|News from Banks County...||
May 24, 2000
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Courthouse plan approved by BOC calls
MCHS graduation set for June 2
BOC anticipates decrease in milage rate
After three all-day budget hearings, members of the Banks County Board of Commissioners anticipate that they will be able to drop the millage rate by at least one-quarter of a mill.
Last year, the BOC set its millage rate at 6.5, with the total millage rate being 19.47.
Friday's budget hearing was the third held by the BOC. Another is set for 10 a.m. Friday in the courthouse in Homer. Highlights from this past week's meeting are as follows:
911 director Lisa McClure told the board of commissioners that money needs to be set aside to use in emergency situations. She asked that the emergency management budget include $20,000 for emergency use. The BOC members said this money could come from the contingency funds if an emergency occurs.
McClure also discussed the need for shelters in the county to be used in emergency situations. She said regulations require these shelters to have generators and showers. McClure added that the county needs to start buying cots to be used in the shelters and find a central location to store them.
"We can't wait until the last minute," she said.
An ice storm last winter, which left downed trees and debris across the county and closed schools, led to Banks County being declared in a "state of emergency." A temporary shelter was set up in Banks County to handle those in need of shelter and to accommodate the emergency workers and volunteers who were working to clear the roads.
Overall, the 911 budget is expected to be down over last year.
Magistrate Court judge Henry David Banks said the only increase anticipated for his department is in salaries. The county is having an outside consultant do a personnel study to make recommendations on salaries for the various departments.
Milton Dalton and Lynn Lewallen met with the commissioners to discuss the budget for the registrar's office. The BOC agreed to a request to raise the salary for the poll manager from $70 to $90 and the poll workers from $60 to $70. On a related matter, the BOC agreed to pay the registrars $50 a day, up from $44 a day, and the chief registrar $60 a day, up from $56 a day.
Requests from Alto and Lula area residents for new voter precincts was also discussed. Officials said it takes 200 registered voters in order for a new precinct to be opened.
KEEP BANKS BEAUTIFUL
Leslie George met with the BOC on the Keep Banks County Beautiful program, which includes public education, a clean-up day, Christmas tree clean-up and other projects. George reported that the recycling center is expected to open soon. The hold-up has been finding someone to operate the center on a part-time basis.
Water director Gary Harper presented his budget, which calls for a $162,788 increase over last year. He said the anticipated increase is based on running the plant at full capacity.
"That is too much of an increase," Westmoreland said. "I hope the revenue of the water is up some to offset that."
The commissioners also discussed several other budget items, including roads, Superior Court, department of family and children services, courthouse maintenance, senior citizen's center, public transportation and health department, but did not meet with representatives from these departments.
Two teens charged in
carjacking at Banks Crossing
A Florida couple who stopped at a Banks Crossing motel last week during their vacation were the victims of an armed robbery and car jacking.
Two Greenville, S.C., teenagers have been apprehended in connection with the incident and charges are pending, according to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman.
The suspects are: Larry Darrell Keel, 18, and David Allen Reynolds, 19, both of Greenville, S.C. The sheriff said the district attorney will decide on the charges filed against the two. Agents with the alcohol-tobacco-firearms division have also been called in to look into the incident and federal charges may be filed, the sheriff said.
The Florida couple had parked their 2000 Cadillac at the Hampton Inn at approximately 6:48 p.m. Sunday when they were approached by a young man. He pointed a .44 revolver at them and demanded the woman's purse, according to Chapman. The woman gave him the purse and he allegedly took $400 to $500 in cash from it.
The woman then sat on the ground and the robber demanded money from the man, according to reports. The man told him he didn't have any money. The suspect then reportedly told him to sit down on the ground with his wife and said he would shoot him if he didn't.
The man then allegedly took the couple's car keys from the woman's purse and left in their Cadillac. They noticed that a maroon-colored sports utility vehicle parked nearby pulled out behind the car and they both left at a high rate of speed.
A "be-on-lookout" alert was given to law enforcement officers, but it was the "on-star tracking system" in the Cadillac that likely led to the quick apprehension of the two suspects, the sheriff said. The special feature in the car led authorities to track the car traveling northbound on I-85.
The South Carolina State Patrol began pursuit and the car and the sports utility vehicle continued traveling at a high rate of speed, the sheriff said. At times, the car was traveling 120 miles per hour, he added.
The troopers followed the Cadillac off the White Horse Road exit in Greenville, S.C., where it traveled for one and a half miles before turning left onto a paved street. Shortly afterward, the car slid off the roadway and wrecked. The driver and a passenger fled the car on foot, but were apprehended shortly afterward.
The Greenville County Sheriff's Department assisted the South Carolina State Patrol in the chase and made the arrest. Sheriff Chapman and a Banks County investigator were also at the scene.
Most of the cash taken and the pistol were found in the Cadillac, which was not damaged in the accident, according to the sheriff.
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