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County commission votes to demolish old Bulloch Memorial Hospital
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Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch - photo by Herald File
Residents in the area of the old Bulloch Memorial Hospital site will be glad to see the remainder of the old building demolished next month. Bulloch County officials signed a contract to have the building, which has long been a topic of controversy, taken down.
    During Tuesday's morning meeting of the Bulloch County Commission, Bulloch County planner Andy Welch said the county signed a contract with Martin and Rule to tear down what many consider an eyesore.
    County leaders hoped to renovate the building to house the county offices and Central 911. However, professionals advised against the move, since to do so would not be economically feasible. To tear the existing building down and rebuild would be more cost-effective, and county commissioners voted to do away with the remainder of the old hospital.
    Plans for the property have not yet been finalized, but a new Central 911 center is being constructed along with the Bulloch County Jail expansion.
    Commissioners also agreed to enter a contract with the City of Statesboro to assume animal control duties within the city limits.
    The city would pay for a full-time animal control officer, including benefits, and would provide a vehicle, as well as fuel, maintenance and insurance, said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch.
    "They felt like it would be more cost-effective for them to do so," he said.
    Commissioners and Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn supported the idea.
    "We believe it will be a benefit to the city and the county," Wynn said. "It would allow for a third person to be on call."
    Currently, there are only two employees on call for animal control throughout the county.
    After-hours calls for animal emergencies within the city would be dispatched through the Statesboro Police Department and the $35 fee for non-emergency after-hours calls would apply, he said.
    Commissioners also discussed a proposal from the state to quit claim a deed to the livestock barn on Ga. 67 at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds. The state wants to defer ownership to the county, but commissioners did not take action, instead deciding to table the issue until the next meeting so they could obtain additional information.
    Couch also discussed upcoming budget meetings and said he hopes to have a budget recommendation for commissioners May 29.
    A tentative budget will be ready June 15, followed by a public hearing June 19. Commissioners are slated to adopt a finalized budget June 26, he said.
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