News from Jackson County...

MARCH 12, 2003

Jackson County

Jackson County
Jackson County


Our Time and Place:
A History of
Jackson County, Ga

A complete history of Jackson County, Georgia from 1796 to the present. Written in narrative style for easy reading. Includes material not found in other books about Jackson County.

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JCCHS wrestling coach Thurmond resigns after 13 years at helm
Jackson County wrestling will not be the same following last Thursday’s resignation by head coach Phil Thurmond at the JCCHS winter sports banquet, however its clear that the Panther head man will leave the program in better shape than it was when he first arrived back in 1990.

Blasting Banks
The hits fell this past Wednesday at Banks County and the Commerce baseball team hopes that will be the case this week as Region 8-A play starts.

Diamond Dragons up and down in first week
The Jefferson baseball team has much to replace from last year’s final four squad, however according to coach Chuck Cook the talent on this year’s team has the potential to do so. The question, he says, is going to be can the team replace the leadership from a season ago.

Neighboorhood News ..
Special Tuesday
It's not the 64 million dollar question.
But it's the closest thing Madison County's got, with an estimated $19 million in revenues over the next five years on the line.

Madison County to get $420,000 for jail expenses incurred during delay
The new county jail may not be completed until this summer. But the legal wrangling over how much money Madison County will get back for its jail headaches is over.

A story of success
Madison County’s Scott Seymour was born with Down’s Syndrome, but he hasn’t let his disability stand in his way.

Hull to fill vacant council seats March 18
The city of Hull will have a full council table in April for the first time in over a year, once Hull residents select new council members at a special called election Tuesday.

Boatwright named new Madison Co. Republican leader
Paul J. Boatwright of the Sanford Community has been chosen to lead the Madison County Republican Party, replacing Hank Burnham.

Neighborhood News...
Baldwin goes dry

This past weekend, Baldwin water customers turned on taps and quickly discovered there was no water.

New middle school to cost $1 million less than projected
Bids for construction of the new middle school have come in well under early projections for the project.

Baldwin election coming Tuesday
Two candidates will be on the ballot for the special called election Tuesday in Baldwin.

Plane makes emergency landing in southern Banks County
A Mississippi pilot had to make an emergency landing in a single-engine airplane when it ran out of fuel off the Fort Lamar Road in Banks County early last Wednesday afternoon.
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
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It was all smiles Monday afternoon at the Jefferson Elementary School playground. Shown are: (L-R) Taylor Wilkes, kindergarten, Caleb Walker, fourth grade, and Dalton Hill, kindergarten. They were on the playground after school while they waited for their parents.

Courthouse plans drastically different than earlier efforts
Like night and day.
That might be an apt analogy between plans for a new county courthouse in the late 1990s and the one being planned today.
In the late 1990s, the Leo Daly firm did extensive and expensive planning for a new courthouse.
Working in conjunction with a citizens’ committee appointed by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Leo Daly ultimately recommended a 3.6 acre site near the existing courthouse in downtown Jefferson for a new facility. That is in stark contrast to the site purchased by the BOC in 2002 of 160 acres far from downtown.
But the differences in location are just one aspect of the different visions between the two plans for a new courthouse. The size and scope of the two plans, and the resulting costs, are also very different.
In the Leo Daly plan, a two-story building of 102,500 sq. ft. was envisioned at a cost of $15 million. That plan included all judicial facilities and most county administrative functions.
In contrast, the current BOC plans being done by Cooper Cary, Inc. envisions a 115,100 sq. ft. building just for judicial functions and no administrative offices. That judicial building would be planned for two additional phases later and a separate administrative building at some point in the future. While final numbers aren’t yet known, estimates put the cost for phase one of the Cooper Cary judicial center at $22 million, not including infrastructure upgrades to make the site accessible.
So why does one plan call for 102,500 sq. ft. for all county offices and the other 115,100 sq. ft. for just judicial functions?
The difference is in the number and size of courtrooms and the size of various court offices.
In addition, the Cooper Cary plan allocates space for some offices not included in the Leo Daly plan. The Cooper Cary plan, for example, envisions having a full-time court administrator with a secretary occupying 1,814 sq. ft., a security command center of 1,041 sq. ft, holding cells of 4,603 sq. ft. and a juvenile court of 3,020 sq. ft.
In addition to those offices and the additional courtrooms, the new Cooper Cary plan allocates more space for various court officials offices. The Clerk of Court, for example, would have 6,359 sq. ft. under the Cooper Cary plan compared to 5,700 sq. ft. under the older plan.
Some of that, however, is offset by the addition of space in the old Leo Daly plan for administrative offices. Under the older plan, the tax commissioner, tax assessor, BOC offices, road department, 911 center, EMS offices and the voter registration office were included in the design. Under the new Cooper Cary plan, none of those offices are included.

Jackson Residents Of Maysville To Pay
4.9 Mills; Banks Residents To Pay Zero
MAYSVILLE -- Compared to their Banks County neighbors, Maysville residents living in Jackson County will pay considerably more in taxes this year.
In fact, Maysville's Jackson County residents are slated to pay 4.91 mills in property taxes compared to zero mills for those living in Banks County.
That's because of a recent state Supreme Court decision involving a similar case in Baldwin, where sales tax money was being used to roll back property taxes on both sides of the town.
The decision ultimately requires Maysville to drastically increase property taxes for its Jackson County residents, since the town receives more sales tax money from Banks County. The move would still give enough money for the town to operate.
"It helps Banks County taxpayers a lot, but it doesn't help Jackson County taxpayers much," said town attorney Gary Freeman.
With the 4.91-mill rate for Jackson County residents, Maysville hopes to collect $77,697. It will collect no funds from its Banks County residents.
"The Jackson County folks are going to take a beating," said Mayor Richard Presley.
Maysville resident Ray Garmon said he didn't agree with the way the town was handling the millage rate. Most of the council members agreed, but said their hands are tied with the decision from the Baldwin case.
Garmon also questioned why the town is just now tackling its 2003 budget. Freeman said "we would've, if we could've" since Banks County was late in providing the county's tax digest to the town. The prior year, Jackson County was delinquent in providing the tax digest, he said.
Overall, the town is calling for a $399,051 budget. Since the budget process first began, Maysville has trimmed more than $50,000 from its initial proposal of $457,464.
Last week, the council started with $392,662, but when Freeman explained the millage rate for Jackson County residents needed to be adjusted, it brought an additional $6,389 to the town.
At the same time, however, the fire department's expenses jumped from $1,738 in the initial budget to $12,707. Maysville also trimmed funds from the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) from $10,000 to $5,419.
As for the water and sewer budget, it was decreased from an initial $264,500 budget to $243,625. Most of that is accounted for in the town trimming $17,268 through several salaried positions in the water and sewer department.
Maysville recently fired its water superintendent and will not replace him, town officials said. A full-time position in the department will also be scaled to part-time.
The town also shrank its water and sewer contingency fund from $11,267 to $1,285.
Council members discussed raising water rates, but opted not to increase charges.
The Maysville City Council will hold three public hearings to discuss the proposed budget and millage rate. They will be held Thursday, March 20, Thursday, March 27 and Monday, April 7, all at 6 p.m. at city hall.

Braselton re-used water not used
Braselton developers who aren’t taking “re-used water” are costing the town, Mayor Pat Graham said Monday.
Without some developers taking re-used water from the town’s waterwater treatment plant, Braselton officials will have to spend more money for additional spray fields to dispose of the water, she said.
Last month, Graham discussed a problem with Chateau Elan refusing to accept re-used water. The town’s only re-used water line heads to Chateau Elan.
And without developers taking some of the re-used water, the town’s waterwater treatment plant stands at capacity.
Town council members discussed requiring developers to take a certain percentage of re-used water for their projects. For those developments that can’t take re-used water, due to Environmental Protection Division standards, the town wouldn’t require they accept re-used water.
Ideally, the town should require every development to accept re-used water and to provide a fallback plan for those that can’t, Graham said.
Another problem town council members discussed was developers who don’t use their requested sewer allocation, often for years at a time.
“I’m also concerned about developers who have (sewage) allocations that appear on every request list for allocations and then have substantial allocation to use at any time” Graham said.
One solution discussed was requiring developers to take their requested allocation within a given time frame.
Council member Elise Cotter said other developers requesting sewer allocations from the town could be penalized by developers who aren’t using their allocations.
Town attorney Gregory Jay said Braselton doesn’t want to create a “commodity” for developers who hold sewer allocations.
Instead, council members discussed the possibility of imposing a fee on developers who don’t use their allocation by a given time.
Graham did point out that some developers don’t know which tenants will locate on their project when they first request sewer allocation.
Graham said she will discuss the ideas with town engineer Jerry Hood before Jay drafts a proposed ordinance. The town council could take action on the plans as early as April, she added.

In other business, the Braselton Town Council:
• met in a closed-door meeting for 30 minutes to discuss “pending or potential litigation and acquisition of real estate.” No action was taken once the meeting was opened to the public again.
• amended its ordinance on ball playing to allow children to play ball in public streets as long as they don’t impede the flow of traffic. The police department had requested to repeal the law after they received numerous calls about children playing the street. Some of the council members felt strongly about not repealing the law, but just amending it. Disorderly conduct is still outlined in other laws, Jay said.
• approved a special event alcoholic beverage permit for Chateau Elan for St. Patrick’s Day.
• approved the final plat for Chateau Elan Woodlands, phase two, section two with the condition that a 10-foot easement must be provided along the right-of-way of Thompson Mill Road.
• amended the sign permit fee schedule to price permit fees according to the size of the sign. Previously, the town charged $300 for a sign permit, regardless of the size.
• learned 125 inspections were conducted last month and $23,783 in inspection fees have been brought to the town since January.

BOC headed to Helen for weekend
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a two-day meeting this weekend at Unicoi Lodge in Helen.
The board plans to review 14 projects outlined in early 2002 as key efforts for the year. Among those is the proposed courthouse on Darnell Road, water and sewer services, economic development, expansion of the airport, and the comprehensive plan.
Among new topics to be discussed will be impact fees, retail recruitment, reapportionment and transportation system goals.
Wes Wynens of the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia will moderate the discussions.
The meetings will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and go until 8:30 p.m. that night.
On Saturday, the BOC will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Board members also plan to stay overnight on Saturday, but no meetings are planned for Sunday.



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Zoning Applicants Opt For ‘Modular Homes’
Two couples hoping to rezone their lots so they could upgrade their trailers to double-wide mobile homes accepted the Commerce City Council's rejection of their request Monday night.
John and Brenda Wood, Baxter Road, and Eddie and Nancy Smallwood Summers, Harris Street, decided to put modular homes on their lots instead, which, if they meet state standards, are permissible in the current zoning classifications. But they let the city council know they were frustrated with the city's zoning ordinance and its enforcement.
Part of the frustration appeared to be a lack of understanding about the concept of zoning and what is perceived as random enforcement of the ordinance.
"If I pay county and city taxes since 1986, I've got the right to put that on there, don't I?" Mrs. Summers asked.
Her husband repeatedly observed that there are other double-wide mobile homes placed around town since the city's zoning ordinance was updated in 1995.
Eddie Rogero and John Bodner of Palm Harbor Masterpiece Homes, Braselton, got clarification that modular homes, if built to Department of Community Affairs standards, are permissible on both lots. They also insisted that, from all appearances, one would not be able to tell the difference in a drive-by inspection between a manufactured home (mobile home) and a DCA-approved modular home.
Mrs. Wood also noted that "you can drive all over town and see rental homes that are unkempt," saying that was "frustrating" because the mobile home she proposed would look better than those structures.
For that, the council offered little defense, and it appeared Mrs. Wood struck a nerve because the matter came back up later in the meeting.
"These people made a good point," observed Councilman Richard Massey long after the Summers and Woods had departed. "We've got these ordinances and things fall through the cracks."
"We are doing something about those places too," countered Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. "But it wasn't the time to bring it up."
Even Ward 2 Councilman Donald Wilson, whose ward includes Baxter Road and Harris Street, acknowledged that "There are some old houses in Ward 2 that need to be taken care of."
In reality, the city is moving against dilapidated and unsafe structures at all levels. Its housing inspector makes an average of 20 inspections monthly and has numerous houses in the process of being condemned. The process, however, is lengthy.
Those condemnations do not include Pardue's Mobile Home Park, where 33 structures were recently condemned and ordered removed.
Both City Manager Clarence Bryant and Police Chief John Gaissert reported Monday night that the park's owner is complying with the public nuisance finding, which ordered the removal.
"They are making good progress in complying with the administrative order," said Gaissert.
According to Bryant, as of Monday, seven of the mobile homes had been removed, 15 more had been torn down to the frame and six others were in the process of being torn down.
"They appear to be working diligently on it," he stated.
While the city council turned down two mobile home-related rezoning requests, it voted unanimously to approve a rezoning for annexation on 23 acres on B. Wilson Road owned by Mike Lacey. Then, after approving the change from A2 in Jackson County to C-2 in Commerce, they voted unanimously to annex the land.