|News from Banks County...||
FEBRUARY 4, 2004
Support Gillsvilles Friends of Community
Seeking Consensus For Community Betterment
Commission chairman meets with UGA Extension Agency
County water rate increases gets BOC approval
The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved water rate increases at a meeting on Thursday to pay for a $2.8 million loan to be taken out to fund a new water expansion project.
The $2.8 million loan will be taken out by the county to pay for the designing and building of a booster pump station on Yonah-Homer Road, a plant modification water treatment plant on Apple Pie Ridge Road, a raw water pump on Hwy. 105 and two new water tanks.
The primary purpose of building these new facilities is to be sure we have enough water for Banks County in the future, said Banks County utilities director Gary Harper.
The board of commissioners approved water rate increases to re-pay the loan. In order to pay the loan back, water revenues must reach $639,000 a year. Therefore, an increase of 45 cents per thousand gallons per year for the next three years was approved. This is for all water used over the 2,000 minimum, which remains the same at $12.50 for residential users and $20 for commercial users.
The new increase will take effect July 1, 2004. Another 45 cent increase can be expected on July 1 of 2005 and 2006. Over the next three years, 2004-2006, rates will be adjusted each July 1.
Basically, the first 2,000 gallons of water will cost residents $12.50, which is what the water costs now. Commercial users will still pay $20 for their first 2,000 gallons of water. (See sidebar for the breakdown.)
The Banks County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing Monday at 4 p.m. to listen to citizens comments and concerns surrounding the expansion project.
No citizens were present at the hearing, but Atlanta engineer Ben Turnipseed was on hand to explain more about the project.
The $2.8-million loan is part of an $11- million project that aims to supply water to most of Banks Countys citizens. Currently, there are 260 miles of roads in Banks County not served by public water. All roads northwest of Wynn Lake Road are without public water. After the booster pump station is installed on Yonah-Homer Road, obstacles surrounding the water supply and elevation, will be overcome. The Alto State Prison has contacted Banks County and expressed an interest in having the county supply the 250,000 gallons of water a day the prison currently uses.
The intent is to install more water lines off of main roads first, water lines will be run on secondary streets as funding allows.
The difference in the loan amount and the project total, $8.2 million, will be taken from special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funds, as funding is available over the next several years.
Homestead exemption to be on March 2 ballot
Banks Countians will vote on a homestead exemption on property taxes for senior citizens and disabled people when they go to the polls on March 2.
If it passes, each Banks County resident who is age 65 or older or who is disabled would be granted an exemption from all county property taxes in the amount of $20,000 of the assessed value of that homestead. The value of the property in excess of the exempted amount would remain subject to taxation. The current exemption is $16,000.
If it passes, the exemption would be granted beginning Jan. 1, 2005.
Gillsvilles planting day is Saturday
The Gillsville Town Council has announced a work day for Saturday, February 7, at 9 a.m. to plant more trees and shrubs in the city park.
City clerk Paula Whiting said, We hope some of our residents turn out to help us with this project.
For more information, call Whiting at (770) 869-3827.
DOTs 25-year plan to be chamber topic
A question of government
Voters to tackle county administrator issue March 2
Shall the act be approved which changes the form of government of Banks County to three elected commissioners and a county administrator?
This is the question that voters will have to decide when they go to the polls on Tuesday, March 2. A special election will be held in Banks County on the same day as the presidential preference election. In addition to casting their vote for a presidential candidate for their party, voters will be asked to consider a historic change to Banks Countys form of government.
The proposed change, House Bill 854, was approved by the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives last year and signed by the governor on June 4. It is now up to Banks County voters to decide whether it will officially be adopted or not.
The proposal calls for three members to be elected to the board of commissioners. They may reside anywhere within the county. At the time of qualifying for the election, each candidate shall specify whether they are seeking post 1, post 2 or post 3.
The post 1 commissioner would be elected in November 2004, with the term to begin Jan. 1, 2005. The term would end on Dec. 31, 2008.
The first members of posts 2 and 3 commissioners would be elected in November 2006, with their terms to begin Jan. 1, 2007. Those terms would end Dec. 31, 2010.
After this initial term, all members of the board would be elected at the time of the state-wide general election immediately preceding the end of their term. They would serve four-year terms.
The chairperson would be the official head of the board and would preside at all meetings. The chairperson would be named each year by a vote of the three-member BOC. The BOC members will also elect a vice chairman who would preside at meetings in the absence of the chairperson.
The chairperson would have the right to make motions and nominations but would not vote unless there is a split vote.
The salary for each of the three BOC members would be $9,600.
The legislation also calls for the BOC to hire a county administrator. The exact duties and salary of the county administrator are not given in the legislation. The only mention given on job duties are a section which states that the administrator shall also serve as the county purchasing agent.