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takes first in Pro Late Models
Turner takes checkered flag in Super
Dawsonvilles Ricky Turner saved his best for last as he
scrambled past Wayne Willard for second, then chased down and
passed leader Jason Hogan during the closing stages of the Southern
All Star Super Late Model 150-lap event Saturday night at Lanier
National Speedway in Braselton.
JCCHS hoops camps
set to begin June 7
Jackson County Comprehensive High School plans to host basketball camps beginning in June. Boys camps will begin June 7 and run through June 10. Girls camps are scheduled to run from June 21 through June 25.
brought 28 new recruits
Spring football practice brought 70 hopefuls
to the field May 4 through 14.
Banks Countys head football coach Greg Moore said the group
worked on fundamentals. Official practice begins July 19.
Day service held in Homer
Banks County honors fallen soldiers
In an honored tradition, veterans of World War II, Korea and
Vietnam and their families gathered to memorialize those who
did not come marching home. The annual Memorial Day service was
held on a rainy Monday morning in Homer.
Tax rates going up
for county, schools
BOE plans 12% hike in millage rate for
The Banks County Board of Education is planning a 12 percent
hike in the county school millage rate this year. In a called
meeting last Thursday, the BOE set a tentative rate of 13.75
mills, up 1.5 mills from the year before. Officials said that
equates to about $60 per $100,000 in property value.
Hwy. 29 widening
to be discussed Mon.
A proposed Hwy. 29 widening project will
be among the road improvements discussed at a public hearing
That hearing is set for 7 p.m., Monday, June 7, in the public
meeting room of the county government complex.
Tax assessment notices
to be sent out
Tax Board votes to mail new assessment
notices for 13,000 taxable properties
The Madison County Tax Assessment Board voted to mail new assessment
notices for approximately 13,000 taxable properties on June 9.
Mailing of the statements is contingent on the county administration
releasing funds for postage for the notices.
Our Time and Place:
A History of
Jackson County, Ga
A complete history of Jackson County, Georgia
from 1796 to the present. Written in narrative style for easy
reading. Includes material not found in other books about Jackson
Order this book online
The Jackson Herald
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CLASS OF 2004 MARCHES INTO STADIUM
The 2004 class of Jackson County Comprehensive
High School marches into Panther Stadium for Friday nights
graduation service. More than 260 students graduated. For
the story and additional photos, see this weeks Jackson Herald.
IDA rips BOC on
Toyota road project
Business leaders want to know why key
road isnt built
Saying that the countys integrity is on the
line, members of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority
said Friday that they want a meeting with the Jackson County
Board of Commissioners to find out why a key road for the $60
million Toyota/ MACI industrial project has not yet been started.
IDA chairman Scott Martin said this week that the IDA has invited
members of the BOC to a meeting Friday, June 11, at 10 a.m. in
the Grand Jury room to ask why no work has begun on the road,
which was supposed to have been completed by June 1.
At Fridays IDA meeting, several members voiced concern
about the lack of progress by the county in the road project.
I am concerned about whether or not the county and therefore,
the IDA, is living up to the terms of the (Toyota) agreement,
said IDA member Jim Shaw about the lack of road work. ...Our
integrity is on the line.
At issue is the building of Concord Road, a planned industrial
development road near I-85 off Hwy. 129 next to the Quick Trip
service station. The road is a key part of the 2002 agreement
between the BOC and Toyota to lure a subsidiary firm, MACI, to
Jackson County. The Toyota subsidiary makes automotive air compressors.
Although the BOC agreed to have the road built by June 2004,
no work has yet begun at the site.
Since January of this year, Toyota officials have reportedly
been expressing concern about the lack of progress on Concord
At a May 24 meeting, Toyota officials were said to be outraged
to learn that no work had yet begun on the road and that work
on another road project had just been started.
County manager Al Crace, who represented the BOC at the meeting,
reportedly couldnt give company officials a schedule for
work on Concord Road, or explain to their firms satisfaction
why the project hadnt yet begun.
FRIDAY IDA MEETING
At Fridays IDA meeting, chairman Martin said that the IDA
had done all that it is responsible for, including securing grants
and financing, in a timely manner. He added that the county water
and sewerage authority is on schedule to deliver the services
The Concord Road work is apparently the only part of the deal
that is not on schedule. Martin said it was a point of
disappointment at the May 24 meeting with officials from
What was even more disappointing is that we did not have
concrete plans as to when they are going to be done, Martin
The IDA members said they dont know when the county made
the decision to not work on the road or not live up to the June
The plan is not worth anything if we dont get it
done, Martin said. ...In the Japanese culture, honor
is everything and they expect you to live up to what you say
you are going to do.
Said Shaw: I thought honor was important in our culture
too... Our honor is at stake at the moment, not just with the
prospect, but with the state of Georgia, with industry and trade
and with economic developers...
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher admitted this week that the county
had on purpose delayed working on Concord Road, but said that
was because the Toyota/MACI project was itself delayed. Fletcher
said the county decided to work on other road projects in the
So, consequently, that (Toyota delay) gave us an opportunity
to postpone or to change our construction date because this is
a very expensive road, said Fletcher.
Fletcher also said that the BOC had been working with Toyota
on the road building schedule.
We are coordinating this with Toyotas schedule and
working it around their schedule, he said. Our understanding
initially was that they were going to start (construction) last
The chairman said that despite the delay, the county was committed
to building Concord Road.
Our commitment from the very beginning has been that we
would have those roads ready when Toyota was ready, he
said. We are sticking by that. We have had the opportunity
to advance some of our other projects for the needs of our citizens.
We have done so.
CRACE BLAMES PAPERWORK
But if a delay in the building of Concord Road was a planned
action, it is not on the BOC record and it was not communicated
to either the IDA or to Toyota officials.
Indeed, county manager Crace had reportedly assured Toyota officials
that the project was on schedule. In April, he told Toyota officials
that the project was going to bid, although he wouldnt
give officials a specific completion date. And in the monthly
meetings with local, state and Toyota officials, Crace made no
mention of changing the June deadline or of doing other road
projects first, said officials familiar with the discussions.
Crace said this week that the county had not yet begun road work
because all the paperwork hadnt been completed.
As for Concord Road, we had to get the draft rights-of-way
and draft set of plans, said Crace. We used a different
engineer to finalize those plans to the new DOT standards. They
have basically finished that work. They are finishing that up
so we can bid it.... Weve kept pushing on it.
While there may not be a clear answer as to exactly why the road
work has been delayed, Fletcher made it clear that he was tired
of those who questioned his commitment to the road project.
In several conversations, one of which came to light in a letter
to the state ethics commission on another matter involving the
chairman, Fletcher reportedly derided Concord Road as a Waddell
Road, a reference to his political rival, Jerry Waddell,
who was BOC chairman before Fletcher took office. Fletcher has
reportedly told several people that the Concord Road would never
be built because it was associated with plans done by Waddell.
Herald editor Mike Buffington has written several editorials
about the lack of work on Concord Road and quoted sources who
claim Fletcher had, in private discussions, been dismissive of
the Concord Road project.
Fletcher said this week that Buffington is a liar.
Anyone who says that I have said that Concord Road would
not be done is an absolute liar, said an angry Fletcher
to a Herald reporter. You can quote me on that. You can
tell (Buffington) that Im talking about him. If he ever
decides that hes got b---- enough to meet me in public
and discuss this, Ill be glad to do it.
Bear Creek under drought alert
Just when county water sales were sufficient
to cover operational charges, Jackson County faces a mandatory
cutback in water consumption.
The Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority voted last Wednesday to
enter Level 1 of its drought contingency plan effective
June 1. That action is based on the state-approved plan and requires
member counties to reduce consumption of water from the Bear
Creek Reservoir by 2.5 percent over the two preceding months.
Locally, that means the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority
must reduce consumption, or pay a 10 percent surcharge on its
next water bill.
The basin authoritys contingency plan has four levels,
each determined by a series of indicators including the water
level in the reservoir, the flow in the Middle Oconee River and
the Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index, along with rainfall forecasts
and the Standard Precipitation Index.
Although the reservoir was full as of the meeting date, stream
flow levels and other indicators over two consecutive months
forced the authority to activate the plan.
Generally, Northeast Georgia has a rainfall deficit of five inches
so far this year.
The drought contingency plan was approved earlier this year as
a result of dissatisfaction with the method for managing the
previous drought in 2002 the first year of the reservoirs
Bear Creek serves Jackson, Athens-Clarke, Barrow and Oconee counties.
While Jackson County is entitled to take 25 percent of the 51
million gallons per day (mgd) the reservoir can produce during
normal times, its average daily consumption has been less than
The reservoir has been the county water and sewerage authoritys
primary source of water since it came on-line in 2002, but the
authority also has a purchase contract from Commerce which
means it can continue to sell all of the water its customers
want by purchasing the excess from Commerce.
Water sales are crucial to the authoritys financial solvency.
Officials were looking forward to increased sales in the summer
to help generate the revenue needed to, among other things, make
the $149,000 monthly payments on the Bear Creek debt.
BOC to pay Waddell
Serious negotiations are said to be under
way between county water authority manager Jerry Waddell and
the Jackson County Board of Commissioners on a deal to pay Waddell
to leave his position before the end of this month.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher reportedly made an offer to Waddell
through a third party to pay Waddell part of his salary through
February of 2006 if he would immediately resign from his position.
The total cost of the buyout is said to be between $80,000 and
$100,000, but it wasnt clear if those funds would come
from the water authority or from the BOC.
Waddell has been a frequent target of BOC members, who have tried
numerous times to have him sacked. Later this month, two members
of the authoritys board come up for appointment and many
believe that in replacing those members, the BOC will control
enough votes on the authority to fire Waddell.
Several water authority members, speaking off-the-record, said
this week that they support paying Waddell a settlement, if terms
can be agreed to. They said it would be better for Waddell to
receive some payment now rather than wait and face being fired
by an authority dominated by the BOC.
Some close to the discussion believe Fletcher decided to make
the offer in an effort to clean up the long-standing controversy
before the July 20 elections. One water authority member said
Fletchers offer to pay Waddell to depart was a shock
to the authority, given the record of heated exchanges and allegations
made by some BOC members about Waddell and the authority.
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Move Into New CMS Is Pushed Back To Mid-June
For months, the plan has been to move into the academic wing
of the new Commerce Middle School during the week of post-planning.
Youve always got to have a Plan B, Superintendent
Larry White observed.
That move has been delayed for a couple of weeks because the
building, plagued by weather delays and the insolvency of the
plumbing contractor, is months behind schedule.
Theyre making some progress, but theyre not
ready for us to move in yet, White said. The contract
calls for them to wax the floors first. Were going to let
them get it ready for us.
The immediate focus is on the academic wing, which
comprises 90 percent of the instructional space. Most of the
floor tiling has been done, along with two of the three corridors,
and the installation of the ceiling tiles is under way.
Well be ready to move in in a couple of weeks,
White predicted. The rest of the building its
going to be in July.
The rest of the building includes the offices, gym, cafeteria,
media center, band and chorus rooms and art labs.
The 2004-05 school year starts Aug. 2 for teachers and Aug. 6
for students. White expects the rest of the building to be ready
for occupancy in the second or third week of July.
Well make it, but its going to go down to the
wire, he said.
Fortunately, the board of education bought its furniture and
equipment in a turnkey operation from Cooperative Purchasing,
which means the school staff will not have to install or put
together the computers, tables, chairs and other items it takes
to furnish a school.
White has hired a crew to move the books and teaching materials
from the current middle school to the new one.
Its coming together and it is going to be a pretty
school, he said.
Meanwhile, the system was able to remove four mobile classroom
units from Commerce Elementary School. Since the school is being
split into two campuses next year, the trailers that cost $185
a month apiece are no longer needed.
A double-wide unit used for a Pre-K class and owned by the school
system remains in the front parking lot to be used as a meeting
room until it is needed again as a classroom. Likewise,
a mobile classroom behind the middle school will remain in place.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has
reportedly begun its investigation into Jackson County commissioner
Stacey Britt and the alleged theft of county water at Britts
Ethridge Road farm.
The probe comes at the request of the Jackson County Water and
Sewerage Authority, which in April discovered an illegal water
meter on a county line that had not yet been approved for use.
The meter reportedly fed water into a barn on Britts property.
Last month, the authority sent a $4,300 bill to Britt for the
stolen water and a penalty for tampering with a county water
line. Britts lawyer has since questioned that amount in
a request to the authority for additional details.
After discovering the illegal meter, the authority requested
that district attorney Tim Madison ask the GBI to investigate
to see if criminal penalties would apply in the matter.
This week, a spokesman for the GBI would only say that the investigation
into Britt is active and ongoing.
When completed, the GBI will reportedly turn its findings over