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July 18 Election Results
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Not just summer reading
We had a May through July birthday party Sunday afternoon at
my sister's pool for the children in our family.
Vote no on summer heat
Summer is overrated.
Unless we're talking to students in school or teachers who can
stop those jobs for a couple of months, the summer is not no
sweat. It's so sweat.
Leopards start 2000 football practice Mon.
It has been a long wait. After closing out
the 1999 season with three straight wins, the eight-month wait
for the follow-up season is finally over.
Fletcher Vs. Stephenson In Run-Off; Thomason Wins Big
Republicans Harold Fletcher and Tommy Stephenson will meet again
in the Aug. 8 primary run-off for the right to chair the new
five-member board of commissioners for the next four years.
W&S Authority Buys Option On 150 Acres
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority voted unanimously
Thursday night to front $40,000 for the option to buy approximately
150 acres adjacent to the Jackson County Wastewater Treatment
Run-offs set in two elections; Fitzpatrick wins Democratic
The Madison County election field narrowed Tuesday as Johnny
Fitzpatrick won the Democratic nomination for the county commission's
District 2 seat.
Saturday wreck kills one
A 16-year-old Kentucky girl was killed Saturday morning in a
one-vehicle wreck on Parham Town Road in northern Madison County.
The Banks County News
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Banks County Probate Judge and elections superintendent Milton
Dalton scans ballots on the vote counter after election poles
closed Tuesday night.
BOC to uphold ordinance
on mobile campers
BY ADAM FOUCHE
The Banks County Board of Commissioners
decided at a called meeting Friday to uphold its ordinance against
camper units in areas not zoned for RV parks.
"We don't have any choice but to uphold our ordinance,"
commissioner Pat Westmoreland said of the board's decision.
The BOC was forced to address the matter after a Burma Road woman
decided to locate a camper unit on her property as a permanent
residence. However, the structure is not approved by the Georgia
Department of Community Affairs (DCA) as a permanent dwelling,
thus putting the structure in violation of a county zoning ordinance.
"Under the law, you can't allow her to occupy the home permanently,"
building inspector Tony Vento said. "If you vote to let
her, you are opening up a door in this county."
The structure is classified under the same category as recreational
vehicles. The camper does conform to ANSI park trailer standards,
however, it does not meet code requirements for a permanent dwelling.
"If we allow this, then anyone can bring a RV in the county
and live in it," commissioner Ernest Rogers said. "You
want to help the person out as much as you can, but you don't
want to hurt the county in the long run."
The BOC authorized chairman James Dumas to send a letter asking
the manufacturer of the structure to certify that the camper
meets all code requirements for a permanent dwelling and asking
him to give the board an engineer's seal and Georgia DCA approval
number. If the manufacturer meets those conditions, Dumas said
the BOC could allow the woman to live in the camper permanently.
Dumas also said the woman could stay in the camper if she gets
her property rezoned as an RV park and complied with the requirements
under that zoning.
still under construction
BY ADAM FOUCHE
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is still trying to determine
how it wants to divide up a proposed Special Purpose Local Option
Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum.
At a called meeting Friday, the BOC agreed to devote some funds
for the construction of a new jail and detention facility. A
specific percentage of the SPLOST has not been allocated the
The BOC also discussed adding setting aside some percentage of
the SPLOST for further water and sewer projects, possibly including
the construction of a reservoir on county property near the Homer
"If the SPLOST is approved, we need to put water in every
nook and cranny of the county," commissioner Pat Westmoreland
said. "We need to give back to the citizens."
Banks County fire chief Perry Dalton told the board he would
give them a report by the end of week outlining the department's
facility and equipment needs. The report will include costs so
the BOC can determine how much it wants to divvy out to the department.
A portion of the proposed SPLOST will be devoted to use by the
The board is also considering using some of the SPLOST money
for recreation department improvements and road and bridge improvements.
BOC opening door
to small race tracks
BY ADAM FOUCHE
The Banks County Board of Commissioners
drafted an ordinance at a called meeting Friday morning that
will allow small race tracks and amusement tracks on a minimum
of two acres of land.
The ordinance, which cannot be approved until a public hearing
is held and a recommendation made by the planning commission,
limits vehicles to 500 pounds. The ordinance also specifies maximum
engine sizes and requires adequate parking and restroom facilities.
The draft also specifies hours of operation.
Currently, all race tracks must be located on a minimum of 15
acres of land. However, the new ordinance, if approved, could
open the door to smaller go-cart and motorcycle tracks, as well
as amusement tracks in the Banks Crossing area.
to face in runoff while incumbents sweep field in other posts
Betty Jean Evans Thomas and Ben Whisnant will have three more
weeks to campaign for the Banks County probate judge seat. Neither
of the two could get enough of the 2,923 votes cast for a full
victory in Tuesday's primary, leading to a run-off Tuesday August
"I appreciate all the citizens that voted for me,"
said Whisnant, who received 19 percent of the vote. "In
three more weeks, we must get together and do it again."
Thomas, who led with almost 22 percent of the vote, said she
was thankful for all the help during her campaign.
"I am thankful to my friends, family, the citizens and especially
my husband," she said. "He was with me for all but
26 of the 5,997 homes I visited. He's been by my side."
The probate judge seat will be the only Banks County post up
for grabs in the runoff in August.
"We've got to get people out to vote," Whisnant said.
"A lot of them are not going to vote."
Voter turnout was 46 percent with 3,032 of Banks County's 6,618
voters going to the polls.
In the sheriff's race, the other highly contested post, incumbent
Charles Chapman secured the Democratic ticket with 53 percent
of the vote. He will face Republican winner Mike Boyle, who defeated
challenger John Arnold 256 to 226, in the November general election.
"One man can't come this far by himself; it takes friends
and a lot of help," Chapman said. "I'm here because
of the support of Banks County and I appreciate the people's
confidence in me."
Boyle said he is anticipating a good campaign for the November
"I'm looking forward to a good, clean race," Boyle
said after his Republican victory. "I thank all my supporters
and all the kids and parents for their support."
In the Democratic primary, Cecil A. Callaway was Chapman's closest
competitor with 19.9 percent of the vote. Former sheriff Allen
Venable secured a little more than 15 percent, Ronald Martin
got five percent, David Dunson received 4.5 percent and Ray E.
Seabolt picked up 1.97 percent of the votes.
Incumbent Henry David Banks won in a landslide over challenger
Luke Parson in the chief magistrate judge race. Banks garnered
73 percent of the vote, defeating Parson 2,078 to 750.
"I really appreciate all the people that have supported
me," Banks said. "I have tried to be fair and courteous
to everyone who comes into my office."
BOE POST 1
In the board of education post 1 race, incumbent Neal Brown (D)
narrowly defeated challenger Kathleen Benton Hooper 1,230 to
1,116 to resecure his position on the BOE.
"I'm proud to be able to serve the people," Brown said.
"I want to do what is in the best interest of my kids and
the citizens of this county."
BOE POST 2
Incumbent Ron Gardiner also won re-election to his BOE post,
defeating Richard "Bud" Reiselt 1,515 to 795. Gardiner
received 65.6 percent of the vote.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DIST. 11 - REP.
John Linder defeated Vince Littman 404 to 102 in Banks County
to help him to his districtwide victory.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER - DEM.
Mac Barber won 1,431 votes to David L. Burgess's 874 votes in
the PSC race in Banks County; however, he was defeated statewide.
Note: All registered voters
in Banks County may vote in the primary run-off for Probate Judge
on Aug. 8 because the post is nonpartisian. Whether you voted
democrat, republican or didn't vote in the primary, you may vote
in the runoff. This is opposite of earlier reports in this newspaper.
We apologize for the confusion.
County geared to
begin planning for another SPLOST
Members of the Banks County Board of Commissioners (BOC) all
agree: The county will need another one-cent Special Purpose
Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) in place before the current SPLOST
expires in October, 2001.
"We would be very remiss if we ever let the sales tax end,"
BOC chairman James Dumas said at a county government meeting
The BOC will likely begin formal talks by this October to determine
which projects the special purpose tax should fund, commissioners
Banks County citizens would have to give their vote of approval
at a special referendum election next year. If voters do not
approve the measure, the county would lose a significant source
of revenue, commissioners say.
Since the current SPLOST began in 1997, it has generated "just
over $6 million" in revenue to the county in less than three
years, according to county financial officer Avis Lewallen. An
additional $2 million may be generated before the current SPLOST
With the number of retail outlets growing in the county, annual
SPLOST revenue may increase in future years.
A large portion of sales tax revenue generated in Banks County
is paid by residents of other counties, who shop at Banks Crossing
retail outlets, Dumas said.
Proceeds from a SPLOST are not used to rollback property taxes
or to fund general county operating expenses. The SPLOST revenue
may only be used for capital expenditures, including new facility
construction, equipment purchase and/or road and bridge construction,
improvement or paving.
All proceeds from the current SPLOST were earmarked for water
system improvements and water line extensions, officials said.
Water projects to be funded by the current SPLOST have already
been determined. Some projects have been completed, some are
under way and others have not yet begun.
Typically, a SPLOST referendum levies the tax for a five-year
period, or until a maximum amount is collected. Decisions made
this year and next will determine which major projects the county
will undertake through 2006.
HOW TO SPEND MONEY
Members of the county board of commissioners will begin formal
planning for a new SPLOST referendum this fall. All commissioners
agree that a significant portion of SPLOST proceeds should be
earmarked for construction of a new county jail/detention center.
"We have to build a new jail soon," commissioner Pat
Westmoreland said. "Nobody likes to hear that, but it has
to be done soon."
Commissioner Ernest Rogers estimates construction costs of a
75- to 80-bed detention facility may require about 25 percent
of the revenue generated by a new SPLOST over the SPLOST's five-year
life. Rogers says the largest portion of a new SPLOST, about
30 to 35 percent, should be used to "keep water lines going
in." The current SPLOST will not fund all needed water improvements,
Another large portion, perhaps 22 percent, should fund road paving
and improvement projects, Rogers said.
The remaining revenue should be used to meet several needs, he
believes, including construction of a gymnasium and office space
at the county recreation park; the purchase of a new ambulance;
the relocation of a fire station and the purchase of new fire-fighting
Westmoreland's thoughts are focused on road improvements, the
fire department and county recreation.
The county should also improve the recreation department's playing
fields, tennis court and track, Westmoreland said.
Dumas, who echoes the need for a new SPLOST to fund improvements
to the county's roads, water system and fire and emergency medical
services departments, said he too hopes a new SPLOST will fund
construction of a recreational gymnasium at the county park.
Dumas believes the gymnasium could be a multi-purpose facility
with space for summer day camp programs for area youth, for example.
Dumas has directed county department heads to put together a
"wish list" for capital improvements within their areas,
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
fee for opening water account
In a move to end the problem of people moving out without paying
their water bills, the Alto City Council voted unanimously last
week to up the deposit required to open a water account. It will
now cost people moving in a $75 deposit and a $15 hook-up fee.
The council also decided to cut off residents' water if their
bill is not paid in full in two months' time.
The council asked city attorney Jim Acrey to check into the process
of placing liens on property when a bill is past due. Acrey replied
that it could end up costing the city more to go through the
"It is throwing good money after bad," he said.
Even if the city were to win the judgment and the resident was
ordered to pay, he explained, the city would have an additional
deficit until the bill is paid.
"Instead of the resident owing you $25, he would now owe
that amount plus court costs," he said. "It doesn't
mean that you'd collect the money."
The problem is compounded in that many of the bills are two to
three years old, according to city clerk Barbara Reynolds.
Council member Susan Wade made a motion that Reynolds is to keep
a current list of past due accounts and search the file prior
to opening a new water account. The resident would have to pay
the past due amount before establishing a new account with the
In other business:
·It was reported that Mount Vernon Mills was responsible
for the "brown water" many residents experienced when
the plant used a large quantity of water, thus "shocking"
the city water system. The mill is supposed to be using its own
water tank this summer or to contact the city office when they
use city water.
·a maintenance man was injured on the job and required
30 stitches to sew up the wound. This led the council to ban
the wearing of shorts on the job, in spite of employees' complaints
of heat rash.
·the council agreed that city employees are no longer
to have paid lunch hours. The shifts will now be from 7 a.m.
to 4 p.m. with a non-paid one-hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks.
·the council encouraged residents to stop by city hall
and get a work order notice to fill out for maintenance requests.
The form will be used for all city maintenance requests and the
tasks will be done within 30 days of receiving the notice, leaders
supports agricultural and industrial growth in rural Georgia
One of Georgia's hottest topics - economic growth in rural Georgia
- was the focus of the Rural Development Council as it met last
Wednesday morning in the serene, mountain setting of the "Center
for Spirituality, Healing, and Wellness" in Clarksville.
The day-long meeting was attended by RDC council members, rural
leaders from across the state and a few representatives from
the Region 2 District, which includes Banks, Franklin, Hart,
Hall, Forsyth, and the rest of the counties north and east to
the Carolina borders.
Governor Roy Barnes charged the council with providing a link
between the rural counties and developers of business and industry.
Its goals include easing the burden placed on the larger cities,
like Atlanta, by offering developers other sites where industry
can grow. In the process, rural counties can prosper from the
input of new jobs, leaders said.
In an address made early this year, Lieutenant Governor Mark
Taylor, the council's chairman, said, "I made the promise
that rural Georgia would have a voice in state government. This
council is our megaphone. This is not a time for business as
usual. The council will produce ongoing legislative and budget
initiatives. We have done all the studies we can do on rural
Georgia, and the facts and figures are in. It is now time for
See this week's The Banks County News for the rest of this