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This week's Herald


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1998 Building Permits / 1999 Building Permits
1998 Property Transactions / 1999 Property Transactions


These three boys from Cub Scout Packs 86 (Nicholson) and 795 (Dry Pond) take a look at the competition from Jefferson Pack 158 during the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. The three packs held the joint event in Jefferson Saturday with some 78 Cub Scouts from Jackson County participating. Shown here are: (L to R) Luis Verduzco, Pack 86, Jake Stritch, Pack 795 and Blake Dearman, Pack 795. A listing of winners will be published next week.
Photo by Travis Hatfield


Tolbert votes 'No' on education bill
Rep. Scott Tolbert voted against the governor's controversial education bill in a committee hearing Tuesday. A member of the House Education Committee, Tolbert said he voted against the bill because of the potential additional costs it would bring to local school systems and because he'd only received the final draft the night before.
The education proposal was approved 15-9 by the education committee and was slated to go to the House of Representatives for consideration Thursday.
"It's 151 pages and they expected you to vote on it today," said Tolbert on Tuesday. "I could not, in good conscience vote for that because we don't know how it will impact the budget for each system­how much money it's going to cost us and what the tax burden will be on each system. Those are the major concerns. If those questions were answered, I could vote for it."
Tolbert said the parts of the education proposal he likes are more accountability and more local funding.
"There is a lot of good stuff in there," he said. "Of course, the bad stuff is right now the unknown - the unknown being what it will cost us."
After the education committee meeting ended late Tuesday afternoon, Tolbert met with the three Jackson County superintendents, Andy Byers, John Jackson and Larry White.
Jackson said Wednesday that he still doesn't have specific information on the financial impact the proposal would have on the Jefferson system, but he feels better about it after speaking with leaders from the state planning and budget office.
"Until I get the financial allotment sheet from the state, I'm not going to be in a position to speak on specifics," he said. "All I can go on is what we were told yesterday from the representative from planning and budget. If what I understood him to say is an accurate assessment of what we should be drawing down, then I do not have as many concerns about the financial situation as I did when I went over there."
Jackson pointed out that the bill is still "somewhat fluid," as amendments are likely as it goes on to the House and Senate for consideration.
"There is always a certain amount of uncertainty that is going to be attached to anything like that," he said. "They have given the systems a little bit more latitude of how to spend money for direct instruction compared to the way the law was originally written."
which should help us in being able to meet some of our needs."
Jackson also pointed out that Jefferson is in a better situation as far as the proposed student-teacher ratios because it began working toward this last year.
"The time of that couldn't have been better because it has put us much closer to the target maximum class size than we probably would have been had that not been done," he said. "I'm sure it will impact us, but the impact may not be as drastic. If we had been in a situation where we had significant numbers of classes throughout the system operating at or above the maximum class size, then we would have a significant amount of catching up to do.
"We weren't able to get the numbers down where we wanted in every case, but we made headway. It will definitely ease the impact that this law will have."

BOC seeks planning commission member
Wanted: Someone to attend lengthy monthly meetings, often making controversial decisions. Knowledge of county planning and land use matters preferred.
The qualifications may not sound that appealing, but the county desperately needs someone to serve on the Jackson County Planning Commission. The nine-member board has been short one member for almost four months. The seat is for the post held by Thomas Benton, who retired after serving on the commission for more than 30 years. The area is District 255, which includes Hood's Mill Road, Harris Lord Cemetery Road and Yarbrough's Crossing.
The board of commissioners agreed Tuesday night to seek applicants from those interested in serving the four-year term. Applications may be sent to David Clabo, Jackson County Board of Commissioners, 67 Athens Street, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.

Jackson on state 'green space' list
Jackson County could be eligible for state funds to preserve green space if a program recommended by Gov. Roy Barnes becomes law.
Barnes is asking that the 40 fastest-growing counties in the state, including Jackson, Hall and Gwinnett, be eligible for these funds. He is asking the floor leaders to introduce the "Georgia Community Green Space Initiative" in the General Assembly.
To receive funds, a county would have to establish an approved green space protection plan by Jan. 1, 2001, with a goal of preserving 20 percent of its land as green space.
Jackson County leaders have already been making plans on preserving green space. Several county leaders met with University of Georgia consultants about land preservation issues.

BOC hears appeal for animal control
A woman leading the effort to bring a Humane Society to Jackson County once again appealed to the board of commissioners to address animal control.
Sandy Wells told the BOC Tuesday night that animal control ordinances are the "least expensive and most needed service" a county can provide. She pointed out that those organizing the Humane Society in the county asked the BOC last year for assistance in animal control with no action being taken.
"You really have the power do something before this year ends," she said.
No action was taken. BOC chairman Jerry Waddell pointed out that animal control could mean an increase in taxes.

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