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Area hoops teams head for GHSA state tournaments this
It all comes down to this.
All the preliminaries have been completed, and the best hoops
teams from each region have claimed their spots in the 2001 GHSA
state basketball tournament, which begins Friday.
Tigers Take On The Walker School Saturday At 8:30
The post-season begins Saturday night for the Commerce Tiger
Flag fight not over in Madison Co.
Many Madison Countians were angered by the state legislature's
approval of a new Georgia flag. And some county residents are
vowing to continue the fight to keep the 1956 flag.
County schools $900,000 over budget
Madison County's school system overspent last year's budget by
just under $900,000, according to audit figures released by acting
superintendent Allen McCannon Tuesday night.
Lula council rejects offer for alleged water theft
The Lula City Council voted unanimously Monday night to reject
an offer made by the owners of CMW Pipeline, a well boring company,
to pay a small amount for water allegedly stolen from the city's
hydrant on Belton Bridge Road.
Banks to receive $1.7 million in state funds for school
Banks County will receive $770,313 in state funds to go toward
the construction of new classrooms.
The Jackson Herald
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MOVES TO CHANGE CHARTER
The Jefferson City Council agreed in a called meeting Tuesday
night to a proposed change to its charter calling for a city
manager to handle the day-to-day operations of the town. Shown
are: (L-R) Mayor Byrd Bruce, city attorney Ronnie Hopkins and
councilman C.D. Kidd III.
Tie on Road Vote
JEFFERSON -- Jackson County Board of Commissioners' chairman
Harold Fletcher had to break a tie vote to get a road in an industrial
Commissioners Stacey Britt and Sammy Thomason voted at a called
meeting Thursday night for a motion to enter a contract with
the city of Jefferson to pave Jewell Farm Road, which is in the
Walnut Fork Industrial Park. But commissioners Tony Beatty and
Emil Bershara voted against the contract, after which Fletcher
voted to support the motion.
Neither Beatty nor Bershara explained the reason for their "nay"
votes, although Bershara noted that the road is "not in
the shared tax district; all of the school taxes go to Jefferson."
Bershara's reference was to a negotiated district along Interstate
85 in which school taxes are shared equally between the Jefferson
and Jackson County school system. There is a similar shared district
farther north on I-85 in which the Commerce and Jackson County
systems split school tax revenue. Both districts were negotiated
to remove concerns over annexation by the cities. Bershara's
point was that any industry attracted to the site would not help
the county school system because all of the property taxes for
education would go to Jefferson.
Bershara and Beatty represent districts wholly inside the Jackson
County school district; Thomason and Britt both have constituents
in city and county school districts.
The contract provides that Jackson County will provide the base
and surfacing, the cost of which is to be $258,306, and Jefferson
is to reimburse the county for half of that amount. In the event
that the Georgia Department of Transportation participates, the
two governments will split the savings.
The road will belong to Jefferson. The incentive for the intergovernmental
contract is that the road is expected to help lure industries
into the park, which would improve the tax digests of both the
county and the city.
In other business, the commissioners voted to ask Rep. Pat Bell
to introduce legislation increasing the amount of goods the county
may purchase without taking competitive bids from to $5,000.
It is now $1,000.
The board also voted unanimously to submit a pre-application
for a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund on behalf
of the county recreation department. The board approved the request,
in spite of the fact that no one, including county manager Skip
Nalley, had any information as to the amount sought or the matching
"We're under no obligation to stick with it if we get funded,"
Nalley pointed out.
The Jefferson City Council approved a new city charter Tuesday
night that will shift control of the city's day-to-day operations
to a city manager.
At a special called meeting, city attorney Ronnie Hopkins told
the council the charter was very similar to Commerce's city charter.
That town adopted a city manager form of government in the mid-1980s
following several years of turmoil on its city council.
The Jefferson council had voted two weeks ago to adopt a city
manager form of government, but Tuesday was the first time it
had discussed the details of the plan.
Following Tuesday night's approval, the new charter will now
go to the Georgia General Assembly as a piece of local legislation.
It will become effective Jan. 1, 2002.
The only vocal opposition to the new charter came from Mayor
Byrd Bruce, who said he did not like the idea of taking control
of the city away from the mayor and council. In the past, the
mayor had been responsible for creating the city budget and was
the de facto day-to-day manager of the city. In addition, city
council members were put in charge of the various city departments.
Under the new charter, however, the responsibility for operating
the city will fall on the city manager. Council members will
no longer be able to oversee city departments and the mayor's
powers will be drastically reduced.
No Change Planned
In Sewer Route
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority will continue
with plans to build a sewer line from Jefferson to Mulberry Plantation
on a route along the Middle Oconee River and Doster Creek.
Property owners along the route thought they'd gotten a reprieve
Feb. 8 when the authority voted unanimously to reconsider those
After residents showed up at the Feb. 8 meeting to complain about
the route and about possible condemnation of their property,
the authority voted on a motion by Elton Collins to "regroup
and sit down and re-look at what we are doing."
"We will take a whole fresh look at this," Collins
Not exactly. What Collins says he meant is that the authority
will take a new look at its process for informing residents of
what is happening not a new look at routes.
It is generally agreed that the authority made a big mistake
by having its attorney send notification to the property owners
in a letter in which residents were told to give permission for
surveyors and appraisers to enter their property or they would
be subject to a lawsuit.
"We should not have sent as one of our first contacts a
letter with a law firm's name up in the corner," Collins
But while the property owners were angered by the letter, their
main point of contention was the possible condemnation of their
land for sewer rights of way. Many of them proposed that the
sewer line be built along the road rights of way instead of along
river and creek bottoms.
That, the authority says, is not feasible, because the main trunk
line needs to be gravity flow, both for access and for cost and
expense of operation. In addition, since the authority has sold
bonds to finance the project, its route is limited by provisions
of the $12 million bond issue.
"We're kind of restricted. It doesn't mean we can't move
the line a hundred feet, but we can't make major changes,"
Speaking the following day to the board of directors of the Jackson
County Area Chamber of Commerce, authority superintendent Jerry
Waddell said that the route was chosen because it provided the
largest service area.
"We think it was a good decision. Our engineers said it
was not feasible for us to run on the road rights of way,"
Waddell said, adding that if the line ran along the roads, it
would require six lift stations and every property owner would
have to have a pump station to get sewer service because Georgia
124 is built along a ridge.
"We are limited to any movement in that line," agreed
Collins, pointing out that any substantial change in the line
will "start running you into problems with the bond issue."
Even if it could completely redesign the route, its obligation
to serve Mulberry Plantation by Jan. 1 would be in jeopardy if
there are lengthy delays. Should the county not live up to those
obligations, it could find itself sued by the developer.
Mulberry Plantation has already paid $1 million for its first
400 sewer taps and will pay another $2.8 million over the next
four years as it is built out.
The sewer project will serve a lot more than Mulberry Plantation.
It will also serve West Jackson Middle School and a vast area
along Georgia 124 up to Interstate 85.
school leaders upset over state construction formula
Jefferson and Jackson County school systems leaders expressed
outrage this week over state funding formulas that they said
shortchange local school construction efforts.
The money allocated by the state was supposed to help schools
build more classrooms to meet the lower pupil-teacher ratios
mandated by last year's education reform legislation. But the
formula for calculating those dollars was based on "existing
need," said Jackson County superintendent Andy Byers. Since
all three school systems in Jackson County had recently used
local SPLOST funds and issued bonds for new construction, their
"need" wasn't considered as great. Byers said that
basically, school systems that didn't take the local initiative
are being rewarded for their lack of local effort while schools
that did move forward on their own are being punished.
Byers said the Jackson County School System will not earn any
additional state funding for any of its elementary schools and
only six classrooms at the middle school level. And while the
formula does allocate eight classrooms for the Jackson County
Comprehensive High School, Byers said the system may not be able
to use those dollars. By local board policy, the system had earlier
decided to cap JCCHS at 1,200 students, using the old Bryan Hill
facility as overflow. When the high school student population
reaches 1,600, the system plans to construct another facility
in the county, creating two high schools of 800 students each,
he said. But the money for the eight classrooms allocated by
the state can't be banked for that, so the system faces a "use
it or lose it" dilemma.
Byers pointed to several nearby systems that had used mobile
trailers as classrooms rather than building additional space.
Those systems, he said, are getting an unfair allocation of the
"They (the state) are rewarding systems that didn't do anything,"
JEFFERSON CITY SCHOOLS
The situation is similar in Jefferson City Schools. Superintendent
Dr. John Jackson said Wednesday that he is disappointed with
the formula and also believes Jefferson is being punished for
taking the initiative to build classrooms.
Both Byers and Jackson met with state department representatives
last week to review the formula. Jackson said that Jefferson
will receive less than $100,000 and it must be used at the elementary
school level for one classroom.
But even that may not be possible since the construction of just
one classroom may not be feasible.
Jackson said he believes Jefferson should receive a larger share
of the money and be allowed to use it toward its bond payoff.
The 2001 supplemental budget includes $468 million for the construction
of nearly 7,000 new classrooms statewide to help Georgia's public
schools achieve the smaller class sizes required by last year's
education reform act.
For the complete story, see this week's Jackson Herald.
Expansion Of Library To Be Proposed
At the suggestion of the director of the Piedmont Regional Library
Board, the Commerce Library Board agreed to ask the Georgia Board
of Regents to plan for a 3,500-square-foot addition to the city
Cautioning that it is "very initial," Nancy Ray told
the local board members Monday night that the state's library
directors want to be able to present to the board of regents
in the near future a list of library building plans.
Libraries, once funded by the Department of Education, now get
capital funds through the Board of Regents.
The request, Ray said, need not be accompanied by any plans for
how or where such an addition would be built. Ray's proposal
would give the library 13,000 square feet of space.
"If you know of something beyond the 13,000, let me know,"
Estimating the cost (including furnishings) at $200 per square
foot, such an addition would cost $700,000.
"That is not a high estimate. This might not come to fruition
for four or five years," Ray noted.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
County Volunteer Opportunties
& Convenience Stores
to mull NJ landfill Thursday
Plans for a construction and demolition landfill in the North
Jackson area that have been on hold since December will be addressed
when the Jackson County Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. Thursday
at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
Earth Resource is requesting a conditional use permit to locate
the landfill on 94.84 acres on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2.
The proposal first went before the planning commission in December,
but was tabled in order for the Northeast Georgia Regional Development
Center to do a review of the impact. The RDC review had not been
submitted to the county planning office as of Tuesday, but is
expected before Thursday night's meeting. A group of citizens
opposed to the plans has met at least one time.
This is the second request to go before the county this year
seeking a rezoning for a construction and demolition landfill.
The earlier request was from another company for a site in West
Jackson. It was denied by the BOC. The company has sued the county
and a court hearing is scheduled for March 14 in the county courthouse.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will consider this
request when it meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at the Administrative
Building in Jefferson. The BOC will hold its voting session at
7 p.m. on Monday, March 19.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.
Authority to ask
county to manage airport
The Jackson County Airport Authority plans to ask the board of
commissioners to take over the day-to-day operations of the Jackson
At the authority's Monday night meeting, member Clarence Bryant
pushed for that change.
"We've got new leadership on the county level and we definitely
have got new management," he said. "It is time to take
some of these responsibilities that we're doing to the county
staff. I think the thing to do is sit down with the new chairman
and manager and say, 'Look, we don't have time to swap letters
or make three to four phone calls a week. We don't have time
to manage the airport. There is no need for us to do anything
but set policies.'"
Bryant said that authority chairman Andy Byers, who was unable
to attend Monday night's meeting, is about to the point where
he will have to resign because of the time demands being placed
upon him as a result of the airport expansion.
"The thing of it is none of y'all really know what goes
on at this airport on a day-to-day basis," former FBO manager
Max Allen told the authority members.
"That really is not our function," said member Paul
Bryant said that with the authority meeting monthly to take action,
it often takes many months to get done what should have taken
only two business days.
Christensen and member Jack Seabolt raised the possibility of
using Federal Aviation Authority funds to pay a part-time manager.
Bryant said that the funds could not be used for such a purpose.
He said that Byers will contact commission chairman Harold Fletcher
to discuss getting help managing the airport on a daily basis.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.