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Jamieson solves annexation worries over Banks Crossing
Banks County officials have long wrestled
with how to get rid of the possibility of Commerce annexing Banks
City Permits $475,323 In Feb. Construction
The city of Commerce issued permits for $475,000
worth of construction during February, according to documents
submitted to the Commerce City Council March 12.
Chamber-Led Economic Development Effort Split Between Seeking
New Companies And Helping Existing Companies Prosper, Expand
JEFFERSON -- Like a pretty girl always
surrounded by male admirers, Jackson County constantly courts
industrial suitors, firms that see Jackson County as a good place
to open up a plant.
Engineer says courthouse annex site will work
An engineer studying the proposed site for
a new courthouse annex doesn't believe the soil contamination
and high water table will stop the county from building on the
50-acre industrial park planned near I-85
The Norton Agency project on planning commission agenda
A rezoning request to go before the Jackson
County Planning Commission Thursday night would bring a large
industrial park to the North Jackson area east of Pendergrass
68-lot subdivision denied
A proposed 68-lot subdivision off Colbert
Grove Church Road was shot down by county planners Tuesday, but
the board of commissioners will have the final say on the matter
New lighting approved for baseball field
The Red Raider baseball field will soon be
Area showdown set at Sandy Creek
Banks, three area golf teams meet Thursday
Banks County will square off Thursday against
three of its area rivals at Sandy Creek Golf Course in Commerce.
Banks County track team running through early meets
Banks County will continue its track and
field schedule with a meet at Franklin County next Tuesday.
The Banks County News
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Gov. Roy Barnes (seated) signed
House Bill 1439 into law Friday morning. Pictured above are:
(L-R) Perry Hiott, research manager for the Georgia Municipal
Association; Mary Ann Draut, policy director for GMA; Jim Grubiak,
general counsel for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia;
Jeanette Jamieson, state representative; Carol Ayers, Banks County
Chamber of Commerce board of directors member; Sherry Ward, chamber
executive assistant; Jerry Griffin, ACCG executive director;
and Bonnie Johnson, chamber president.
at plans to bring sewer to Martin Bridge Road area
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is looking for a way
to "jump start" development at the I-85/Martin Bridge
Road interchange by getting county sewer to the area.
"That area has become a hot spot over the last two months,"
explained BOC chairman James Dumas. "But it remains stagnant
because there is no sewer available at all."
In a work session on Friday, county engineer Ben Turnipseed told
the BOC that it would cost $489,600 to get sewer to the area.
This would include building a pump station in the area and pumping
the sewage back to the race track sewer plant. This avenue is
far cheaper than building a land application at Martin Bridge
Road, Turnipseed pointed out.
Right now, the sewer plant at Banks Crossing is near the 70,000
capacity but plans are in the works to expand the system to a
300,000 capacity system within nine months.
The county has applied for a $1 million low-interest loan from
the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) to pay
for the increase at Banks Crossing.
Turnipseed said additional funding might be available from GEFA
and the Appalachian Regional Commission to fund the Martin Bridge
Day care facility
tops list of goals for group
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The Banks County Family Connection collaborative would like to
see a licensed day care facility open in the county and members
say they are willing to help.
"We definitely need a day care facility and there is assistance
out there," explained director Vickie Martin.
The day care facility is in the list of goals for Banks County
Family Connection. To try and reach that goal, Martin is in the
process of sending a letter to area churches informing them that
there are grants to religious and non-profit groups to get started.
The Georgia Child Care Council has grants available for technical
assistance to start a day care facility, according to Martin.
There are also a limited number of mini-grants to nonprofit groups
that have completed their licensing paperwork but need funding
for toys and equipment, staff training, scholarships for low
income children or minor renovations required by local or state
For more information on the Nonprofit Child Care Project, call
Colley Case at 1-800-204-988l.
BOC looks at water
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Some Banks County water customers could see an increase in rates
in the near future.
In a work session Friday, the BOC talked about decreasing the
minimum water allowed for the $12.50 monthly payment from 3,000
gallons to 2,000 gallons. Residential customers will pay $2.25
per thousand gallons after that.
While the move is in part to help fund future expansions, it
is also a move to help people on fixed incomes, including the
elderly, to have a cheaper water bill, according to BOC member
The county has a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)
for water but all of those funds have been committed to water
line expansions until it expires next year. The future plans
also include building the off-stream reservoir at Windmill Farms.
The BOC said it will take action on this issue during a regularly
Mobile home developers
concerned about proposal
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Two mobile home park developers discussed their concerns about
proposed changes to the mobile home regulations with members
of the Banks County Board of Commissioners and planning commission
during a work session on Friday.
Tim Whitmire and Keith Brown, who have plans to purchase a 90-acre
piece of property on Hwy. 59 near the Franklin County line, said
that they question the feasibility of the park if the new regulations
are put place.
Whitmire expressed concern about the increase in setbacks on
the front and sides to 30 feet. Under his proposal, the manufactured
homes would be set back 10 feet. Upon completion of the park,
there would be 200 manufactured homes at approximately two per
acre, he said.
Planning commission member Ed Lindorme told the developers that
more stringent regulations have been put into place in other
categories to protect agriculture as well as residential landowners.
"Legally, we have to treat everybody the same," Lindorme
said. "We are trying to improve the quality of life of the
people who live here."
Whitmire said the project would not be feasible if they had to
adhere to the proposed changes in the setbacks.
"I don't think it would work," Whitmire said. "As
a matter of fact, it doesn't work."
Lindorme told the developers that neighbors who live in close
proximity to each other do not get along.
Planning commission member Harold Ivey agreed: "If they
are looking in each other's bedroom windows, you are gonna have
While mobile home parks are sometimes shunned because of problems,
if run correctly, they can be an asset, Whitmire explained.
"A mobile home park can be a very, very good thing for the
county if it is managed right," he said. "With any
project, you've got to have the right management."
The developers plan to have green space all the way around the
park and offer several amenities to residents.
That did not ease Lindorme's concerns because of the effect to
the local school system, he said.
"The biggest problem we have is the tax burden to the school
system," said Lindorme.
The developers have not yet applied for a rezoning application
to have the agriculture land rezoned for the mobile home community.
The BOC also discussed potential changes to the proposed ordinance
with county attorney Randal Frost. Those changes had nothing
to do with a decrease in the setbacks. Frost will redraft the
ordinance with the changes before it is approved by the planning
commission and the BOC.
Other proposed changes include:
·all mobile home parks shall be served by county water
and sewer systems.
·a mobile/manufactured home park shall have a minimum
area of 10 acres with a lot width of at least 200 feet.
·each space within the park shall have a minimum of 14,000
square feet and not less than 50 feet of frontage on the interior
Governor signs anti-annexation
Move will make Banks Crossing safe from
annexation by Commerce
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Banks Countians can finally breathe a sigh of relief and put
worries about the possible annexation of Banks Crossing by the
City of Commerce out of their minds.
Friday morning, Gov. Roy Barnes signed legislation that will
protect Banks Crossing from annexation into another city or county
- effective immediately.
District 22 state representative Jeanette Jamieson introduced
the legislation, urged senators and representatives to support
it and got it into the hands of Barnes quickly.
"I want to thank the members of the General Assembly,"
Jamieson said Friday at the capitol. "I also want to thank
Gov. Barnes for the timely signing of the bill. There is a clause
in this bill making it effective upon the signature of the governor.
So, as of 9:45 Friday morning, House Bill 1439 became law."
With the signing of HB 1439, first-time cross county line annexation
cannot occur without the consent of the county into which the
city wishes to annex.
Jamieson has pushed for protection of Banks Crossing through
some means for a long time, including suggesting the annexation
by Homer or consolidation of Homer and Banks Crossing. When these
measures failed to get the needed support from local government
officials, she decided to introduce the legislation.
"This is landmark legislation," she said. "We
have felt for a long time that people needed some prohibition
against a city trying to annex across a county line in order
to access higher-revenue producing areas.
"No better example exists in the state of Georgia than the
Banks Crossing area. This area is a significant part of Banks
County's revenue source and, without these critical monies, services
would have to be decreased or property taxes would have to go
Jamieson said that any encroachment into that revenue source
could cause a loss of revenue to Banks County estimated as high
as $2.5 million a year. She added that a property tax increase
of this magnitude could create a situation where the homeowners
of Banks County - especially the elderly - would be required
to sell their homes due to the inability to pay the taxes.
Banks County Board of Commissioners chairman James Dumas offered
praise for the legislation introduced by Jamieson.
"At last Banks Countians can relax concerning the potential
loss of Banks Crossing to the City of Commerce," he said.
He added that this is the biggest piece of legislation that has
been passed in Atlanta for the benefit of Banks County.
The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) also worked
at trying to address the various problems associated with annexation.
Dumas was named to a task force to work toward statewide solutions
for the problem.
"It became clear Banks County was not the only location
where cities were threatening the county's tax base," he
said. "In many meetings, cities and counties argued their
position. I kept on the front line of the issue of cross county
line annexation and pleaded the plight of many counties that
saw their tax base eroded by annexation."
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Lula citizens concerned
about closing bridge
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Some Lula council members and citizens expressed concern Monday
night about a request to close the overhead bridge on Cobb Street.
Mayor Tim Allen read a letter from Norfolk-Southern Railroad
noting the deterioration of the bridge over the tracks in town.
In its current condition, the maximum tons allowed has been reduced
from five to three.
"Three tons is the minimum and it still be open," explained
Allen. "Otherwise, it must be closed or replaced."
The letter also said that the bridge is extremely humped and
it would be impossible to meet current design standards.
"They asked us to close the road and let them know when
they can demolish the bridge," Allen continued.
Winford Popphan, a member of the Lula Area Betterment Association
(LABA), told the council that members did not want to see the
"It is an integral part of Lula and we don't want to see
it taken down," he said. "If you have to, block the
Councilman Milton Turner said: "It is a historic landmark
for Lula. I'd hate to see it torn down."
Former councilman Talmedge Pless told the council that the matter
had already been taken care of years ago in state court. When
the city was asked to close the bridge, a state court judge ruled
that the railroad must fix the bridge.
City attorney Brad Patton told the council that he would research
the issue and find the court ruling.
In other business, the town council:
·agreed to rent the old city hall at a cost of $5 per
square foot, plus utilities and minor maintenance costs.
·voted to purchase a new commercial lawn mower at a cost
of $7,121 and a trailer for $825.
·heard a request from Michael Barnes to pave Railroad
Street and Lula Farm Road. Allen told Barnes that the request
would be considered when the council does the budgeting process
next month. The new fiscal year will begin July 1.
·approved a resolution to allow the mayor, council members
and volunteers to be covered under workmen's compensation.
commercial water rates
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Commercial water rates will increase in the City of Alto beginning
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."
In other business, the town council:
·voted to limit the number of garbage bags per customer
at eight 30-gallon bags per household. An additional $5 will
be charged for up to eight more bags. This is set to become effective
·discussed the purchase of generators for the wells. King
reported that he had received prices ranging from $16,000 to
$18,000. The council agreed to check with government surplus
before a decision was made.
·discussed amendments to the mobile home ordinance. No
action was taken.
·heard from Habersham County commissioner Jerry Tanksley,
who asked the council to make plans for the future. He also spoke
on the possible water shortage for this summer and the future
·heard from Jim Blackburn of the Habersham County Smart
Growth Coalition. He urged Alto to give its input on where they
desired commercial growth to occur.