News from Banks County...

 August 16, 2000


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OPINION

Adam Fouche
Voters should be ashamed of turnout
Every other week, I sit in front of my computer and I write a column expressing my views, opinions and thoughts. I do this because . . .

Drew Brantley
Why is there no girls' football?
Women can do what ever they want. Times have rightly changed. Women serve in the military, politics and in the home. They choose what they want . . .


SPORTS
BCHS starts softball Friday
When the Banks County High School softball team takes the field Saturday, a lot will be different from last year.
Gone are the seven players lost to graduation. Moved is the existing lineup to include one girl in the same position she played last year. Changed is the area the team will play against.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Commerce Moves To Become A 'City Of Ethics'
If passing a resolution can make it so, the Commerce government would now be officially a "city of ethics."

County BOE opens doors to city students
Students living inside the cities of Jefferson and Commerce may once again attend class in the Jackson County School System if they choose to do so. A new open door policy was adopted by the Jackson County Board of Education Monday night that rescinded a 1996 policy which had closed the county school system to out-of-district students.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Enrollment up to 4,600
Approximately 4,600 students will begin school in Madison County this Friday, according to superintendent Dennis Moore. The expected enrollment will likely be up by 140 students.

Jail construction set for November
Construction of the new 60-bed Madison County jail is scheduled to begin Nov. 1, county commission chairman Wesley Nash said Monday.


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BUILDING BRIDGES


Several workers construct a form for a concrete support for a bridge as part of the Homer bypass project. DOT project engineer Rob Mabry said the bridge, off McCoy Bridge Road, is the first the DOT has begun constructing.


BANKS CO. GOVERNMENT

Council tables mobile home park annexation
Wesley Hunt, the new owner of Village Mobile Home Park, will have to give the Baldwin City Council more assurances that he plans to do what he says about upgrading the 15-acre park that is home to 287 people before it annexes the property into the city.
Last month Baldwin fire chief Joe Roy made a safety inspection of the property. Roy did so and reportedly found a number of safety hazards, from exposed and leaking sewage pipes to exposed electric wires.
Hunt said he has plans to make certain improvements to the property and would like to provide city sewer service to the residents. The residents are on septic systems which reportedly leak raw sewage in some cases.
Baldwin resident Ray Holcomb said the property is "an embarrassment to the city." He said he does not understand why the city would even consider annexing the park. He said that "it shouldn't be up to the city to improve the property."
Another resident, Tom Henderson, who lives just below the park, agreed with Holcomb.
"I've seen the park go downhill over the years," he said. "It has devalued my property."
He asked the council to "promise that no expansion would be allowed" and said that he is worried about a stretch of land that borders his property.
Hunt tried to reassure Henderson that he could not expand in that area since he could not be granted a septic permit due to the community well that lies there.
Henderson also took issue with city attorney David Syfan about whether or not Baldwin could annex property owned by Habersham County. Syfan said that he is not aware of such a county regulation. Henderson also brought up a 1986 city ordinance dealing with trailers and, when Syfan again said he is not aware of the ordinance, Henderson showed him a copy of it.
Mayor Mark Reed said that bringing the park into the city limits would make it subject to city codes. He said the park would be an asset that would bring more residents into Baldwin, and as a result, more tax dollars. He added that the park "would improve quicker if it were a part of the city."
Reed said that the park would be an acceptable applicant for a block grant since the work seeks to bring about better living conditions for the tenants. Other upgrades that grant money could be used for are the installation of sidewalks and repairing streets.
Despite the assurances by Hunt, council members were not convinced that it would benefit the city. Council members Mitchell Gailey, Robert Bohannon, and Jeff Bohannon all voiced their own concerns. They said they want to see a definitive plan of improvement.
To wait, according to Reed, will exclude the park from the next grant application period, which is Sept. 15. If the park remains outside the city limits, the next chance for application would not be until next April.
The council voted to table the matter until a special meeting could be held that included Hunt, the council, the city engineer and the Rural Development Council. The council also invited Henderson to attend the meeting.


Homer approves 8.8 percent budget increase
The City of Homer approved its 2001 budget of $390,700 Thursday night. The new budget is an 8.8 percent increase from last year's $359,100 budget.
Administrative salaries, retirement and insurance account for $61,000 of the budget. Street and sanitation salaries make up $45,000. The Banks County Library receives the largest funding in services for $20,500.
In other business, the council:
·voted to extend water service on Lynn Drive, after the county asked the city if it wants to serve those who wanted water.
·delayed voting on a flood plain resolution, which allows for residences in the flood plain to seek federal insurance, until a legal point could be settled by the city's attorney.
·heard about the proposed new fire house from Mack Garrison, who told the council that nothing could be discussed until the architects had finished their evaluation.


School starts Friday
It's time for local students to hit the books again.
School bells ring for the first day of the 2000-2001 Banks County school year this Friday, Aug. 18, at 8 a.m.
Because school begins at the end of the week this year, students will have an entire weekend to recuperate from back-to-school shock before getting down to the serious business of reading, writing and arithmetic Monday morning. All local schools will host an open house Thursday, Aug. 17, giving students an opportunity to meet their teachers and calm their jitters before school begins Friday morning.
Official preplanning got under way earlier this week, when teachers returned to their classrooms Monday.
For more information on Banks County schools, see the special back-to-school section in this week's edition of The Banks County News.

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News plans vacation photograph contest
Do you have a great photograph from your vacation? If so, share it with our readers and maybe win some money in The Banks County News photo contest. The deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31.
Amateur photographers who live in Banks County may send in their favorite travel and vacation photos taken this summer. Winning photographs will be published in a future issue of the newspaper.
There will be two categories: Scenic views and people. A first through third place prize will be given in each category. The monetary awards will be as follows: $50, first place; $35, second place; and $25, third place.
Photos must have been made during 2000. No more than one entry per photographer please. The name of the photographer, the date and location where it was made and the names of everyone in the photo should be included.
Photos should be mailed to: Photo Contest, The Banks County News, P.O. Box 920, Homer, Ga., 30547. They may also be dropped off at The Banks County News office in Homer. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the photos will be returned. Photos may also be picked up at The News office in Homer after the contest ends.


Banks BOE approves $14 million budget Monday
The Banks County Board of Education approved a $14 million budget when it met Monday that is up $621,000 over last year.
The budget includes notable increases in the costs of instruction, business services, maintenance operations and student transportation. A notable decrease of $220,000 in pupil services and the absence of school nutrition in the budget are two reasons the increase is not greater, officials said. Superintendent Deborah White said that it was decided to budget school nutrition separately this year.
An increase of funds from state sources allowed the board to approve further expenditures within the estimated revenue for the upcoming year. Further, the budget will allow Banks BOE to place $144,000 into the general fund equity to roll over to next year.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Banks County News.