GUYTON — EOM Operations is going to shoulder a bigger share of the City of Guyton’s workload.
In a 3-2 vote, the Guyton City Council on May 11 approved a $479,604 contract for EOM to add public works and streets/lanes to the responsibilities it has been handling. It has managed the City of Guyton’s sewer, water and wastewater treatment plant for the past year, Mayor Russ Deen said.
“I feel this is a move in the right direction and think it will be a good thing for our citizens,” he explained.
EOM is a woman-owned enterprise based in Richmond Hill that serves multiple government entities. It has a high level of expertise in wastewater treatment, fleet & equipment maintenance, water collection & distribution, stormwater management, streets & general works and spill cleanups.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the city to outsource this critical service that our community needs,” Councilman Marshall Reiser said. “I think we our moving in the right direction to put Guyton in a position that it’s never been and I think (the EOM contract) is something we should support.”
Councilwoman Hursula Pelote agreed but Councilmen Michael Johnson and Joseph Lee didn’t. Johnson and Lee, forcing the council’s first non-unanimous vote since 2019, asked about a separate $47,000 budget item for a guard to keep an eye on 10 inmates who will perform tasks that EOM will supervise.
“We control EOM. EOM will run that guard for us the same way they do in Richmond Hill and Effingham (County),” Deen answered.
Concerns about EOM using City of Guyton vehicles and fuel were also raised. It was noted by an EOM official, however, that EOM uses its own equipment when the City of Guyton has something inadequate to complete a task.
“Part of our contract also includes (EOM) servicing our pieces of equipment so we would have more regular maintenance on that tractor, lawn mowers — things that could be repaired,” Deen said.
In addition, EOM has compiled a list of items that it recommends that the City of Guyton sell due to a lack of use.
“(EOM) has demonstrated to me that it brings value to the table,” Reiser said, “and I certainly agree that this is a big investment for our city but, like the mayor mentioned, it is basically just a $39,000 increase over what our public works expenses were going to include (without the EOM deal). I think it provides greater services for our community ...”
As part of the one-year agreement, two City of Guyton workers will become EOM employees. They will maintain their benefits and receive pay increases.
The contract has a 60-day exit clause for both parties in case of a “material breach.”
“I totally get that we need to make sure we are doing the right thing for the city but I believe this is the right thing for the city,” Reiser said. “At a minimum, if we do this for a year and realize it is not the right thing for the city, then we just revert back to a new structure. But I think they have proven themselves already so I support the idea.”