News from Banks County...

AUGUST 14, 2002


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OPINIONS
Rochelle Beckstein
Waste not, want not
Paper towels. Paper napkins. Toilet paper. Paper plates. Plastic spoons and forks. Sandwich baggies. Ziploc bags.

Phillip Sartain
Found and lost
Last week I found a wad of money in my pants pocket while dressing for work. It was such an unexpected pleasure that I did a little celebration jig in the bedroom. But that was before I took the time to stop and think about my good fortune.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Fast-pitch frenzy
If Friday’s intersquad softball game did anything, it gave head coach Kevin Gaines the first look at his team’s performance.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

BOE Wants New CMS Finished By Jan. 1, 2004
School bells should ring at the new Commerce Middle School by January 2004, according to Commerce city schools superintendent Larry White.

Primary election on tap Tues.
District 3 BOC seat, two county BOE posts to be filled in voting
Jackson County voters living in the northern and western ends of the county will be the only ones to decide local races in the Aug. 20 election.

More commercial development planned near Chateau Elan
Two proposals scheduled to be heard by the Braselton Planning Commission on Aug. 19 could bring more than 380,000 square-feet of commercial development and 185 homes to the Chateau Elan area.

Beshara, Presley square off in Hoschton
Candidates in one of the most closely-watched local political races met in a political forum for the first — and last — time Tuesday night in Hoschton.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
BOE post up for grabs
Madison County District 1 voters will choose Tuesday between school board incumbent Robert Haggard and challenger Greg Bleakley.

Rec leaders, BOC discuss Perpall’s recent reprimand
The recent BOC reprimand of recreation director Dick Perpall was again a source of contention Thursday night, as commissioners met with recreation board and Little League board members.

County sued over denial of Hwy. 72 rezoning
A zoning conflict regarding a proposed Hwy. 72 subdivision is headed to court.

County, cities ponder LOST distribution
County and city government officials have 60 days to come up with a plan on how to distribute Madison County’s share of state Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds, or risk losing the money.

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BREAKFAST ON THE FIRST DAY

Kindergartener Kathryn Kitchens has breakfast on the first day of school Friday. She was wearing a new jacket for the start of the school year.

IDA wants meeting with officials on growth
The Banks County Industrial Development Authority wants to make sure all county officials agree on how to best handle impending growth.
The IDA voted Thursday to set up a meeting with the commissioners, planning commission, board of education and chamber of commerce to hash out a general consensus on growth issues.
“We all need to get in some type of alignment to help our county or else we may be pulling against each other and get nowhere,” Sam McDuffie said.
The board members all agreed that such a meeting could help develop a direction for the county’s growth.
Commissioner Pat Westmoreland, who attended the meeting, agreed that something needs to be done.
“Best laid plans are good, but if you don’t exercise those, they’re no good,” he said. “Somewhere, we’ve got to get together as people of Banks County.”
Westmoreland added that the county needed a more diversified tax base.
“People say they don’t want Banks County to grow,” he said. “It’s going to grow whether we want it to or not. We just need smart growth.”
IDA chairman Jack Banks agreed to contact the other county groups to arrange a meeting between them.
The board also decided to hold a public forum after the meeting with local government officials. The purpose of the meeting would be to get input from citizens on how they view growth and the future of the county.
The IDA would also like to have an independent group from the University of Georgia or the Georgia Mountain Rural Development Council present statistics and information on growth and its impact.
“We’ve all got the responsibility to help inform the citizens,” Gerry Boling said.
The group did not set a date for either meeting.
OTHER BUSINESS
At the meeting, the IDA also discussed the existence of an IDA account funded by a tax just over one-half a mill. During the meeting, a question was raised about who had control of the money and how it could be spent.
BOC chairman Kenneth Brady said in an interview after the meeting that the fund was used to pay for the county’s sewer system.
“The IDA is an entity that stands alone,” Brady said. “It is a legislation-created tool that counties use to borrow money for infrastructure.”
Brady explained the county cannot borrow money for any term longer than one year. However, he said the IDA could borrow money long-term. That, he said, was their purpose.
“They were not put together as a group of people that go out and bring business in to the county,” he said. “Once a business contacts them, they are supposed to help them hook up to sewer and get infrastructure. They are a legal tool put in place to help borrow long-term money.”
Brady added that the IDA fund was used to pay loans on the sewer plant at Banks Crossing and to pay employees there.
He said the county pays sewer plant workers out of money from the general fund then withdraws funds from the IDA account to reimburse the county for the expense.


Baldwin homestead exemption set for vote
Baldwin residents will go to the polls to vote on receiving a homestead exemption in the August 20 election.
Mayor Mark Reed said: “The city council has been concerned about homeowners on fixed incomes. They continue to see a rise in their property’s values due to county evaluations. We wanted to help them somehow. We feel this is important to all our citizens.”
Reed contacted Rep. Jeanette Jamieson to help pass the legislation needed to get it on the ballot in August.
If the referendum passes, city residents age 65 or older and those disabled will receive a $10,000 homestead exemption. Other city residents will receive a $5,000 exemption.
The referendum vote is set for Tuesday, August 20. The exemptions will go into effect in the 2003 tax year.


County’s water treatment plant receives ‘Plant of The Year’ award
The Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association has recognized the Banks County water system/Mountain Creek water treatment plant with the association’s 2001-2002 award for operating efficiency and excellent service.
Banks County also won the “Plant of the Year” award last year. This is the top award in the category of 1- to- 2.99 million gallons per day (MGD) for water treatment plants.
Banks County can’t compete for this award next year because of a two-year win rule, but the county will compete again in 2003-2004. The award was presented at the general award session at the association’s annual conference in Cobb County on August 12.
“The Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association is proud to recognize superior operation of drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities by communities throughout the state,” said Jack Dozier, the association’s executive director. “We appreciate working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to recognize the outstanding performance of the Banks County water system/Mountain Creek water treatment plant. The protection of public health depends on this type of quality service on the local level.”
The association is a not-for-profit association with membership of over 5,000 water and wastewater treatment plant operators and managers, municipal and industrial officials and environmental managers, civil engineers, scientists, manufactures and their representatives, contractors, elected officials and others concerned with Georgia’s water resources. The association’s chief purpose is to educate and assist those who have an interest in the proper management and protection of Georgia’s water resources. Its membership consists largely of the professionals who implement state and federal water supply, water protection and water resources laws and regulations.
The association presents environmental recognition awards each year based on rigid criteria such as safety record, staff training, equipment maintenance and adherence to federal and state water quality standards.



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Maxwell to run for BOC
Former commissioner Danny Maxwell qualified last week to run as an independent candidate in the November election for the board of commissioner post three seat.
Maxwell will not be on the ballot in Tuesday’s primaries. In the November election, he will face Democratic incumbent Pat Westmoreland, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Republican candidate Don Shubert has withdrawn from his election bid for the post three BOC seat due to a recent heart attack.


Alto boy injured in fire at home
Jeremy Tatum, 15, was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital’s burn unit after a fire at his home in Alto Friday.
Banks County Fire Chief Perry Dalton said a fire broke out at a mobile home on White Road around 6 p.m. that resulted in the boy “recieving some pretty serious burns.” He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
According to a family member, Tatum was outside the mobile home as the fire was burning. He attempted to open the front door and when he did, the oxygen rushed into the burning home and the fire came out the door and burned him.
On Tuesday, a family member said Tatum had been taken out of the intensive care unit at Grady and was doing well.