A New Dollar General, and Updates on Several Capital Projects in Dade County Announced by The Dade County Board of Commissioners


Updates on several capital projects in Dade County were given during the January meeting of the Dade County Board of Commissioners.

Cole Adkins gave the monthly report on the progress of the renovation of the historic Dade County courthouse. Adkins said that drywall was ongoing, millwork and lighting had begun, and a new roof was recommended due to ongoing leaks. Adkins said the screws on the metal roofing were supposed to be replaced every five years and that had not been done as well as issues with the flashing causing water to pour in around the chimney, so an entirely new roof was needed. The project still maintains a healthy contingency fund. One of the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) have not had any responses so they will continue to look for a response. The RFP for entry doors had one response.

A new Dollar General is coming to Dade County, Commissioner Ted Rumley announced. The company had been working with the EPD and GDOT to get their permits and it looked like the project would be moving forward. Rumley said the new location would be at the top of Sand Mountain, on the corner across the street from Crossroads Hardware and the adjacent businesses.

Rumley said he had been working for over a year to get a dialysis clinic in Dade County. Rumley said he had numerous requests from people wanting a closer place to go to get dialysis. Rumley hopes to have more information by spring.

Damage to the Depot by the railroad tracks in Trenton was not as extensive as first thought, Rumley reported. The metal roofing was able to be entirely saved and reused after replacing the roof decking. Repairs to the building, which will be used for the Public Defender’s office and the AFS office, continue as framing for internal walls and electrical and other interior projects begin. Rumley said a visit to the site with the Public Defender helped determine where some of the walls and outlets and other things would be located.

Groundwork for the new Elections Office has begun and, weather depending, Rumley said more activity at the site should be seen soon.

A few ongoing situations in the county include the blocking of the industrial park by the trains, the power line work, and illegal dumping in the county. Rumley said there are new people with the railroad that they contact now and hopefully they have the people on board with the understanding that blocking the industrial park access completely is no longer the norm and not something that is done anymore. The power line work to replace lines and poles in the county will continue for another year to a year and a half and Rumley said they are following protocol and contacting dispatch every morning to notify them of where they will be working for the day and road and lane closures. The last ongoing issue is the illegal dumping and Rumley said they have a couple of places in the county the EPD has been up to look at and will be back with state people. The county has put in trail cams in some of the areas where trash is being dumped off and has been unable, so far, to find anything linking anyone to using the dump sites.

Ronald Baldwin spoke to Commissioners during citizens input regarding a lack of signage on the square to help those unfamiliar with the area navigate the square safely. Baldwin spoke about people constantly coming to a complete stop or even people going the wrong way. Baldwin said he contacted the right person, Mike Cameron, and felt he was given the runaround, so he came to the commission to see if they would work on getting signage up to help make the square safer with traffic. Goff said he had seen people stop and go the wrong way and agreed they needed signage. Rumley agreed as well and said he would contact the person at the state roads department that dealt with signage and he would also give that contact information to Baldwin.

Heather Roesner, CEO of Bridge Health, formerly known as Lookout Mountain Community Services (LMCS), along with Dade Site Manager Lisa Stephans and COO Patrick McBride, gave a presentation to commissioners during the work session prior to the January meeting. Roesner gave a brief overview of the re-branding of LMCS to Bridge Health and the formation of a non-profit. Roesner explained community service boards and their purpose as well as statistics for mental health saying Georgia ranks 31st in suicide deaths in the US and according to 2021 numbers, suicide was among the top 9 in leading causes for death. Roesner listed various services offered including supported employment, adult day programs, treatment for addictions, mental health and developmental disabilities, housing, and in-school services through the APEX program. Roesner explained some of the company’s struggles including outdated reimbursement rates for clinicians, doctors, and staff and over $22,000 non-reimbursable funds spent providing in-school services to students with private insurance. Bridge Health will no longer be able to provide anything but crisis assistance to those with private insurance unless they come to the clinic and sign up for private pay because they do not accept anything but Medicaid as far as health insurance goes. They asked the county to consider providing them funds to help continue services for Dade County and said they would also be speaking with the schools as well as doing a rate study to update their reimbursement rates.

Commissioners approved a consent agenda including the SPLOST purchase of two vehicles at the Sheriff’s Office at the 2023 quoted rate with Prater Ford for a cost of $45,446.03. per vehicle to replace two wrecked vehicles; Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Family Crisis Center for Walker, Dade, Catoosa, and Chattooga; Memorandum of Understanding to pay Dade’s portion of the supplements for the Superior Court Judges with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit; 2024 qualifying fees; the appointment of Robert Goff as legislative coordinator for the Dade County Commission; 1st Amendment of the FY 2024 budget; line of credit up to $800,000 to help bridge the end of the year gap before taxes start coming in if needed; and the 2024 contract for indigent defense with the Public Defender’s Office for $91,600.96; and GDOT Transportation Grant with a 30 percent match.

By Summer Kelly