News from Banks County...

October 31, 2001


Banks County
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Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

 

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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Another awesome concert from Brad

Country music star Brad Paisley has been described as a country traditionalist. He has also been called a "triple threat" because of his skill in song-writing, guitar-playing and singing.


Letter To The Editor
Asphalt plant a threat to Alto

Eleven years ago, Alto was threatened with a giant garbage incinerator to be placed on state land.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Getting ready for the battle
Shoulder pads. A helmet. Cleats. A jersey. Knee pads. A mouthpiece. They're all tools for a football player.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Town elections set Tuesday
Two long-time mayors face opposition in Tuesday's city elections.
Jefferson Mayor Byrd Bruce, who has been in office for 26 years, will face challenger Jim Joiner, a former city council member.

Reservoir Water To Flow Nov. 12?
End Of Project Said To Be Less Than A Month Away
ATHENS -- The one question members of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority ask every time they meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month is: "When will the water begin flowing from the Bear Creek Reservoir?"


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Comer to elect new mayor Tuesday
Two city council seats up for grabs.
Comer residents will elect a new mayor and two council members Tuesday, while no other municipal elections are planned for Madison County.

County commissioners discuss personnel policy at budget meeting
BOC says employees in depts. not under policy won't get 1% increase.
A discussion over the benefits of the personnel policy to county employees dominated a work session held by board of commission members Tuesday night to discuss the proposed county budget for 2002.


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Kitchen fire smokes up Ryan's Restaurant

Customers at Ryan's Restaurant, Banks Crossing, were evacuated Saturday night when smoke from the grill set off the sprinkler system. Banks County firefighters arrived on the scene as customers exited the restaurant with smoke rolling out the doors. There were no injuries reported.

BOC rolls back millage rate
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has once again rolled back the millage rate.
The BOC approved a 6.986 millage rate Friday morning for next year, which is down slightly from this year's rate of 6.99.
BOC chairman Kenneth Brady said a tax hike wasn't necessary due to the new construction that has come into the county over the past year.
Commissioner Pat Westmoreland pointed out that this is the third year that there has not been a millage rate increase. The millage rate for the past few years has been as follows: 7.21 in 1996; 6.97 in 1997; 7.25 in 1998; 7.00 in 1999; 6.99 in 2000; and 6.986 in 2001.
In other business, the BOC:
·approved a resolution from Development Authority chairman Jack Banks for a joint authority to be formed with Habersham County.
·agreed to a request from Banks to add $2,000 to the Business Park Road project with the money to be used for engineering work. The funds will come from the Development Authority's budget.
·approved a bid from Triple H Transport for a gravel contract. There was some discussion on the two bids the county received on the project. Shubert Hauling also submitted a bid. Todd Hiland of Triple H Transport said he based his figures on calculations of what his company did in the county this year. The other bidder was given different percentages to use in compiling his bid, according to county officials. Brady told county staff members to make sure in the future that all bidders are given the same information.
·approved a request from Perry Dalton and John Creasy of the fire department to use special purpose local option sales tax revenue to replace protective clothing, at a cost of $35,000; to update breathing apparatuses, at a cost of $35,000; and to replace three primary service trucks, at a cost of $153,000. The funds will not come from tax revenue, but will be SPLOST money allocated for use by the fire department.
·approved 911 agreements with other municipalities. 911 director Deidra Moore presented the documents for approval.
·learned that seven firms are interested in the new jail project, including: The Prad Group, Brewster and Crocker, CRA Corp., The Facility Group, Precision Planning, Moreland, Altobelli and Association and Pieper, O' Bryan and Herr. The county will select the top three companies and hear presentations from their representatives.
·agreed to begin advertising for a new recreation director. The qualifications will include a combination of experience and education and the salary will be in the $30,000 to $36,000 range, based on the qualifications.



Maysville's Banks County residents to see a 1.07 mill fire tax
The Maysville City Council has decided to initiate a fire tax on Banks County residents within the city limits to pay for fire service.
The council has enacted an ordinance to pave the way for this new tax. The process to collect the tax began by creating a fire district, called the Anderson Fire District. It encompasses the current residences of Banks County citizens living within the Maysville city limits and extends to any new annexations. The move was approved at a special called meeting Thursday.
"This is actually a complicated move," explained city attorney Gary Freeman. "Jackson County is divided into fire districts and residents in each district pay a fire tax. It is totally separate from the general fund and ad valorem taxes. Banks County includes fire service in with their ad valorem taxes."
Banks County, however, has not been reimbursing the city of Maysville for the fire protection of Banks County residents living in the Maysville city limits, said Mayor Richard Presley. Maysville has been picking up the $12,000 tab. With this ordinance, the residents will now be paying both Maysville and Banks County for fire service.
"It's the only fair thing to do," said Presley. "The Jackson County residents pay a 1.07 mill fire tax. We will assess Banks County the same rate."
The money collected through the 1.07 mills has to be used exclusively for fire protection services, said Freeman. The anticipated revenue from the fire tax is $12,173, based on the Banks County tax digest, said Maysville city clerk Lois Harper.
Freeman said he wrote a letter to the Banks County commissioners in 1999 suggesting they reimburse the city of Maysville for the fire service the Maysville city fire department provides through a contract with Jackson County. He said that he received no response.
Council member Andy Martin asked if anyone had spoken recently with the Banks County commissioners about paying the fire service fee. Freeman said no contact has been attempted recently. Presley added that though there has been no contact made with the current commission board, commissioners Ernest Rogers and Pat Westmoreland would have knowledge of the situation since they were in office in 1999. The council members said they may seek a spot on the Banks County commissioners agenda in the near future.
The city council will temporarily serve as the fire board of the Anderson Fire District.
Public hearings on the new millage rate will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 8; at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 15; and at 7 p.m. Monday, December 3.


EMA holds bio-terrorism conference
'Remain calm, be aware,' officials tell county leaders
The Banks County Emergency Management Agency held a special meeting last week on bio-terrorism and how the county would cope with such a situation.
In many counties and cities across the nation, bio-terrorism has many residents frightened, according to Milinda Dalton, EMA director.
"That's why we have gathered here," she said. "So we can dispel some of the misconceptions and let the residents of Banks County know we have a plan in place."
Deputy fire chief John Creasy led the discussion with county officials and department heads, state department representatives, police chiefs, fire chiefs and city representatives from Homer, Baldwin and Maysville.
"We are feeling the effects of bio-terrorism here in Banks County even though nothing has happened here," he began. "There have been no incidences in Georgia, as of yet. What is happening is a tremendous amount of fear. Typically, knowledge helps calm some of those fears. Also the knowledge that those who are in charge, the different departments, law enforcement, hospitals, EMA, the county as a whole, have a plan in place to deal with any situation that may arise is important."
This is not the first time an Anthrax scare has hit the United States, he said. In 1998, there was a series of alleged Anthrax letter threats. During one of those incidents, he said, a building that had an Anthrax scare was evacuated and people were stripped and hosed down.
"If I can get a bunch of people out in the street, naked, being hosed down with fire hose, if I'm a terrorist, I've won.," he said. "I don't need to have the Anthrax. Clearly, that's not the kind of response we want to have. From those incidents, that caught us unprepared, a protocol evolved.
"We don't need to implement the type of responses that the larger cities, like Los Angeles, or Miami have developed. For us, up here in a rural setting, I really don' t think that is necessary. We just need to remain calm and be aware. We are feeling terrorism here in Banks County when nothing has occurred in Banks County. So, to me, there has been quite a bit of success on the part of terrorists to have caused such a change."
He gave some facts about Anthrax that authorities could use to help calm people's fears. For instance, the quantity necessary to infect large numbers of people or even one person is enormous. Once the spores make contact with a surface, he said, they do not become airborne again. The three forms of Anthrax, cutaneous, pulmonary and gastrointestinal, are not transmissible from person-to-person, he added.
He cautioned that while some newscast reports have stated that bleach will kill the spores, it would be dangerous to spray bleach on an unknown substance due to the possible chemical reaction that could take place. In another report, he said, people were told to iron their mail, that steam would kill the spores. This is not true, he said. It would take an extended period of time to kill the spores, according to Creasy. As far as contamination of water supplies, he said it would take a huge amount of the spores or any bacterial agent to contaminate a water supply.
"It is not a high level threat," he said.
On of the biggest problems authorities face is figuring out what is actually suspicious. Calling 911 for receiving a letter just because it has no return address, as suggested by some television reporters, is not considered appropriate, said Creasy.
"It overwhelms the system," he said. "We have to react, but we have to react with some reason. If there is cause, the people need to know who to call to identify an actual threat. We need to lower the level of fear."
The best thing to do, if a substance is truly suspicious, he said, is do not touch it or move it. He said to keep people away from it and call 911. The emergency operators have a protocol in place that will allow them to assess the situation and send the appropriate authorities to evaluate whether the substance is a threat or not, he said.
"The reality is, we don't have Anthrax in Georgia," he said. "Just use your common sense and be calm."

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BOE lowers millage rate .08 percent
The Banks County Board of Education lowered the millage rate by .08 percent to 12.30 at a special called meeting Thursday night.
Also at the meeting, the board voted to accept the resignation of Joyce Massey, records clerk at Banks County High School. The board's next action was to transfer Tina Walker from receptionist to records clerk at BCHS.
The board also hired Daphne Moon, half-time media clerk and half-time kindergarten paraprofessional at Banks County Primary School; Esther Cotton, receptionist at BCHS; and Lisa Hoffman, secretary/bookkeeper at BCHS.
In an unrelated matter, the board appointed Jo Ann Cromer of Chick-Fil-A as a school council member at Banks County Middle School after the resignation of Sammy Reece.

Town elections coming up Tues. in Alto, Homer, Lula
Town elections will be held in Alto, Homer and Lula next week.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

In Homer, six people are seeking two at-large seats on the council. The candidates include: Doug Cheek, Sandra Garrison, Ricki Blackwell, Betty Borders, Bobby Caudell and Larry Whitfield.
In Lula, Milton Turner and Eddie Withrow are both running for mayor. In Post 3, Greg Smith and Vickie Chambers are the candidates.
In Alto, Donald Wade and James Lomax are the candidates in the Post 1 race.
All candidates were sent questionnaires on the upcoming election.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Banks County News.


'United We Stand' ceremony planned for Veterans Day
A special "United We Stand" ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, at Veteran's Park in Homer.
The ceremony will commemorate Veteran's Day and include a special salute to those Banks Countians currently serving in the military.
Organizers are seeking the name, rank and branch of all current military personnel as well as their parents' names and will recognize these individuals during the ceremony. They are asked to forward this information to Carol Ayers at (706) 677-3510 before November 7.


CVB to sponsor the Chamber's Nov. 8 breakfast. The November meeting of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce will be held at 8 a.m. on Thursday, November 8, at the Garrison Civic Center in Homer.
The guest speaker will be Vicki Leo of Data Survival Inc.
The Banks County Convention and Visitors' Bureau will sponsor the breakfast.