Some debate has been taking place recently as to how many members each of the three contributing counties needs to have on the new board, with Dade County angling to hang on to its two members, while Walker and Catoosa feel that only one Dade representative is needed on a nine-person board.
“I had a resolution that was a county resolution that I intended to sign,” said Heiskell. “I am supporting 4-4-1 because that is as close to the population ratio as we can get. The bylaws say that the board appointees will be based upon population, and 11.1 percent of the population is in Dade County, and 11.1 percent is one board member. Forty-six percent is in Walker and 44 percent is four board members. Forty-two percent are in Catoosa and 42 is four members so that’s as close as we can get.
“So that’s why I support that because that’s what the law says. And if it is changed, it’ll have to be changed legislatively. Dade County has not made their mind up. They started to do the 4-4-1 and then they decided that they wanted to keep two board members. My objection is, if they don’t participate, they really shouldn’t have more than their fair share. We’re still working on that, and we’ll be doing a resolution probably next week. It will be a joint resolution. I had my own resolution ready to do today and they asked me to not do it and wait for a joint resolution from all three counties.
“4-4-1 is the only fair way,” said Heiskell. “It was 4-3-2, and in the ‘50s when it was set up that was the ratio of population of the three counties, but Dade has not grown a lot, and Catoosa has grown a lot. They’re pretty much equal with Walker. There’s about a 5,000 difference in population between Walker and Catoosa County now. So I’m just going to have to stand my ground. I just don’t think it’s right to do any other way.
“Even if we go 5-5-2, that will give Dade 17 percent, and they don’t have 17 percent of the population.”
The proposed joint resolution also contained a $25 million pre-bond agreement for the hospital, using the county lines of credit, and which stipulates that the sale of the property should Hutcheson fail would recoup the debt, not any taxpayer money.
In other business during the commissioner’s Jan. 10 meeting:
· Heiskell signed an approval for John William Rhyne Jr. to replace Pat Clements, Walker County state court solicitor, during his recovery from recent surgery. The projected length of Clements’ leave of absence is unknown, but he is confident that Rhyne, who has worked in a solicitor’s office before, according to Heiskell, is fully capable of performing the necessary duties.
· Heiskell appointed Katherine Markham of Flintstone to the Region One Planning board, an appointment the commissioner was glad to make, as she confessed she has had some trouble persuading people to agree to the post in the past. Heiskell was grateful, therefore, to have had Markham volunteer for the job. The Region One Planning board serves 31 counties in northern Georgia and oversees a network of public services for mental health, developmental disabilities and aid and prevention of addictive diseases.