News from Jackson County...

June 7, 2001


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Tiger Basketball Camp In June
Thirteen will be a lucky number for kids attending the 13th annual Commerce Tiger Basketball Camp, head coach Rex Gregg promises.

Jefferson pool open; Camp F.U.N. coming up
The Jefferson City Pool is currently open to the public from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $3 per person.

Jackson County moving to Class AAAA?
It's that time again.
To some, June 2001 means graduation or vacation. To the Georgia High School Association, it brings reclassification of member schools back into the spotlight.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
209 graduate from Madison County High School
The video cameras rolled and the flashes flickered in the Athens Classic Center Friday night as 209 Madison County students clasped their diplomas and "danced" their way into a new stage of life.

Fitzpatrick resigns as school attorney
Lane Fitzpatrick has resigned as Madison County's school board attorney after more than 20 years on the job.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Maysville council to handle hirings, firings
The Maysville City Council reclaimed the responsibility of hiring and firing personnel for the town at its meeting Monday night.
After a 55-minute closed session, the council came back with that decision, but no one was hired or fired.

Homer's Evans St. project bid out
The Homer City Council awarded the Evans Street project to Charles Sullivan Construction Company in a called meeting Tuesday morning.


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New wheel goes up at grist mill

Marty Rubio (L), the county's construction foreman, helped to settle the new water wheel into place at the Hurricane Shoals grist mill last week. Keith Ariail (center), a member of the Tumbling Waters Society, and other county employees and inmates helped to balance the wheel. The TWS had commissioned Anthony Bennett of Bennett Wood Products to build the new water wheel.


UPDATED: 6/7/01

Two killed in wreck Wednesday
A single vehicle wreck Wednesday afternoon on Hwy. 330 in South Jackson claimed the lives of a father and son from Athens.
Allen Stephen Kline Sr., 46, Athens, and his son, Allen Stephen Kline Jr., 20, also from Athens, were killed in the wreck. Both of the victims were in the front seat. A third person, John A. Dooley, 19, Athens, was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center with visible injuries.
According to trooper Mark Cox of the Georgia State Patrol's Gainesville office, the younger Kline was driving in 1989 Ford Bronco II east bound on Hwy. 330 toward Hwy. 129 from Winder at 4:50 p.m. He reportedly lost control of the vehicle in a curve due to weather conditions, ran off of the north shoulder of the road and overturned down a 20 to 30 foot embankment before hitting a tree.


Château Élan residents want tighter zoning
A group of homeowners from Château Élan want more restrictions added to a proposed new Braselton zoning ordinance.
Among the restrictions requested were that no mobile homes or apartments be allowed in the town. No action was taken on the ordinance by the Braselton Town Council, but it is expected to be on the agenda at the regular monthly meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday at the town hall.
Pat Graham, a resident of the Château Élan subdivision, spoke at a public hearing Thursday night and outlined changes she believes should be made to the proposed ordinance. Graham referred to the zoning ordinance for Gwinnett County in making her recommendations. Some 15 other area homeowners attended and most raised their hand in support of her suggestions.
In the R-2 and R-3 zoning classification, Graham asked that they only be for single-family dwellings that are privately owned.
"R-3 does allow for apartments/rental property," she said. "I know there has been a lot of opposition recently to apartments."
She referred to a section of the Gwinnett County ordinance that R-3 be for privately owned property instead of rental property.
Graham also said she hopes it is the intent of the Braselton ordinance to limit additional trailer parks from locating in the town. She said that the Gwinnett County ordinance doesn't allow mobile home applications.
Graham said she is also concerned with architectural control on new developments on Hwy. 211. She suggested that an "overlay district" be established in that area to allow for architectural control.
On a related matter, Graham said that an "overlay district" could be established in the downtown area to protect the historical property. She said that it would not likely be possible to establish the "overlay districts" in the next 30 days, but that the council could begin work to add it to the ordinance.
Graham said she would like to see a more specific definition given for planned unit developments (PUD). She said the ordinance should include a more definite acreage. She suggested that it be over 200 acres.
"Without quantitative numbers, it is very subjective what a large-scale development is," she said.
Also at the meeting, the proposed new voting district map was presented. It includes four districts for the 1,206 residents of the town. The number of voters in each district ranges from 295 to 317.
Chuck Stevens asked if Château Élan could be given more representation on the council.
"Our balance is already off in Château Élan," he said. "...It will explode in the next year."
The proposed map was approved following the public hearing.


Hoschton council raises water rates
The Hoschton City Council gave approval to a new city water ordinance Monday night that raised the base water rate. The ordinance also addresses water and sewage service area, meters, service applications and service installation and connection fees.
During discussion, council member Roslyn Clark spoke on behalf of some of her constituents who are concerned that the increased water and sewage rates will create too much of a drain on their fixed income.
Mayor Billy Holder pointed out that the new rates include an increase of 1,000 gallons for a minimum rate, "so it will be basically close to the same thing with the extra 1,000 gallons unless they use a lot of water."
The council learned that the city has not increased its water and sewage rates in 12 years. The new rates, set at $12.50 a month for up to 3,000 gallons of water and the same charge for sewage, will go into effect with the August 1 billing. Water and sewage use over 3,000 gallons per month will accrue additional fees: $3 per 1,000 additional gallons up to 6,000; $3.75 per 1,000 additional gallons from 6,000 up to 12,000; and $5 per 1,000 additional gallons from 12,001 and up.
"Considering it has been so many years since there has been an increase, and with the extra 1,000 gallons, I don't feel it's a bad deal," said council member Jan Buchanan.
In other water and sewer business, developer Mike Diambros asked during a work session last Wednesday that he be allowed to put a master meter on a building he has under construction. The city's new water ordinance doesn't allow for a master meter, which is a meter at a business that has several units hooked up to it.
City attorney Wayne McLocklin recommended that Diambros be allowed to put in the master meter since it was part of his plan that was approved in January prior to the new ordinance. The council approved Diambros' request Monday. In the future, no master meters will be allowed under the new water ordinance.
In other water and sewage matters, city engineer Charlie Armentrout reported Thursday that the Panther Creek subdivision sewage system improvement project should be completed within 10 days.
"Panther Creek is moving," he said.
Armentrout also gave an update on the city's water and sewer agreement with the county. He has submitted it to the water authority attorney to review and said the council can take action on it after he gets feedback from the attorney.
In other water and sewage matters, Armentrout said he got a phone call from Alice Nunley about the availability of water and sewer on her property. He sent her a letter stating that the city has the lines available, but he doesn't know if it has the capacity because he doesn't know how much she will need.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.


School, City Budgets Due For Approval
Both the Commerce Board of Education and the Commerce City Council are expected to approve the city school system's $8.2 million budget and participation in a special purpose local option sales tax renewal next Monday night. In addition, the city council will likely approve its tentative budget for 2001-02.
The school board will take its budget before the city council at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center in the hopes of getting the $1.75 million local portion funded by the city. Assuming that the council approves the local part of the budget, the school board will then approve the entire budget at its regular meeting at 7:30 at the high school media center.
The total budget is $8,246,085, which is nine percent higher than last year. The local portion, funded by city property taxes, is $1,754,895. That's $195,020 more than last year, an increase of 12.5 percent.
The bulk of the money for the budget comes from the state, which will contribute $6,002,074, a half million more than it spent on Commerce's schools last year.
Expenditures for "instructional services" account for the biggest portion of the increase, some $423,337. But pupil services (up $40,110), technology training (up $52,689), maintenance and operation (up $58,582), media services (up $30,421) and "school administrative" (up $23,798) also contributed to the increased cost.
SPLOST VOTE
The board will also ask the Commerce City Council to approve a referendum Sept. 18 to renew the special purpose local option sales tax for education. The current five-year tax will expire before its Dec. 31 deadline because the $25 million cap will be reached. If the voters countywide approve the extension, the second five-year round, expected to bring in $43 million, the new one-cent tax will begin the day after the first round ends.
The city system would receive 16.51 percent of the tax, a figure tied to the system's enrollment. On a $43 million maximum, Commerce could receive almost $7.1 million. The top priority for the city school system is the construction of a new middle school and the division of the current elementary school into a primary and an elementary school.
Jackson County, which would get more than 64 percent of the funds, plans to build at least two new schools.
CITY BUDGET
The 12.5 percent increase in local school spending is small potatoes compared to the 50 percent increase in the city budget.
The $29.7 million budget is inflated by $5.65 million in capital expenditures ­ including the upgrade of the sewer plant and several capital projects carried over from the current budget ­ and an extra $3 million budgeted for the purchase of natural gas. Spending is $10 million more than budgeted for the current year, although the current year will be well over budget due to unanticipated expenses for natural gas.
Following budget discussions with the city council, city manager Clarence Bryant also put in the budget funds for a "housing inspector." That individual, working in the code enforcement department, will inspect rental housing between tenants.
"We've got to find somebody, hopefully, with some electrical background. That's one of the key things you do in housing inspections," Bryant noted.



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UPDATED: 6/7/01

Two killed in
one-car wreck

Two people were killed in a wreck Tuesday night on Hwy. 129 North, just inside the Jackson County line.
Johnny Louie Hurt, 42, Talmo, and Deborah L. Overy, 45, Talmo, were killed in the one-vehicle wreck. The driver of the vehicle, Henry Lee Miller, 35, Talmo, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Jefferson rescue chief Dennis Bullock said a man and a woman were dead at the scene of the one-vehicle wreck that occurred around 9 .m. Tuesday in the southbound lane of Hwy. 129, 500 feet inside the Jackson County line. The man was still inside the car with rescue workers arrived, but the woman had been ejected.
The car was traveling south when it ran off the road and overturned at least two times.


Maysville man dies from stab wound
A Maysville man died early Sunday morning after receiving a stab wound to the chest during a domestic dispute.
James Levi Davis, 31, North Main Street, Maysville, was found in the yard of his residence by deputies who were called to the scene at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He was taken to BJC Medical Center, Commerce, where he later died.
His live-in girlfriend, Jill Elaine Leroy, 31, Maysville, was also present and it appears that she stabbed him, according to Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran. No charges have been filed yet, but she has been taken to Georgia Regional Hospital for an evaluation.
"She received some physical injuries too," Cochran said, "but that's not the reason for the hospitalization."
Cochran said the dispute allegedly occurred after the two returned home Saturday after an evening out together.
"It appears that the two had went out and had dinner together and went to a local bar and returned home where a domestic dispute erupted," he said. "At some point, a knife was produced."
The investigation continues and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting.


Thomas Gary Resigns From Nicholson City Council
Once again, the Nicholson city government is without a full town council. Councilman Thomas Gary submitted his resignation Monday morning, Mayor Ronnie Maxwell announced Monday night.
Maxwell did not indicate what reason Gary had given, and Gary was unavailable for comment.
The mayor attempted to close Monday night's meeting to the public to discuss Gary's resignation, but elected officials are not considered "personnel" under the Georgia Open Meetings Act, so Maxwell announced the resignation.
"At 8:00 this morning, Thomas resigned," Maxwell said. "Do we need to accept his resignation?"
"We have no jurisdiction over what Thomas does," responded council member Margaret Ward.
Gary, who with Ward was a proponent of zoning, was reportedly unhappy with the direction Nicholson's government has taken since Maxwell and councilmen Chuck Wheeler and Billy Kitchens won control.
Since September, Nicholson has had a full slate of elected officials for only two months. Former Mayor Steve Wilbanks resigned in September, councilmen Stanley Fouche and Daniel Sailors followed, leaving the town unable to conduct business until Maxwell was named mayor in a special election in late November, but the government did not begin to function normally until Wheeler and Kitchens were elected in March.
The council did not address the issue of another special election. All officials' terms of office expire Dec. 31.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.