News from Banks County...

MAY 5, 2004

Banks County

Banks County

Banks County

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Jana Mitcham
Caretaking, peacemaking and politics
We think of Mother’s Day (coming up Sunday, by the way!) as an opportunity to pamper our mother, a day for mom to take time out for herself or at least a chance for us to say thank you and acknowledge all that “mother” encompasses.

Phillip Sartain
It’s not what you know, it’s how you ‘no’ it
Going to the grocery store shouldn’t be that big of a challenge. And most of the time it’s not. But going to the grocery store with three kids ought to be an Olympic sport.

Dreams come true
Kyle Roberts signs with Maryville College
Kyle Roberts, a 6’10” 260 lb. post player for the Banks County Leopards, has committed to continue his education and basketball career at Maryville College.

News from
Three qualify for BOC chairman’s race
Four to seek Britt’s District 1 BOC seat
Let the races begin!
The green flag dropped on the 2004 election season when qualifying closed at noon Friday. When the dust had settled, a handful of high-profile races were on track, and there were even a few surprises.
In the race for chairman of the board of commissioners, incumbent Harold Fletcher and challenger Pat Bell both qualified for the Republican Primary

Jefferson to consider courthouse annexation Mon.
The Jefferson City Council will consider a rezoning request for 4.37 acres on Darnell Road at the new courthouse site when it meets at 6 p.m. on Monday at the clubhouse.
While working on some plans for new sewerage lines to the area, Jefferson officials discovered that part of the courthouse sat on a tract of land that had not been annexed into the city limits

News from
The campaign begins
Qualifying sets stage for six contested county races in Madison County
Madison County's qualifying ended Friday at noon, setting the stage for six contested races this year.

Cities approve link to county water system
Danielsville and Colbert water systems will be linked to a new county water system to be constructed in the next year.
City councils for both towns agreed Monday night that their municipal water systems can serve as emergency backup sources for a new county water system, which is under the supervision of the county industrial development authority (IDA).
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
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Cowboy Jonathon Dempsey (L) cast a look at his boots as Calvin Boyer contemplated the dilemma his partner faced keeping his chaps from falling down as they square-danced. The boys are in second grade at Banks County Elementary School. For the past three years, the students have been treated to an afternoon of square dancing thanks to Coach Mike Brownlee and caller Jim Roper. See page this weeks Banks County News for more pictures.

Brady to seek re-election
Kenneth Brady to run for second term as BOC chairman
Chapman, two others, qualify for Banks County sheriff’s race
Banks County Board of Commission chairman Kenneth Brady will be running for another four-year term.
Brady, Gillsville, qualified last week as a Democrat. He had said earlier that he would not seek re-election. He is serving his first term as BOC chairman.
Brady will face challenger Gene Hart, Commerce, a Republican.
In other election news, two Democrats and one Republican qualified for the sheriff’s race. Incumbent Charles Chapman, Baldwin, and Doug Anderson, Lula, will be on the Democratic ballot, while former sheriff Allen Venable, Lula, will be on the Republican ballot.
In the coroner’s race, Billy Poole, Homer, and John D. Reinke, Commerce, qualified as Democrats. Henry Galloway, Maysville, qualified as a Republican. Incumbent Tommy Herbert is not seeking re-election.
Five people will be on the non-partisan ballot in the magistrate judge’s race. They are: Frankie Gardiner, Homer; Danny Lord, Homer; Ivan Mote, Lula; Luke Parson, Homer; and Winford Popphan, Lula.
In the House of Representatives District 28 seat, incumbent Jeanette Jamieson qualified as a Democrat. Two Republicans, James “Jim” Wiles, Homer, and Michael Harden, Toccoa, qualfied.
In Senate District 50, Chan Caudell, Cornelia, Nancy Schaefer, Turnerville, and Stanley “Butch” Darnell, Rabun Gap, qualfied as Republicans. Bob Stowe, Toccoa, qualfied as a Democrat.
Several incumbents will not face any opposition in the elections and will serve for another term. They include:
•Neal Brown, Commerce, District 1, board of education (BOE).
•Ron Gardiner, Maysville, District 2, BOE.
•John Williams, Baldwin, District 4, BOE.
•Tim Harper, Homer, clerk of Superior Court.
•Max Lewallen, Carnesville, surveyor.
•Margaret H. Ausburn, Homer, tax commissioner.
•Betty Thomas, Lula, probate judge.
•Bob Adamson, David Motes and Joe Booth, Superior Court judges for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, which includes Banks, Jackson and Barrow counties.
•Tim Madison, district attorney for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit.
The primary election will be July 20, with a run-off set for Aug. 10. The general election will be Nov. 2, with a run-off set for Nov. 23.

Bond option discussed for reservoir project
A Buckhead investment banking firm came to a called Banks County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday afternoon to talk about selling bonds for the new reservoir project. Instead, BOC chairman Kenneth Brady quickly cut the discussion short and said funds are not available for the reservoir project.
The BOC met with representatives from Merchant Capital, a merchant and investment banking firm out of Buckhead, to discuss the reservoir project. The two vice-presidents of the company, Philip Fletcher III and Bryan Huskey, barely had time to speak as chairman Kenneth Brady informed them $5 million in SPLOST funds for the project, which was included in their proposal, is no longer available. He said that the SPLOST has to be voted on in March 2006 and further projects won’t be able to be done unless it is approved. Current SPLOST money has already been delegated to fund other water expansion projects.
“The whole $5 million is gone, spent on other water improvement projects, forget about the $5 million,” Brady said.
Fletcher and Huskey said they had spoken to Pat Westmoreland about the project and want to get set up to proceed with selling the bonds. Brady said the meeting was a little premature due to the fact that voters will have to say yes to a new SPLOST at the polls in 2006.
“If taxpayers say no to the new SPLOST, we will have to raise taxes to pay back the loan,” Brady said. “It is premature to get bonds and funding when there is an uncertainty in the SPLOST passing.”
The possibility of using water revenues for the project was also addressed, but the increases scheduled to take place on July 1 over the next three years have already been delegated to re-pay a $2.8 million loan from rural development, a project that includes new water tanks, water lines and expansion at the pump station at the Mtn. Creek reservoir.
Westmoreland said: “This is a meeting to discuss options, we want everything to operate smoothly from the reservoir to the water treatment plant to water lines for the citizens. If something happens to Mtn. Creek, it is important to have something we can fall back on.”
Brady said he didn’t want to discuss it until the county knew it could pay back the loan.
Carol Boss from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service was at the meeting and said grant money from the NRCS is available to fund the entire reservoir project. A meeting with Boss and others from NRCS, Gary Harper and Ben Turnipseed, is scheduled for June 1 to discuss the project further.
Brady said the commissioners should contact Sens. Zell Miller and Saxby Chambliss and lobby for the funding.
“It is worth our time in pursuing (the grant from NRCS),” he said. “Let’s get some of those federal tax dollars back to the Banks County citizens.”
Fletcher and Huskey said the model they came up with would still work without the $5 million.
“The model is flexible and uses bonds, if SPLOST does pass in 2006 you can use that money to pay off the debt,” said Huskey.
Fletcher said the loan could be insured.
“It would be a win-win situation, if you allowed us to do it,” Fletcher said.
The reservoir project would take three years to complete and the total price would be $10 to $12 million.
In other business:
•Gary Harper, director of the water department, told the board a pilot study currently being conducted at the Mtn. Creek reservoir showed that 1.75 million gallons of water could be pumped from the plant. Previously, the plant was pumping one million gallons a day. The pilot study will continue for six months at which time the plant will have to approved by the state for the additional pumping.
“Everything is going great right now,” Harper said. “We did the expansion and now we are seeing the results.”
•the board approved a low bid of $17,500 from Sunbelt Structure for emergency repair on Boling Bridge. The contract specified that the work would be done to DOT specifications and standards. The board decided that the funding would come out of the SPOLST account.
•the board approved a $5,450 contribution to Legacy Link for the 2005 fiscal year. The funding will be used for administrative training and community education, among other things. The contribution is the same as last year’s.

Lula Railroad Days ahead May 14
The Lula Area Betterment Association has announced plans for the 28th annual Lula Railroad Days.
The festival will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 14, and from 10 a.m. until dark on Saturday, May 15. Friday’s festivities will kick off with a cake walk.
The annual parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday. There will be entertainers featured throughout the day on Saturday.


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Lula mayor vetoes speed bump
Lula mayor Milton Turner vetoed the city council’s approval to spend $1,100 on a fifth speed bump that was to be installed on Narramore Way.
The speed bump issue has been the center of a heated controversy, most recently between residents living on Narramore Way. Some say the road is a “speedway” endangering children; others say the existing speed bumps create a hazard that can damage cars.
Before issuing the veto Friday, April 30, Turner contacted members of the council to get their approval.
Turner believes the city needs a policy that sets specific criteria to determine the “appropriateness of placement of speed tables on city streets.”
He requests that a committee, consisting of two council members and the mayor, be formed to analyze all the factors and produce a policy that will govern citizen requests for speed tables.
In a phone interview Monday, he said: “We have to set a policy that takes into consideration public safety, cost-effectiveness and the city’s liability. The council may look at passing the cost of the speed bumps on to the homeowners or the homewners association.”
Councilman Larry Shuler said he was in agreement with Turner’s move to veto the expense.
“We may look into shifting the responsibility of speed bumps to the developer,” he said. “It costs us money to install them. If we have to make repairs on the road, it costs us to take them up and costs us again to put them back down.”
Councilwoman Vicky Chambers was in complete agreement with the mayor’s move. She and councilman Lamb Griffin were in opposition of the installation of another speed bump on Narramore Way.
She said: “We have no procedure to follow right now. To me, it showed that we need to be more careful about the issues that come before us for a vote and what we approve. With the Narramore Way residents, I just wasn’t sure what everybody wanted. We can’t keep spending money to put [speedbreakers] in and then take them up when we get complaints. We may require every subdivision to form a homeowners association. Then it would be up to the homeowners to decide if they want speed bumps and pay for them.”
Committee members will probably be selected at the work session scheduled for Thursday, May 13. When completed, the policy will come before the full council for approval at future meeting.
The mayor’s veto will be open for discussion among the council members at their regular meeting Monday, May 17.