It was a busy work session this week for Forsyth County Commissioners, who approved accepting a lot of grant funds, new park amenities and new land purchases.
All votes are 4-0 unless otherwise noted. Unless marked time-sensitive, items unanimously approved at the meeting will formally be adopted as part of a consent agenda at the commissioners’ next regular meeting.
Bikes, disc golf and park improvements
Commissioners approved several new amenities at county parks during the meeting.
There will soon be a new way to enjoy the Big Creek Greenway after a bike share program was approved for the path. The bikes will be operated by Go Bikes and there will be no cost to the county.
Procurement Director Donna Kukarola said the rentals would likely cost $3-$5 per hour. Locations and some specifics of the agreement will need to be worked out.
Disc golf fans in south Forsyth will soon have a new facility as commissioners approved a bid for $51,800 to Planet Earth Designs to build a course.
Commissioners also approved $42,000 to Breedlove Land Planning Inc., for architectural and engineering services for parks improvements at Matt Community Park.
Land purchase approvals
Following an executive session, commissioners approved by 4-0 votes, with District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos absent, three land purchases, including one just under 100 acres.
The first purchase was for about five acres at the end of Molly View Point in north Forsyth for the installation of a new water tank at $32,000 per acre, totaling about $160,000. The item was approved time-sensitive, and funds will come from the water and sewer fund.
At the end of Millwood Road, commissioners approved the purchase of 99.9 acres for $3 million. Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said the land will be used by the water and sewer department.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of about an acre at 5710 Namon Wallace Road for $465,000.
Fire department grant
A federal grant approved by commissioners will bring millions of dollars to the Forsyth County Fire Department for staffing at new stations.
“This is the grant that was approved to help us staff the new Fire Station 11 on Pittman Road,” said County CFO Dave Gruen. “This will help to provide funding for the four firefighters on the truck over the next three years.”
Commissioners accepted the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant for a total of $1.65 million with a required match by the county not to exceed $1,026,968.
The federal grant will provide $89,016 each year from 2019 to 2021. County Manager Eric Johnson said the funds will mean the new station will have four members on each shift instead of three, a shift the county is planning to make for other stations.
Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the federal government will pay 75 percent of those salaries the first two years and 35 percent in the third and final year. The county will then take over costs.
Commissioners approved allowing $35,000 of the Social Services Committee’s 2018 grant be used for a public health/drug intervention and counseling position for high-risk youth at the Gateway Facility.
“The money in the social service grant serves the purposes of juveniles,” said District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. “It serves purposes that the juvenile court signs off on.”
Mills and other officials said the money was to be used to be proactive instead of reactive and is aimed at getting at-risk youth help before bigger problems can develop.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office was also approved for grants and new items at the meeting.
Commissioners accepted the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Award for $10,319 and the 2018 Victims of Crime Grant Act Program for up to $71,794 with a required match if $117,949 from the county.
A bid for four new Ford F-150 Police Responder Trucks for the sheriff’s office from Prater Ford in Calhoun for $137,641 was also approved.