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View from the air offers perspective
I've always liked the view from the air. Especially in a small
airplane, you see the world from a different perspective - the
"big picture" rather...
There's hope for peace between city, Banks Co.
If the Hatfield and McCoy clans in Kentucky and West Virginia
can get together for a fun-filled reunion without...
way at JCPRD
The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department is currently
holding its end-of-season tournaments in a number of baseball
and softball divisions.
Home not so sweet for Crane in Lanier Slim Jim race
Pendergrass' Ryan Crane was looking to make a big-time run on
rookie of the year points Saturday at Lanier National Speedway
in the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series.
Republicans accuse judge of violating election code
Republican leaders may seek a state investigation of county probate
judge and elections superintendent Donald "Hoppy" Royston,
claiming the 23-year incumbent violated state election law by
Madison County's Jedd McLuen to compete in U.S. Open
Talk about starting out with a bang. Jedd McLuen, former Madison
County High School golf standout and current College of Charleston
golf team member, will get his..
Ag commissioner gives bleak outlook
Agriculture commissioner Tommy Irvin told members of the Banks
County Chamber of Commerce Thursday that he is concerned about
the drought conditions...
Mandatory watering ban in place
A mandatory outdoor watering ban has been put in place for all
Banks County water customers.
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WATERING THE YARD
Jeni Wetherford, Braselton, is shown watering the
lawn and plants at her family's new home. She said they try to
water once or twice a week, just enough to keep their yard from
dying. Water restrictions put in place this week in Jackson County
will cut down on outside watering.
tighter water restrictions
The City of Jefferson tightened water restrictions Monday, banning
outdoor watering between 10 a.m. and midnight. That is a tighter
restriction than the statewide 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. ban. Watering
in Jefferson between midnight and 10 a.m. will be on an odd-even
Braselton and Maysville had earlier implemented water restrictions
due to a three-year drought. Residents of Braselton are under
a 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ban and resident may water only on an odd-even
In Maysville, outdoor watering is banned from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
and includes watering uses such as recreational, lawn and garden
watering and non-commercial car washing. City leaders say the
ban is in effect until further notice.
The restrictions are not mandatory for those using well water
or pumping from a stream or lake, but the EPD has asked for such
users to voluntary follow the restrictions in order to conserve
all water resources.
This marks the first time in Georgia history that the state has
ordered a statewide ban.
proposed zoning map
In another step toward bringing zoning to Nicholson, the town
council reviewed a proposed zoning map in a work session meeting
Lee Carmon of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center
met with the council and made several changes to the zoning designations.
The map is not final yet and won't be until at least two public
hearings are held. Nicholson residents will be allowed to have
input on how their property is zoned. The council will take final
action on the map.
This week's work session was occasionally heated with the council
members and four area residents at odds over whether the zoning
classifications should designate the current use of the property
or what is desired for future development.
Much of the input from area residents and some council members
has been about limiting the number of new mobile homes developed
in the town. Councilman Thomas Gary said that someone who owns
two acres should be allowed to put a mobile home on it and not
be discriminated against because they don't own more property.
The proposed zoning map shows five zoning classes, including
two residential (one allowing both mobile homes and stick-built
homes and one for stick-built homes only), agriculture, commercial
and government. The council agreed more than one year go to implement
zoning and has been working toward it since then.
The first public hearing has not been set yet. The proposed map
will be on display at city hall 15 days before this meeting.
The map is expected to be ready for viewing in the next few weeks.
budget at last year's level
Thanks to growth in enrollment last year, the Commerce City School
System plans to operate its three schools for the 2000-2001 school
year with the same amount of local money it used last year.
The Commerce City Council voted to accept the $1,559,875 local
school budget and the Commerce Board of Education approved the
$7,487,817 total school budget at their regular meetings Monday
By keeping the local costs at the same level as last year, the
school board has set the stage for a possible reduction in the
school tax rate, depending on anticipated growth in the city's
Not only is it working with the same local funds as last year,
but the school system will also meet four years early the state's
reduced pupil-teacher ratios set by House Bill 1187 the
school reform bill. It also manages to cover the school's increased
costs (from 9.26 to 13.1 percent of payroll) of providing State
Merit System benefits for the staff.
"The city school system has made great strides," reported
Larry White, superintendent. "Come next fall, we will have
met the personnel requirements four years ahead of schedule."
According to White, the system will receive $774,900 more in
the upcoming year in QBE funds because its enrollment is up by
78 students. Other sources of income will produce approximately
$60,000 more revenue than last year. The total budget is $834,047
higher than last year's budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The budget allowed the system to hire eight additional teachers,
including four at the elementary school, plus a gifted teacher,
two at the middle school and one at the high school.
State tobacco settlement money will give Commerce $42,641 with
which to contract with BJC Medical Center for a school nurse.
Also in the budget are funds for 20 extra days of instruction
for so-called "at risk" students. That money is being
used for summer programs at all three schools.
"I just appreciated them holding the line from last year,
and I appreciate the package of information they gave us. You
can tell where every dollar is spent," said Mayor Charles
Hardy. "We've never had that before."
Board of education chairman Steve Perry expressed appreciation
to the mayor and council, city manager Clarence Bryant and city
clerk Shirley Willis.
"The city's growing and the schools are growing, and we
can't accomplish it without you," he said.
Jackson BOC denies
Hwy. 53 waste site
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed with West Jackson
residents that a proposed inert landfill and construction waste
recycling facility is not suitable for a 117-acre tract on Hwy.
In a brief BOC meeting Tuesday night, the BOC denied a request
from Kelly Henderson of Buford to rezone the property at 8146
Hwy. 53 from PCFD to I-2 to locate the controversial landfill.
Commissioner Pat Bell made the motion that the request be denied
because the proposed use is not suitable to adjacent and nearby
property and because it doesn't conform to the county land use
At a BOC meeting last week, numerous people spoke against the
plans. More than 200 people also attended this week's meeting
and applauded the board's action.
Developer John Buchanan, who built the three Liberty Crest subdivisions
near the proposed landfill, led the anti-landfill movement.
On a related matter, the BOC tabled a request from Henderson
to rezone 12 acres at 8146 Hwy. 53 from PCFD to B-2 to locate
a commercial business park. That action came at the request of
Jeffrey Bell, whose family owns the property.
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suggests tighter security
Several recent thefts at the Jackson County Airport has led officials
to consider tightening security at the facility.
Airport manager Max Allen suggested at a meeting Monday afternoon
that the authority look into tightening security measures in
the wake of recent radio thefts at the airport. Allen said he
would obtain quotes for a new entrance gate and lights in the
No action was taken at the meeting due to a lack of a quorum.
Members Jack Seabolt, Paul Christensen and Bob Wells were not
present for the meeting. Clarence Bryant and chairman Andy Byers
Byers indicated to several local residents in attendance that
surveying for the current expansion project should be underway.
In financial news, year-to-date revenues stand at $27,000, while
expenditures are $157,000, mostly related to finishing the airport's
new fuel cell. After less than a month in operation, the cell
has produced $6,700 in revenue.
rates go up
The cost of living in Commerce is going up this summer.
Thanks to market conditions for natural gas and growth requirements
for water and sewage services, Commerce residents will pay more
for gas, for water and for sewage treatment.
To meet a $20 million budget, the city council voted unanimously
to raise natural gas rates, effective immediately, by 19 percent,
water rates, effective July 1, by over 10 percent, and sewer
rates, effective July 1, by up to 30 percent.
And if that isn't enough, city manager Clarence Bryant all but
promised larger water and sewer rate increases next year and
the possibility of further natural gas rate increases in December.
But when all the math is done, the city benefits very little
from the rate increases.
The natural gas increase merely allows the city to maintain a
$1.75 per thousand cubic foot (mcf) profit margin. In the past,
that has been about $2.30 per mcf, according to Bryant. And in
spite of some double-digit increases in water and sewer rates,
Bryant projected only $80,000 more in annual income from the
The change sets a natural gas pricing structure that is based
on the market rate plus $1.75 per mcf. For the June consumption,
upon which July bills will be based, the rate is $8.12. The city
had been charging $6.80.
"It costs us $6.47 now and we're selling it for $6.80,"
Bryant pointed out.
The high price of natural gas raises other concerns, according
"We're sort of worried about what's going to happen in the
winter," he told the council. "Normally, at this time
of year they are pumping gas into the ground for storage for
winter and normally they're at 80 to 85 percent. Now they're
right at 50 percent. Nobody wants to pump $4 gas into the ground."
If there is a shortage of reserves coupled with a severe winter
in the north, that could cause natural gas prices to go up further
in the winter. But Bryant says officials of the Municipal Gas
Authority of Georgia, through which the city buys gas, project
some reduction. The new city budget is based on gas selling at
a $3 average.
Because Commerce's new rates are based on the market price, they
will fluctuate, which means gas rates are subject to changing
to speak at forum
The Jackson County Republican Party will hold a forum for local
Republican candidates from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at
the Commerce Civic Center.
The forum will feature Republican primary candidates for the
chairman of the board of commissioners, the individual district
commissioners and the Jackson County sheriff. Candidates will
take questions from a three-member panel and from the audience.
The forum will be broadcast live on WJJC 1270 AM. For more information,
There is no Democrat challenger for chairman, so the chairman's
race will be decided in the Republican Primary on July 18.
for voter registration
Jackson Countians who are not already registered to vote and
would like to cast a ballot in the July 18 general primary only
have a few days to register.
The deadline to register to vote is June 19. The voter registrar's
office is located in the Jackson County courthouse.
In Georgia, citizens do not register by party affiliation and
may choose which primary to participate in on Election Day.