News from Madison County...

JANUARY 22, 2003


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Some budget advice for Perdue
Governor Sonny Perdue asks that anyone with better ideas on solving the state’s budget crisis let him know. Here are my ideas:

Zach Mitcham
Raelians, cloning and Frankenstein
When asked if he was ever going to have children, one friend of mine made me laugh. He replied, “I’m not eager to repeat myself.”


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

‘Dogg killer!
Unlike Hollywood, no state championship trophy was hoisted high in the air, but the closing seconds of Madison County’s Friday night battle with Winder-Barrow was still a finish befitting of the classic basketball flick “Hoosiers.”


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

MACI project endangered by takeover attempt?
Water authority moves forward with Jan. 30 public meeting
Jackson County’s largest industrial catch ever may be endangered by the attempt of the county commissioners to take over the county water and sewerage authority.

BOC takes on health dept. septic tank rules
Residential development in Jackson County could be hindered if officials from the county and local health department can’t resolve their differences regarding septic tank placement.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Top Teacher

When Scott Wheatley graduated from Washington-Wilkes High School in the late 80s, he wasn’t thinking about being a teacher.

County gets minimal input in tax hearings
Two public hearings last week on the millage rate increase drew participation from only two citizens.
The next hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. A vote on the increase will follow.

DA can’t use tax money yet
Commission chairman Ken Brady said last week that county attorney Randall Frost has made a legal opinion on access to funds from the economic development tax—it’s frozen.

BOE pushes back millage rate vote
A technicality forcing the board of education to advertise its millage rate decrease for an additional week will push back the mailing of tax bills even further.

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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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Ice cover, more on the way?

Madison County received some icy precipitation last Thursday afternoon as snow and sleet fell on the northern part of the county. While the winter storm led to school closures in some north Georgia counties, the snow was not significant enough to shut down Madison County schools. Scattered flurries and extremely cold conditions — a high of 29 and low of 10 degrees — are predicted for the Athens area Thursday, Jan. 23, according to weather.com on Wednesday morning. The forecast for Friday is sunny with a high of 34 and low of 16. Pictured is ice covering the ground outside of The Madison County Journal office in Danielsville.

Brown resigns as IDA chairman
In a surprise move, Industrial Authority chairman Ed Brown announced his resignation Monday night, at the end of the IDA board’s regular monthly meeting.
Other board members sat quietly as Brown read from a short prepared statement, citing “very personal reasons” for stepping down from the post less than a year after his appointment to the IDA by the board of commissioners last March. Brown was then promptly appointed chairman of the IDA, replacing John Scoggins, who was fired from the position over the IDA’s controversial purchase of 70 acres on Hwy. 72 for an industrial park.
Brown said he “will continue to work in (his) present position with the IDA, if the Authority wishes, until the March 17 IDA meeting” in order to give time for the BOC to search for and appoint a new member to the IDA.
Brown added that no one present knew of his decision until his announcement during the meeting.
“This is a very personal decision and does not reflect any problems or issues related to the Madison County IDA or relationships with any governmental body in Madison County,” Brown emphasized. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve Madison County even for this short time and will continue to be involved in Madison County growth and development in the future.”
“I am committed to industrial development and I’m committed to a water system in Madison County,” Brown added after his statement, saying he wanted to make the announcement early to allow for a transition period.
In other business:
•Brown reported on the progress of the Hull water system, saying that easements have already been obtained from CSX Railroad and the Dept. of Transportation for the water system’s expansion and that the Hull city council has given permission to bore under Glenn Carrie Road to connect with existing water lines.
•Brown reported that he has a meeting scheduled Friday morning with developer Michael Broun to discuss running 1,500 feet of new water system lines to a 34-unit subdivision on Woodale Street off Glenn Carrie Road. Brown said it would cost approximately $48,000 to $49,000 to run the lines and that the expense would need to be picked up by the landowners, not the IDA.
•County attorney Michael Pruett was on hand to clarify why water and sewer projects are not included on the list of upcoming SPLOST projects. Pruett said projects of that type require “narrowly targeted” intergovernmental agreements worked out between the county and municipalities well ahead of time. Pruett said water and sewer projects can be included for SPLOST funding in five years, if such agreements are in place at that time.
•The authority heard from Jim Warren, who urged board members to set aside watershed areas around water system wells as they come on-line. Warren maintains that these recharge areas are vital to keeping the wells from being depleted in the future. “We need to set aside for it (future water supply) now, not later on...do it now as you go. That’s the cheapest way and the only way to go. Do it now and don’t put it off,” Warren said. Brown said the IDA hasn’t decided how much land to retain around the back up well, but will most likely keep enough to construct a water tower in the future.
•IDA members also discussed sources of water that may become feasible from other areas outside the county, including two possible future reservoirs; one in Elbert and one in Oglethorpe County. “We’re not closing our options to other sources of water later on,” Brown added. “We want to position ourselves so that we can take advantage of those other sources as they become available.”
•The IDA issued a notice Tuesday that the group will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, to discuss budget matters and then meet in closed session to discuss “personnel.”


School board hears tennis complaint
Madison County tennis coach Cliff Craig came under heavy criticism at the board of education meeting Tuesday night. Local attorney Lane Fitzpatrick gave board members copies of a report he said would show the coach was “dishonest and incompetent.” Fitzpatrick’s daughter is on the tennis team.
In his statement, Fitzpatrick said awards to tennis players are an example of “Craig’s incompetence.” He described the success of the tennis team in region and state-wide competition in which players earned athletic letters and stripes for their participation since the year 2000. He pointed out that none of the players from the state tournament team of 2000 have received jackets, letters or stripes. The players who won letters in other sports did not even receive a tennis patch to add to their other awards, he said.
Fitzpatrick quoted the coach as saying that there was not enough money in the tennis program budget for the patches. He then pointed out that the patches are available from local sporting goods stores for $1.75 and the stripes for 70 cents each.
“Those little patches of cloth are as important to student athletes as super bowl rings are to NFL players,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, former school board attorney, included a proposed policy on student awards in his prepared material and urged the board to consider it. He said the policy would outline procedures for presenting athletic awards to students as “a concrete symbol of their achievements.”
Craig was not at the Tuesday night meeting and could not be reached before press time for comment.
In other actions, the board elected Robert Haggard to continue as board chairman. They chose John Mason as vice-chairman. They set the official BOE meeting date as the third Tuesday of each month except for April and July when they will meet on the fourth Tuesday. The meeting time was changed to 7 p.m.
They were told that the SPLOST pre-clearance letter has been forwarded to the proper authorities.
The school system has appealed to the city of Danielsville for water bill relief following the massive leak that closed schools last month.
They heard a report that the school system’s task force on absenteeism was having a dramatic effect on student absences.
Superintendent Keith Cowne gave a slide presentation outlining the cuts in state funding for education and discussed the problems these cuts will cause.
School counselors Brittain Ayers, Angelia Bruce, Lari Scarborough and Susan Young were recognized for gaining national certification.


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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.


Planners split on rezoning request
The county planning commission was split 3-3 Tuesday night on a rezoning request to pave the way for a large-lot subdivision.
Gail and Danny Bridges, of Greene County, requested that a 59.35-acre parcel on Hardman Road and Johnnie Chandler Road be rezoned from A-1 (25-acre minimum) to A-2 (five-acre minimum) so that they can subdivide it into five plus acre parcels for a residential subdivision.
The Bridges say they want to sell the lots (up to eight total) with covenants allowing only 2,000-minimum-square-foot, site-built homes.
With little discussion, commission members Walter Searcy, Jeep Gaskin and Rob Trevena voted “no” on the rezoning, while Wendell Hanley, Nick Paski and Bill Holloway voted “yes.”
In another zoning matter, the commission approved two requests by Wayne Crider.
In the first request, Crider wants to rezone a .44 acre parcel located at the corner of Hwy. 106 at Diamond Hill- Neese Road from R-R to B-2 (business) in order to construct mini-warehouses.
In the second request, Crider wants an area variance to locate the mini-warehouses on the property line, instead of at the required set backs. Crider conditioned his variance request to the mini-warehouse business only, meaning that any other type of business that might be located there in the future will not have the variance.
In other business, the commission unanimously recommended approval for:
•a request by Banister Sexton, representing property owner David Moon, to rezone a 2.01-acre portion of a 22.87-acre parcel located on Hwy. 106 from A-2 (agricultural, five-acre minimum) to R-R (rural residential, two-acre minimum) in order to combine it with an adjoining R-R parcel of approximately two acres. The rezoning will reduce a 60-foot easement right-of-way to 30 feet.
•a request by James M. Blackmon to rezone a 104-acre parcel on Paoli Road from A-2 (agricultural) to A-1 (more intensive agricultural) in order to establish a poultry operation. The A-2 designation does not allow poultry houses.
•a request by Albert Willoughby to rezone a portion of his property on Paoli Road from R-R to A-2 in order to establish a private cemetery for his wife and himself. Cemeteries are not allowed in the residential designations.
•a request by Robert C. Flint, representing owner Rick A. Flint, to rezone a 2.5-acre portion on Allen Road from A-1 to A-2 in order to combine it with an existing A-2 property to make a total of five acres.
Flint wants the single five-acre tract to build a home on.
•a request by Alger Combs, representing his son Alan Combs, to rezone a three-tenths of an acre parcel from A-2 to R-3 to combine it with an adjoining R-3 property. Mr. Combs wants to combine his son’s parcel with his own to make a three-acre parcel so that it can then be divided into two, 1.5-acre parcels for their two homes. The split will make the two lots conform to the current zoning ordinance that requires 1.5-acre minimum lot sizes in the R-3 designation.