to the Hospital Authority, approving a list of three names submitted by that body.

Mr. Newton briefed commissioners on the Transportation Investment Act, through which local and regional projects are funded. McDuffie voters will decide the county's participation in a vote next year.

The regional authority would include McDuffie, Warren, Hancock and Glascock counties. Funding would come from a sales and use tax.

Each county would get at least 25 percent of the proceeds directly back to the county. The remaining 75 percent would fund regional projects. Mr. Newton said one contender for that money would be making Highway 17 four-lane from Interstate 20 to Interstate 85.

No action was taken on the matter. The subject arose because Mr. Newton reminded commissioners of an informational session that was to be held in Warren County. That meeting was held Feb. 17.

Finally, commissioners were briefed on the city-county retreat to be held at the Columbia County Library/Performing Arts Center on March 4. That informational session usually is held at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, but that facility was booked for that date this year.

Web posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

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