Laurens County Council met last night in a combined bi-monthly meeting and planning session at the Laurens County Development Corporation offices.
The council has not held an extensive planning session like this in a few years, but Councilman Ed McDaniel stated that there were so many upcoming issues of importance to the county that council felt they should discuss them all at one time.
The first item for discussion was for additional Staff at the Johnson Detention Center. After an appeal to council by Major Chris Hudson, council voted to approve the hiring of four more correction officers for the expanded facility. Hudson explained a need for additional employees, noting that more help is needed to accommodate the many trips needed for court dates and where inmates needed to be supervised while being treated at the hospital. Another budget issue that Major Hudson raised was the problem of high turnover of staff and the money needed to retrain new employees.
The problem of employees leaving for higher pay elsewhere was addressed as well. It was brought to council’s attention that many other counties offered higher pay. Sheriff Ricky Chastain suggested educational incentives be offered.
Council Chairman James Coleman gave instructions for a committee to investigate the issue of retaining employees.
Most of the other issues discussed were long-term issues that will be coming up down the road. They included, the concerns of the Laurens Count y Fire Service that insurance rates will rise drastically for homes located more than five miles from a fire station. Greg Lindley, director of the county fire service presented a visual presentation with maps of the areas that may experience increases in their fire insurance. All the data needs to be presented by July when the county will be visited by the rating company that most insurance companies rely on for their rates. Council explored the options of changing the boundary lines of fire districts or building new stations.