News from Banks County...

 May 9, 2000


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OPINION
Check out rabies clinic
Any pet owner needs to take the responsibility to get rabies shots for their animals.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Moon found guilty of voluntary manslaughter
A Jackson County jury deliberated for almost four hours Tuesday afternoon before finding a Jefferson man guilty of one count of voluntary manslaughter.

It's Daisy Festival Time In Nicholson
NICHOLSON -- The annual Nicholson Daisy Festival will be held Friday and Saturday.

Benton Traffic Plan Worries Nicholson Officials
NICHOLSON -- City officials here expressed concern Monday night about plans to divert traffic flow around Benton Elementary School.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Four to seek commission chairman's seat
Qualifying ends with four of five BOC district posts contested
Three Madison County Democrats seeking the county commission's chairman's post will face each other in a July primary, with the winner taking on Republican incumbent Wesley Nash in November.

Danielsville approves contract for sidewalk project
The Danielsville City Council approved an $80,000 contract for the installation of sidewalks this summer down portions of Hwy. 29 north, Crawford W. Long Street and Madison Street.

Relay for Life 2000 set for this weekend
Madison County's Relay for Life is scheduled for May 5 and 6 at the Recreation Department track.


SPORTS
BCHS sends two to state

Ivey, Carruth headed to Class A meets
Banks County will send two junior competitors to the Class A track meets this year.


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Thomas resigns from Baldwin City Council
Baldwin City Council member Deloris Thomas has given her resignation to Mayor Mark Reed due to her moving out of the state. Her resignation was officially accepted at the May 8 council meeting.
An election to replace her will probably occur sometime in October or November, according to city clerk, Stacey Jacobs.

CLEANING UP BALDWIN

Drake Meister, Anna and Marvin Smith and Darryl and Theresa Meister of Baldwin Baptist Church covered the stretch of Old Cornelia Highway heading toward Baldwin Elementary School at the annual clean-up day Saturday.
Photo by Shar Porier

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Thomas resigns from Baldwin City Council
Baldwin City Council member Deloris Thomas has given her resignation to Mayor Mark Reed due to her moving out of the state. Her resignation was officially accepted at the May 8 council meeting.
An election to replace her will probably occur sometime in October or November, according to city clerk, Stacey Jacobs.

Sheriff faces seven challengers
Six seek probate judge post
BY ANGELA GARY
After the dust settled Friday, eight candidates had qualified in the sheriff's race and six for the probate judge seat.
In the sheriff's race, six Democrats and two Republicans qualified. The Democrats include incumbent Charles Chapman, Cecil Calloway, Ray Seabolt, David Dunson, Ronald Martin and Allen Venable. Republicans seeking the post include John Arnold III and Michael Boyle.
In the probate judge's race, the candidates include: Billy Poole, Carol Ayers, Ben Whisnant, David Gunter, Betty Thomas and Tom Jones. This race is non-partisan.
The primary election is set for Tuesday, July 18, and, if a run-off is necessary for the primary, it will be held on Aug. 8. The general election will be Nov. 7 with the run-off scheduled for Nov. 28.
A complete list of all candidates follows:
TAX COMMISSIONER
Margaret H. Ausburn (D), incumbent
CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Henry David Banks (non-partisan), incumbent
Luthaniel "Luke" Parson (non-partisan)
SHERIFF
Charles Chapman (D), incumbent
Ronald Martin (D)
Cecil A. Calloway (D)
Ray E. Seabolt (D)
David Dunson (D)
Johnny Allen Venable (D)
Michael Boyle (R)
John R. Arnold III (R)
PROBATE JUDGE
David B. Gunter (non-partisan)
Ben R. Whisnant (non-partisan)
Carol P. Ayers (non-partisan)
Billy Poole (non-partisan)
Betty Thomas (non-partisan)
Tom Jones (non-partisan)
CLERK OF COURTS
Timothy A. Harper (D)
CORONER
Tommy Herbert (D)
BOE POST 1
Kathleen Benton Hooper (D)
Neal Brown (D)
BOE POST 2
Ronald E. Gardiner (D)
Richard W. Reiselt (D)
BOE POST 4
Dottie P. Morris (D)
John D. Williams (R)
BOC CHAIRMAN
James C. Dumas (R), incumbent
Kennth Brady (D)
SURVEYOR
Max Lewallen (R)


BOC mulling budget requests
More budget hearings slated for Friday
BY ANGELA GARY
An increase in salaries is expected to make the biggest difference in next year's county budget.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners began its annual budget hearings with department heads Friday in an eight-hour marathon meeting. Department heads meeting with the commissioners included: Sheriff Charles Chapman, tax commissioner Margaret Ausburn, tax assessor Andy Scroggs, clerk of courts Tim Harper, county marshal Kevin Covington, building inspection director Tony Vento and EMS director Doug O'Neal. Three more budget hearings have been scheduled­May 5, May 19 and May 26.
In last week's meeting, the commissioners couldn't come up with final budgets for each department due to the salaries. The county is having an outside consultant firm $12,000 do a personnel study and make recommendations on salaries for all county employees, according to their job duties. The final estimates for each department won't be tallied until the commissioners receive this information and make a decision on salaries.
BOC chairman James Dumas said the emphasis in this year's budget will be in "getting salaries where they need to be." The commissioners pointed out that this might not be increases for each position, depending on the outcome of the study.
Dumas said his goal is for there not to be a tax increase this year.
"We're going to have to live within the natural tax increase," he said. "...If it's three percent, the budget will be up three percent."
Sheriff Chapman had an estimated figure for salaries for his office. He is asking for $430,720 for road salaries, not including an estimated $30,000 for salaries. Last year, $348,000 was budgeted for road salaries.
"Over time is something that eats you up," the sheriff said. "There are certain times of the year that we have to use extra manpower...Every line item (on the budget), I've maintained and even lowered except for salaries...This figure is not too high. It is reasonable...These road deputies deserve the money they get...They deserve a decent wage."
The sheriff said he will try to maintain at least three deputies on duty at all time. BOC chairman asked if there had ever been a time when only one deputy was on duty at night and the sheriff said there had not been.
The sheriff also pointed out that he is operating $43,125 under budget as of last month. He said he turned in $200,000 to the county general fund over the past three years in budgeted funds that were not used.
"If there is any way I can save a dollar, I do," he said. "I do this because I'm a taxpayer too..I''ve been under budget every year and I hope to be this year again."
TAX COMMISSIONER
Ausburn's budget requests include $2,100 for capital expenditures which will include shelves and work stations.
"I've never tried to go way overboard," she said. "...We try to hold it..."
TAX ASSESSOR
Scroggs asked the commissioners to consider raising the daily fee to the members of the board of equalization from $30 to $50. He said they handled close to 100 hearings this budget year.
His request also includes funds for a new computer to replace one that has been in use since 1990. He agreed to a recommendation from commissioner Ernest Rogers to continue using the computer but putting $10,000 in the budget to go toward purchasing a new one if the old one breaks down.
CLERK OF COURTS
Harper's request includes funds for a moving rolling file system, which is in place in several neighboring courthouses. There was also some discussion on the new probation department approved by the county and who will oversee it. No decision was made.
COUNTY MARSHAL
Covington discussed the grants the county has received for his position and said the county is in the second year of the five-year project. The funds can be pulled any year and the county has to reapply annually.
PLANNING/BUILDING INSPECTOR
Vento said his request of $79,014 doesn't call for any increase over last year. He brought up a concern mentioned by several department heads, the rising cost of gas and oil and how to budget for it.
EMS
O'Neal's requests included replacing a cardiac monitor at a cost of $9,600. Dumas pointed out that he is eight percent under budget and the commissioners agreed that if he comes in under budget at the end of the fiscal year, a unit could be purchased with the excess funds. The commissioners will check his budget in June and replace the unit if the money is available.
O'Neal also pointed out that the county has increased its base rate of $225 for ambulance service in 10 years. He said Medicare reimburses for $365. This will be discussed at an upcoming BOC meeting.
"I'm a firm believer in user-fees," Dumas said. "If you use it, you should pay for it."



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Peachy Clean Day has big turnout In Baldwin
By Shar Porier
For the past three years, the citizens of Baldwin have committed one Saturday as "Peachy Clean Day" to clean up the city as part of the Great American Clean-up. This special day provides residents with an opportunity to help the Keep America Beautiful program which began nationally 15 years ago.
This year, Baldwin had a great turnout of "70 to 80 people," according to Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed. Splitting up into teams and wearing their new "Peachy Clean Day" T-shirts provided by the city, the crews covered the city limits. Collecting trash and all sorts of roadside litter ranging from the ordinary to the disgusting (one young volunteer said she had found "a headless cat"), these caring individuals from all walks of life and of all ages spent hours to clear the city streets of unsightly litter.
Afterward, the crews joined together for a barbecue lunch at the Baldwin City Park. Cooked up by "Chef" Dennis Brown, a retired caterer, the lunch of chipped pork sandwiches, chicken wings, baked beans and cole slaw was devoured by hungry teams. Door prizes were awarded at the end of the meal and included an oil change,; a model racing car and a $10 bill from the Baldwin City Council.
As a memoir of the occasion, Mayor Reed decided to have everyone sign one the Peachy Clean Day T-shirts to keep at City Hall.
According to Mayor Reed, Baldwin teams had collected 103 bags of trash. The bags were counted for the bet between Cornelia City Manager Harry Carter and Mayor Reed. If Baldwin collected the most trash, Carter has to wear Baldwin's "Peachy Clean" T-shirt. If Cornelia wins, Reed has to wash Carter's car.
According to the final tally, looks like Reed needs to get his car washing gear ready. Baldwin collected 103 bags to Cornelia's 110.
Carter said: "In honor of our sister city and in keeping with the spirit of the day, I'll still wear the Baldwin T-shirt for half a day."
When asked if his good will would extend to the Reed's washing of only half of his car, he answered, " No, but he doesn't have to clean the inside!"