News from Banks County...

November 7, 2001

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

Tues., Nov. 6

among all
Georgia weekly newspapers
by the Georgia Press Association

June 29, 2001

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Phillip Sartain
Garage tales

I just cleaned out our garage for the 10th time in the last 10 years. And let's be honest here - it was just as useless an effort as the first nine times.

Shar Porier
A tale of two taxes

It's been rough these past few weeks on the city councils of Baldwin and Maysville.


Directions to Area Schools

The drought has ended
Leopards come from behind to take second win.
Mix in a few explosive offensive plays, add a pinch of strong second-half defense, pour in the full moon, and you've got the Leopards' sweet victory concoction.

Neighboorhood News ..
Jefferson, Braselton get new mayors
Long-time mayors Bruce, Braselton fall to challengers.
Two long-time Jackson County political icons were defeated in town elections Tuesday.

Maxwell Turns Back Kesler In Nicholson
Incumbents Chaney, Harris And Seabolt Win In Commerce; Jim Joiner Is New Jefferson Mayor.
Ronnie Maxwell was re-elected mayor in Nicholson, all Commerce incumbents won easily and Jefferson has a new mayor following Monday's municipal elections.

Neighboorhood News ..
Comer mayor's race still to be decided William Burroughs will face Sue Carithers in a runoff in the Comer mayor's race Nov. 27.

Comer faces $30,000 shortfall
Comer faces a $30,000 shortfall in its 2002 budget unless changes are made, said outgoing mayor Chris NeSmith.
If revenues and expenses remain the same as 2001, the city will exhaust its reserves and go into negative financing.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Flag presented for Sunday's program

Casey Wilson presented an American flag to the "United We Stand" committee to be used at the ceremony at Veteran's Park on Sunday, November 11. Committee members Carla Brooks, Carol Ayers, Mattie Ayers and Janet Galloway accepted the flag on behalf of the committee.

Election results in
Alto council seat decided by one vote. City elections were held in Alto, Homer and Lula on Tuesday with the closest race being in Alto where a council seat was decided by one vote.
Donald Wade won the Post 1 council seat in Alto with 21 votes, while James Lomax had 20 votes.
In Homer, those elected to five city council seats were: Doug Cheek, 90; Betty Borders, 83; Sandra K. Garrison, 75; Larry Whitfield, 72; and Bobby Joe Caudell, 68. The only other candidate in this race was Ricki E. Blackwell, who received 37 votes.
In Lula, Milton Turner won in the mayor's race, with 103 votes, over Eddie Withrow, who had 94 votes. In Post 3, Vickie Chambers won with 133 votes against Greg Smith, who had 56 votes.

Tues., Nov. 6

CVB adopts articles of incorporation
Separation from chamber complete. The Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau is now a separate entity as the board voted last week to adopt articles of incorporation.
For the past 10 years, the CVB has been, more or less, a branch of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce that shared staff and office space at the historic Courthouse in Homer.
Now that it is an organization in its own right, Alicia Andrews, CVB co-chairperson, said: "The county has two strong service organizations, the CVB and the Chamber, working together to get our message across to bring more industry and tourism into Banks."
The CVB promotes tourism, conventions and trade shows in Banks County and uses a variety of methods to get the message, "There's something for everyone in Banks County," out to the public, said Bonnie Johnson, CVB president. Brochures are placed in all the motels and hotels and at businesses at Banks Crossing, as well as at Georgia Welcome Centers, she said. Some are mailed out to interested callers, said Sherry Ward, executive director.
"We get a number of hits on the web- site," said Johnson.
People look for interesting, historical places to visit as well as looking for places to stay while they shop at the Tanger Outlet Malls and the Pottery, she said. There are also billboard, magazine and radio ads that promote Banks County, she added.
CVB co-chairperson and Holiday Inn manager Carolyn Harvel said: "This organization is committed to make Banks County the best place to stay. We try to bring in tour buses for shopping trips and they stay in our hotels and motels. That brings in the money to pay for the CVB's projects."
The CVB is funded through a 40 percent share of the hotel/motel tax collected by the county, said Johnson. County records show the organization has received $899,952 from the tax since its inception 10 years ago. So far this year, it has received $112,960.
Andrews said over $280,000 was spent on the renovations of the historic courthouse in the early 1990s. As a registered historic site, the restoration was done to bring in visitors, she said.
More recently, the CVB has been contributing to the Banks Crossing Beautification Project, currently in its second phase, said Andrews. This $1.150 million project is to install decorative lamp posts, irrigation, sidewalks, greenery and landscaping along Highway 441 at Banks Crossing. It is funded in part by grants from the federal government through the department of transportation. The CVB holds the responsibility for $230,000 of that sum.
"We've paid off the $10,000 due for Phase I, which was the design and development of the project," said Andrews.
The board says the project will enhance the Banks Crossing area and make everything more accessible to visitors. It also sees it as a way to encourage new business to move to the Banks Crossing area.
"If the area is attractive, we will be able to attract companies to move here," said Harvel.
One of the first items the board will be working on is to recruit more board members to comply with the articles of incorporation. They will be seeking two representatives from hotel, motel, or other lodging facilities, two representatives from retail industries, one representative from the restaurant or food service industry, one representative from the real estate industry, one media representative, one agribusiness representative and one member at large. The president and the executive director of the CVB are also included on the board. The board recently selected area business people and will be contacting them about serving.
Another important matter is the new budget for the year 2002. Work sessions have not yet been scheduled, but the board anticipates completing the budget in time for a meeting early in January.
They are also discussing increasing membership in the organization and may initiate annual dues.
For more information on the CVB, call (706) 677-5265.

CVB holds open house
New office located at Bonnie Johnson's house.
The Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc. held an open house last week at its new office.
The CVB board has opened an office in the basement apartment of the home of Bonnie Johnson, president. The new office is provided free of charge by Johnson. It will serve as the new headquarters of the non-profit organization formed 12 years ago to promote tourism in Banks County.
Johnson explained that the office had just been set up with the new furniture and computer coming only a few days prior to the open house. "We just started this October 15," she said.
Mark Valentine, Tanger 1 manager and CVB board member, had offered the organization one of the vacant store fronts at the outlet mall for use as an office free of charge. However, according to Johnson, the offer would expire after one year. After that, if a business wanted to lease the space occupied by the CVB, they would have to vacate.
"We just didn't want to go into a place and have to leave after one year," said Johnson.
She also cited start-up costs, such as furniture, insurance and utilities, as other reasons the board chose to accept her offer.
"They figured it would cost us at least $1,000 a month," she said. "I was more than happy to offer this for free, no rent, no utilities, until something permanent can be built."
Board members said they envision building a convention center and CVB office on land in the Banks Crossing vicinity at some time in the future. "Right now, we just don't have the money," said Johnson. "Since we [CVB] have not been contacted in 12 years at a local location, nobody came to the chamber door asking about the CVB or did anything to see an office, we decided we could do this and save the money."
Though the Banks County Chamber of Commerce owns land in Homer where a civic center was proposed to be built some years ago, Johnson said that location is too far from Banks Crossing. She said the office needs to have been where it would receive the most traffic and the Banks Crossing area would provide higher visibility. Johnson said she isn't sure how long it would take to acquire an appropriate location and construct the building.
"Right now, we just don't know," she said. "We have a commitment to the Banks Crossing Beautification Project. That takes a lot of our money right now."
Previously, the CVB had shared office space with the Banks County Chamber of Commerce office in the old historic courthouse in Homer. Recently, the two groups made the decision to separate operations.

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Veterans Day events planned
Banks Countians who are currently serving in the military will be honored along with veterans at a special "United We Stand" ceremony to be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, at Veterans Park in Homer.
The program will be as follows:
·flag presentation, Homer American Legion Post.
·National Anthem, Erin Gordon.
·Opening comments and prayer, Robert Hill.
·Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance, Diane Purcell.
·Pledge of Allegiance led by Leon Ray, mayor of Homer, and Banks County firefighters.
·"Ragged Old Flag," the Rev. Jim McLendon.
·"America the Beautiful," Jack Banks.
·Remembrance of veterans, Bobby Blackwell.
·Wreath presentation, Kenneth Brady, Banks County Board of Commission chairman.
·Songs, Jack Banks and Mark Garrison.
·Recognition of troops and families, the Rev. Jim McLendon.
·Prayer for troops, the Rev. Jim McLendon.
·"I Am the Flag," Carla Brooks.
·Closing prayer, Jeff Appling.
·"God Bless the USA," closing song, led by Dennis Gordon.
Carol Ayers, advisory committee member, said names of service men and women can still be added to the list. For more information, call Ayers at 677-3510.
Banks County High School will honor the men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States with an event planned for 2:30 p.m. Friday, November 9, at the high school auditorium.
"We honor these heroic people for what they sacrificed and for what they have given of themselves," leaders said. "Members of our faculty, members of the community and parents of our students who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States are cordially invited to attend, along with anyone who would like to honor these courageous men and women who have risked all to preserve our freedom."

Banks commissioners to again seek bids on gravel project
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has rejected gravel contracts from two firms following controversy over how bids were taken.
The BOC had earlier awarded the contract to Triple H Transport, but the board reversed this action Friday and agreed to rebid the project. Shubert Hauling had also submitted a bid for the project. The controversy arose over what information the two firms were given before the bids were taken. One bidder was apparently given one set of percentages to use, while the other bidder didn't receive this information.
At Friday's BOC meeting, Todd Hiland and Larry Shubert spoke on the process. Shubert is upset that figures were submitted to the county after the bids were opened.
Hiland suggested that the project be split with his company being given the Homer portion of the contract and Shubert's be given the other work or the entire project being rebid.
Commissioner Ernest Rogers suggested that a pre-bid conference be held with those interested in submitting a bid for the project.
BOC chairman Kenneth Brady suggested that all information on bids go into the paper and no additional information be given. He also agreed that a pre-bid conference would be a good idea.
"We can't make the rules up after we put it in the paper," Brady said.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Banks County News.