News from Madison County...

October 24, 2001


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Lack of growth means more taxes

A number of years ago, the leadership of Madison County made a dramatic decision. They decided to keep Madison County as a quiet, rural, agricultural county. To ensure that the county remained rural, they decided to prevent any kind of economic growth.

Letter To The Editor
Remember that the highway is a war zone

Little Cody Potts was five years old, started his first year to school in kindergarten and was very active in his cubbies with Awana at church.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, Cody asked his mother, Kathy Gable Potts, if they could go to the fair in Anderson SC.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders roar to finish
30-7 Madison County takes Class AAA state runner-up honors. Sunflower seeds.
Bottled water, maybe a soft drink. Essentials for watching a game.
But Raider softball parents joked about another essential this past week in Columbus - heart medication.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Hearing on landfill set for Thurs.
A public hearing on a request to locate a construction and demolition landfill in the county will be held Thursday.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hear the request from Kelly Henderson and several other zoning requests when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.

Murder Suspects Turns Self In
Tuesday Afternoon

Frankie 'Chunk' Burns Charged In Drug-Related Slaying Sunday
The suspect in a shooting death that occurred early Sunday morning in Commerce surrendered Tuesday afternoon to a Jackson County deputy.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Gridlock on I-85
Tractor-trailer fire snarls traffic Friday afternoon.
A tractor-trailer fire on I-85 North Friday afternoon caused a back-up of traffic on the expressway for miles.No one was injured.

Commissioners to again seek bids on construction of two fire stations
The Banks County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to throw out four bids on the construction of two new fire stations and seek new bids.
The four companies who submitted bids will be invited to rebid and other companies will also be allowed to submit bids, leaders said.


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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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ENJOYING THE DAY

Many families and friends alike came out to enjoy the sunshine and camaraderie of the community at the Danielsville Fall Festival last weekend. Pictured (L-R) doing just that are Kelli Burroughs, Taylor Rabun, 9 months old, and Winter Rabun, all of Danielsville.

County taxpayers feel the pinch
Mill rate up 19% in unincorporated areas.Taxpayers in unincorporated areas of Madison County will face a 19 percent tax rate increase for the county government.
Overall, the Madison County government will take in nearly $1 million more than last year, a 27.5 percent increase. The increased tax rate along with a growing tax digest resulted in the overall growth, likely one of the largest single-year increases in the history of the county government. In fact, the increased tax income this year is more than the previous five years combined.
Madison County commissioners approved the 2001 county tax rates Monday by a 4-1 vote, with Bruce Scogin providing the lone vote against the tax hike.
The unincorporated mill rate is 10.17, up from 8.54 in 2000. The incorporated rate is 11.62, up from 10.38.
The commissioners gave rubber stamp approval to the school board tax rate of 18.2 mills. County commission chairman Wesley Nash said state law requires that the BOC approve what the BOE proposes.
The BOC also approved the tax rate of .24 mills for the industrial authority, down slightly from last year.
The board postponed approval of the 2002 budget of approximately $9.5 million. The group will hold a budget meeting at 6 p.m., Oct. 30, in the county government complex.
County commissioners heard Monday from local citizens upset about the tax increases.
One audience member, Mildred Baker, told board members that they shouldn't tag as much money to the recreation department as they have in recent years. She said the county sheriff's department, fire departments and EMS should get the lion's share of county funds.
Nash told Baker that approximately $4.5 million of the budget will be spent on public safety.



School board passes 17% tax rate increase
Madison County's Board of Education adopted millage rates for the 2001 tax year. The Maintenance and Operations assessment is 16.94 mills, up 2.97 from the previous year, or 17 percent. The bond tax was set at 1.26 mills, a reduction of .33 mills from 2000.
The bonds covered by property taxes were used to finance an earlier round of construction in the early 1990s. The rate for bond retirement is based on the amount to be paid each year. As property values go up, the bond tax rate drops accordingly.
Responding to questions at a public hearing prior to the action, Superintendent Keith Cowne said the increase is necessary to meet local expenses connected to the governor's pay raises, and to re-establish an operating reserve. While state funds pay the salaries for authorized personnel, local money must be used to pay supplements to those salaries, to pay the salaries of any additional personnel and to pay fringe benefits that can run as high as one-third of the employee's salary.
Three speakers addressed the board asking that they keep increases as low as possible.
"If I were in your seats, our taxes would not be going up this much," said Bryan Duncan. He questioned why a number of salaries listed on a freedom of information requests were different from the same figures from the state audit. Cowne and Asst. Superintendent Allen McCannon attributed the difference to changes in the fiscal year and accounting year, and to additional work done during the summer break.
Herbert Miller agreed with Duncan, saying, "The line has to be drawn somewhere."
Glenn Guest described the problem of elderly property owners and echoed the statement that "you have to say 'no' sometimes." Guest informed the board that a recent Federal Court ruling stops the government from issuing "unfounded mandates," and urged the board to see if any such mandates are still being funded with local money.
Bill Holloway asked for clarification on the pending contract with Enron for upgrading the schools' heating and air systems. He told the board that Enron is being investigated, but did not specify for what. He asked if the total increase in school taxes over the past several years totals 26.7 percent and was told that the figure was close.
A CBS report on Tuesday morning said that Enron was conducting a telephone conference with stockholders to explain an SEC investigation of their accounting irregularities with outside partnerships being run by the company's CFO. The calls were intended to address questions of the company's credibility.


Park construction under way in Danielsville
The Danielsville Fall Festival last weekend served as the kick-off fund raising event for the new Madison County Park, located at the site of the old Danielsville Elementary School playground in Danielsville.
"We want to create a place where local people can enjoy a lunch outside, where families can come to spend time together and groups can stage outdoor events such as festivals, concerts, and plays," Charles Richards, park committee chairman, said. "In addition, we want outsiders who come into town to see a visually pleasing place where they might want to stop, and even visit some of the other local sights and shops."
Danielsville Festival chairman and park committee member Jerry Riley said the first major event in the established park was a great success. Part of the proceeds raised from the festival will go to the parks committee for continued improvements.
According to Richards, future plans for the park include: a gazebo to seat seven to 15 people, a permanent stage for local performances, more picnic tables, water and electricity around the park's perimeter, walkways, lighting and colorful garden areas.
For starters, old picnic tables were cleaned and pressure-washed by a local volunteer, and donated flowers were planted.
Madison County government provided materials and manpower to move and reset the tables on pads.
In addition, the city of Danielsville installed a water line and spigot for the park and others have volunteered their time, plants and materials to the project.
"The whole community has been great in their support of the project," Richards said. "I really think the park will be an asset to Danielsville and to the county."
Other Madison County Park Committee members include: Victor Johnson, Keith Strickland, Jerry Coutant, John and Pat Donleavy, John and Ellen Miles, and Margie Richards


Beatty to run for lieutenant governor
Senator Mike Beatty filed papers last week with the Secretary of State forming a campaign committee that will allow him to raise funds for the 2002 lieutenant governor race.
Beatty was the legislative voice in the effort to ban video poker in Georgia during the regular session and the second special session of the General Assembly earlier this year.
Senator Casey Cagle has agreed to chair Beatty's campaign. Senator Tommie Williams will serve as treasurer of the campaign.
Beatty's state senate district includes Madison County.


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'New lease on life'
Carlton man celebrates a new life one year after transplant surgery.October 19, 2000 - one year ago last Friday ­ was a "red letter day" in the life of Ronald Collins and his family.
That's the day he underwent transplant surgery at Emory University Hospital to receive a new kidney and pancreas - and began a process of recovery that would give him a new lease on life.
A diabetic for 28 years (since age 23) and a dialysis patient for two years, Ronald had been placed on a transplant list for the two organs at the same time he went on dialysis in 1998.
BAD NEWS
Ronald and his wife Mary Ann had just moved into their new home - a home they had been constructing themselves - near Carlton in 1997 when he noticed he felt unusually tired and lethargic.
A visit to his doctor brought the bad news - due to his diabetes, his kidneys were beginning to fail.
Soon unable to work, about a year later he began the grueling process of dialysis treatments at an Athens clinic three times a week. Each treatment lasted about four hours, leaving Ronald weak and exhausted.
"Dialysis keeps you alive, but it takes a lot out of you," he said. He lost his coordination, his muscles began to waste away and his weight dropped dramatically. His eyesight also deteriorated.
"Dealing with everything becomes a way of life," Mary Ann said.
"And if it wasn't for Mary Ann, I couldn't have done it," Ronald says of his wife. "The first question they ask you when you go for dialysis is if you have a 'support person.' Well I've had one."
DONOR MATCH FOUND
Finally on Oct. 18 of last year, he received the call that would change his life dramatically .
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal


BOC says 'no' to cold storage facility on James Holcomb Road
County commissioners shot down plans for a cold storage facility on James Holcomb Road Monday after 14 residents took the podium to say the industry would harm the quality of life in the area.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners denied a request by Bill Slaton, representing property owner Ronald Daughtry, to rezone three parcels totaling 17.31 acres on James Holcomb Road from A-2 (agricultural) to I (industrial) to establish a cold storage plant.
Commissioners Mike Youngblood, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted to deny the request, while Bill Taylor and Johnny Fitzpatrick opposed the vote to turn the project down.
The proposal can be resubmitted in six months.
Industrial authority chairman John Scoggins spoke in favor of the plans, saying the facility would create 15-20 new jobs and improve the county's tax base.
For the rest of this sstory see this weeks Madison County Journal


To read more about the local events in Madison County, including births, weddings, sports news and school news, see this week's Madison County Journal.