News from Banks County...

SEPTEMBER 3, 2003


Banks County
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OPINIONS

Phillip Sartain
Hovering over the table

For the past 10 years, my wife and I have prepared meals, set the table and served dinner in accordance with the standard issue Feeding Manual For Children.

Jana Mitcham
Fat pizza and the big city
Remember the children’s story about the city mouse and the country mouse, where each visits the other at home?


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Lady Leopards top Athens Christian
Banks picks up third win of season
In only their eighth game of the season, the Lady Leopards matched their win total from all of last season with a 7-6 victory over Athens Christian early last week.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
County awaits judge’s decision
Courtroom full as arguments over BOC’s plans heard Tues.
The future of the high-profile case between a group of Jackson County citizens and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners is now in the hands of a judge.

Qualifying NextWeek For City Elections
Mayor, 3 City Councilmen, 3
On School Board To Be Elected
Commerce residents who think their government or school board needs some new faces or who just have a desire to get into local politics will have their chance next week.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Used motor oil recycling center opens
The Madison County Solid Waste Transfer Station on Colbert-Danielsville Road opened a Used Motor Oil Recycling Center on Saturday, Aug. 30. The center was funded by a Georgia Environmental Facilities Agency (GEFA) grant.

Qualifying set for local elections
Qualifying for local municipal council posts will be held next week in several Madison County cities.

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ENJOY THE SHOW

Katlin Parks and Maggie McCoy wait for a pep rally to start during the opening of the new football stadium at Banks County High School Friday.

‘The people’s decision’
Cain explains need for new county administrator government
When Rickey Cain ran for county commission last year, his platform had only one issue — changing the county’s form of government. And Cain was elected.
“The people wanted it implemented,” Cain told an audience at a Republican Party meeting in Homer last week.
Cain passed out copies of House Bill 854, the state bill that will give Banks County voters the decision to change the county’s government. The vote will come next March.
“It’s something that we get to vote on as citizens of Banks County,” Cain said. “It’s the people’s decision.”
Under the county’s current government, voters elect two part-time commissioners and a full-time chairman who runs the county on a daily basis.
The new form proposed in H.B. 854 calls for three part-time commissioners elected by voters. The three commissioners will then hire a county administrator to run the day-to-day operations.
The system would be similar to the interaction between the county’s board of education and the hired school superintendent.
Cain said the county administrator form of government would “take the politics out” of running the county. Employee morale would also be higher, Cain commented, because they would answer to only one boss instead of calling three different commissioners and getting three different answers.
Cain hopes a qualified administrator would be able to bring grant money into the county, paying the salary of the position.
He and fellow commissioner Pat Westmoreland are also looking for an administrator that could facilitate communications between the many agencies in the county — the commissioners, the chamber of commerce and the development authority — to bring businesses to Banks County.
“We hope the county administrator will make it work,” Cain said. “Until we all get on the same team, nothing is going to happen.”
The selection process, the two commissioners said, would likely be aided by the state county commissioners association to find someone with the proper background and experience.
Should the new form of government pass in the March 2, 2004, vote, it would take effect on January 1, 2005. The three-man commission board would then hire an administrator to run the daily affairs.
The three commissioners would also elect a chairman from their own group. The chairman, which would change every year, will not have any greater power but will preside over the board’s meetings.


Gillsville setting up new regulations to curb problems at city park
The first draft of a new ordinance setting regulations, fee structures and deposits for use of the town park were discussed at the town council meeting in Gillsville Tuesday night.
Mayor Larry Poole presented council members with the draft and explained the need for the changes.
“Some of the people who use the ball fields, picnic area and building aren’t cleaning up after themselves,” he said. “We end up with a mess. With this set in place, the person, organization or club that rents the facilities will be held responsible.”
Council members discussed collecting a refundable deposit of $40 to $50 to cover clean-up in the community center and raising the one day rental from $25 to $30. An additional fee of $15 may be charged for early set-up in the center.
“It’s a fair amount,” Poole said. “We have to have someone come and open the building, run the heat or air in advance of the event and then lock it when it’s all over.”
Councilman Ron Whiting said he thought it is reasonable to request the deposit.
“If they clean it up, they get their money back,” he said. “If they don’t, they don’t get it back. At least this covers us for any clean-up we have to do. We could hire a service to come in here and take care of any mess.”
The ball fields will also be covered under the ordinance. Deposits for one-day tournaments may be set at $100 with a $100 deposit; for two-day events, $175 with the $100 deposit. Poole explained the concession stand was often used for games requiring heat or air. The fee would help offset the costs involved.
Poole said a resident now handles the opening and closing of the park at a cost of $50 per month. That figure could be raised if it included handling the scheduling of events and the set-up, if required, of the building.
He pointed out that there were several groups who used the building and some of them had done a good job of cleaning up. The council could waive the deposit fee for groups with a good track record.
The council also discussed some general rules for use of the facility, such as no alcohol or smoking in the community center and no animals being allowed inside.
“The building gets used a lot for gatherings that involve food,” Poole said. “It’s not comfortable thinking about eating food where animals have been.”
Anyone renting the facility or the fields would have to sign an agreement stating the rules were understood and would be held liable for any damages.
In other business, council members:
•swore in the new town clerk Paula Whiting.
•agreed to pay Whiting the mileage rate for the errands she runs on the town’s behalf as town clerk.
•briefly touched on the progress of the renovations of the downtown historic buildings.
•agreed to allow local potters to use the downtown area during the annual “Turning and Burning” festival in October.
•approved the use of a sign-in sheet for residents who attended council meetings.
•agreed to attend municipal government training sessions as required. •agreed to pay yearly dues to the Georgia Municipal Association at a cost of $60.
•discussed roads that may be approved by the department of transportation for improvement under the local assistance road program (LARP). Old Gillsville Highway is slated for re-paving, but some road repair has to be completed before it can be done. Poole said county inmates may be used for the labor. The town would be responsible for the materials.
•discussed the progress on the new concrete picnic tables. Councilman Richard Ferguson said two had been installed and three were ready to be delivered.



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Planners give approval to CAD rezoning
A couple wanting property rezoned to a commercial agriculture district along Hwy. 441 is one step closer.
The Banks County Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to approve Joe and Cindy Tu’s request to rezone 256 acres from agricultural to CAD to build four breeder houses.
Joe Tu said the land is now vacant and he’d like to leave much of it undeveloped to protect the scenery.
Tu added that the long-term plans for the land are to build a ministry and retreat center but that he and his wife want to use the breeder houses for the time being to help defer the costs of the land mortgage. The board of commissioners will take final action on the request at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
In the only other item, the planners approved Davis Broadway’s class II subdivision along Sample Bottoms Road. He said he hunts on the land but wants to sell a small piece to another person.


Development authority nails down park covenants
Working down to the wire to get a piece of property sold, the development authority updated and finalized its covenants for the industrial park at Banks Crossing on Thursday.
The group has already voted to sell a tract of land in the park to Bo Garrison for part of his linen service business. A holdup on closing the sale has been updating the covenants.
One of the main changes included the type of facing for the park’s buildings. All buildings will have a front of brick or brick veneer or some other equivalent product approved by the development authority. The sides and rear can be of any substance.
Another issue has been the setbacks for buildings on the property. Under the covenants, buildings in the park must only be 25 feet off the line, putting a minimum of 50 feet between any structures.
But the county’s zoning rules for industrial property specify a 50-foot setback. The development authority decided to seek legal input from the county’s attorney to determine if the park would be exempt from zoning laws since it’s publicly owned.
They also discussed possibly getting a variance to allow 25-foot setbacks since one piece of property in the park does not have enough room for a building under the county’s zoning regulations.
The building authority also voted to strike a covenant that prohibited the removal of trees larger than six-inches in diameter at chest height without board approval.
Sam McDuffie expressed concerns that the covenant might not allow some landowners to clean-up and grade the land. He was also worried that by giving approval to some owners to cut large trees and not giving approval to others could open the authority to a lawsuit.
In other news, the board agreed to have a called meeting Monday, September 8, at 9:30 a.m. with the commissioners and recreation board to discuss the authority’s handling of bonds for the new recreation building. The industrial park road will also likely be on the agenda.