BYRON — City Council is taking issue with the Peach County Commission over the need for early voting in Byron during county and state elections.
Calling the commission’s 3-2 vote against opening a precinct in Byron for early voting “pure politics,” Mayor Larry Collins asked council Monday to endorse a measure highlighting the need.
Council unanimously did so.
Collins said there were 2,800 voters in the Byron city limits and more in the north end of Peach County he believes shouldn’t have to go all the way to Fort Valley to vote early.
He said there is a cost issue involved with opening a second precinct as a site for early voting in north Peach County, but the city would help fund its operation.
“We have early voting in Peach County, in Fort Valley, but we don’t have it in Byron,” Collins said. “It’s a shame. It really is just politics.”
Council members said they recognize there is not a chance for early voting in the next election, but they hope their efforts would help bring about early voting in future elections.
In other business during the regular monthly meeting, council authorized $47,518 to be spent as part of the cost to help upgrade and strengthen a portion of Housers Mill Road just north of its intersection with Ga. 247 Connector. Council members said property along the road is being developed for a truck stop and other businesses.
They said truck use will mean a greater strain on the road. The site lies just west of Interstate 75.
Also in the meeting, council approved two personnel matters, one of which calls for city department heads to be evaluated annually by the mayor and council.
Evaluations will be conducted in July and August each year.
The second measure specifies zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use by working city employees and expands the use of random drug testing to the city’s fire department.
The inclusion was specified in the policy because when first written the department was an all-volunteer force. The department now has two full-time and four part-time employees. Council members said they would look into the legality of requiring random drug tests among volunteer firefighters.
During the meeting, Betty Sims, Byron city clerk, told council the city had passed requirements and been recertified as a Georgia City of Ethics.