News from Madison County...

MARCH 10, 2004

Madison County

Madison County

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Farnk Gillespie
American politicians have rewritten the Golden Rule
“When Teresa Heinz-Kerry arrived, she handed me a pin that read in the center: ‘Asses of Evil’ with ‘Bush’, ‘Cheney’, ‘Rumsfeld’ and ‘Ashcroft’ surrounding it.” Pamela Leavey on December 11, 2003

Zach Mitcham
Don’t forget other side of the deal
It seems strange, considering that we expect the commissioners to make the final call on our biggest matters, but the $1.7 million water line approved Monday morning by the industrial authority wasn’t even mentioned at the commissioners’ meeting later that evening.

Lady Raiders to face tough Habersham team after breaking into the win column
Madison County broke into the win column with a 3-1 win over Jackson County Friday night but it will take a much bigger victory this week for the Lady Raiders to start a winning streak.

News from
Citizens angry on comments on another county government vote
‘The people have spoken’
Banks County citizens concerned that another vote will be held on changing the form of goverment filled the board of commission meeting room Tuesday night to air their concerns.

Alto residents put council on the ‘hot seat’
Frustrated to the point of tears, Alto resident Margaret Beaupre railed the city council Tuesday for failing to clean up the town.

News from
Career options
Eighth graders from all three school systems attend career fair Friday
Still more than four years shy of graduating from high school, middle school students are at work now planning for their future careers.

Jefferson moves on impact fees
Jefferson hires consultant to study impact fees, develop an ordinance
The City of Jefferson is taking the first step in bringing impact fees to the town.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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County industrial authority members (standing, L-R) Roger Tench, Gerry Burdette, Bruce Azevedo and Tom Joiner look over the shoulder of authority secretary and Chamber of Commerce president Marvin White as he shows the path of the planned water line.

Major water expansion planned
$1.7 million project would include approx. $950,000 from pipeline company that contaminated Colbert Grove areaA petroleum company that contaminated deep-well, drinking water in the Colbert Grove Church Road area is expected to contribute $950,000 to provide a water line to 85 households in a contaminant zone off Hwy. 29 just south of Danielsville.
But county industrial authority members have a grander plan in mind, something that will do more than just serve residents in the Colbert Grove Church Road area.
The IDA is planning a major expansion of county water services.
The industrial authority approved an approximate 12-mile water line route Monday morning that they contend will lay the infrastructure for future growth, improve fire protection services for many county residents and essentially form a link of 12-inch water lines between the Madico Park, Colbert and Danielsville systems.
The total estimated cost of the project is $1.7 million, with Colonial Pipeline’s anticipated payment on the project being $950,000.
One hundred and eighty-seven homes are on the proposed route linking Madico Park, Colbert and Danielsville, but IDA members said future subdivisions would likely tie on to the system too. (Four potential subdivisions were mentioned Monday.)
According to engineer Tom Sloope, the IDA would have to borrow approximately $760,000 from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) to help pay for the project. Though no loan amount was finalized Monday, the IDA approved a resolution authorizing IDA chairman Tom Joiner to seek a GEFA loan for the water project.
Monday’s monumental action followed two private, non-quorum meetings between authority members and Colonial Pipeline to discuss having the company pay for a water line to the Colbert Grove Church Road area. Colonial Pipeline has purchased more than 20 properties from residents in the Colbert Grove Church Road area in recent years due to contamination of deep-well, drinking water from petroleum spills from its booster station on Colonial Drive, just off Colbert Grove Church Road.
Negotiations on providing a water line continued this past Friday in the old county courthouse. Again, no more than two IDA members took part in the discussions — meaning there was no official quorum and those at the meeting could legally exclude the public.
But the IDA met in full and in the open at 8 a.m. Monday morning to pour over proposed water line routes and discuss potential costs. Notice of the Monday meeting was given Friday afternoon. And no one was on hand Monday morning, apart from one reporter.
Industrial authority secretary Marvin White said Colonial Pipeline has tentatively agreed to provide up to $950,000 for a water line to service a triangular contaminant zone — which extends from the intersection of Hwy. 29 and Colbert Grove Church Road, up Hwy. 29 to Double Branch Road, then down Double Branch Road and Pine Tree Road to Colbert Grove Church Road. This triangular area includes 85 homes. Should they choose to participate, residents of those homes would not have to pay for hookup to the system. However, they would pay a deposit and a monthly water bill to the IDA.
Though the IDA’s Monday action hinges on official approval by Colonial, White said he feels confident that Colonial’s upper management will O.K. the tentative agreement reached Friday with Colonial representatives.
According to White, Colonial’s funding proposal was based on providing a six-inch water line to the triangular contaminant zone and included no money for upgrades outside of that area. However, White said that additional costs of upgrading the lines outside of that triangular area to 12-inch PVC piping would prove worthwhile in the long run. He said such an upgrade would allow the authority to expand water services to more residents, attract growth to the county, improve fire protection and thus lower homeowners’ insurance rates.
White said Colonial wants to provide water to the contaminant zone “and do so fast.” Therefore, the proposed $950,000 payment includes a $120,000 “incentive clause” for the county to provide drinking water to the triangular contaminant zone by Feb. 4 of next year. According to White, $2,000 would be knocked off of the $120,000 in incentive money for every day beyond Feb. 4 that the IDA failed to provide water to the contaminant zone. So, for instance, if the project fell behind by 30 days, Colonial would provide only $60,000 of the incentive fees. If the project was 60 days off target, the IDA would get no incentive money, and Colonial’s payment on the project would total approximately $830,000.
Colonial Pipeline stands to recoup much of its costs from purchases of contaminated land from Colbert Grove area homeowners. With a county system in place, the company could perhaps resell much of the contaminated property, since residents could have access to a public system and not rely on well water.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.

Commissioners approve animal control position
Madison County residents will soon have someone to call when a dog or other animal threatens them in their yard.
The county commissioners approved the creation of an animal control officer position Monday night. The job will be a part of the county code enforcement office.
No decisions were made Monday on who will fill that post, how much it will pay and exactly when it will be created.
But the commissioners agreed to pull funds from the county’s slim contingency budget to pay for the position after six people took the podium and urged the board to take action to protect the public from dangerous animals.
Residents spoke of the risk of kids being maimed by dogs loose in neighborhoods. They said shooting such animals is not an option when other houses are close by.
Loretta Spearing of the Windsor Heights Subdivision said she must arm herself to feel safe while walking in her neighborhood because of threatening dogs.
“We have a very, very serious problem, not just in this neighborhood, but in the county,” said Spearing. “There’s a difference between dogs on a farm and in a neighborhood....We need to come up with a sensible solution not just for our neighborhood but for the county.”
Commissioner Bruce Scogin pointed out that there is a dangerous dog ordinance in the county.
“The only thing stopping us from enforcing it is we don’t have someone appointed to take care of it,” said Scogin.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood said the county must hit ordinance violators in the pocketbook with fines, a measure he said will help people remember to keep their dogs under control.
Commissioner Bill Taylor said he’s had three goats killed by dogs and that he is tired of dogs threatening people and other animals.

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To read more about the local events in Madison County, including births, weddings, sports news and school news, see this week's Madison County Journal.

Parents upset over
proposed student transfers
Several parents, some in tears, made it clear that they opposed moving their young children to new schools next fall.
Meetings were held in each affected school over the past week. The proposal, which is scheduled to be decided at the March 16 meeting of the board of education, calls for redrawing school district lines in an effort to balance out the student population between Madison County’s five elementary schools.
Two schools, Hull-Sanford and Danielsville, are at or above their capacity and are looking at mobile classrooms, while two others, Colbert and Comer, have more room.
The planned changes would move fewer than 100 students, according to Superintendent Keith Cowne, who notes that disparity in school populations must be addressed by most school systems at times. He points out that there are currently 560 students at Danielsville Elementary versus 299 at Comer Elementary.
“This (move) will better balance the student-teacher ration,” Cowne told a reporter Monday. “...And spending money on mobile classrooms doesn’t make sense when there is space available at another school.”
But many of the students and their parents who would be affected are not pleased.
“My son loves this school,” said the mother of a Hull-Sanford second grader. “He told me that he refuses to go to Colbert.”
Another mother argued that children need stability.
“It is so disruptive to have them change schools at so young an age,” she said.
Among the parents most upset are those from the eastern part of Harrison District whose children will be moved from Danielsville to Comer. They object because the bus ride will be longer. School officials acknowledged that the ride would cover an additional three miles.
“I guess those Harrison people have something against Comer,” said a long-time Comer resident. “Perhaps they don’t realize that Comer Elementary receives extra funding from the ‘Gholston Will’ that gives the students there an advantage.”
Asst. Superintendent Mitch McGee informed the parents that those students being transferred can request variances that would allow them to stay in their current school under some conditions. All fifth graders requesting variances will automatically receive them. If variances are granted, parents will be responsible for transportation to the schools. If the changes are approved, the board of education will try to deal with all variance requests at a single meeting.
Parents were given forms to fill out with space for their comments on the proposed district changes. Additional forms are available at the affected schools and at the BOE office in Danielsville. Forms should be dropped off at the schools or at the office before the Tuesday board meeting.