News from Banks County...

 July 18, 2000


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OPINION
Angela Gary
Beach or mountains?

Sitting on a nearly deserted beach with a good book. The gentle waves splashing against the sand as seagulls fly overhead. Looking out along the shore's edge as my cousin Heather gathers seashells.

Rochelle Beckstine
To save a Princess

In the spirit of Adam's column last week where he admitted to his lack of prowess at golf, I thought I'd make a confession of my own. I can't play Nintendo 64. I know, it's shameless.


SPORTS
BCRD girls headed
to state tourney
The Banks County Recreation Department's 11-12-year-old softball all-stars are headed to the state tournament.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Commerce BOE To Fingerprint Staff
The Commerce School System has always required fingerprinting and a criminal records check for its certified staff but, under a new state requirement...

County BOE sets Aug. 9 work session on attendance policy
An increasing number of requests from students living outside the school district to attend county schools has led the Jackson County Board of Education to take a closer look at its attendance policy.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Danielsville council focuses on water issues at Mon. night meeting
Water was the focus of the Danielsville city council Monday night. The council passed an emergency water conservation plan, approved new water rates and delayed a zoning decision on a new...

Fortson denied bond
Tracy Lea Fortson will remain in jail without bond, a judge ruled in Madison County Superior Court last week.


 

 

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ONE-MAN SHOW AT LIBRARY

Visitors to the Banks County Public Library last week laughed when Bruce Bernstein presented his one-man-show, "A Patriotic 4th Celebration." Bernstein, a Long Island transplant, is shown wailing some New Orleans jazz for the delighted audience. He brought with him a violin, guitar, clarinet, trumpet, harmonica and a host of hats to take the children on a musical cross country trip honoring the United States. His show has been seen all around Georgia, mostly in the Atlanta area. The former teacher of geography and music decided to listen to his wife, Kathy, and left teaching 15 years ago to entertain children. He performs at 600 preschools and schools each year.


BANKS CO. GOVERNMENT

Banks County residents file suit
against Baldwin over taxation

Twenty-nine Banks County residents of the City of Baldwin are finding out what it's like to fight city hall. They're taking the City of Baldwin to court and they say they need Banks County's help to prevent the city from taxing them unfairly.
After a closed session Monday night, the Banks County Board of Commissioners voted to grant the citizens' request. The county will file a motion seeking the court's permission to join the Baldwin residents of Banks County in their suit.
More broadly, the civil action may have far-reaching implications for counties and cities throughout the state.
Banks County residents filed suit against the City of Baldwin June 30, alleging that local option sales tax dollars collected in Banks County are being improperly used to roll back city property taxes for Baldwin residents living across the line in Habersham County. The suit asking for a judge to intervene was filed in Habersham County Superior Court.
For two decades, Baldwin city residents who resided in Banks County did not receive a property tax bill from the city. Baldwin's share of local option sales taxes collected in Banks County was used to roll back property taxes of Banks County residents who resided in Baldwin.
Once the rollback was complete, Banks County/Baldwin residents did not owe taxes to the city. Any remaining sales tax funds were used to offset taxes charged to Baldwin residents of Habersham County, city attorney David Syfan said.
In November 1999, the rollback procedure changed when Baldwin enacted an ordinance setting a uniform millage rate for all city residents, regardless of their county of residence. Now, citizens of both Habersham and Banks counties receive equal property tax rollbacks from Banks County local option sales tax proceeds, a move that decreases the tax-reduction benefit to Banks County residents.
When tax bills went out to Banks County residents of Baldwin this spring, for the first time in 20 years, residents filed suit charging that the rollback process and resulting taxation is illegal. The law firm of Caudell & Hotard, L.L.C., Baldwin, prepared the suit. It does not seek monetary damages. The suit petitions the court to intervene on Banks County residents' behalf by declaring the 1999 Baldwin taxation ordinance unconstitutional.
Those filing suit include: Harriet Wells, Curtis Eller, Ray Holcomb, Beverly Holcomb, Bobby Joe Caudell, Don Crump, Ray Lewallen, Glenda Lewallen, Nelson Lewallen, Marvin Smith, Gloria Smith, Tony Smith, Charolyn Helton, Jennifer Taylor, Jackie Taylor, Ilugo Martin, Mack Turner, Dena Ivey, Melvin Coley, Vance Gallaway, Gaye Gallaway, Ann Nations, Lester Haynes, Frances Haynes, Hoyt Wilson, Deborah Wilson, Brenda Smith, Larry Lewallen and Brenda Allen.
Respondents named in the suit include: the City of Baldwin and each council member in his/her capacity on the council.
See this week's Banks County News for the complete article.


County planning commission
says 'yes' to hunting lodge

The Banks County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval to James and Shirlene Allen's request to rezone approximately two acres on Vaughn Road from ARR to C-2 general commercial to build a hunting lodge and bed and breakfast inn.
J. Allen told the board the lodge would be a place for hunters to come and stay while hunting ducks on his property. There was no opposition.
OTHER ACTION
The planning commission also:
·recommended approval of Red Roof Inn's request to construct a 60-foot sign at the hotel's location at Banks Crossing. The board directed a representative of the hotel to check with Jackson Electric Membership Corporation to ensure the sign would not be too close to power lines.
·recommended approval of Patrick Barker's request for a conditional use permit on a lot on Wells Road to relocate a 1988 manufactured home. Burton Brown, who owns land on the road, expressed concerns about the manufactured home becoming run down. Rick Sellers, Barker's partner, assured Brown the property would be well-kept.
·approved a new zoning resolution which will allow class three subdivisions under ARR zoning.
·approved the following four names as nominations for the zoning appeals board: Gene McDuffie, Sam Thurmond, Ed Barrett and Bonnie Johnson. The nominations will be sent to the board of commissioners for consideration.
·tabled Mitchell and Donna Payne's request to rezone approximately seven acres from agricultural to C-2 to operate a go-cart race track. The request has been tabled by the planners twice.

 

Primary election results to be posted online
Results from the July 18 primary election will be featured on the MainStreet Newspapers web page late Tuesday night as results are tabulated.

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grounAlto council laysdwork for animal control ordinance
Stray and dangerous dogs could soon be off the streets following action of the Alto Town Council last week.
The council agreed that all animal complaints be directed to city hall with the mayor or council members to check them out. If necessary, the council will call Norm Blackwell, an animal control expert under contract in the Baldwin and Cornelia area, to handle the problem.
Blackwell go to the location and take the animal. The owner of the dog would be responsible for all fees involved in the pick-up, transportation and boarding of the animal.
The council agreed last week to try this for a 30-day trial period. The council plans to ask Blackwell for a formal proposal at the August council meeting.
"The people of Alto better know we're going to get serious about this," said council member Susan Wade who made the motion.
The action last week came after the city received animal complaints and Mayor Jack King began looking into the laws of Habersham and Banks counties concerning animal control. At the council's meeting last month, residents complained about the noise and prowling of stray or loose dogs. One resident, Ronnie Johns, took the council to task on the issue when his pet Siamese cat was killed by a dog.
In another animal situation, Alto maintenance man Wiley Cook was bitten by a dog,
Johns attended last Tuesday's council meeting to stress the importance of devising the ordinance as soon as possible. He asked the council if it "was going to take the death of a child before the council acted upon the dangerous situation." Johns took it upon himself to gather Habersham County laws on animal control for the council to use in forming their ordinance. He also told the council that the Habersham Humane Society Animal Shelter is hauling off three truck loads of euthanized animals per day. The shelter is now at full capacity and is only accepting dangerous animal, he added.
Habersham officials are reportedly trying to work out an alternative plan with Hall and Banks counties to take the animals.


Polls to be open
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
for primary election

Banks County polls will open July 18 at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. for the Democratic, Republican and non-partisan primary elections.
Voters should proceed to their designated voting precint: Anderson, Baldwin, Berlin, Bushville, Columbia, Davids, Golden Hill, Grove River, Hollingsworth, Homer, Washington, Wilmonts, and Poplar Springs. The Poplar Springs precinct has been moved to the Hickory Flats United Methodist Church fellowship hall.
After the polls close, ballots will be brought by poll workers to the courtroom of the county courthouse, where they will be counted by an electronic tabulator. Ballot tabulation may be completed as early as 8:30 p.m., officials say.
Neither political party has registerd with the probate judge to place poll watchers at the various polls throughout the county. The deadline for poll watcher registration has passed, according to elections superintendent Milton Dalton.
Voters must present one of several forms of approved identification at the poll. A voter registration card is not acceptable identification. Those registered voters who do not bring acceptable ID may vote after completing an oath of elector certificate at the poll, Dalton said.
Permitted ID includes: a valid Georgia driver's license, valid state ID card, U.S. passport, valid employee photo ID, valid photo student ID, hunting/fishing license, gun permit, U.S. military ID, certified copy of birth certificate, valid Social Security card, certified naturalization documentation, certified copy of adoption or name/sex change.
See this week's Banks County News for additional election coverage.