|News from Banks County...||
JANUARY 14, 2003
Judge to speak at MLK Jr. birthday event on Sunday
Talking educationState school supt. speaks at Republican breakfast
BCMS may be ready in August
BOE hears construction, technology update
Work is continuing on the new Banks County Middle School and the board of education hopes students can fill the classrooms this August.
In a construction update given at Mondays BOE meeting, officials reported that the new middle school seems to be on track for the next school year. Ceiling grid is currently being installed, painting is almost complete in three areas of the building, tar on the roof is almost dry and 135,000 bricks have been laid.
In other school construction news, the board is awaiting final approval from the state fire marshal for the plans of the addition to the primary school. Once approved, the plans will be open for bids.
Also at Mondays meeting, the board made several technology decisions for the new middle school. Technology director Karl McElwain presented bids and specification information from the two companies which supplied bids to provide Internet access to the new middle school and urged that the project move forward.
We need to get the lines in place before the ceiling goes up or it could slow down construction, he said.
McElwain recommended the board purchase Internet access from Trillion, a company based out of Florida and Alabama.
They offer twice the speed for less money, he said. It is cheaper, faster and is going to work.
Internet access will cost $4,416 per year through Trillion, $22,080 in total over the five-year contract period and there are no up front installation costs.
Board members mentioned the possibility of receiving technology grants to help pay for the new service and they agreed to seek financing.
The board voted and accepted the bid from Trillion.
The BOE also decided to outfit the new school with Personal Computers, (PCs), instead of Macintosh machines.
McElwain discussed the benefits of purchasing built-to-specification machines instead of name brand computers. Price and maintenance advantages were discussed and the board agreed to consider options.
The board also learned the technology department:
completed 498 technology requests from faculty and staff since the school year began in August.
installed a new mail server over the holiday break, giving 10 times more storage than the old server.
implemented Power Book, a new electronic grade book system.
In other business, Tom Nicholson, director of maintenance, gave an update of the departments progress and asked the board to approve a new heating and air conditioning specialist position for his department. The board agreed to consider the personnel request, but no action was taken.
Included in the maintenance update:
330 maintenance requests have been completed so far this school year.
playgrounds at the primary and elementary schools passed inspection.
a roof leak at the high school has been fixed.
trees were taken down and roots were removed in front of the elementary school and asphalt was replaced creating an easier pathway to walk on and a less obstructed view for buses at the gate.
Future plans for the maintenance department discussed at the meeting include:
installing lights under the bus canopy at the high school.
pouring shot put and discus pads at the new track.
fixing grassy areas in front of the high school.
Homer seeks legislation on changing its charter
The Homer Town Council is moving forward on updating its town charter.
City attorney Gary Freeman reported at Tuesdays town council meeting that the paperwork has been reviewed by the state legislative council and will be considered by legislators this session. Were on our way to getting a new charter, effective July 1, Freeman said.
In other business at Mondays meeting:
Freeman reviewed the citys definition of a subdivision and the council discussed the confusion over this. Freeman was asked to clarify the portion of the 1991 ordinance on subdivisions that is confusing. The council agreed that a subdivision is any tract of land that has been divided five times or more. Once the land is divided five times, all subdivision regulations must be met, including those concerning a public road.
the council approved a resolution requiring all plats to be reviewed by city officials before they are recorded at the courthouse. This will enable the town to know when property is being divided.
the council was given an update on the Thompson Street improvement project. The council reviewed a proposal to locate a left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Hwy. 441 and Thompson Road. The council agreed to seek bids on this project and then seek assistance from the county and state in financing the turning lane.
council member Sandra Garrison reported that a meeting with the architect will be held Thursday to discuss the new city hall. She said they hope to have plans available by next months meeting for the council to review.
Garrison asked the status on projects that are to be funded through the special purpose local option sales tax approved in 2001. This money must be spent by 2007, Freeman said. The projects include the town hall, a fire station and street improvements. Mayor Doug Cheek said he would have a report at next months meeting on how much money had been collected so far in SPLOST revenue.
the council agreed to a request from the fire department to fund repairs on one of the fire trucks, at a cost of $3,900, and improvements to the office, at a cost of $16,000. The office needs remodeling due to termite damage, according to reports. The council also agreed to get bids to repair the roof of the facility and proceed with that work.
Baldwin takes steps to find water loss
Fire chief Joe Roy talked with the Baldwin City Council at last weeks work session about a way the fire department may be able to help pin down some water leaks.
We have to test the flow pressure of every hydrant in the system, he said. We note the flow of water in gallons per minute and record that figure. Its then entered into our computer, along with the date it was tested. This new meter will give us a far more accurate reading. With the old one, it was hard to hold it steady in the water flowing from the hydrant. This one connects directly to the hydrant and also evenly disperses the flow.
There are152 hydrants in the citys system the fire department checks. The council suggested having the hydrants checked quarterly, rather than semi-annually.
Roy also reported that in the rural areas the water lines need to be walked to look for leaks.
There are places out there back in the woods where you wouldnt know there were leaks unless you walked the lines, he said.
The city has been experiencing a massive water loss for some time. Last month, 8 million gallons was unaccounted for, costing the city around $50,000.
Mayor Mark Reed reported at the council meeting held Monday the water loss had been reduced to 4 million gallons.
We dont know how it happened, but we saw a reduction, he said.
Reed said two large industries in the city were provided new commercial water meters at a cost of around $20,000. Habersham Metal had a meter that had stopped working and the city was estimating their bill by averaging past bills.
BOC approves Tanger advertising co-op program
Hwy. 441 will become Historic Homer Highway