Thomas County government provides over $26 million in vital public services each year to the residents and citizens of our community. The Thomas County Board of Commissioners is composed of eight members elected by district, serving staggered, four-year terms. The Board meets on the second Tuesday at 9 a.m. and the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. of each month. Thomas County government provides the following services to all citizens of the county: ambulance service, enhanced-911, public transit, library services, animal control, emergency management, solid waste collection, construction and maintenance of the county road system. Fire protection, planning, zoning and building inspections are provided to and funded by the unincorporated county.
The Board is also responsible for raising revenues and establishing budgets for several county offices established by Georgia law that provide countywide services. The Sheriff’s office provides law enforcement, public safety, corrections and court support services. The Clerk of Court, Superior Court, State Court, Probate Court, Magistrate Court, Juvenile Court and the District Attorney provide judicial services. The Board of Tax Assessors and the Tax Commissioner are responsible for the equitable determination of property values and collection of taxes, respectively.
The Thomas County Courthouse on North Broad Street has undergone a $7.8 million restoration in 2011-2013. The courthouse was built in 1858 in the neo-classical style. In 1888 the courthouse was dramatically altered to suit the tastes of the Victorian era. In 1935 the Annex was added and the interior of the main courthouse was redesigned. The newly restored courthouse has offices for County Commissioners, Tax Commissioner and the Board of Tax Assessors.
Across the way on North Madison Street is a new 38,000-square-foot building known as the Judicial Center. The new building has offices for Superior Court State Court, Probate Court, District Attorney, Solicitor, Clerk of Superior Court and the Board of Elections. The new building was constructed at a cost of $12 million and was opened in January 2011.
The Emergency Services Center at 1202 Remington Avenue is headquarters for Thomas County Emergency Medical Service, Emergency Management and County Fire and Rescue. This 20,000-square-foot building was completed and occupied in 2007. The Emergency Services Center also has a 4,000-square-foot training area that doubles as the county’s emergency operations center. The building was constructed largely with inmate labor at a cost of $1.2 million.
Thomas County has a rich history that spans three centuries, prospering under good, progressive local leadership. Located in southwest Georgia and bordering Florida, the county was formed in 1825 from parts of Irwin and Decatur counties. In 1826 Thomasville was established as the location for the new county seat.
Thomasville quickly became the political, social, economic and religious center for the county. The 1880s ushered in the grand hotel era when Thomasville was one of the premier resort centers in the nation. During this era the small towns of Barwick, Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee and Pavo were founded. Many visitors came to Thomas County at this time, bought property and built up the land for multiple uses. The same spirit that lured northern industrialists here in the 1880s is evident today as the people of Thomas County promote economic growth and continue to preserve their rich heritage.
CITY OF THOMASVILLE
The city of Thomasville was first incorporated under a charter issued by the General Assembly of the state of Georgia on October 3, 1889. Under the terms of the City Charter, the legislative authority of the government of the city of Thomasville is vested in a Council composed of five Council members – two from each of the city’s two districts and one at large – all of which serve four-year terms.
The Mayor presides at all meetings of the City Council and is considered the head of the city for ceremonial purposes. Day-to-day administration of city government is taken care of by a city manager, who is appointed by Council.
The City Council meets in formal council meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers at City Hall. The Council also meets in informal workshops. All workshops and meetings are open to the general public in accordance with the Georgia Open Meetings act.
The city of Thomasville does not levy any ad valorem taxes. In addition, the city fire tax was eliminated in 2012. The revenues generated from city-owned utilities – electric, water, wastewater, natural gas, solid waste and CNS services – are transferred into the General Fund in order to provide funding for police and fire protection, street maintenance and other essential governmental services.
THOMASVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Thomasville Police Department is Nationally Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA). This voluntary accreditation program for law enforcement agencies is a joint effort between CALEA and four major law enforcement executive membership associations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriff’s Association and the Executive Research Forum.
In 2011, TPD was granted Recertification by the State of Georgia, establishing TPD as one of the premier law enforcement agencies within Georgia. According to a letter from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, “less than 15 percent of agencies who are eligible to achieve State Certification have accomplished this objective.”
THOMASVILLE FIRE RESCUE
Thomasville Fire Rescue has an ISO classification rating of two and employs more than 40 full-time personnel. Hazardous Materials Technician certification is an employment requirement, and many personnel have also achieved national certification as Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics. TFR operates from three fire stations located within the city of Thomasville and covers a primary response zone of approximately 18 square miles, or the incorporated city limits of Thomasville. The department operates three Engine companies, one Ladder Company and a Command Unit on a 24-hour basis, with a rescue vehicle and engine company in reserve. All suppression units are equipped with basic life support medical supplies and respond to medical emergencies anywhere within the Thomasville city limits.
In addition to public services, the city of Thomasville offers utilities services to its citizens. Serving both residential and commercial customers, City of Thomasville Utilities provides electric, natural gas, water, wastewater and solid waste services at extremely competitive rates. The city’s most recent utilities venture, compressed natural gas, powers many of the city’s vehicle fleet, saving thousands of barrels of oil each year.
CNS: HIGH-SPEED FOR THE DEEP SOUTH
In 1995, the city of Thomasville began building a fiber optic network to serve local schools, libraries, businesses and hospitals with telecommunications and Internet services. After seeing success in this limited offering, it was identified that the community at large would be able to benefit from access to high-speed Internet. So, in 1998, in order to better serve the community, the city of Thomasville began construction of a new high-speed, fiber-optic network and in 1999, CNS, or Community Network Services, was created.
CNS now offers telecommunication services to both commercial and residential customers. Services offered include cable television, high-speed Internet and telephone, all of which are funded locally; meaning citizens who choose to be CNS customers are investing in their own communities, not a corporation headquartered across the country.
• For more information about Thomasville and Thomas County services, visit the Chamber’s website, www.thomasvillechamber.com.