News from Madison County...

JUNE 2, 2004


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
What would be a good name for UGA if it can’t be ‘UGA?’
Are you as sick of the squabble between the University of Georgia and its fundraising foundation as I am?

Zach Mitcham
System can leave our loved ones behind
Some things in our lives seem pure. For me, the memory of the last supper my grandmother cooked for her family late in 1993 is one such purity. We ate a fried chicken dinner knowing that the next day Grandma would have surgery to remove a large tumor from her brain.


SPORTS
Parts of new complex should be open to public by August
Madison County school system officials are targeting August as the month when the high school’s new athletic complex should first be opened to the public — albeit in a limited capacity.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Memorial 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 schools
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.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
IDA rips BOC on Toyota road project
Business leaders want to know why key road isn’t built
Saying that the county’s “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.

Plan B:
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.
“You’ve always got to have a Plan B,” Superintendent Larry White observed.

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Hitting school

Hunter Maurer (front) shows off his swing in the Madison County High School batting cages while Raider baseball player Garrett Hochstetler instructs during the first session of Red Raider baseball camp. This week’s camp is a hitting camp, next week’s session will be a full baseball camp.

Hwy. 29 widening to be discussed Mon.
A proposed Hwy. 29 widening project will be among the road improvements discussed at a public hearing Monday night.
That hearing is set for 7 p.m., Monday, June 7, in the public meeting room of the county government complex.
The Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) committee has proposed several road projects for the southern portion of Madison County over the next six years, with the most notable project being a two-phase widening of Hwy. 29. The first phase would widen Hwy. 29 from two to four lanes from the intersection with Hwy. 106 in Dogsboro to Diamond Hill-Colbert Road. The second phase would widen the highway from Diamond Hill-Colbert Road to Irwin Kirk Road, north of Danielsville.
According to MACORTS transportation planner Sherry Moore, the tentative time frame for the widening project includes securing rights-of-way in 2008, with construction beginning in 2011 or 2012. The estimated total cost of the project is $37 million, with $33 million for construction and $4 million for securing rights-of-way.
There is no answer now on a crucial question: would the Hwy. 29 widening


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.
Madison County Board of Commission chairman Wesley Nash had asked that the notices not be mailed until a state review was completed, resulting in a hold on the postage.
After receiving assurances from the tax board chairman John Bellew, Nash agreed to poll the commission on the question of releasing the postage money.
The tax board submitted a written request that they be informed of the decision by Wednesday, June 2. As of Tuesday morning, no response had been received.
Chief Appraiser Rebecca Duncan said it will take at least seven days to print out the assessments. The date of mailing must be predetermined, she said, so that taxpayers will know the 45 day deadline for filing appeals.
Wesley Nash is seeking the Republican nomination for re-election as county chairman. Bellew is one of four democrats seeking the Chairman’s job.
Duncan said that the county’s tax digest will be up by 29 percent over last year. That is an estimated increase of $103,926,642 in taxable property.
Part of the increase is due to new construction in the county. Additional increases come from reworking the schedules used to determine property values.


Political forums upcoming
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce has announced several upcoming local political forums.
The first is scheduled for Tuesday for candidates for board of commission seat district one. The forum is planned for 7 p.m. at Hull Sanford Elementary School.
A second forum for candidates for the county-wide board of commission chairman seat, district attorney and district 4 commission seat is planned for Tuesday, June 22, at 7 p.m. at the Madison County High School Theater.
A third forum for all local candidates is planned for Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Madison County High School Theater. The candidates will include those for county board of education, tax commissioner, district attorney, county commission chairman and district commissioners.


Escaped inmate caught by state patrolman
A Madison County inmate, who escaped from custody while being treated at a local doctor’s office last Monday, was apprehended by a Georgia State Patrolman last Wednesday.
Trooper Alton Wilkins of the Athens post of the state patrol, acting on information from a lookout posted by Madison County deputies, stopped a car Wednesday afternoon on Glenn Carrie Road in Hull. The vehicle was driven by escaped Madison County inmate Richard Dwayne Flanagan. Arrested with Flanagan and charged with aiding in his flight was his friend, Janelle Angelique Teran, Colbert.
Flanagan fled from a deputy May 24 as he was being returned to jail from a doctor’s office.
Flanagan was being held on a theft of a motor vehicle charge from two years ago in Madison County and a recent probation violation charge in Ohio.
Flanagan now faces escape charges as well as charges in connection with the burglary of at Madison County Middle School. The trooper also charged Flanagan with driving without a license.

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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.


Madison Co. BOE sets tentative $34.66 million budget
Madison County’s Board of Education has released a proposed budget for the 2004-2005 school year that totals $34,664,794.
The school board expects to end the current year with a balance of $3.2 million. The proposed tax rate will be unchanged at 16.72 mils.
The proposed budget will be published in the local newspapers. A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. on June 29 at the Madison County High School media center. A called meeting of the school board is set for 6:30 p.m. that same night to approve the budget.
Superintendent Keith Cowne said that the increase in funds needed to compensate for state cuts and overall increases in expense will be funded by growth of the county’s tax digest. He said that the 2003-2004 ending balance will be enough to prevent the need to borrow in case the county is delayed in mailing tax notices this fall.
The most expensive items in the budget include $22.8 million for instruction, $2.66 million for maintenance, $2.25 million for administration and $1.71 million for transportation.
The millage to retire the 1998 bonds, that have been canceled the past two years, will have to be partly reinstated this year. The board has used left-over funds from the last SPLOST to pay the bonds. But the fund is being exhausted and will cover only a part of the payment for 2004.
The new construction will reduce the need for portable classrooms, Cowne said. All leased units will be returned this year. Two portable classrooms owned by the school system will be moved to Hull-Sanford Elementary School, the only school expected to need them.
Cowne also announced that Raider Stadium is getting a completely new sound system and a new set of bleachers in the visitors section, replacing an old wooden set. The funding for the stadium improvements is in the current budget.