News from Banks County...

 March 20, 2000


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OPINION
Be sure and return those census forms
Most Banks Countians have likely received a questionnaire from the census bureau.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Jackson Tract Declared 'Megasite,' To Be Marketed Globally By State
JEFFERSON -- A large piece of property near Commerce is one of five sites across the state selected to be marketed globally for development.

Drought Or Not, City Water Supply To Be Adequate
Saturday's rain notwithstanding, weather prognosticators continue to speak of a La Niña-induced drought this spring and summer.

Georgia Power Center facility named 'Plant Dahlberg'
Georgia Power's gas-fired peak generation plant under construction in Center has a name.

Jefferson approves rezoning for offices, subdivision
A professional office complex and another subdivision will likely locate in Jefferson following zoning requests approved by the city council Monday night.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Head of the class
Reclassification makes Madison County largest AAA school
Madison County is now the biggest Class AAA school in the state.

Tim Costyn named MCHS STAR student
Tim Costyn, a senior at Madison County High School, has been named this year's STAR student for the graduating class of 2000.

Colbert woman killed in Hwy. 29 accident
A Madison County mother of four was killed Saturday when her vehicle hydroplaned in heavy rain and struck a northbound truck on Hwy. 29 .


SPORTS
Diamond Leopards start subregion
After posting a 6-1 record in the "preseason" games, Banks County's team is set to begin play in Region 8-A North.

Team honors William Stevens
The Banks County baseball program honored William Stevens Monday afternoon in a ceremony between the junior varsity and the varsity games with Oglethorpe County.


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WALKING FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Some 150 people gathered at Hurricane Shoals Park early Saturday morning to participate in the Banks-Jackson County American Heart Walk. The group raised $12,500 for the organization. Alicia Andrews was the chairman for Banks County.
Photo by Travis Hatfield

Alto increases commercial water rates
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Commercial water rates will increase in the City of Alto beginning in June.
In a meeting last week, the council unanimously agreed to raise the rates to $1.35 per thousand gallons with no minimum gallons. The council will re-examine the rates next March.
"We did away with the more you use the cheaper it is," explained Mayor Jack King. "It encourages waste. If a company uses enough water, we are practically giving it away."
In the past, commercial water customers have paid about the same costs as residential customers which are $8 outside the city and $6 inside the city for the first 3,000 gallons and $1.20 per thousand after that.
The increase will have the greatest impact on Alto's largest water customer, Mount Vernon Mills. The plant uses approximately 60 million gallons of water each year, according to King.
Presently, the company has a deal with the city where it pays around 92 cents a gallon.
"They were gentlemen about the increase," King said. "In the past, we have just about been breaking even."
Larry Porter, plant manager at Mount Vernon Mills, addressed the council before the vote asking that the increase be fair.
The council also defined industry as "any business or individual that uses an average of 100,000 gallons of water or more per month in a year."

GROWTH

Construction to begin this week on bypass
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Construction of the Hwy. 441-Homer bypass is slated to begin this week.
A pre-construction conference with all parties involved in the project was held Friday. Project manager Wayne Echols of Jones Brothers Inc. said the preliminary staking and initial clearing would begin on or about March 15.
Rob Mabry, project manager with the Georgia Department of Transportation, said the 6.2-mile project should be complete by May 2003. The project includes eight double bridges across the Hudson River, according to Mabry.
Greg Gilreath, with the DOT's environmental control division, told the representatives that this project would be highly scrutinized due to the environmental sensitivities.
"The project was delayed approximately 10 years due to environmental concerns," he said. "There will be eyes watching from different perspectives, aesthetics, construction and a lot of angles."
The project was delayed due to concerns for wetlands and waterways.


Census count under way in county
Banks County residents should be receiving questionnaires from the United States Census Bureau.
The population of the county has not been counted in 10 years. All the information on the census is confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone, leaders say. It is not reported to the Internal Revenue Service nor will it be sold to telephone solicitors.
Those hired by the census bureau will be visiting homes to hand out forms. These forms are to be filled out and mailed in to the census bureau. Some countians will be given the short forms, which only ask for the number of residents per household and similar questions, while others will be given a longer form asking for more information.
Those who miss the census counters may pick up forms at area pharmacies, banks and grocery stores. Display boxes will be placed in participating businesses to provide these forms and a place to drop them off.


New health department to be ready by mid-April
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The new Banks County Health Department building should be ready for occupancy by mid-April.
"The building is basically complete except for a few things, " stated board of commissioners chairman James Dumas during a meeting with the health department board of directors Tuesday morning. "The final inspection is slated for March 31."
Once the final inspection is complete, employees will have the go-ahead to begin the move to the new facility located at Windmill Farms. Health department nurse Jennifer Parker told the board that she would like to have the move complete by the third week in April.
Dumas and other board members discussed where the additional funding for the project would come from. The county was awarded a $500,000 state grant for the project, but the bids came in at $620,000 to complete the project, including paving. During the initial stage, the group talked about downsizing but decided to go ahead as planned. The board discussed making a contribution, while Banks County Mental Health has also agreed to help, according to Dumas.
This matter will be discussed again in a May board meeting once the building is complete, members agreed.
In other business, the board:
·voted to give health department employees a mileage reimbursement increase from .25 to .30 a mile.
·heard a report from Greg Sheffield, finance administrator, on the fund balance, which is $112,000.
·heard an environmental fee comparison from Dale Carter, local health department environmentalist. Carter reported that Banks County is in line on most fees charged.


Hickory Flat Road resurfacing to be paid with state funds
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Hickory Flat Road will be resurfaced as part of the Georgia Department of Transportation Local Assistance Road Program (LARP).
During the Banks County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, chairman James Dumas told members that the contract would be bid in April and should be complete next fall.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the BOC:
·tabled action on the proposed multi-family housing and mobile/manufactured home ordinances until further discussion with county attorney Randall Frost.
·approved amendments to the subdivision ordinance that includes the definition of a subdivision.
·approved an alcohol license for Stringers Fish Camp to sell mixed drinks.
·approved a request by Uchee Lodge to erect a utility building on the property leased from the county.
·approved a request by the Uchee Lodge for the 4-H shotgun team to practice at Windmill Farms with two leaders per eight students.
·approved a bid by The Whitfield Company to pave the parking lot at the new health department at a cost of $33,136.
·discussed closing all or a portion of Richey Road, Boling Road and Amy Circle. The roads cannot be abandoned until public hearings are held.
·tabled any action on a request by the water department to purchase a 1995 Chevrolet service truck.
·accepted the resignation of purchasing agent Ben Whisnant, who said he plans to run for probate judge.
·approved a mutual aid agreement with the Lee Arrendale Correctional Institute fire department.
·approved a conditional use application by Henry Wilhelm III to relocate a 1991 manufactured home on Hwy. 441.
·approved a conditional use application for Jerry and Veronica Wright to relocate a 1977 manufactured home on Hebron Road.


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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Republican party to hold convention Sat.
The Banks County Republican Party will hold its precinct mass meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 18, to elect delegates and alternates to the Banks County Republican Party Convention.
The county convention will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 18, at the same location to elect delegates and alternates to the Congressional District Convention and State Convention. This is the beginning of the process for selecting delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Both conventions will be held at the Banks County courthouse in Homer.
Registration is free of charge and all Banks County residents who are legally registered to vote and believe in the principles of the Republican Party are urged to participate in this process, leaders say.
The 11th Congressional District Convention will be held on April 15 at 10 a.m. at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Annex, Madison.
The Georgia Republican Party State Convention will be held at 2 p.m. on May 19 in Savannah.
For further information, contact Bill Sears, chairman of the Banks County Republican Party at (706) 677-3210.