News from Banks County...

OCTOBER 8, 2003

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
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NEW JAIL...The new Banks County Jail has come along quickly in the past few months. The middle section above will serve as the entrance for the facility. The two-story portion on the right will be the cell blocks while the left side of the building will house administrative offices.

Photo by Adam Fouche

Jail designed as more secure facility

Architects designed the new Banks County Jail around one major principal - security.
And when the jail opens next year, the public, jailers and inmates alike will find a facility tailored to keeping everyone safe.
"Everything in this new jail is designed for security," Sheriff Charles Chapman said. "Security is foremost in the way this thing is built."
Construction officials hope to have the new jail completely enclosed by cold weather time. And the facility should open next spring, at which time the county will hold an open house for the public to view the new jail.

County jail overcrowding becoming big issue

After looking at state incarceration rates, the problems with jail overcrowding become all too evident.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said that one out of every 15 adults in Georgia is either in a county jail, in prison, in a detention center, on parole or on probation.
"That number is staggering, yet it's true," Chapman said.
Banks County has had its bouts with jail overcrowding. During Chapman's first few years in office, the jail maxed out in capacity.
The facility's main cell block, used for male prisoners, can hold 30 inmates. Another additional women's pod holds eight.
Chapman said he's seen times when he averaged a full house 90 percent of the year and has had as many as 50 prisoners in the jail at one time.
And though the past few months the Banks County Jail has had a below average population, the problem of overcrowding only stands to worsen.
The Department of Corrections has proposed closing several state prisons and detention centers by July 1, 2004, in order to ease budget problems. The closings are not set in stone, but could likely occur.
"If this does happen, the counties are going to expect jails to become crowded and stay crowded," Chapman said.
If the state does close facilities, the county jail will be forced to house inmates longer before sending them into the state system. In addition, the jail must continue to house those sentenced there by the courts and also those arrested who can't make bail. Not everyone arrested gets bailed out before a court appearance.
"Some people get in that can't get out real quick or don't need to get out," Chapman said.

"Banks County is growing everyday," Chapman said. "It won't be long until that jail will not be big enough."

Maysville looking at child curfew

Concerns about children on skateboards and bicycles at night on city streets has sparked the Maysville City Council's interest in a curfew ordinance.
The council plans to meet on Monday, October 27, at 7 p.m. to review and possibly vote on the ordinance.
Under the ordinance, children under 18 would be under a curfew and banned from playing on city streets after 9 p.m. in the winter and 10 p.m. in the summer.
The ordinance also regulates the use of toy vehicles such as skateboards and bikes on Maysville's city streets.
Council members hope the ordinance will curb problems that have arisen with children playing in the streets after dark, posing the risk of injury to the kids and those driving through town.
The town asks citizens to give input on the ordinance and curfew by contacting city attorney Gary Freeman.
The council also looked Monday night at plans to supply water to the new feed mill site along Hwy. 98 at Pritchett Road.
City engineer Jerry Hood explained in a letter to the council that the construction of a water tank to serve the facility could not be completed in time.
He suggested installing a 12-inch water main along Hwy. 98 to supply adequate water. The project would take 12 to 18 months.
Hood also suggests the city do work to its oxidation pond to meet new EPD requirements. The work includes upgrades to the disinfection system at the pond.
In addition, Hood said the city needs to find two buried water valves along Main Street. He said work needed to be done on the valves to improve pressure for a planned residential development along Deadwyler Road.
The total cost of the three projects is estimated at $522,000. Funding could come from a low-interest state loan and grants.
The town voted to proceed with upgrades to the water valves, a $31,625 project.

Planners approve three poultry-related items

Three landowners looking to do poultry work on their land got approval from the planning commission Tuesday night.
Banks County planners gave approval to Michael and Debbie Poole for a conditional use permit to build two poultry houses on 30 acres of their land on Silver Shoals Road.
The planners also approved a rezoning for Benny Brock to change 30.98 acres on Antioch Road from ARR to commercial agriculture district (CAD). Brock said the rezoning is for two chicken house on a portion of his land there.
In addition, the planners gave approval to Terry Crocker for a conditional use permit to build a litter stack house to store chicken litter in during wet weather.
All three applications will come before the board of commissioners Tuesday night for a final vote.


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Electricity going into historic sites

The Gillsville City Council voted Tuesday to approve a bid of $9,600 to wire the three historic buildings in the town.
Councilman Richard Ferguson said: "The power problem is holding everything up. We have this one bid, the only bid. Let's get on with this thing and get it done."
The bid includes installing three commercial meters with breakers, connection boxes for heat/air system, wiring for ceiling fans, lights, wall outlets and front and rear on-off switches.
Wiring for the wall outlets will be placed in conduit and may eventually be boxed in with molding.
Councilman Ronnie Whiting said he was working on getting bids from three interested contractors who would repair and replace all the windows and doors of the buildings.
Jeffrey Thornberry, the same contractor who worked on the Banks County historic courthouse renovation, is putting a bid together, said Whiting, and would have it to him by the end of the week.
Whiting also said bids were coming in for the heating and air conditioning system. Each building will have its own independent system.
The council will talk more about the renovation at the work session to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 23.