Wright Bagby will assume the role of chair of the Floyd County Commission on Friday, a role he is not altogether unfamiliar with.
Prior to being elected to the county commission four years ago, Bagby served on the Rome City Commission from 2004 through including three years, 2008-2010, as the appointed mayor.
“It is very different, yet very similar,” Bagby said Wednesday after taking his oath of office from Probate Judge Steve Burkhalter. “The biggest differences are the geography and all of the constitutional things that we have to do that are totally different.”
Budgets, finance, organization, personnel are very similar, just on a larger scale, Bagby said.
Allison Watters also took her oath of office as vice-chair of the commission during a brief ceremony in the Probate Court.
Bagby said one of his top priorities involves a space needs study for county facilities.
“We need to make some decisions on where things need to go, especially the elections office would be one of our top priorities I would hope,” Bagby said. “I hope we can continue to financially manage the county as we have. I think we’ve done a really good job with that and we’ve got great cooperation from all of the entities within the county, the sheriff — you name it.”
Watters said she wants some extra attention for the Litter and Blight Task Force.
“You drive around our county and it’s so disappointing and depressing to see all of the litter and blighted properties. We can do better,” Watters said.
She also cited the opening of the new medical wing at the jail Tuesday and pointed to the Stepping Up Initiative.
“We need to really look at how we’re taking care of people in our county who suffer from mental illnesses,” said Watters.
Both Bagby and Watters said they also want to take a long look at the direction for future use of the Forum River Center, particularly with uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic still looming large over the community.
Safari Hospitality’s contract to manage the facility was not renewed this fall.
“The did a good job, it’s just that we saw that we might need to go in different directions with the Forum itself,” Bagby said.
The facility has been used by the court system to accommodate social distancing for court proceedings.
“I still think we have to hold the area for them (court) but we’ll be looking and thinking about this hard during this next year,” Bagby said.
The county will continue to make safety of employees and the economy health will remain a priority, Watters said, and the Forum simply can’t be used for what it was originally intended. It would be nice to be in a position to use the facility as it was originally intended, but commissioners have to think outside the box to make sure essential functions remain a priority.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen long term, we’re just taking this month to month,” Watters said.