Georgia weekly newspapers
by the Georgia Press Association
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
2000 Building Permits
2000 Property Transactions
Bear Creek Project
Go to Banks County
Go to Madison County
Jackson County opinion page
Directions to Area Schools
Love survives incident to take Lanier win
Maysville's Joey Love survived a lap-17 incident to take the
win in Saturday's Akins of Winder Pro Truck division at Lanier
Registration for fall recreation programs now being accepted
Registration for fall recreation programs offered by the City
of Jefferson and Jackson County Parks and Recreation Departments
began earlier this week.
Both the city and county programs will field competitive football
teams participating in the Vince Dooley Football League.
Neighboorhood News ..
Blacks Creek residents seek Commerce water. Residents of the
Blacks Creek Church area began voting with their wallets Tuesday
night on whether to have water from Commerce piped into their
neighborhoods, where wells are no longer dependable.
Restaurant coming to Booger Hill Rd.
BOC approves rezoning for new eating establishment after lengthy
debate. GeorgeAnna House restaurant will open in an old Booger
Hill Road house near Hwy. 29 sometime in the fall. The owner
says it will be an upscale eating facility comparable to Social
Circle's Blue Willow or the Berryman House in Franklin County.
Banks County may get pilot program for recycling project
Banks County may be the site for a pilot program which will use
recycled rubber from tires for paving roads.
Judge rules in favor of Baldwin in tax case
A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of the City of Baldwin
in a lawsuit filed by Banks County residents who have been fighting
paying the city's property taxes.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2001
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
/ Terms / Privacy
Firefighters responded Tuesday
morning to the Jefferson River Road home of Eugene and Janet
Kimsey. Three people were in the house at the time, but all escaped
up for Aug. 2 start
More students, new principals and teachers and the opening of
a new school will all greet students as they return to classes
on Thursday, Aug. 2.
The new elementary school in West Jackson is expected to be one
of the biggest changes this year for the Jackson County School
System. Another change for the county school system this year
is that classes are starting 16 days earlier than usual.
In the Jefferson City School System, a Fifth Grade Academy will
begin this year and the length of the school day will be longer.
The Jackson County School System expects 5,355 students at its
nine schools. The only two to see a significant increase in students
are Jackson County Comprehensive High School and West Jackson
The Jefferson School System expects 1,489 students when school
For additional back-to-school related stories see this weeks
PD Theft Covered
By City's Insurance
GBI Pegs Amount Missing At $227,000; Probe Almost CompleteIt
appears that former Commerce chief of police George Grimes stole
$227,000 from the city.
City manager Clarence Bryant reports that the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation has informed him that some $227,000 was found
to be missing from city fines and forfeitures paid in cash at
the police station from 1997 through May. Grimes died June 1.
While the GBI probe is not yet complete, the city received some
good news on the matter last week as well. According to Bryant,
the city's insurance policy will cover all but the $10,000 deductible.
Grimes was bonded as police chief, Bryant notes.
The GBI investigation into the matter continues. The agency has
returned to the police station all of the receipt books and its
auditing department has sent its findings to the Athens office,
said Bill Malueg, agent in charge.
"We had hoped to be finished now, but we had some murder
cases and other priorities we had to take care of," Malueg
said. "I know this is very important to Commerce, but when
we have a murder case like we had last week in Commerce
that takes a priority."
As of Thursday, the GBI still had "a couple of interviews"
to conduct, according to Malueg.
Public safety tops
county spending again in 2000
Tax income up 17% over 1999
Public safety continued to be the number one area of county government
spending in Jackson County, according to the 2000 audit. A little
over 25 percent, nearly $7 million, of the county's expenditures
in 2000 went to various public safety departments. But a close
second were capital outlay funds in 2000 which accounted for
nearly 24 percent of spending, some $6.5 million.
Overall, the county spent $27.4 million in 2000.
The Jackson County's Sheriff's Department continued to be the
single largest department in county government at $1.9 million,
not counting capital expenditures. The county road department
was second largest at $1.6 million, but that also doesn't include
capital expenses, which last year totaled $3.5 million for that
The correctional institute was third largest at $1.46 million
in 2000, while the ambulance service and the county jail rounded
out the top five departments at $1.27 million and $1.1 million
Total expenditures for the county rose by $11.8 million in 2000
over the year before, a 75 percent increase. Much of that increase
was due to the increase in capital outlay spending to purchase
new road equipment in 2000 and to a large increase in intergovernmental
TAX INCOME UP 17 PERCENT
Tax income, mostly from property and sales taxes, rose 17 percent
in 2000 over 1999 and accounted for 59 percent of the county's
total revenues for the year. The sale of older road equipment
in 2000 totaled $2.5 million, eight percent of total income for
Property taxes netted $6.4 million in 2000, while sales taxes
brought in $4.1 million. Automotive, insurance premium and other
miscellaneous taxes made up the remainder of tax income.
OTHER AUDIT HIGHLIGHTS
Among the highlights in the 2000 audit are:
· The county's solid waste disposal facility continues
to lose money. In 2000, the county had to transfer $164,400 to
subsidize the facility's operations. One of the reasons for the
loss is that county waste is disposed of at the facility at no
cost to the county.
· Cash and investments of the county totaled $10.3 million
at the end of 2000. Long-term debt by the county totaled $29.6
million, most of which is to back bonds and loans for the county's
· The county's fire districts showed an unreserved cash
balance of $530,000 at the end of 2000.
· County business permit income continued to grow, totaling
$112,900 in 2000.
· The county got a $650,000 federal grant in 2000 to expand
the county airport.
· County legal expenses topped $130,500 in 2000 while
other consulting and professional fees were $124,800.
· The county had to pay a $30,000 penalty in 2000 because
of an inaccurate tax digest.
· The county spent $531,000 in 2000 on new vehicles.
· Principal and interest on county debt payments was $861,000
· Vending sales at the county jail topped $53,100 in 2000.
Bigger Lots Proposal
Would Cut Number Of Multi-Family Units Per Acre
The Commerce Planning Commission plans to amend the city's zoning
ordinance to reduce the number of multi-family housing units
per acre in future development.
At the recommendation of vice chairman Greg Perry, the commission,
which makes land use and zoning recommendations to the Commerce
City Council, will increase the minimum lot size for duplexes,
townhouses and apartment buildings in the R-3 and R-4 zoning
Perry told the planning commission Monday night that the move
was recommended to him by city manager Clarence Bryant and proposed
increasing the minimum lot size to 7,500 square feet per dwelling
The move comes two weeks after the city council overrode the
planning commission's recommendation to allow 29 acres on Mount
Olive Road rezoned from agricultural to multi-family, raising
the possibility that up to 240 apartments could be built.
"The object is to require more square feet per unit and
thus fewer units per complex," said Perry.
The city's zoning ordinance currently requires a lot size of
6,250 feet per dwelling unit for duplexes and 5,500 square feet
for two-family apartments. The planning commission took Perry's
suggestion even further, proposing to go to 10,500 square feet
and a maximum of four units per acre.
"That will still be the smallest lot we have," Perry
Were that provision in effect for the recently rezoned site on
Mount Olive Road, the developer would be able to build only 116
apartment units instead of a potential 240. (While that property
would not be affected by the change, it is not likely that the
developer would actually be able to cram that many apartments
onto the property. The planning commission will still have to
approve the developer's site plan.)
Kenneth Suber seconded Perry's motion, which was also supported
by Doug Newcomer and chairman Billy Vandiver. Member Ronnie Seabolt
was not present.
The effect of the change would be to make multi-family developments
less profitable and, presumably, less attractive to developers.
Members of the planning commission have not been responsive to
recent rezoning requests for multi-family housing, and they view
the council's decision to rezone the Mount Olive Road site for
apartments as a precedent that opens the whole area for multi-family
development. The decision so angered planning commission members
that they walked out of a public hearing last week that had been
called to discuss updating the city's land use plan.
The planning commission will accept public comments at its Monday,
Aug. 20, meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center. Whatever
the planning commission decides will then go to the Commerce
City Council in the form of a recommendation, with the city council
making the final decision, probably at its Sept. 10 meeting.
In other business Monday night, the planning commission approved
a request from Ray Morris of Providence Academy for a one-year
conditional use permit that allows the Christian school to keep
a portable classroom on its Minish Drive property.
But Newcomer warned that the CUP provision is temporary and said
he expects the classroom to be temporary.
Recalling that he had attended as a private citizen a planning
commission meeting three years ago in which the original request
was made, Newcomer said: "I'm here three years later. It
was to be a temporary trailer ... I don't see any plans, and
the trailer is still there."
John Prescott, a member of the Providence Academy board, explained
that growth in the school does not, at the time, warrant building
another building. In addition, he said the property is being
offered to the Commerce Board of Education because Providence
Academy plans to relocate.
Vandiver confirmed that superintendent of schools Larry White
had told him that the school was having the property appraised.
"Did Mr. White give any indication as to when he will get
rid of his mobile classrooms?" Perry offered.
Newcomer answered that the remaining mobile classrooms at the
elementary and middle schools will likely remain until a new
middle school is constructed.
dies in house fire
A 79-year-old woman died early Sunday morning when her house
on Erastus Church Road was destroyed by fire.
Fire departments from Nicholson, Commerce, Maysville, Neese-Sanford
and the Jackson County Correctional Institute responded to the
Eva Tolbert Fleeman perished in the flames. Her body was found
in the hallway outside a bedroom.
"When we arrived, it was totally involved," said Nicholson
fire chief Mike Wood. "It appeared to have started in the
back of the house."
Nicholson got the call at 12:53 and was first on the scene. The
first Commerce unit arrived shortly afterward and firemen searched
the front two rooms. The rest of the house was fully engulfed
"Unfortunately, she was not in those front two rooms,"
remarked Commerce fire chief Johnny Eubanks. "We were able
to knock the fire down enough to search the rest of the house
and we found her in the hallway just outside of a bedroom."
Because of the fatality, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department
and the State Fire marshal are investigating the fire. The cause
of the fire is not known.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Probe Into Inmate Firefighters Still Ongoing
An investigation by the Georgia Department of Corrections of
the inmate firefighter program has not been completed.
Department of Corrections public information officer Peggy Chapman
said Tuesday that the investigation is not expected to be complete
until late next week.
There have been allegations of arson, improper behavior, access
to inappropriate materials and prohibited family visits in connection
with the inmate firefighter program between the Jackson County
Correctio-nal Institution and the Banks County Fire Department.
The Banks County program has been suspended due to the allegations,
but the JCCI Fire Department remains in service.
Assistant Banks County fire chief John Creasy said in a statement
last week that the Banks County Fire Department has also investigated
"What we found certainly was no danger to the public,"
he said. "But we did identify several problems within the
Banks County officials found small amounts of money that may
have been provided to inmates by family members at the Banks
Crossing Fire Station. It was also determined that the inmates
had muscle-building magazines, which the correctional system
"We also found evidence of four visits by family members,
parents and grandparents who did come and see some of the inmates
during their time on duty," Creasy said last week. "That's
a prohibited activity. Everything we have uncovered sounds very
innocent, but as far as the prison regulations go, it's a violation
It was determined that the firefighter correctional officer,
Dana Maddox, in charge of the men knew about the improprieties.
Maddox has since resigned his position with Banks County and
with JCCI, said Creasy.
But there has been talk from people close to the investigation
that there could be a link between activities at the fire station
and the burning by arson of a building across U.S. 441 from the
The State Fire Marshal's office is investigating the fire that
destroyed the office of David Christopher Construction early
Saturday, June 23.
The blaze was set using several five-gallon containers of diesel
fuel and gasoline that had actually been spotted on adjacent
property the day before. A Jackson County deputy, summoned to
the cache of fuel June 22, reportedly took photos of the cans
found by a neighbor who was walking his dog.
Commerce fire chief Johnny Eubanks said he informed the investigating
fire marshal of the connection after reading news accounts.
"He hadn't heard about that," said Eubanks.
Local officials are said to be pursuing other connections between
the business and the fire station, but declined to comment on
The Banks Crossing Fire Station is the primary responder for
fires at the Banks County Tanger Outlets, The Pottery and other
businesses at the busy interchange.
took in more than it spent
But other departments with outside income still need tax subsidies
The Jackson County Planning and Development office continues
to take in more income in fees than it spends each year, but
six other county agencies rely on tax money to subsidize their
Although Jackson County includes a number of agencies, seven
generate a significant amount of non-tax income which goes toward
their expenses. The difference between that income and the department's
expenses is the amount which comes from the county's general
In 2000, the planning and development office took in $37,900
more in inspection fees than the department had in expenses.
On the other hand, fees charged by the county ambulance service
fell $827,200 short of what is needed to operate that department.
Although the departments do not generate self-supporting income,
they are not always expected to do so. The Jackson County Correctional
Institute, for example, required a $230,000 local tax subsidy
last year, but the county makes up some of that expense by using
inmate labor for road work and for the solid waste disposal facility.
Planning & Development
Fee Income $400,700
Service Charges $442,800
Expenses $1.27 million
Fee/Concession Income $126,000
Phone Surcharges $477,500
Grants, Fees $213,200
State Income $1.23 million
Expenses $1.46 million