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Troup funds new jail fire safety system, moves Rosemont Elementary project forward

The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved a request Monday to replace the county jail’s fire protection system. The system, which is 26 years old, is at the end of its useful life and needs replacing, according to Division Director Dexter Wells.

The new Siemens system costs about $223,850 and was planned for and budgeted in SPLOST V. It has an estimated lifespan of more than 20 years. The county is already paying about $23,500 per year in maintenance for the system. The upgrade will save the county about $8,900 yearly, Wells said at the board’s work session last week.

Another funding request was approved for the Troup County Fire Department. TCFD will be ordering a new compressor/cascade system to replace the current system, which was purchased in 1996. In essence, the system is a machine that fills up oxygen tanks for firefighters.

The cost of the new system, purchased from MAKO, is about $56,300 and includes a five-year warranty.

Some working components of the current system will be repurposed in other county buildings to extend the useful life of those parts.

Commissioners approved a request to apply for, and, if received, accept a state grant for the juvenile court. The State Delinquency Prevention Grant would help fund the court through 2025. The court would use funds for the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program, which is targeted at interventions to prevent juveniles from further involvement with the criminal justice system. It is aimed specifically at youth who commit first-time, nonviolent delinquent acts.

The other program the grant would help fund is the Strengthening Families Program. The goals of SFP are to increase family strength and resilience and reduce risk factors for problem behaviors in high-risk youth by improving family relationships, parenting skills and the youth’s social and life skills.

The maximum award that could be received is $20,000 for the first year and $30,000 for each year thereafter.

A request to lift the hiring freeze to hire a legal assistant for the solicitor’s office was also approved. The position is budgeted and was vacant.

Under public hearings, the board approved a special use application to allow the Troup County School System to build a new Rosemont Elementary School on two parcels that total about 38 acres across the road from its current location.

Building inspector Austin Burgess asked that before design work begins, TCSS carefully consider traffic patterns in the area.

He added that there is already a problem at the current Rosemont building which causes traffic jams off property, creating safety and efficiency concerns.

“A school typically generates challenges from the traffic standpoint, including large morning and afternoon peak volumes, as well as large queues of drivers in car rider lines and large queues of buses,” he said.

Burgess asked that TCSS coordinate with county and Georgia Department of Transportation road engineers to ensure that carpool and bus lines queue on the school property and not on the road.

Anthony Decoff, a retiree who lives on Burgess Road, spoke in opposition to the application. Decoff’s property backs up to the land on which TCSS hopes to build the school. His lot is east of that lot, which itself is east of the current school. Despite the distance, Decoff said he already hears children playing, the intercom system and other noises from the school at his home.

Decoff said his wife is a nurse who works nights and sleeps during the day.

“We moved out there because it was peaceful and quiet. But now they want to put a school in my backyard,” Decoff said.

The proposed site of the new school is mostly composed of a hay field, with about 100 feet of vegetation separating the field and Decoff’s lot. Decoff asked to at least maintain that 100-foot buffer between his yard and the school.

Commissioner Ellis Cadenhead made a motion to approve the special use with an extra condition that the buffer be honored, which was seconded and passed unanimously.

In other business, a request to place a manufactured home at 3960 West State Route 54 Highway was approved.

An entertainment II establishment application for The Hooch Hideaway at Highland Marina was approved. The restaurant has had such a license since 2007 but had to reapply because it had a new owner/operator.

Finally, a beer and wine application for a new business, New Airport Food Mart, was approved. The business is at 18A New Airport Road.