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County to combine programs

Think of it as one big buffet for home builders.

Several programs and responsibilities that once were scattered among different agencies are being combined into a one-stop office for area home builders and developers - and the one-stop concept is expected to save Lawrence County money.

The Lawrence County Commission has given its blessing to a plan to combine the county's 911 addressing, storm water management program and floodplain management permit program into one office under the direction of the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District and its newly-hired urban technician. The one-stop will become effective Monday.

Previously, the county contracted its floodplain management program with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization at a cost of $72,000. The 911 addressing had been done by an employee at the Lawrence County 911/Emergency Management Agency office at an additional cost.

"Now, landowners can come to one location rather than several," Lawrence Soil and Water District Office Manager Peggy Reynolds said.

The state will reimburse the soil and water district up to 90 percent for its work on some of these duties; the CAO was not entitled to such reimbursement.

"The county can save probably $25,000-$40,000 a year on one end and maybe be able to generate money on the other end," Lawrence County Commission President George Patterson said.

"We may be able to have the job done cheaper and more thoroughly. … Most of what we're dealing with is mandated (by the state and federal governments) and they don't send along any money to do it with."

"I thank Peggy for working with the county to do this," Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens agreed.

"This will help more people become aware of all the other things they (at soil and water district) do. The county is changing and there are areas of the county that are urban. I think this helps us as a county to continue to grow."

Joe Black, who had previously been the county's floodplain administrator, was hired last week for the new post.

Those who want more information about the one-stop may call the soil and water district office at 867- 4737.