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Johnson new County Council chair

Subheadline: 
Drayton tabbed as vice chair

  • Newly elected Jasper County Council Chairman Tom Johnson, left, received the gavel from outgoing Chairman Marty Sauls during a Jan. 2 meeting. Photo by: Shellie Murdaugh/Jasper County Sun Times

Jasper County Council has a new chairman and vice chairman for the next two years.

Council, during its Jan. 2 meeting, elected Tom Johnson as chairman and Theodus Drayton as vice chairman. Johnson replaces outgoing chairman Marty Sauls (who remains on the council) and Johnson moved to chairman from vice chairman.

Johnson said he hopes to see citizens become an active part of the county’s future.

“I would love to see more citizens take part in our meetings so they can keep up with how we are working in the county,” Johnson said. “Let people see for themselves what’s going on, that usually gives a more accurate picture than what you hear at the gas station or see on Facebook. I also want to see the county continue to go in the right direction.”

Drayton was unable to stay for the remainder of the meeting, but he was congratulated by all of those present at the meeting.

“We appreciate your service and look forward to seeing you at the next meeting,” Johnson said.

Sauls thanked the council for the years he served as chair.

“It has been a real honor for me,” Sauls said. “This council has worked great together and we continue to do so.”

Sauls said council had accomplished many things during his two years as chairman, including announcements from Coca-Cola and Waste Management who are bringing jobs into the county,

“There have been a lot of good things happening and we continue to work on the Jasper Ocean Terminal, we broke ground for the extension of the runway and there are many things in the works,” Sauls said. “We have worked well with the city of Hardeeville, the town of Ridgeland and we are going to have an exciting 2018.”

In other business, council heard from several citizens who wanted it to reconsider approving first reading on ordinances to amend the official zoning map of Jasper County to include a solar farm floating zone along Grays Highway,Firetower Road and Langfordville Road.

Upon hearing the concerns and a discussion, council member Barbara Clark made a motion to defer first reading of the ordinance until after a scheduled public hearing on the matter to be held at Jasper County Council Chambers 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16. Council unanimously approved the motion.

“To be fair across the board, I think this is what we should do,” Clark said.

A flyer asking the public to attend the public hearing has been distributed throughout the area. The flyer asks there be no more solar farms in Jasper County, suggesting the farms destroy wildlife habitat, depreciate surrounding land values and do not create jobs for the future.

The flyer states, “Come out and support the ‘Just say no’ to solar farms.

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