Public comments on phase one of the Madras Connector project have been tabulated, and letters will be going out to everyone who made a comment at the recent public information open house on the project.
The open house meeting was held July 25, and local residents were out in full force to express concerns about the entire Madras Connector project, which is designed to provide a road network to serve a future Interstate 85 interchange between the current interchanges at Hwy. 154 and Bullsboro Drive.
Phase one of the road project will come off Herring Road and will tie into U.S. 29 at the current Madras Parkway, which serves Coweta Fire Rescue Station 6 and as an additional driveway to The Heritage School. A bridge will be built over the railroad.
The letters will address all of the comments that were submitted, said Tod Handley, Coweta’s director of transportation and engineering.
Another public meeting will be held once the project is further along in the design process, Handley said.
Three residents who will be impacted by the future road project spoke to the Coweta County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, asking for an update on the project.
Michael Wise lives in Herring Farms and said he didn’t know anything about the road project when he bought his home a year and a half ago. A future phase of the road will go right behind his backyard.
Commissioner Bob Blackburn told residents he would come speak to them personally.
In other meeting business:
• The commissioners voted to move forward with increased premiums for the county’s health insurance plan for employees. Costs are going down for the Health Savings Account plan, and Commissioner Rodney Brooks asked if the county could consider adding more money to the HSAs of individual employees, to encourage more employees to choose the HSA plan over the “point of service” plan.
Employee John Kennedy asked the commissioners why the increased cost wasn’t included in the recently passed county budget.
“We have been asked many, many times to make sacrifices, and we will make the sacrifices,” Kennedy said. “We all expect y’all as our leaders to make good, sound decisions, not just for employees but for everybody in Coweta.” If more money is needed for the health insurance program, the budget funds could be reallocated, he said.
“I simply say – let’s do that and choose not to look at the county employee as a default mechanism to cover the cost.”
The budget year began Oct. 1, but the insurance plans renew on Jan. 1, said County Administrator Michael Fouts.
When the HSA plan was introduced, only 8 percent of employees chose it. Now, 41 percent of employees are using the HSA plan.