Madison County commissioners passed a resolution Monday supporting a bill that would ban the burning of creosote-treated wood at electricity-generating plants.

House Bill 857, which was introduced by representatives Alan Powell, Tom McCall and Rick Jasperse, would “prohibit the use of wood products treated with creosote compounds or treated with naphthenate compounds for the purposes of commercial electricity generation.”

The resolution notes that commissioners “heard complaints and concerns from many citizens regarding potential environmental and health hazards resulting from the burning of railroad ties” at the Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) plant in Colbert.

“…The governing authority of Madison County hereby endorses and urges the members of the General Assembly to approve, and the Governor to sign, House Bill 857, and further encourages GRP to take all steps possible to mitigate, reduce and eliminate potential environmental and health hazards resulting from its activities,” stated the resolution.

County commissioners voted 4-0 to pass the resolution. The action was met with applause from the audience. Brian Kirk was unable to attend the meeting due to a health matter.

Members of the Madison County Clean Power Coalition (MCCPC) stood at the podium thanking board members for hearing their concerns and taking action.

Drago Tesanovich, co-chair of MCCPC, said the bill to ban creosote is “a step in the right direction for the county and the whole state.” He also asked the board to consider looking at other proposals MCCPC recently presented to the commissioners to help protect citizens’ health and well being.

Gina Ward, co-chair of MCCPC, thanked the commissioners. She added that she would like to see the county and citizens do more planning so that residents can have protection as the Hwy. 72 industrial growth corridor is developed.

In another matter, Ruth Ann Tesanovich, secretary and treasurer of MCCPC, brought up lights at the plant and the glare at night when turning left onto H.V. Chandler Road from Hwy. 72. She asked the county to look at the traffic safety issue and perhaps see if something could be done to shield the light for motorists making the turn. She also said she also wants to know what plans are in place for fire services at the plant in case of an emergency.

In other business Monday, the board approved the purchase of a backhoe for the road department for $84,855 with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds. A decision on updating the county’s purchasing policy was postponed. The board heard a quarterly report from county library director Jennifer Ivey, who reported that there were 66 adult programs with 523 participants between October and December at the library. In that same time, there were 141 total programs with 3,310 children in attendance. Robin Purcell was named to the county recreation board.

Commission chairman John Scarborough said local roads continue to take a pounding from all the rain. He said the county has declared a local state of emergency, which will open the door for potential state funding if a wider flooding emergency is declared. A number of roads have washed out over the past couple of weeks, and the rainy weather has hindered efforts to repair them.

Commissioner Derek Doster said he wants to see goals and objectives set for departments, adding that he would like to see the creation of a master list of employee training purposes, so commissioners can have a better view of employee training needs as they set the budget. He said he would like to see clear guidelines regarding driveways attaching to county rights of way. And he said he would like to see the industrial authority complete a rate study for its water services.

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