News from Banks County...

 January 15, 2001


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OPINION

Angie Gary
Meet our staff

The Banks County News has had several staff changes in the past year.

Shar Porier
The decision

My family was faced with a tough decision. One that many families have had to make as their parents grow old and become unable to care for themselves.


SPORTS
Lady Leopards down Apalachee, to face Dawson, Towns

The Lady Leopards earned a split over the last two games and will hope to improve their subregion record with two upcoming bouts with Dawson County and East Hall.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Nicholson again in business
They were heavily coached by the city attorney and had very little to say, but Nicholson's mayor and two city council members had an official meeting Monday night.

$1.5 million awarded by DOT for three local projects
"Transportation Enhancement" projects in Hoschton and Commerce and at Banks Crossing have gotten a financial boost from the Department of Transportation.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Redistricting will be a major battle in 2001, Hudgens says
The current Georgia legislative session will include battles over a variety of issues, but state representative Ralph Hudgens says things may really heat up this summer when lawmakers meet to redraw legislative districts.

Beer permits suspended for two Comer businesses
Two Comer convenience stores will not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages for the next 10 days.


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Homer, Georgia
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FIREFIGHTERS, RED CROSS
RESPOND TO HOUSE FIRE


Wayne Wilburn, disaster services director of the area chapter of the American Red Cross; Banks County fire chief Perry Dalton; Dan Keener, Lee Arrendale Correctional Institute (LACI) fire chief; James Hamock, LACI fireman (background); Andy Kitchens, batallion chief at the Rock Springs Station #2; and other firemen responded to the call for help during the fire last Wednesday on Honey Hills Road. Teams from Station #310 and the Baldwin Fire Department were also called in to assist.



UPDATE:
BOC agrees for Baldwin to get percentage of proposed SPLOST
Baldwin will get 1.5 percent of a proposed special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) if Banks County voters approve a referendum in March.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners had already decided that the sales tax would only be shared with Maysville and Homer. . Maysville will get three percent and Homer will get six percent of the proposed SPLOST. The election has been called for March 20 to continue the existing SPLOST for five years with an anticipated revenue of $15 million.
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed appeared before the BOC in a called meeting Friday morning to ask for a share of the revenue to be used by the city to be used for water lines located in Banks County. He asked for four percent, which he said was based on population. After a lengthy discussion, the BOC agreed to allocate Baldwin 1.5 percent, or $225,000, of the revenue.
Reed pointed out that 638 of Baldwin's water customers, or 40 percent of the system, are Banks County residents.
"It was a surprise to me that this thing was called so quickly," Reed said. "...I really would ask y'all to back up and reevaluate this. The cities of Maysville and Homer received SPLOST allocations out of the last SPLOST... There are six cities in Banks County and they are not all named Maysville and Homer."
Reed said he understood that the BOC would be meeting the minimum legal requirements by only allocating money to Maysville and Homer, but said surrounding counties share SPLOST with all of its municipalities.
"What is so unique about Banks County is that only two if its cities will benefit," he said. "...We really had some high hopes that...we were at least going to be included in the process...I'm disappointed that we weren't included...It's not fair to include the same two cities each time. We are a part of Banks County."
Commissioner Ernest Rogers said that part of his reason for at first excluding Baldwin from the tax is that he had talked to several people in the town who said they wouldn't support the vote on the SPLOST if Baldwin is included.
"We need all the support we can get," he said.
Baldwin councilman Robert Bohannon pointed out that without the SPLOST funds, it would only lead to an increase in the millage rate for the town.
Mayor Reed also spoke on the difficulty the town has since it is in two counties.
"I never would have drawn the county line down the middle of the city," he said. "We're not an island among ourselves. The northern end of the county is feeling a little left out. I think you can remedy this by giving us a taste of this."
After the BOC agreed to include Baldwin in the SPLOST revenue, the city council held an emergency called meeting to approve the resolution. This meeting was held at 1 p.m. Friday. Council members Mitchell Gailey, Robert Bohannon and Jeff Bohannon formed the quorum necessary to approve the paperwork.
The BOC meeting had ended around noon, but the board reconvened at 3 p.m. Friday and took final action on the SPLOST matter.
On a related matter, BOC chairman Kenneth Brady said that the Development Authority had asked for two percent of the SPLOST revenue to be used to advertise and attract new businesses to the county. County attorney Randall Frost said this would not be a legal use since the SPLOST revenue is only to be used for capital outlay projects.



BOE rejects all bids for ag barn
After a recommendation from superintendent Deborah White, the Banks County Board of Education unanimously agreed at its meeting Monday night to reject all bids on the high school agriculture barn as they are all above the budget.
The estimate for the 80 foot by 120 foot barn should have allowed the board to finish within budget, White told the board, but since all bids are well above the estimates, she advised them to reject all bids and authorize her to meet with the architect to redesign the barn.
Southern A & E gave the original estimate which totaled $226,307 for the entire project. The board chose to separate the barn into four packages: the structure, the mechanical, the electric and the plumbing. The lowest bid for the structure alone totaled $248,000, nearly $22,000 more than Southern A & E estimated the entire structure could be completed for.
Southern A & E estimated the mechanical would cost $26,000. The lowest bid was $31,817. Electric was estimated at $24,500, but the lowest bid was $81,000. The plumbing was estimated at $23,000 by Southern A & E, yet the lowest bid was $44,000, bringing the total package price up to $404,817.
White had suggested at the board's work session Thursday that the board accept the lowest bid and then cut things out of the plan until the barn came within budget, but she told the board that the difference between the estimate and the bids is too great. A conference call was planned for Tuesday morning at 10:30 between Southern A & E and White so that the barn can be redesigned to fall within budget. White suggested to the board that the heating and air or mechanical cost be left off as the school system's maintenance workers can complete that portion of the barn.
Board member John Williams asked whether they could do the electrical also, but White said she didn't know, though it's a possibility.
White said the feed room could be cut back and they could put Sheetrock in the meeting room and concession area instead of blocks. White also raised the possibility of doing fund-raisers.
"The time is really going to hurt us," she said.
The board must have the barn completed by June 30 of this year in order to receive the state grant money. White said that the board may have to bid the concrete slab and the metal building out and then see what funds are left to finish the building.


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Nursing home employee charged with patient abuse
A 28-year-old man has been charged in connection with reports of abuse of two patients at Scenic View Health Care Center in Baldwin.
Joseph Louis has been charged with simple battery, aggravated assault and two counts of cruelty to a person who is 65 years of age or older. He was employed as a CNA at the center.
The charges came after the administrator of the center contacted the Baldwin Police Department on Dec. 27 about the allegations. She told officers that an 85-year-old female and a 91-year-old male were abused, according to a report from the police department. The man was reportedly struck in the face, causing his eye to bruise, and the female had a pillow held over her face, smothering her, according to the report.
Louis is being held at the Habersham County Jail on a $92,500 bond.


Alto City Council straightens out trash pick-up
The Alto Town Council answered questions Tuesday night of residents about the new trash pick-up procedure.
The council had decided at the December meeting to have all residents place their trash within sight of the road. Further, that the city employees would not be allowed to go behind houses or into carports. The new ruling was to go into effect on January 2, 2001.
Confusion arose when letters sent out by the city stated that the trash had to be on the street easement. Council member Carolyn Gulley told those in attendance that her motion just said that the trash had to be in sight of the road, that it did not have to be on the easement.
City clerk Barbara Reynolds said the easement issue was brought up after Gulley's motion had been agreed upon by the council, according to her tape and notes. The council agreed at Tuesday's meeting that trash had to be placed in sight of the road. The council also agreed that the employees were not allowed to go behind a person's home or into a carport, or any place that was not visible from the road.
Council member Susan Wade, who had voted against trash being put along the street, said that the city is "looking terrible" as residents are placing old barrels and steel drums out at the street to hold the garbage.


BOC agrees to share SPLOST revenue with Maysville, Homer
If Banks County voters approve a proposed special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST), Maysville and Homer will also benefit from the revenue.
The board of commissioners approved SPLOST agreements with Maysville and Homer when it met Tuesday. Maysville will get three percent and Homer will get six percent of the proposed SPLOST.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the BOC:
·learned the Banks County Sheriff's Office had received a $12,677 local law enforcement block grant to be used for overtime pay for the county's deputies. The BOC also gave the public a chance to comment on use of the grant. No one did.
·renewed the lease with the Boy Scouts of America for the land used by the Boys Scouts and the 4-H Club.
·approved a resolution making Banks County a member of Georgia Mutual Aid. Assistant fire chief David Creasy said the membership would allow Banks County to obtain additional equipment and help from other fire departments during a disaster.
·approved a set of rules for the county's horse arena.
·agreed to look into a proposal from David Hensen to re-route Purvis Road onto Baldwin Heights Road to keep the road from exiting into the Beef Baron parking lot.