News from Madison County...

JULY 17, 2002

Madison County

Madison County

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Frank Gillespiie
Show your patriotism: register to vote
Did you really mean it when you flew the U.S. Flag last fall? Was your patriotism for real, or were you simply caught up in the moment?

Ben Munro
The off season is an unhealthy time for football addicts
If the three bits of essential info you have to know before you can start your day are the high temperature, chance of rain and how many days are left until football season, then you might want to seek counseling for being a full-fledged football fanatic.


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Junior All-Stars claim District 7 title
The Madison County Junior League National All-Stars are the 2002 District 7 champions.
The squad claimed the championship last Tuesday, downing Habersham 13-3. Madison County won four of five games in the tournament, including three straight shutout victories.

Neighboorhood News ..
$60+ million industry planned for Jackson County
Automotive air compressor plant part of Toyota empire
Plans for a $60-$100 million automobile parts manufacturing plant in Jackson County were unveiled at a ceremony Monday morning in Jefferson attended by Gov. Roy Barnes and other state and local officials.
Water board making plans for industry sewer line
40,000 ft. line will service 150,000 gal. per day for plant
The governor has made the announcement. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the Industrial Development Authority have signed the contracts.

MACI incentives from local, state governments
A comprehensive package of local and state incentives was put together as part of the deal with MACI. To offset some of the cost of local incentives, Jackson County has gotten commitments for various grants from state and federal sources.

Neighborhood News...
Bank on growth in Banks
If Banks County is going to grow, the industrial development authority plans to be ready for it.
“The wave is coming,” Banks County IDA member Jerry Boling said. “We can’t wait around and wait around to act. We must act now or we’re going to lose the opportunity.”

Lula bridge becomes historic landmark
The old railroad bridge in Lula may become the city’s first historical landmark.
Norfolk and Southern Railroad, which owns the bridge, had indicated the company may tear it down when it reaches a state of disrepair.

Homer losing money on garbage collection
During a work/training session on the budget for the City of Homer, council members found the city is losing money on garbage collection.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
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Daniel Parker, 3, pretends his hand is a camera eye as he watches a marionette at the “Circus Bezerkus” at the Madison County Library Monday.

Planners frown on 72-home subdivision
A proposed 72-home subdivision on Hwy. 72 was frowned on by county planners Tuesday.
After a lengthy public hearing, county planners declined to recommend approval of a controversial rezoning request for a major subdivision on Hwy. 72 just outside Colbert, but did approve the related rezoning of an adjacent lot for business use.
The commission voted 3-0 to deny the subdivision rezoning request presented by attorney Victor Johnson for owners Harold Gaulding, Dr. Stephen Fennel and Sonny Dinsmore. The men want to rezone a 30.08-acre portion of B-2 (business) property to R-1 (residential, one-acre minimum lot size with community water) and rezone a 79.69-acre tract from A-1 (agricultural, five-acre minimum lot size) to R-1.
The purpose of the rezones would be to combine and then subdivide the land into a major subdivision consisting of 72 one-acre lots for individual homes. According to Johnson, water would be provided by Piedmont Water Company, which currently provides water to nearby Colbert.
Several residents who own adjoining farm lands showed up to object to the rezoning, saying the development was unsuitable to the area with so many large farming operations nearby.
Another request by the same owners to rezone 11.93 acres from A-1 to B-2 was approved 3-0, contingent upon the receipt of a D.O.T. access letter approving the driveway to the lot. This lot will be combined with additional B-2 acreage for a 25-acre commercial development.
In addition to the controversy surrounding the rezoning, county planners also faced a dilemma Tuesday night — whether or not to postpone the matter or go forward with the hearing with only three participating members.
Four of the six-member panel were present Tuesday evening, but commission member Nick Paski recused himself from the matter earlier because his employer had written a letter opposin the rezoning.
Chairman Pat Mahoney and member Rob Trevena were absent.
Despite this, Johnson urged the board to go forward with the hearing, saying the fact that a quorum was present was enough to proceed, whether or not all members voted.
After a short break, Johnson then pointed out to the commission that Paski was not obligated to recuse himself under Georgia law and asked the board to have him participate.
But Paski refused to take part in the hearing, telling Johnson, “You wanted me out before the meeting.”
Zoning administrator Kim Butler told Johnson that Paski “based his decision (to recuse himself) on our (Butler, Paski, Johnson’s) conversation (about his conflict) prior to the meeting.”
With some reservation, acting board chairman Bill Holloway finally recommended the board proceed with the hearing with three members.
The board of commissioners will consider this and other zoning matters at their regular business meeting Monday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Well problem still a major concern for IDA
A technical snafu may have rendered an old well just outside Hull useless. And without the well, the development of a Hwy. 72 business park could be in jeopardy.
On Monday, industrial authority chairman Ed Brown reported that a drill bit has yet to be recovered from the old well on the controversial 80 acres the industrial authority purchased to develop commercially.
“We had a viable well that had some value, now it has no value,” said Brown.
But the chairman assured the audience that the IDA would take action to find a well.
“We’ll make appropriate decisions as we have to to make sure we have a well,” he said.
The authority needs a well to supply water to prospective businesses on the proposed business park off Hwy. 72. They also need a backup well for the Hull water system before they can legally purchase Athens-owned water lines in Hull. The takeover of those lines has been delayed until December.
The IDA hoped the old well on the property would serve both purposes.
But the bit has been in the well most of the summer and Brown acknowledged that it now seems doubtful that it will be recovered.
Brown said the well drillers were able to flush out the sediment from around the bit last week and drop a camera down in the well casing. They discovered old galvanized piping — including a large, six-inch pipe, that probably can’t be removed — settled in a cavernous area deep in the well, obstructing the bit. Brown said he thinks the bit and old debris collided and forced the bit to come unscrewed.
The IDA chairman spoke with attorney Victor Johnson of Graham Law Firm about how to proceed with covering up the well and how to negotiate with Michael Well Drillers, the company rehabilitating the well. Brown said the IDA has not paid for the project because the job is incomplete. He said the only expense so far for the project has been the money paid for the land — purchased for approximately $425,000 — and the time invested.
“All that’s tied up in the well is the land purchase and time,” he said.
While Brown acknowledged that the problems were beyond the driller’s control, Johnson advised the chairman that the company’s failure to complete the project constituted a “breach of contract.”
Brown spoke of sealing the well up with concrete and searching for another well, whether it’s through rehabilitating an old one or drilling a new one. No vote, however, was taken on the matter.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash, a non-voting member of the IDA, suggested that the drillers try “reaming through” or bypassing the old pipe and unrecovered bit. Brown and authority member Roger Tench said they would talk Tuesday with Michael Well Drillers about that possibility.
In a related matter, the authority discussed the recommendations of the Hwy. 72 business park committee, which suggested that the IDA develop the western portion of the property with small businesses, noting that the eastern portion of the land was not suitable for development.
Brown said he would like the authority to follow the recommendations of the committee as much as possible, but he doesn’t want the authority to be legally bound to the recommendations. He noted that failure to attract businesses to the property could necessitate a change of plans.
Committee member Louis Steed acknowledged that the committee was set up as an advisory board and that the recommendations may or may not be followed, depending on future circumstances.
“I don’t think we’re chipping these recommendations in granite,” he said.
In other business Monday, the authority heard from Brown, who said the IDA is planning on posting its meeting minutes, along with other information, on a web site.
The authority heard a report about the IDA’s 2001 audit, which suggests that the group improve its accounting of water use. Brown said the IDA is planning to install meters for better record keeping.
The authority briefly discussed hiring employees to oversee county water operations on a daily basis. The IDA will ask commissioners to allow any IDA water maintenance employees to be considered county employees and eligible for county benefits.
The group talked about guidelines for the county to serve as an indentured trustee — or backup caretaker — of water systems in the county. The primary concern with this is whether the county could ultimately be liable for paying for upgrades to a system that fails to meet county standards.

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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.

Hudgens hearing set for Thursday
A hearing to determine whether Ralph Hudgens is a legitimate District 47 senatorial candidate is set for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Office of State Administrative Hearings at 235 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 700, Atlanta.
Judge John B. Gatto will hear arguments from complainant Robert Johnson of Hartwell, who contends that Hudgens lives in District 49, not in District 47, and should be disqualified from this year’s state senate race. Hudgens says that he has been a District 47 resident for over a year and that he has met all guidelines to seek the senate post.
Hudgens is scheduled to face 30-year-old Democrat Robert Banks of Canon in the November general election for the newly drawn District 47 seat, which includes most of Madison County, all of Banks, Oglethorpe, Hart, Elbert and Taliaferro counties and parts of Jackson, Franklin, Habersham, Wilkes, Lincoln, Oconee, Greene, Warren and McDuffie counties.

BOE to start planning SPLOST vote
The Madison County Board of Education has decided to start planning for a new special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) vote in March 2003.
The board will create a list of projects to be financed by a new five year, one-cent tax program. The current SPLOST was used primarily for school construction, including the new Hull-Sanford school.
Superintendent Keith Cowne reaffirmed current plans to keep the current millage rate for the next year. Increases in the county tax digest will yield a greater return with the same rate.
The board decided to accept a contract from the Clarke County Board of Health to develop a tobacco use prevention program. The board had rejected the plan earlier because it called for a stop smoking program for all teachers. CCBOH agreed to drop the requirement to encourage Madison County to join. The program costs $10,000.
The board accepted bids for milk and bread for the next school year. Milk will be supplied by Pet Dairy. Bread will come from Flowers Bakery. School officials said obtaining bids has become difficult due to a lack of interest by most suppliers.
Also, the official audit of the 2001 school year has been received. The report included only two major findings, both of which have been corrected.