News from Madison County...

March 6, 2002


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespiie

Madison County needs retail businesses
Did you know that Madison County shoppers are helping finance wasteful spending in Athens-Clarke County? Our neighbor receives $87 million for each one-cent special sales tax they collect. Madison County gets less than $5 million per one cent of tax. Why?

Margie Richards
Beach Music
The Eagles, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, The Bee Gees, Elton John, John Lennon, (...even David Gates and Bread)
The music of the 70s for me has always invoked the memory of a special time of growing up, of school dances (we called them sock hops), and goofing off with friends — and now it will invoke another — the memory of a rainy weekend by the sea with four good friends, listening to some of that same music.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders win wild opener over Morgan Co.
Madison County carries last inning 8-7 win into this week’s contests
It’s certainly not the blueprint for success the Raiders would have liked to follow in their season opener, but they’ll take being 1-0 nevertheless.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

BOC holds weekend ‘retreat’ to discuss courthouse, other items
Dates for district meetings; alternative site rejected
With the controversy over a proposed site for a new courthouse gathering steam, members of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners went to the North Georgia mountains last weekend for a “retreat” to discuss that issue, among other county items.

Jefferson IDA offers $10,000 for professional courthouse study
The Jefferson Industrial Development Authority voted Wednesday to offer the Jackson County Board of Commissioners $10,000 to help fund a professional study on where a new courthouse should be located in Jefferson.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Moon to retire, Bertrang to take over at BCES
There will be two big changes at Banks County schools in August aside from the earlier start time. Both Banks County Elementary School and Banks County High School will be under new leadership, though at this point it’s uncertain who will lead the high school.

BCHS ranks fourth in state in graduation test science segment
Banks County High School ranked fourth in that state on the science portion of the high school graduation test with 83 percent of the student body passing, according to the Georgia Department of Education’s website.


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‘MCHS Stars’

STAR STUDENT, TEACHER NAMED

Elizabeth Bleakley has been named Madison County High School’s “Star Student” for the 2001-2002 school year. She is pictured with “Star Teacher,” Leigh Ann Munro, who described Bleakley as “everything you’d expect of a star student.” “Elizabeth is extremely well-rounded and always accepts honors with grace,” said Munro. Bleakley, who plans to study microbiology, said Mrs. Munro helped her get an internship in microbiology at the University of Georgia. “She’s really helped me and encouraged me along the way,” said Bleakley about her favorite teacher. To be named “Star Student,” scholars must have the highest SAT score in their class and be ranked in the top 10 percent of their class. Bleakley scored a 1,340 on the SAT.


IDA tables Scoggins’ resignation request
The Madison County Industrial Authority voted Friday morning to table action on a letter of resignation from John Scoggins.
Scoggins was removed from the IDA by the board of commissioners but continues to work under a contract with the authority to develop and oversee the Hull water system. Scoggins was hired at $400 per week to complete a list of actions including rehabilitation of the Hwy 72 well, building water lines to the Hull intersection and preparing to take control of the water system from Athens-Clarke County.
The motion to table Scoggins’ resignation included instructions that he is to continue working on the project until he completes them or until a suitable replacement is found.
The authority is trying to get all the work done in order to assume control of the water system by June 2002. According to the IDA, if Scoggins is replaced, the new director will have to be brought up to speed on the projects, further delaying work and any new managers will likely charge a larger fee for the work.
Representatives of Carter and Sloope were asked to prepare a cost and time estimate to complete the work in time for a joint BOC/IDA work session at 6 p.m., March 12 in the BOC meeting room. They agreed to have the material ready by that time. Commissioner Mike Youngblood asked if other interested parties were welcome to submit bids. Acting Chairman Tom Joiner agreed. Authority Attorney Victor Johnson said that a competitive bid might be required for any new contract.
Joiner was also concerned that the authority be at full strength before making additional decisions. He was assured that the board of commissioners will fill the vacant seat at their scheduled meeting on March 11.
The authority then decided to move their March meeting to Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m. to give the new member time to study the issues and to allow for more public input. The current meeting time is the second Tuesday at 8:15 a.m. Citizens who have questions for the authority are urged to submit them in writing in advance so that members of the authority will have time to research the questions and give more accurate answers.


Debate to continue Monday over IDA, industrial park
The debates surrounding the county industrial authority and its recent purchase of 80 acres for a proposed industrial park will continue Monday.
The agenda for Monday’s Madison County Board of Commissioners’ meeting includes several items related to the recent uproar. Frequent meeting attendee Jim Warren is scheduled to discuss “IDA and land,” “IDA and water” and “planning and zoning.” Commissioner Bruce Scogin will discuss an “appointment to the IDA” and “appointments to the Hwy. 72 business park committee.” Park opponent Lamar Stephens will discuss “IDA and the Hull well and water system situation.”
For the complete BOC agenda, see this weeks Madison County Journal


Ila leaders focus on need for increased law enforcement
Concerns over cars parked in the road, stray dogs and other nuisance complaints were the main focus of Ila’s city council meeting Monday night.
And the council hopes to set up a meeting with Sheriff Clayton Lowe later this month to discuss the town’s need for a greater law enforcement presence.
The subject came up at the meeting after Ila resident Jimmy Jones came before the council to complain about problems with his neighbors parking in the street, being too loud at times and allowing their dogs to roam loose.
Jones told council members that he has had numerous problems with neighbors parking in the street near his home, often for long periods of time. He also said neighborhood dogs often come into his yard leaving waste and sometimes acting in a threatening manner toward him.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


City of Danielsville charged schools, county gov’t incorrect water rates
Danielsville council members met behind closed doors for about 30 minutes Monday to discuss potential litigation over incorrect water billing of the county school system and the county government.
Mayor Glenn Cross told audience members that the city of Danielsville has charged the county school system and the county government out-of-city water rates instead of inside-the-city rates for an unspecified period of time.
School superintendent Keith Cowne was on hand Monday to meet with the council about the matter. But city attorney Victor Johnson said he would speak with the school system’s legal counsel before talking with Cowne this week.
Johnson said the city will try to clarify “what happened and what we need to do to remedy it.”
Water rates for 15,001 to 50,000 gallons are $6 per thousand gallons for in-city use, compared to $9 per thousand for out-of-city customers. For over 50,000, the in-city rate is $8 per thousand gallons, compared to $12 per thousand for out-of-city customers.
In other business Monday, the council approved a new health insurance plan with English and Alford Inc. for the city’s five employees. The new plan, which will cost the city $267.67 per employee per month, will include dental coverage paid for by the employees. City officials said the new plan costs less than the previous policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield and will save the city approximately $6,000 this year.
The council also considered but took no action on a proposed $22,420 upgrade to the city computer system.
The group discussed an amendment to the city ordinances which will allow water customers one adjustment per year on their water bills with proof of a water leak. The amendment will be officially approved at the next council meeting.
The council agreed to let Michael Tittle dig graves at the city cemetery. The group approved a contract with Shelton Roofing for $7,850 for roofing work at the offices of Dr. James Haymore and Dr. Bob Hooper.
The council heard from Jerry Riley, who said that the Danielsville Spring Fling yard sale will be held April 20 with a rain date of April 27.
The group opened the meeting posing for a photo with DARE officer David Patton, who thanked the council for supporting the DARE program.


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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.


Colbert seeks elevated rail crossings
Colbert’s city council and county commissioner Bruce Scogin are joining forces to seek one or more elevated crossings of the CSX railroad off Hwy. 72.
Council member Julian Davis, a retired railroad agent, told the Monday night meeting of the city council that overpasses are the only practical way of solving the problem of trains blocking crossings. He pointed out that only two overpasses are located in Madison County, both in the Carlton area.
Crossings in and between Hull, Colbert and Comer are often blocked by slow moving or parked trains. CSX railroad is a single line in most areas with periodic sidings where trains are forced to park while other trains going the opposite direction pass. Many of these parked trains block county roads for relatively long periods of time. County ordinances against trains blocking roads proved to be ineffective.
Davis is calling for three over or underpasses, one between Hull and Colbert at the James Holcomb Road or the Poke Miller Road, one east of Colbert and one in Comer. He suggested that CSX might be willing to contribute some part of the cost as a way to improve safety on the railroad.
Commissioner Scogin promised to seek BOC support in the form of a resolution stating the need for the crossings. Mayor John Waggoner reported that he has mailed a letter to CSX asking if they would agree to the overpasses.
“If they refuse, it is a moot matter,” he said.
CLEAN AIR COMMITTEE
Mayor Waggoner also reported that a “clean air committee” is being formed to work with Parallam. He and Commissioner Scogin each named three members. Scogin added an alternate member.
The committee includes councilman Jeff Roberts, Patty Bidinger, Nick Paski, Barbarianne Gaulding-Russell, Tony Mattox, Charles Poss and alternate Chip Chandler.
SCHOOL REPAIRS
Colbert has received a $4,000 grant from the India Benton Lesser Foundation for repairs on the old school building. The request was for $100,000. The council decided to use the money to hire an engineer to evaluate the building and determine which repairs are most critical, then seek additional funding.
OTHER BUSINESS
At the request of the city council, the Colbert Volunteer Fire Department submitted a summary of expenses paid from city grants. Councilman Davis praised the firemen saying, “They are using the money the way it ought to be used.”
Colbert’s state mandated amendment to the Erosion and Sediment Control ordinance was not received by the state government in time and the city is no longer authorized to issue soil erosion permits. Mayor Waggoner said that the county has the same problem, but they expect to clear the issue soon He suggested that once the county problem is solved, the city should contract with the county to issue the permits.
The city continues to prepare for summer water needs. The well at the city park has been approved by EPD and should be on line within two months. Piedmont Water has completed repairs on the automatic system on the city water tank and it is working. Pipes for two new subdivisions have been installed.
Colbert received a check for $1,805.90 from Piedmont Well for January billing. The city transferred 10% of the amount to the fire department as required by a city ordinance.
The city agreed to keep their insurance with Chastain-Smith-Boley Brown at a cost of $7,490.00, up from the $6,379.00 price last year. An increase in the value of city property and concerns about homeland security were listed as causes for the increase.