News from Banks County...

NOVEMBER 5, 2003

Banks County

Banks County
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Angela Gary

Don’t know much about football, but...
“Hey Angie, how many players are on a football team?”
I was busy at work one day last week when I heard this question come from across the hallway. I looked up and saw two of our sports writers huddled together in the office across from mine.

Rochelle Beckstine
Who may have what’s in your wallet?
The commercials grab your attention. Identity theft is out there preying on greasy men in tank tops and old ladies scooping leaves out of their pools.

Leopards need win Friday to keep playoff hopes alive
Lumpkin County team a threat to run and throw the football
Nobody can count the Leopards out of the playoffs just yet. But if they hope to play more than 10 games this season, they’ll have to win Friday.

News from
Digest error slams county
$928,000 shortfall to hit county BOE
An error in the Jackson County tax digest will create a tax revenue shortfall totaling over $1.3 million. The majority of the shortfall, $928,000, will hit the Jackson County Board of Education.

Incumbents Sweep In City Election
Sosebee In Ward 4; Davis In BOE District 3; Perry, BOE District 4; Fitzpatrick Wins The Ward 3 City Council Seat

News from
Future Hwy. 72 road widening on hold
Two additional road widening projects for Hwy. 72 in Madison County have hit a virtual road block, at least for the immediate future.

Water for the sports complex?
Danielsville council postpones decision
See additional news from the city
of Danielsville in this weeks madison County Journal.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Halloween Football Time

ALL DRESSED UP. Catie Murphy (top left), Kara Murphy and Cory Bolton took on a pirate theme for Halloween during Banks County’s football game Friday night.

Lula incumbent ousted
Moore wins Lula seat; Closs, Lomax win in Alto council race
In city elections Tuesday, Clyde Moore won the Ward 4 council seat in Lula while in Alto, John Closs and Phil Lomax both won in their bid for open council seats.
With a voter turnout reported to be around 20 percent of Lula’s total registered voters, Moore was elected to the Ward 4 council seat beating incumbent Perry Bridgeman and candidate Greg Smith by a two-to-one margin in spite of the controversy surrounding his residency.
Moore won with 57 votes to Bridgeman’s 28 and Smith’s 26.
Moore was unable to be reached by press time.
Councilman Lamb Griffin was unopposed in his bid for reelection in Ward 5. Griffin said he looks forward to serving the residents of Lula for another term.
Larry Shuler ended up running unopposed when councilman Mike Ostrander withdrew from the election due to residency issues. Though Ostrander’s name was on the ballot, and a few residents did cast their ballots for him, election superintendent and city clerk Dawn Letson had posted a sign saying votes cast for Ostrander would not be counted.
Shuler said: “I will be honest and straight-up with everybody.”
The four-year terms of the three councilmen will begin in January.
Closs, Post 2, and Lomax, Post 4, won big in their bid for the two open council seats on the Alto City Council.
Closs pulled 49 votes to Shawn Shirley’s 26.
Lomax, in his run against appointee Sharon Christmas and Patricia Barlo-Ivry, received 51 votes. Christmas received 22 and Barlo-Ivry 8.
According to city clerk and election superintendent Barbara Reynolds, the voter turn-out was above normal for the small town.
Audrey Turner was unopposed in her run for the mayor’s seat.
All newly-elected officials will take office in January. It will be the first time in over a year that the Alto City Council will have all seats filled.

Planners say ‘no’ to commercial rezoning in ARR neighborhood
The Banks County Planning Commission denied a request Tuesday to rezone a tract of land in a residential neighborhood to commercial property.
Keith Segars said he plans to purchase two tracts on Silver Shoals Road and would like to rezone a 1.2-acre parcel from ARR to C-2 to relocate his fencing business.
He said his current location on Rock Springs Road has become too small and due to the lay of the land, he’s unable to expand there.
His plans for the Silver Shoals site are to build a 40-feet by 80-feet building to house a shop, offices and some supplies. The facility will include a small stockyard for some fencing material.
Segars told the planners that no customers will visit the site and that his only equipment consisted of a truck and mostly hand held tools.
Several residents on the rural stretch of road oppose the rezoning, citing concerns about putting commercial property in a neighborhood.
Resident Willene Dyer said the development would not be “compatible to the environment.” She also read a letter from her brother, who owns all around the tract, saying he was opposed to opening the door to other commercial development there.
Deborah Paulk said the development would “fuel fire for others to come” and would jeopardize the construction of other homes in the area.
Cary Paulk said the “extreme jump in zoning” could present problems that inconvenience other residents, including lighting, noises and truck traffic.
Segars told the planners there would be no increase in traffic since his customers do not come to his facility.
The planners voted unanimously to deny the request, though the board of commissioners will make a final decision Tuesday at its meeting.
The planning commission also unanimously denied Louis A. Dowdy’s industrial rezoning request for three acres on Moccasin Gap Road.
The property already has a truck repair shop and trailer manufacturing business on it. That business was made a non-conforming use once zoning took effect and can be operated until changes are made to the business.
Dowdy needs the rezoning to open a new business at the location to store cars brought in by wreckers, basically similar to a junk yard, Dowdy said.
Several residents opposed the industrial rezoning, though a portion of the property does border another industrially-zoned area.
Anita Trotter spoke on behalf about 25 people and presented a petition with 49 signatures of those opposing the rezoning.
She said the four-mile stretch of Moccasin Gap Road has close to 40 homes and that an industrial tract wouldn’t fit into the area.
Trotter also said the storage of cars there could have an adverse on the environment through the leakage of oil and gas from the cars. That, she said, could contaminate nearby creeks and surrounding wells.
She added that the curvy road couldn’t handle the increased traffic of wreckers bringing in cars.
Trotter also said that the area residents had no objections to Dowdy continuing to operate his truck repair and trailer manufacturing business at the site but that they don’t want a car storage facility, or “junk yard”, in the area.
The planners voted to recommend denial of the rezoning. The BOC will take final action at its Tuesday meeting.
In other action, the planning commission:
•recommended approval of a variance to allow Admiral Benbow Inn to reface the old Holiday Inn sign at Banks Crossing.
•recommended approval of Steve Barrett’s setback variance to build an addition onto his mobile home on Otis Brown Road. Vernon Brock, a nearby resident, spoke in opposition saying that a portion of Barrett’s trailer and the new addition would be on his property. The plat provided to the planners showed that the structure was well within the property lines. The planning commission said it couldn’t get involved in land disputes.
•recommended approval of Lamar Hendricks’ conditional use application for a lab to treat and counsel painkiller addicts at an existing structure on Industrial Boulevard. No one will stay overnight at the treatment center, which will hold offices for a doctor, nurse, pharmacist and several counselors.
•recommended approval of Christopher Oliver’s request to locate a Class II subdivision on Ed Reed Road.
•approved an ordinance amendment to allow landowners in ARR districts to build litter and stack houses without coming before the planning commission for a conditional use permit. The stack houses will have to meet the same setback requirements as chicken houses.

Maysville hoping to solve Deadwyler water pressure woes
Maysville water officials and engineers are inching closer to solving low water pressure problems around Deadwyler Road.
Jeff Killup of EMA, the city’s engineering firm, told the council Monday night that several of the buried water valves throughout the city have been found.
Finding the valves will be instrumental in improving flow. Killup said officials will probably dig up a valve along Hwy. 98 at Church Street this week.
If that valve is closed or broken, opening it or repairing it could improve flow and pressure to Deadwyler Road.
The city council voted in a recent meeting to allocate $6,000 to the project. Town water manager Mark Dudziak said only $2,000 of those allocated funds have been spent.
In other water-related business, Dudziak and Killup recommended the city shut down the smaller of its two wells.
The well off Clay Street pumps only about 17,000 gallons per day and will become nearly useless once the city completes work to its water lines to increase pressure. The council verbally agreed to closing the well.
In another matter, Killup asked for permission to begin work on the permitting and design phase of a 12-inch water main extension along Hwy. 98 that will feed the planned MarJac feed mill and the city’s industrial park.
The council gave verbal agreement for EMA to being work on the project. City council members will vote on a formal agreement with EMA for the project at the December meeting.
The council will also likely look at several wastewater capacity issues, including improving the chlorination system at the treatment pond. Dudziak said the state Environmental Protection Division requires plans on the issue by February of next year.
In other business, the council:
•approved the December 7 Christmas in the Park and the December 13 Tour of Homes as city-sponsored events.
•agreed to have minor carpentry, painting and landscaping work done at the doctor’s building the city owns. The city will use a detainee for the painting and landscape work. It will sub-contract the minor carpentry work. The city will also do work to the railing in front of city hall.
•learned that at next month’s meeting it may revisit the idea of a skateboard and bicycle ordinance. The council will also consider a new fine schedule for violation of city ordinances and state laws within the city limits.


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Banks County CVB approves $124,950 2004 budget
The Banks County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau approved a $124,950 budget for 2004 that is down about $5,000 from last year.
CVB funding oversight chairman Gordon Eanes told CVB members last week that a lull in hotel and motel stays – the major source of funding for the CVB – is to blame for the decrease. He said a “softening in occupancy and room rates” will likely reduce the room tax collections that come to the CVB.
Under state law, a seven percent tax on rooms goes to the state. The county can then collect a five percent room tax, but any county that does must give 40 percent of that amount to a group in the county to promote tourism and travel. In Banks County, those funds go to the CVB for tourism and travel promotion.
The CVB also gets a minor income from membership dues. The annual golf tournament fund-raiser should bring in about $9,000 in revenue as well.
The largest single line item expenditure in the 2004 budget will be $40,000 of seed money for studies and grant applications on a conference center at Banks Crossing.
At $31,000, the salary of executive secretary Sherry Ward stands as the next largest expense. An additional $3,750 in payroll taxes are anticipated for that position as well. Due to economic uncertainty with the hotel and motel tax, Eanes said no salary increase is in the 2004 budget.
In other business:
•the CVB heard from Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism marketing coordinator Molly Gilbert about market planning for businesses. Gilbert showed CVB members several state publications that highlight shopping areas and attractions in Georgia. She also spoke about advertising opportunities.
•president Bonnie Johnson announced the following new members of the board of directors: Dilip Patel, Jamieson Inn; Joe Craven, The Pottery; Brent Edwards, Georgia Power; Joe Cook, PakMail; Wayne Parker, Alltel; and Cheryl Horn, Boots Etc.

Tax accessors office to have pictures taken
The Banks County Tax Accessors office will have photographers out in the next few months taking pictures of land and homes.
Chief accessor Connie Garrison said the photographers will take pictures as part of the county’s re-evaluation process. Citizens shouldn’t be alarmed, she said, if someone in a government vehicle stops at their home to take a picture of the front and back of their house.
Garrison stressed that at no time will anyone ever try to enter a home to take photos.