Place A Classified Ad
Jackson Legal Page
Jackson Opinion Page
Jackson Obituary Page
Send A Letter
List Your Business
Jackson County Stats
Sex Offender Registry
1998 Building Permits
1999 Building Permits
1998 Property Transactions
1999 Property Transactions
Bear Creek Project
Go to Banks County
Go to Madison County
of Water Wise events in Jackson County
County Greenspace Steering Committee seeks input that would better
prepare the Committee for developing the Jackson County Greenspace
Plan. Please take a moment to answer four questions and return
them on the form provided here.
Jackson County opinion page
SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!
Washington-Wilkes Wins Battle Of Tigers
Going into Friday night's game between Commerce
and Washing-ton-Wilkes, it was clearly going to be the night
of the Tigers.
But unfortunately for Com-merce, the Tigers of Wilkes County
took a 49-27 win on the back of seven touchdowns from Daccus
Lady Dragons win state softball title
It's been 20 years in the making, but the
Jefferson High School Lady Dragons claimed their first-ever state
slow-pitch softball championship Saturday with a thrilling 10-inning
win over Bryan County.
Dragons soar past Eagles, 27-0
The Jefferson Dragons wrapped up the pre-region part of their
2000 schedule last week with an impressive 27-0 win over Landmark
Mistakes cost Panthers again
The Jackson County Panthers fell to 0-4 in region 8-AAA play
last week, with a 28-7 loss in Loganville. Of the team's 10 posessions
in the game, five ended as a direct result of Panther miscues.
BOE fields questions about system's financial woes,
agrees to hold public forum
Members of the Madison County Board of Education began answering
questions about the school system's finances at their regular
meeting Tuesday night, and agreed to hold a public forum on the
subject in the near future.
Judge still considering lowering Fortson bond
A judge was still considering Wednesday morning whether or not
the half million dollar bond set recently for accused "cement
murderer" Tracy Lea Fortson is too high.
DOT says Baldwin responsible for cost of relocating
For the past few months, the Baldwin City Council and Georgia
Department of Transportation have been arguing over who is to
blame for the broken water line along Wolford Creek and who should
pay for it. Last week, the council learned that Baldwin will
have to fund the relocation of the line.
Pilot not seriously injured in crash
A South Carolina woman escaped serious injury Saturday in a plane
crash in Banks County. Svetlana Dramoua, 18, a native of the
Ukraine, was on a solo flight from Clemson, S.C., when she crashed
around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2000
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Terms / Privacy
HEADED TO STATE
Jefferson's Sunny Bush embraces teammate Annie Goza (16) after
the Lady Dragons earned a berth Saturday to this week's state
softball tournament in Columbus. A small commemorative patch
was added to the upper front left of the team's uniforms this
week in memory of Goza's brother Daniel, who was killed in an
auto accident earlier last week. Jefferson, Commerce and Jackson
Co. will all go to the state softball tournament this week.
Gary Black resigned as mayor of Arcade Thursday in a letter of
resignation to the council citing a "new business venture"
as among the reasons he is stepping down.
Black also said he also wishes to devote more time to his son.
The resignation is immediate.
"I feel that during the three years that I have been mayor
that I have gotten the city back on track and have helped the
city to move forward," Black wrote in the letter. "We
have a good city council and I feel that they are capable of
keeping the city moving forward."
An election will be held March 20 to fill the vacant seat. In
the meantime, mayor pro tem Doug Haynie will preside at council
Black is the third Jackson County mayor to resign in recent months.
Pendergrass Mayor Mark Tolbert and Nicholson Mayor Steve Wilbanks
agrees to minor changes to zoning ordinance
The Hoschton City Council agreed to several minor changes to
its new zoning ordinance in a called meeting Wednesday, Oct.
The council met with Lee Carmon of the Northeast Georgia Regional
Development Commission to discuss suggestions made by developer
One change was to strike the regulations on locating accessory
buildings on lots because it limits where they can be placed
on small lots. The council agreed to go by the sideyard setback
requirements. Another change was that 15 percent of a wooded
lot should be designated for "vegetation."
The council also struck a requirement that trees be maintained
for three years after deciding it would be an "enforcement
The council didn't change the requirements on corner lots or
for fencing to be placed around trees during construction for
In other business, the council:
·agreed to transfer the cable franchise contract from
Benchmark Communications to Adelphia.
·heard a report on the greenspace program from Lori Fowler
of the University of Georgia ecology and law departments. Fowler,
and Ray Vaughn, a member of the Jackson County citizen's committee
on greenspace, gave an overview on the program. The council will
take action at its November meeting on whether or not to participate
in the program.
Jefferson board approves
middle school contract
$5.78 million project should move quickly
Plans to build a new Jefferson Middle School facility are expected
to move forward quickly now that a contract has been awarded
for the project.
The Jefferson Board of Education approved a $5.78 million contract
to Salloum Construction Inc., Athens, when it met Thursday night.
The project will be funded through a bond resolution passed in
March by Jefferson voters.
The site for the school, located off Hoschton Street and Old
Pendergrass Road, has already been graded.
On a related matter, superintendent Dr. John Jackson said that
the Georgia Department of Transportation will take the excess
dirt at the building site. The DOT will move some of the dirt
to the baseball field and keep the remaining for state road projects.
In other business, the BOE:
·learned that the district Georgia School Board Association
meeting will be held Oct. 19 and the annual conference will be
·received school board member training certificates for
attending education seminars and classes.
·heard from Dr. Jackson about the Jefferson community's
recent losses, including former BOE member Henry Robinson, who
died after a long illness, and Jefferson High School senior Daniel
Goza, who died from injuries received in an automobile accident.
·heard from Dr. Jackson that the Scottish exchange students
arrived in Jefferson Thursday night. A barbecue for the students
and their host families was held Monday night.
·approved the following bill payments: $84,761, Carroll
Daniel Construction for elementary school classroom addition;
$1,695, Southern A&E for elementary school classroom addition;
$1,663, Southern A&E for middle school construction; $83,173,
Simpson Trucking for middle school construction; $48,125, Southern
A&E for middle school design; $7,628, Southern A&E for
middle school design; and $62,659, Carroll Daniel Construction
for elementary school classroom addition.
·appointed BOE chairman Ronnie Hopkins to serve as the
system's legislative liaison on the Georgia School Board Association.
·accepted the resignation of Tabitha McElreath, elementary
school paraprofessional, and Dale Nash, middle school business
·hired the following: James Andrew "Andy" Brown,
middle school interrelated special education teacher; Lyn Bowers
Brown, middle school business education teacher; Melanie Britt,
part-time elementary school special education teacher; and Lee
Ann Parks, elementary school paraprofessional.
would cost county $162,255 in taxes
If a statewide referendum to eliminate property taxes from farm
equipment passes on Nov. 7, it would cost Jackson County approximately
$162,255 next year.
The breakdown on the cost to the county would be $114,879 in
school taxes and $47,376 in county taxes.
Last week, the Jackson County Farm Bureau called for support
of "Referendum A." Farm Bureau president Tom Crow said
recently that the tax puts Georgia farmers at a disadvantage
because eight of 10 Southern states don't have the tax.
"Three-hundred and twenty-nine acres disappears every day
in Georgia to a developer," said Crow. "Passing 'Referendum
A' would help preserve the family farm. Every YES vote counts."
But Jackson County School System superintendent Andy Byers said
he has "mixed emotions" about tax exemptions.
"Any time we start exempting the tax base, then the burden
is shifted to somebody else," he said. "For that reason,
I have mixed emotions on all exemptions...I can understand groups
wanting their items exempt from taxation. But on the other hand,
every time we exempt something, then the remaining things that
aren't exempt have to catch the burden. That amount is a small
amount in relation to the total digest of the Jackson County
School System, but the question is, where do you stop? How do
you be fair to everybody? I understand the plight of the farmer,
but I also understand the plight of the manufacturer. What about
the filling station owner that has to pay taxes on his gas pumps?"
Expect High Natural
Gas Prices, City Manager Warns
Commerce residents who heat with natural gas could be in for
some cold nights and hot tempers this winter.
Commerce city manager Clarence Bryant warned that natural gas
prices could set record high levels this winter.
"For the first three months of the (fiscal) year, we spent
$863,000 more on gas than last year," said Bryant. And the
heating season had not even started.
The problem is nationwide. Natural gas has been deregulated and
is bought and sold as a commodity. Prices are high enough, Bryant
said, that even the gas industry is concerned.
Gas prices could reach $11 per thousand cubic feet (mcf), about
twice what the city has previously charged, Bryant told the city
council Monday night.
"It looks like it will fall somewhere between the $5 and
$7 range. I suspect by the time it gets to Commerce, we'll have
$9 to $11 gas, almost twice what it has been," he said.
The city pays a unit price to buy the gas, then pays about $2
per unit in pipeline fees. When the gas arrives in Commerce,
the city tacks on another $1.75 for its profit, a figure that
the city recently cut from over $2.
"In addition, the word is we may have some pretty cold weather,
a normal winter. We haven't had a normal winter in a long time,"
Bryant said a household can use 20 to 25 mcf of gas during a
month in the winter.
"It doesn't look good," he concluded.
TAX RATE ROLLBACK
IS A POSSIBILITY
The news was not all bad Monday night. Bryant announced that
preliminary figures from the county tax office suggest that the
city may be able to lower its property tax rate significantly,
thanks to the new appraisals and assessments.
"It looks like we may be up 23 to 24 percent, $21 or $22
million," he said.
He also suggested that the mayor and council consider increasing
the city's Freeport exemption, now at 20 percent, to 100 percent.
Freeport is a tax exemption on certain industrial inventory and
unfinished goods that is used to attract industrial prospects.
Both Jefferson and Jackson County have 100 percent exemptions,
which puts Commerce at a relative disadvantage, the city manager
"We could go to 100 percent and still have digest growth,"
The city is not expected to have a final tax digest until late
November, which means tax bills will once again be one to two
In other business, the council accepted the recommendations of
the Commerce Planning Commission in rezoning and annexing a lot
owned by L.G. Perry on Scott Street and one owned by Norman Hagadorn
on Westwood Road and agreed to rezone from R-1 to R-5 a lot on
Neal Street so Henry and Debbi Dills could replace their mobile
home. The vote carried the stipulation that the property will
revert back to R-1 if the owner sells or rents the mobile home.
The council also was asked by mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. to be
considering nominees for a position on the BJC Medical Center
Authority. The council will nominate three persons to fill the
position now held by William Barnett, who asked not to be reappointed.
The authority will choose one of the three to serve. Councilman
Bob Sosebee proposed that Howard Smith, an owner of Little-Ward
Funeral Home, be one of the nominees.
Toward Video Poker Game Ban
Moving to head off a potential problem, the Commerce City Council
Monday night instructed its attorney to prepare an ordinance
banning video poker machines.
Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. proposed the ordinance, noting that
Banks County, Braselton and Jefferson are all taking similar
"I don't think we want them here in Commerce," Hardy
Georgia communities have seen a lot of interest in the machines
ever since South Carolina banned them statewide. Owners of the
thousands of machines there, which offered cash prizes, have
scrambled to get them placed in Georgia. Cash prizes are outlawed
in Georgia, but operators have dodged the issue by offering other
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
guilty to bid-rigging
Jerry Wickliffe, owner of the private sewage firm Water Wise,
entered a guilty plea Friday in federal court on charges that
he and others engaged in a wide-ranging bid-rigging scheme. The
charges stem from a probe by the FBI into public corruption in
Wickliffe pled guilty to one count of violating the Sherman Antitrust
Act. This is reportedly in connection with rigging bids for the
sale of valves, pumps and other equipment used in seven plants
in Georgia and Alabama. He is expected to be sentenced on the
charges in January.
Wickliffe attempted to set up a private sewage venture in Jackson
County last year, but that effort was stopped by county leaders
who opposed the project.
Wickliffe's efforts in Jackson County have also been at the center
of this year's election contest between incumbent Rep. Scott
Tolbert and commissioner Pat Bell. Tolbert represented Wickliffe
in the Jackson County matter. Bell's challenge to Tolbert for
the District 25 House seat grew out of that controversy.
Audit Says Commerce
'Beat' Budget By $801,000
Following a year in which its income was $801,731 more than its
expenses, the city of Commerce has more than $10 million in the
bank, auditor Charles Brabson reported to the city council Monday
In presenting the fiscal year 1999-2000 audit, Brabson had high
praise for the city's efforts, particularly those of city manager
Clarence Bryant and city clerk Shirley Willis.
"The city has over $10 million in fund equity, which is
not shabby," Brabson reported.
The good financial report came from lower-than-budgeted expenditures.
In the General Fund, the city spent $240,804 less than expected
and revenues were $53,158 less than anticipated, resulting in
a $187,646 bottom line "savings" over what was budgeted.
Meanwhile, even after transferring $1.3 million to the General
Fund, the proprietary fund (utilities) had net income of $941,638.
For the year, the General Fund had revenues of $4.249 million,
which was supplemented by the $1.3 million transfer. Its expenditures
were $5.53 million.
Its utility systems took in $11.6 million and spent $9.26 million.
The city's strong financial showing dates back almost a decade,
at which time the city was on the verge of insolvency. Shortly
after Bryant arrived, the city's finances turned around. It has
not had to borrow money for operating expenses ever since and
has gradually built up reserves while maintaining and improving
its facilities and infrastructure.
"The bottom line is the city is doing very well financially,"
Brabson said, again praising Bryant and Willis.
"It is certainly nice to hear your auditor say that,"
noted mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr.
planned Oct. 26
A political forum for all local candidates in the Nov. 7 election
will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Jackson Electric
Membership Corporation auditorium.
It is sponsored by the Jackson County Farm Bureau and Jackson
County Area Chamber of Commerce.