News from Madison County...

January 16, 2002


Madison County
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Madison County H.S.
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespi
Happy birthday,
Robert E. Lee
Happy Birthday to Robert E. Lee, a figure from our history who deserves our highest respect.
This war hero was the only man to complete his studies at West Point without receiving one demerit. In his military career, he always gave credit for victories to his subordinates, but took personal blame for his defeats.

Zach Mitcham
The growth dilemma

The newest county controversy — a proposed industrial park in Hull — is of utmost significance in the lives of those who may be affected and for the future of Madison County.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders making progress according to coach
Boys’ squad faces tough tests in Franklin, Oconee and Hart this week. Despite a tough subregion setback to Elbert County, Raider coach Steve Crouse said his team might be playing its sharpest ball of the year.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

Jefferson seeks purchase of Wilkins building for civic center
Jefferson leaders would like to locate a civic center in a vacant building in the downtown area.
The Jefferson City Council authorized Mayor Jim Joiner on Monday night to negotiate with the owners of Wilkins Industry to purchase the building to be used as a civic center. The action came after a 10-minute closed session to discuss real estate acquisition.

Braselton city planners approve 175-home project
But delay requested before city council takes up plan
A proposed 175-home development along Hwy. 124 received a recommended nod of approval from the Braselton Planning Commission last week, but the developers later asked for a 30-day delay before the Braselton City Council makes a final decision.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Saying ‘goodbye’ after 23 years
Avis Lewallen retires as county clerk
Avis Lewallen, county clerk, said goodbye Friday to her co-workers and dozens of county employees, past and present, who had come to wish her well.

Gillsville could lose LOST funds
Gillsville’s city council discussed the prospect of losing a share of the Hall County Local Option Sales Tax at last week’s meeting.
Mayor Larry Poole said he had attended two planning meetings so far and the county is leaning toward eliminating the process of disbursement according to population.


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AARON RECOGNIZED

Madison County superintendent Keith Cowne and middle school principal Pam Chrisohon present a certificate to Madison County “Teacher of the Year” Shirley Aaron (center) at Tuesday night’s county school board meeting. Photo by Frank Gillispie


Multi-district plan hits snag
Beatty says he won’t support BOE proposal to rearrange districts
Reapportionment plans for the Madison County Board of Education may have to be redrawn.
State Senator Mike Beatty, who must submit the plan in the Georgia Senate for approval, informed Superintendent Keith Cowne that he cannot support the multi-seat districts as currently proposed.
Rep. Ralph Hudgens had suggested the current plan that creates two two-seat districts and one one-seat district as a way to avoid having current board members from having to compete for a seat.
Senator Beatty is one of several Republicans who are pushing a reapportionment bill that would eliminate multi-seat districts and require that cities and counties be kept intact when possible. Cowne quoted Senator Beatty as saying he cannot support this multi-seat plan while pushing for a ban on all multi-seat districts.
The redistricting plan, required by the 2000 census, must be approved by the state legislature. Local delegations usually must agree on the plan before the legislature will give its approval.
A meeting between the board and Beatty is being scheduled for next week. No date was set as of press time.
Mrs. Shirley Aaron of Madison County Middle School has been named the system’s “Teacher of the Year.” She was presented with a certificate by Superintendent Cowne and MCMS Principal Pam Chrisohon. Chrisohon described Aaron as an “outstanding role model for staff and students.”
In other actions, the board heard a report that the school systems $800,000 loan was paid off on Dec. 31 at a cost of $5,700 interest. One year ago, interest on borrowed money ran approximately $20,000
The board approved an overnight field trip to Camp Wahsega by the fourth grade of Danielsville Elementary School.
They approved the 2002-2003 school calendar.
They agreed to keep the board meeting calendar unchanged at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the high school media center.
They approved a resolution allowing up to three students who are not interested in academic advancement to attend a Technical Career Academy at Athens Tech.


Industrial park opponents turned away by BOC
Angry Hull residents packed the county commission meeting room Monday night eager to have it out with the BOC over an industrial park planned just east of the city limits.
They walked away even angrier.
Madison County commissioners voted Monday not to “suspend the rules” to allow discussion of industrial park plans, an item not on the meeting agenda Monday.
Bill Taylor and Johnny Fitzpatrick voted against “suspending the rules,” while Michael Youngblood, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted in favor of allowing the crowd to have its say. Under current county policy, “suspension of the rules” requires a unanimous vote — though the board plans to change the requirement to a two-thirds, or majority vote when it adopts its new county policy in two weeks.
Audience member Doug Epps stood up after the vote and told the crowd that “we know which two to vote off the board now...”
The commissioners then left the room to discuss a litigation matter privately for over an hour. Most of the crowd left by the time the board returned.
The county industrial authority recently purchased approximately 80 acres just east of Hull for $425,000 for an industrial park. The action came just months after the BOC denied a cold storage plant for the area after hearing considerable opposition to the plan.
Supporters of the park say the county must have more business growth to offset the increasing tax burden on homeowners.
But opponents maintain that a park would be ill-suited for the area, particularly in terms of traffic.


County to approve policy changes Jan. 28
Madison County commissioners will approve an annual update of county governing policies at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting.
A proposed amendment to the current policy would eliminate the unanimous vote requirement for allowance of discussion of non-agenda items. Another change proposed by commissioner Mike Youngblood would require BOC-appointed boards to provide meeting minutes to each commissioner within a specified time frame.
The group plans to add more specificity to the policy on how legal fees will be covered by the county for employees facing legal action.
The commissioners will also prohibit 411 calls by county employees for local telephone numbers. Once the new policy is approved, employees using the information service on their phone lines will be required to pay for each 411 call. This is to force employees to use a phone book instead of dialing 411 at a cost of 85 to 95 cents to the county. County clerk Morris Fortson told commissioners that county employees tallied $513 in 411 charges last year. Phone records also show operator-assisted interruption calls at over $12 each as well as some 900 calls on employee phone lines.
Here’s a brief recap of other actions Monday:
FITZPATRICK NAMED
VICE-CHAIRMAN
Johnny Fitzpatrick was approved as the commission vice-chairman in 2002, with Fitzpatrick providing the lone “no” vote to the nomination. Rebecca Duncan was put in charge of receiving sexual harassment complaints in the county government in 2002.
REC MEETING PLANNED
In a separate matter, the commissioners agreed to meet Monday at 6:30 p.m. with representatives from the recreation board, Little League and Madison County Youth Association. The meeting will focus on a proposed $5 fee increase for sports at the recreation department.
PLANNING DECISION UPHELD
The commissioners upheld a planning commission decision to deny a request by Donald Williams to place a home on his 1.54-acre property. One home is already located on the property and commissioners said the proposal does not meet county zoning standards.
DANGEROUS
DOGS DISCUSSED
The commissioners heard from Gloria House of Northwood Circle, who said stray dogs roam her neighborhood, threatening her and her husband. She said she feels each dog in the county should be licensed annually — $5 for neutered animals and $20 for those not neutered. House maintained that such action would pay for a shelter and an animal control officer, while allowing lost dogs to be more easily located. House also said something must be done to keep people from turning their yards into junkyards.
HWY. 98 TURN LANE PLANNED
The Georgia Department of Transportation has agreed to construct a turn lane on Hwy. 98 in front of the county library, senior center, recreation department and Fine Finish. The county agreed Monday to build up the shoulder of the road with dirt taken from the new jail construction site.
ROAD RESURFACING APPROVED
The board approved the resurfacing of Garnett Ward Road, Gunnells Road, Lord Fleming Road and Paoli Road with the state’s Local Assistance Road Program (LARP) funds. Chairman Wesley Nash said paving and resurfacing in the county will be very limited in 2002 because most of the county road funds will go toward widening the Commerce-Neece Road.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the board agreed to rescind is recent denial of final plans for Rose Hill Subdivision on 89 acres off Nowhere Road.
The board approved maintenance contracts for the 911 department, covering such items as radios, electrical generators and computer software.
The commissioners approved a 45 mph speed limit for Hudson River Church Road.
The board voted not to purchase a copier for the recreation department after Scogin questioned the fairness of how quotes were obtained for the equipment. The board agreed to seek new bids for the item.
The commissioners named Robert Lowery to the Northeast Georgia Mental Health Board.


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Planners put brakes on subdivision
County planners put the brakes on plans for another major subdivision along the heavily traveled Colbert-Danielsville Road at Tuesday night’s planning and zoning public hearings.
Planning and zoning commission members voted 4 - 1 to recommend denial of two related requests by Phil Munro, representing property owners Nelson and Annette Shubert, to rezone a 13.67-acre tract on Colbert Danielsville Road and a 41.33-acre tract on neighboring Kincaid Road from A-1 (agricultural, 5-acre minimum) to R-1 (residential, 1.5-acre minimum).
Acting chairman Roy Gandy supplied the lone vote against denial.
Munro said the Shuberts want to construct 1,600-minimum square foot site built homes on 1.5-acre lots, each with its own well and septic tank.
The Shuberts have already built homes in several subdivisions in the area and have just designed and built homes in Ashley Court, a subdivision just across the road from the tracts in question.
A number of neighbors showed up to protest the request, citing the familiar issues of traffic and water concerns in the area.
Many were also concerned with the fact that Kincaid Road, a dirt road, enters Colbert Danielsville Road on a blind hill, arguing that more homes on the road would significantly increase traffic accidents.


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.