The Board of Commissioners postponed voting on three holiday furloughs until the next BOC meeting on August 10.
Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon said this was to give the constitutional officers another chance to look at their budgets to see if they could find an additional amount to reduce instead of cutting the pay for all three holidays.
The holidays the county is examining are Labor Day (Sept. 6), the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), and the observed Christmas holiday (Dec. 27). This would reportedly save the county about $300,000.
Commissioner JaNice Van Ness asked to implement at least the Labor Day furlough and voted against deferring until Aug. 10.
"I just think we're playing a yo-yo game with the employees of Rockdale County," she said. "The fact is, we have a $4 million shortfall, and we don't have a way to make up millions of dollars unless we put it on the backs of homeowners in Rockdale County. I feel like we should at least move forward with the Labor Day holiday furlough day."
The deferment was passed 2-1.
The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office will cut an equivalent amount of funds - about $135,000 - from their budget instead of mandating the unpaid holidays. The sheriff's office employs about 300 people, which makes up about half the county employees.
In other county business:
Code Red Alert system
The Sheriff's Office will implement an emergency notification system that would call and leave a message to all landlines in potentially affected areas for possible disasters and emergencies. Cell phones, emails and texts could also be sent out to those who sign up to receive the notifications.
The system, run by Emergency Services Communications, Inc., is reportedly used by about a fifth of the counties in Georgia, and set up of the system would take about one week. The RCSO is applying for grants to pay for the service, and the agreement reportedly includes a clause that would allow the county to end the service if no grants are received.
The RCSO will send out a press release on how to opt into the system when the system is set up, said Sheriff Jeff Wigington.
Rockdale Water Resources will be fined about $46,000 by the state's Environmental Protection Division for sewage spills earlier in the year and will have to follow about six procedural points or changes.
The Quigg sewage treatment plant reportedly had about 28 major spills, including the Pratt-Visy UASB pretreatment unit that failed from January to March this year, with about 10 of those violating permits.
Fire and Rescue Chief officially appointed
Cedric Scott was approved and appointed as the head of the Fire and Rescue department, which oversees the fire division and the 911 communications center. Scott had been the Fire Chief of the fire division under the Emergency Services Department, which was formed in 2009 out of the fire department, 911 center, animal control and community service. The ESD was disbanded and reorganized earlier this year as part of budget cutting measures.
"I never dreamed I would reach this point in my life and be place in charge of such an important piece of public safety," said Scott. "I pledge to you in this community we will work very hard to meet and to exceed customer expectations."
He quoted John Quincy Adams on leadership: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, to learn more, to do more and to become more, you are a leader."
"I plan to work toward that, to inspire this community," said Scott.