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Pleased with election qualifying
Qualifying for this year's elections has
ended. I am encouraged by the results.
Baldwin café is granted beer and wine license
The owners of the Georgia Billiards Café
were relieved when their application for a beer and wine license
was approved by the city council Monday, amidst some emotional
BOE wants new gym floor at BCHS
Doesn't agree to plans to 'patch' the problem
After less than one year of use, the gym floor in the new Banks
County High School has cracked, warped spots and the board of
education wants it to be replaced.
City School Tax Rate May Fall Slightly
Although the tentative 2000-2001 budget of
$7,487,817 offered by the Commerce Board of Education shows a
12.53 percent increase over last year's budget, it calls for
no local fund increases.
Commerce Council Takes Aim At Junked Cars, Unkempt Property
Junked cars and unkempt property drew the
attention of the Commerce City Council Monday night, and it appears
that the city is prepared to crack down on both.
Hybl finishes third in state
Madison County's Ryan Hybl wrapped up a stellar
high school golf career with a two-over par 74 in the Class AAA
state championship, good enough for a third place finish in the
individual tournament at Goshen Plantation in Augusta Monday.
Ben Jeffers KO's 18 in Ranger win
Fireballer Ben Jeffers of Zeb's Rangers struck
out 18 batters in his team's 4-3 win over the Modern Body Mets
in Madison County Major League action Saturday.
The Madison County Journal
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water dispute lingers on
MOTHER AND SON SURVIVORS
Teresa Hix and her son Velton Hix
IV are both cancer survivors. They are shown walking hand in
hand, with other survivors, during the "Survivors Walk,"
the opening relay for last weekend's second annual Relay for
Life. (See page 1B for a full-page color spread of Relay for
Photo by Margie Richards
BY MARGIE RICHARDS
An old dispute and outstanding debt with the Athens/Clarke County
water system apparently still hangs over the heads of Hull's
mayor and council.
The council agreed Monday to "acknowledge the debt with
Athens/Clarke County, with the stipulation that any revenue such
as water sales and impact fees be applied to the city of Hull's
This action followed a 20-minute closed session Monday night
with city attorney Pat Graham to discuss "potential litigation."
The council returned to open session and voted unanimously for
the measure. If this condition is met, the council will agree
to "budget payments to Athens/Clarke County (ACC) into future
The matter stems from a water line extension contract signed
by former Mayor T. Wayne Phillips and council members with ACC
in January 1991 to run a new water main loop down Davis Road
to Old Elberton Road and back to the red light.
According to the contract, Hull was to be "financially responsible"
for the extension of the new line.
A dispute over payment of the line came to a head in a meeting
in February 1998 when a property owner was refused the installation
of a water meter by ACC's water authority, which owns and maintains
all the water lines in Hull.
Gary Duck, head of ACC's water department, confirmed at that
time that he had made an "administrative decision"
not to install any more water meters in Hull until an accumulated
balance of $13,618 in back payments had been paid.
Duck confirmed by phone Tuesday that that "administrative
hold" on water meters was still in effect.
Although part of the project was paid for jointly by the county
board of commissioners and Hull, a remaining balance was to be
paid in installments to ACC over a 20-year period, according
Duck also said in 1998 that none of the payments, which were
to begin in May 1994, had ever been made.
Current mayor B.W. Hutchins and the Hull council have maintained
that they understood that Hull would get "some revenue"
from the water line to offset the debt, but that no credits had
ever been given.
Hutchins said in 1998 that the city has "no control of the
line whatsoever, no say as to how much to charge or whatever"
and that he found ACC's position in the matter "questionable."
The dispute was never resolved, and came up again at Monday night's
Graham said Tuesday that he was contacted on Monday prior to
the meeting by an attorney representing a Hull landowner who
had been refused water service to their property by the ACC water
"This is just an ongoing situation in which I could see
future litigation evolving from landowners wanting water and
not being able to get it," Graham said of the reason for
the closed session.
He will now draft a letter on Hull's behalf notifying the ACC
water authority of the council's action at Monday night's meeting.
It is unclear how Madison County's new water system in the nearby
Dogsboro Community will affect the current situation in Hull.
No comment was made on that issue in open session.
Comer seeking police
officers, city clerk
BY FRANK GILLISPIE
The Comer City Council struggled with personnel and finance problems
at their May meeting Tuesday night. The city must find replacements
for its entire police force and a new city clerk. Police Chief
Jeff Strickland is leaving this month to join the Madison County
Sheriff's office and City Clerk Steve Sorrells has accepted a
position as transportation director with the Madison County Board
Chief Strickland provided a report showing that the city offers
the lowest pay for police of any department in the area. He advised
the council to find a way to improve salaries for the police
department. The council voted to increase the starting salary
for a patrolman from $18,000 per year to $20,000. They agreed
to improve pay for Sergeant and Chief positions based on experience.
Sorrells said that money saved due to the current vacancies will
cover the increase for the rest of this year, but the budget
will have to be modified for coming years.
The city will continue to receive applications and resumes until
the positions are filled.
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Relay raises $92,000
to fight cancer
BY MARGIE RICHARDS
Hundreds of sleepy folks gathered on the recreation department's
track last Saturday morning to hear that through their combined
efforts they raised $92,000 to fight cancer locally.
The May 5-6 event was the second annual Relay for Life in Madison
County. Last year, some $42,000 was raised and the goal for this
year was set at $50,000.
"This is the most determined, hardiest and sleepiest group
of people in Madison County - and I'm so proud of them,"
an emotional Ramona Booth of the Relay Committee told the crowd
during the closing ceremonies.
According to Karen Lewis of the American Cancer Society, Relay
for Life 2000 was more than a success, it was "incredible,
fantastic (and) unbelievable!"
Almost half the money (over $40,000) was raised through the combined
efforts of the county's six schools.
Colbert Elementary edged out last year's fund-raising winner
Ila Elementary by several hundred dollars. Both schools brought
in more than $12,000 each. Ila won the competition last year
by raising a total of just over $5,000 - more than any other
"That's incredible," Lewis exclaimed of the school
system's efforts. "You have blown away counties around you
- you have no idea."
The festivities began around 6:30 p.m. Friday evening with opening
ceremonies and a Survivor's Lap in which cancer survivors of
all ages walked the quarter-mile track to the applause of the
crowd. Next was a Caregiver's Lap, in which family members and
friends walked with their loved ones, followed by a Team Lap
in which all team members - many in costumes - walked behind
their respective banners, most decorated with team slogans.
The participants then "got down to business" with one
member of each team taking to the track to walk in relay fashion
through the night until the conclusion of the event on Saturday
Community-spirited events kept things interesting, including
a "Miss Relay" pageant, dance contests and a scavenger