News from Banks County...

December 5, 2001


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OPINIONS

Letter to the Editor
Columnist living in ‘fantasy world’
Dear Editor:
Shar Porier, what tree did you fall out of? I will take your suggestion and convince all of my friends to stop buying your newspaper and save tons of trees.

Phil Sartain
Stepping out on the town
We went to New York for Thanksgiving. We saw the sights, the bright lights, and the plays. And except for one near-fatal flaw on my part, it was a perfect trip.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Banks sweeps Lumpkin
Leopards win third in a row
High school basketball doesn’t get much more exciting than it was Tuesday night.
The Leopards, who were behind most of the first half, came back in a big way to take their third straight win.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

It’s Going To Cost More To Live (And Die) In Commerce Next Year
City Council Pondering Increases In Electric, Water And Sewer Rates And The Cost Of Cemetery Lots
Members of the Commerce City Council, meeting in their first of what will be regular monthly work sessions, received the warning Monday night that both the cost of living and the cost of dying are likely to go up in 2002.

Santa to visit Hoschton, Jefferson Sat.
Santa Claus will be visiting in Jackson County Saturday, December 8, making stops in Hoschton and Jefferson.
Santa will be at the gazebo in downtown Hoschton from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with a special escort. He’ll have surprises and candy for all the children.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY

DA ‘still reviewing’ Almond case
Whether Mac Almond will be prosecuted for alleged illegalities as Comer Elementary School principal has yet to be determined.
Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Bob Lavender said he is “still reviewing” a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about Almond’s alleged misuse of school funds as principal.
“I’m still reviewing it at this point,” said Lavender.

Baker says county should review
residential planning
Madison County needs to change the way it designs residential areas, according to Jay Baker, newly employed planning director. Baker, who began work on Oct. 1, listed several new housing designs at a board of commissioners work session Monday night.
Baker overcame a computer glitch that eliminated a slide show to point out the advantages in using neighborhood development and conservation subdivisions in place of the standard cul-de-sac type developments.


 

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Playing shepherd in the manger

Kinsley Morris, 5, and her brother Wayne, 4, played shepherds in the manger scene at the Maysville Christmas Celebration Saturday.

Poultry plant will not locate in Lula
Mar Jac withdraws application. Mar Jac Poultry Company has withdrawn its request to annex 112 acres into the city of Lula to locate a poultry plant.
Council member and incoming mayor Milton Turner said: “I was surprised they (Mar Jac) pulled out. I was disappointed that we weren’t given the chance to vote on it. I see the potential loss of revenue for the town.”
According to Doug Carnes, vice president of poultry production, the company intends to present its objections to the Hall County commissioners.
Carnes explained: “We already have a hatchery on Highway 52, inside the city limits of Lula, that is zoned industrial. There is also a lumber yard on Highway 52. It is zoned industrial. We felt we were following the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and had their approval.”
Lula’s city council received a letter dated October 11 stating the commissioners’ approval of the project and support for Mar Jac’s application.
Lula mayor Tim Allen told Carnes the council had looked favorably on the feed mill project when it was first suggested in October. Carnes said: “We felt good about bringing this project into Lula. We’ve been good neighbors.”
The acreage that was to be annexed borders Cagle Road and Julian Baugh Road. It is in an area designated by Hall County as residential/agricultural and industrial due to a split by Norfolk and Southern railroad tracks. The side of the tracks to the northwest, toward Highway 365, is considered suitable for industrial development; while the southeast side is being considered urban, according to Hall County documents.
Though the mill was proposed to be built in the industrial area, it received heated opposition from would-be neighbors on Julian Baugh Road.
Overwhelming area resistance caused the Hall County commissioners to recant their approval of the project, and in a letter to the Lula City Council November 7, they asked that the city “not support this development.”
The same outpouring of negative-impact fears was voiced at Lula’s special public hearing last week. Though the citizens who most opposed the project were not residents of Lula, as indicated by a show of hands, their angry voices appeared to cause the city council to rethink its original position. Allen indicated the council would not vote in favor of the rezoning and annexation at the end of the hearing.
Turner said many residents of Lula had come to him after the hearing offering their support for the mill. He said they were afraid to speak up and so said nothing. Of the estimated 400 people in attendance that night, Turner said only about 20 percent represented Lula residents.
Carnes said Mar Jac would consider any legal options open to the company in defense of its project.
“We will be exploring different options,” he said.


Christmas at the Fort event ahead Sat.
An open house celebrating Christmas will be held at the historic fort in Hollingsworth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 8.
The fort is located off old Highway 441 between Baldwin and Homer on Wynn Lake Road. For more information, call (706)754-4538 or send email to wmote@habersham.net.

Holiday home tour to be held in Maysville
The Maysville Beautification Committee will be sponsoring a Holiday Home Tour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 15.
Tickets are $2 and can be purchased at Maysville City Hall or at The Short Stop. An itinerary and map will be provided for drive-by and walk-in homes that are decorated for the holidays.
All proceeds from the tour will be used to improve Veteran’s Park.
Call Katherine Daniels at (706) 652-3013 or (706)653-2565 for more information.

Relay for Life’ breakfast set for Dec. 18
The Banks County ‘Relay for Life’ committee will be holding a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 18, at the Banks Crossing Hampton Inn.
The purpose of the breakfast will be to encourage area businesses to participate in sponsorship of the first-ever ‘Relay for Life’ in Banks County, say organizers.
All area businesses, from “mom-and-pop” operations to corporations, are encouraged to attend and lend their support to the annual May fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.
For more information, call Penny Burgess at (770) 869-3021.


Maysville approves millage hike
A hotly debated millage rate increase is now set in stone in Maysville.
The city council unanimously approved Monday night raising the millage rate from 1.5 mills to three mills. But the council’s decision didn’t come without some dissent from the town’s citizens.
“It’s outrageous to double the millage rate without making adjustments and trying to ease it up a half a mil at a time,” Bud Dyer said. “I think it’s foolish.”
Dyer also asked what new services the citizens would be receiving for the increase in taxes.
Mayor Richard Presley explained that the increase wasn’t all to pay for new services, though the town did budget $10,000 to establish a downtown development authority and an additional $4,000 for grass cutting. The city also budgeted money for a two percent employee raise and three percent department head raise.
“We expect a downfall in sales tax revenue,” Presley said. “If it goes down, we need a cushion to have money to operate the city on. I’d rather have money coming in than have to go borrow money to operate on. It’s not that we’re spending more money. We need money to operate the programs already in place.”
Water and sewer department head Ralph Sailors pointed out that the millage rate increase and raises did not affect the water department.
The council also voted Monday to levy a fire tax of 1.07 mills on the Banks County side of Maysville in the newly formed Anderson Fire District.
The tax is another sore spot with city residents. Many of them, who pay taxes to Banks County that covers fire service, claim double taxation.
City attorney Gary Freeman told the citizens that the taxes they pay to Banks County went into the county’s general fund and were then disbursed to the county fire department. He also said several years ago Banks County stopped reimbursing the Maysville Fire District for the money Maysville citizens paid to the county. Banks does not provide fire protection in Maysville.
Freeman said the new tax on the Banks County side equalizes what all the citizens of Maysville pay for fire protection in the city.
Presley added that the city had approached the Banks County Board of Commissioners nearly a month ago to resolve the issue.
“Nothing happened,” he said.
Freeman said the situation was difficult because the city was still negotiating allocations from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
“Those allocations are not written in stone,” he said. “We’re talking about several hundred thousand dollars there. The ad valorem is just a fraction of the city budget. It’s hard to bring up that issue knowing we have to work on the other issue (sales tax).”



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Family Connection holiday program gets big response
The program to help needy families in Banks County over the holidays has exceeded all anticipation, according to Robin Trotter, director of Family Connections.
The collaborative organization, working with Generous Hearts, has solicited the department of family and children services, churches and schools to find families who could use some help brightening their children’s Christmases.
So far, said Trotter, Family Connections has received the names of 270 children and has been busy buying toys to wrap for Christmas.
“The response from businesses and churches has been more than we expected,” said Trotter at last week’s meeting.
Donations of food products, money and toys have been coming in steadily.
“The elementary school donated over 2,000 items of food for our families,” she said.
A celebration is planned for January for those helping out with the program.
“We will let everyone know how many families were helped,” she said. “We need to show our appreciation for what they have done for the community.”
The group is looking for volunteers to wrap presents and make up the food baskets on Monday, Dec 10; Tuesday, Dec, 11; and Thursday, Dec.13.
For more information, call Trotter at 677-1303.


Maysville City Hall shorting out
Something is not right about the wiring in the Maysville City Hall.
“If you turn the copy machine on, it kicks the breaker off,” Mayor Richard Presley said. “Then the city hall doesn’t have lights.”
Presley told the council Monday that a representative from Hill Electric Company inspected the wiring and said the city hall needed to be entirely rewired.
“I’d like to get some bids this week and take the lowest bid before we have a fire,” Presley said. “It’s a hazard.”
Presley said he had tried to get bids on the project but Hill was the only company that responded. The council authorized Presley to continue to seek bids through Tuesday and then hire Hill for the project if no more were received.
In other business Monday night, the city council:
•agreed to appoint Presley and Andy Martin as the city’s representatives for the Jackson County Comprehensive Planning board.
•learned that fences had been installed around the city’s well heads.
•approved a well head protection plan. The plan, required by the state, identifies the city’s well locations and their surroundings and lists the well head protection teams and the city’s backup water system.
•learned that the city is continuing to look into alternative employee health care insurance providers.
•agreed to accept the old city hall building on a donation from the Maysville Community Club. The building will be moved to the city park once the council determines its exact location there.
•agreed to allow city attorney Gary Freeman to draft a resolution establishing areas of the city as needing to be revitalized. Freeman said the resolution will allow the city more flexibility to work to improve the downtown area and spur downtown growth.