News from Banks County...

 July 25, 2000

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

mainstreetnews Home
Search Site
Area Sports
Place A Classified Ad
Banks Legal Page
Banks Opinion Page
Banks Obituary Page
Send A Letter
List Your Business
Banks County Stats
Election Information
July 18 Election Results

Go to Jackson County
Go to Madison County

Jana Adams
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.

Drew Brantley
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.

Neighborhood News...
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 plant.

News from
Run-offs set in two elections; Fitzpatrick wins Democratic race
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
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


® Copyright 2000
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy


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
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.

SPLOST breakdown still under construction
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 project.
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 bypass.
"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 fire department.
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
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.

Whisnant, Thomas 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 8.
"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 election.
"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."
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."
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.
John Linder defeated Vince Littman 404 to 102 in Banks County to help him to his districtwide victory.
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 last week.
The BOC will likely begin formal talks by this October to determine which projects the special purpose tax should fund, commissioners said.
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 ends.
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.
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, he said.
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 equipment.
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, he said.

 Search this site


Go to Banks
Community Pages

Public Meeting Dates

On-Going Services

Banks County
Business Listing
Education/Child Care
Financial Institutions
Food & Convenience Stores
Garden & Agriculture
Homes & Supplies
Industry & Manufacturing
Real Estate
Retail Stores/Outlets
Service Businesses

Alto increases 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 court process.
"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 city.
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 said.

Governor's Council 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 action."
See this week's The Banks County News for the rest of this story.