Place A Classified Ad
Jackson Legal Page
Jackson Opinion Page
Jackson Obituary Page
Send A Letter
List Your Business
Jackson County Stats
Sex Offender Registry
1998 Building Permits
1999 Building Permits
1998 Property Transactions
1999 Property Transactions
2000 Building Permits
2000 Property Transactions
Bear Creek Project
Go to Banks County
Go to Madison County
Jackson County opinion page
Basketball In June
CHS Hoops Teams Addressing Winter Needs Now
Rex Gregg says he needs to find two starters. Don Watkins has even larger personnel question marks looming after wholesale changes over last year.
Committee pushing for new recreation complex in Jefferson
Supporters of a new proposed Jefferson recreation complex off Old Pendergrass Rd. have begun organizing support for a July 20 vote on a bond referendum to pay for the $5.25 million project.
Local recreation Little Leagues wraping up play
Local Little League tournaments are bringing an end to seasons in Jackson County this week.
Saturday, action at the Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department wrapped up with tournament championship games taking place from Thursday through Saturday.
BOC loses methadone clinic lawsuit on zoning
To appeal ruling
The Banks County Board of Commissioners lost the lawsuit Sylvanus Memorial Treatment Center filed against it for the zoning decision that denied the companys request to locate a methadone treatment center in the countys industrial park.
Commissioners still discussing county agent option
The Banks County Board of Commissioners met with a representative from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service Thursday to once again discuss the opportunity of having a county agent placed in the county.
Road widening a distant possibility
But no immediate plans on the table for widening Hwy. 29
Hwy. 29 might be widened one day in Madison County through Danielsville.
It might not.
Explosive growth expected for Comer
If current trends continue, Comers population can double in the next five years, according to the citys zoning administrator Gerald Kemp.
The city council approved preliminary plats for two proposed subdivisions at its scheduled meeting Tuesday night. Royal Oaks Subdivision near the junction of Brickyard Road and Hwy. 98 will contain 68 lots.
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 County.
Order this book online
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2002
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy
The anchor holds
Moved by the words of a song The anchor
holds, Though the ship is battered survivors Tilly
White, Pam Minish, Vivian Brooks and Brooks daughter Judy
Dillard fought back the tears during the opening ceremony of
the Jackson County Relay For Life Friday evening. See this
weeks Jackson Herald for more relay photograhs.
paid $96,000 to leave
BOC, JCWSA approve termination contract
After three-and-a-half-years of political controversy, the Jackson
County Board of Commissioners finally succeeded in getting rid
of Jerry Waddell as county water superintendent. But it cost
taxpayers nearly $100,000 for them to remove Waddell from his
Friday afternoon, the BOC approved a termination contract for
Waddell and Saturday morning, the Jackson County Water and Sewerage
Authority also approved the deal.
Authority member Elton Collins said he brokered the agreement
after board of commissioners chairman Harold Fletcher initiated
It is kind of a sad day for all of us and for the citizens
of Jackson County, Collins stated. Theres really
no winners in this. The taxpayers are losers, the county government
is a loser and certainly the water authority is a loser because
all of us know Mr. Waddell has done a great job down here. Hes
put together a superb team of people that operate and run this
water authority and now thats going to be in an upheaval
Although Collins gave the background on how the deal came about,
Fletcher insisted Friday that the BOC was not a player in dealing
with Waddell on the termination contract.
We had no part in the negotiations, Fletcher said,
adding that the board of commissioners only role was to
pay the money in the event the authority lacked the funds.
Saturday, Collins disputed Fletchers version of what happened.
This was totally conceived and created by the county commissioners,
Collins contradicted on Saturday. The water authority had
nothing to do with this. I was totally shocked when I was approached
with this idea, because (with) the relationship of these bodies,
I would never have dreamed of this coming about.
With the terms of Collins and Dean Stringer expiring this month,
the commissioners stand to appoint three new members who, with
support from authority member Wanda David, could have voted to
fire Waddell. Thats what surprised Collins, he said, when
Fletcher proposed the buy-out.
According to Collins, Fletcher came by his office two weeks ago
and proposed an agreement for Waddell to depart.
I dont know the reason for them wanting to make this
agreement, but he wanted me to be the go-between between the
county commissioners and Mr. Waddell, Collins told the
authority. I agreed to do it because I was certainly in
favor of Mr. Waddell receiving some type of compensation if he
was going to be let go. The alternative to this agreement certainly
wasnt good. That was, he was going to leave with his hat
in his hands.
According to Collins, he and Fletcher negotiated for about an
hour before Collins reached the point where he had an agreement
he was willing to take to Waddell. At that point, he summoned
Waddell to his office.
I laid out to Mr. Waddell what the agreement was,
Collins said. I dont mind saying I advised Mr. Waddell
to take the agreement because the alternative was basically to
leave with nothing.
From that point, authority attorney Julius Hulsey and county
attorney Daniel Haygood got involved with Waddell, hammering
out the final agreement, Collins said.
Waddell said this week that the had no choice but to leave with
the deal, or face being fired.
I wanted to stay and do my jog, he said. I
felt like I was doing a good job, but Harold didnt me any
alternatives...It hurts me that it happened this way, but what
really hurts is the loss for Jackson County citizens in losing
(control) of this authority to a group of people (the BOC) like
In a related move, Fletcher also made it known that Hulsey was
to be terminated as the authoritys attorney. Hulsey resigned
from the position Friday (see other story.)
Although the termination contract was approved, the question
remaining is why was the BOC so anxious to get rid of Waddell
now, when he could have been fired in a month with the appointment
of new authority members? Collins said Fletcher insisted that
Waddell be off the job by June 4.
Asked to defend the expenditure, Fletcher said that the amount
was fair to everybody.
Although Waddell is an at-will employee of the authority
who can, supposedly, be fired without cause by a majority vote
of the authority, Fletcher said it would be a presumption
that we could have done it for nothing because he could have
brought suit and we could have spent that much or more defending
And theres also the July 20 election in which Fletcher
faces a tough challenge from former county commissioner Pat Bell.
Some have speculated that Fletcher wanted the Waddell issue resolved
now rather than have it blow up just a few days before that July
Collins said he is also wondering why Fletcher insisted that
Waddell be gone by the end of last week.
Collins told the authority Saturday that he asked Fletcher what
is going on?
I said, level with me Harold, tell me whats
going on, Collins related. He said, Elton,
once the election is over, Ill sit down and talk to you.
Authority members seemed to expect a public backlash over the
expenditure of almost $100,000 by a cash-strapped authority just
to terminate an employee.
Waddells removal has been an objective of the board of
commissioners since members took office in 2000 just after the
authority hired Waddell, the former BOC chairman. Since that
time, the BOC and the authority have sparred repeatedly. The
BOC tried to get legislation introduced in the General Assembly
to give it control of day-to-day authority activities, but after
a public outcry, the countys legislative delegation backed
off. But the BOC has been persistent with its criticism of the
authority and Waddell in particular.
The deal included $67,821 in salary paying Waddell through
February 2006 when he turns 62 plus unused vacation totaling
$8,943 and unused sick leave totaling $8,134, all of which amounted
to a check for $63,943 after withholding; a check for $2,800
to cover what the authority would have paid for Waddells
health benefits for the rest of 2004; and a check for $9,494
to the Charles Schwab Trust Co., to cover payments into Waddells
Actually, the check was $1,121 too high, a fact discovered Monday,
because the document signed by all parties had a miscalculation
in the amount of sick leave to be paid ($8,134 vs. what should
have been $9,255), while the check was calculated properly, Collins
said. As a result, Waddell will reimburse the authority $1,121.01,
Other stipulations include:
Waddell cannot return to the authority for two years, or
he must return all compensation.
Waddell can be retained by the authority as a consultant
for up to five hours a week at up to $40 per hour. All work must
be approved by the chairman.
Waddell will not file suit against the authority, the board
of commissioners or any county employees, commissioners or authority
members and the authority and county agree to file no claims
To replace Waddell, the authority also voted to promote Paul
Mims, water system superintendent, to manager. He will be paid
$65,000 and will get the authority vehicle Waddell had used.
Waddell warned that the authority may need to hire additional
Paul will work hard and do a good job, but as Traditions
comes online, theres no way he can do what I do and manage
the inspections too, he said.
The authority also announced that its June meeting, scheduled
for Thursday, will be moved back a week to June 17 at 7 p.m.
at the authoritys headquarters.
down as water authority attorney
Julius Hulsey has resigned as attorney
for the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority because the
board of commissioners no longer want him to serve.
I have been advised that the board of commissioners no
longer feel that I should serve as counsel for the water and
sewerage authority, Hulsey wrote in a June 3 letter to
the water authority. In view of this, I hereby resign as
attorney for the Jackosn County Water and Sewerage Authority,
effective June 4.
Hulsey also said he has had a great working relationship
with the water authority board members and staff.
Jackson County has been fortunate to have dedicated board
members who serve with no play and often times incurred a great
deal of hardship on the publics behalf, he said.
Further, I have great admiration for the staff members
and their dedication to running a top notch authority.
Hulsey also offered support for water authority manager Jerry
In my opinion, Mr. Waddell has been a very efficient and
effective manager of the authority and has dealt with the public
fairly and justly, he said. The remaining staff has
been very hard-working and supportive of me.
in favor of BOC on courthouse
After a year-long legal battle, the Georgia
Supreme Court ruled this week in favor of the Jackson County
Board of Commissioners on how the new courthouse was financed.
The unanimous decision ruled that the county did not violate
the states constitution when it arranged a $25 million
lease-purchase with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
The lease-purchase was challenged by a group of Jackson County
citizens who contended that the 30-year lease-purchase deal was
little more than long-term debt. According to the Georgia Constitution,
long-term debt is to be approved by voters.
But the Supreme Court ruled that the lease-purchase was not debt
and that the county officials would have the power to terminate
the contract at the end of each year.
The attorney for the citizens group, Wyc Orr, said he was
disappointed at the ruling.
We are extremely disappointed and strongly disagree with
the court, he said. We intend to file a motion to
The citizens group had argued that it would be impossible for
the county to terminate the 30-year contract and just abandon
the new courthouse once it was occupied. But the court disagreed.
Similarly, if this lease agreement is terminated, other
office and courtroom space would have to be quickly found,
read the opinion. ...That power is present in this agreement
and future county commissions are not bound to renew the agreement.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher said the courts ruling showed
that the case was frivolous.
This is just confirmation of what weve contended all along,
that this was a frivolous lawsuit, declared Fletcher. I
think one comment sums it all up: These arguments are meritless.
Fletcher said the delay in getting the project financed resulted
in an additional $4.6 million in interest over the course of
the lease, and that the countys defense of the suit cost
Leader of the citizens group which brought the suit, Tim
Venable, said this week that he believes the citizens were right
in spite of the ruling.
We obviously are disappointed in the ruling, but not surprised,
said Venable, chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Jackson County.
Our attorney told us from the very start that we faced
an uphill battle. The entire political power base of the state
had a vested interest in seeing the lease-purchase deal continue.
This is a defeat for taxpayers in all 159 counties in Georgia,
because local governments now have the green light essentially
to raise taxes without voter approval.
We lost the fight, but we still think we are right on the
issues. I want to again thank everyone in Jackson County who
has supported our effort. They can be proud that they took a
stand for one of our most basic rights the right to vote.
increase gets EPD approval
The Georgia Environ-mental Protection
Division has approved a permit for Louisiana Pacific that will
allow the company to increase its emissions at the Center plant.
The Environmental Protection Agency will have final say on the
matter. The EPA will have 45 days to review the EPDs recommendation
of approval and make a final ruling.
The new permit will allow the plant to increase its production
rate of oriented strand board. It will also allow for an increase
in emissions by 100 tons per year of particulate matter, volatile
organic compound, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and phenol.
The permit was issued after the EPD director made a visit to
LP last week to tour the facility and to meet with concerned
Two hearings were held in Athens earlier this year with a large
crowd of area residents speaking out in opposition to the request.
Noise, air quality, traffic problems, water supply and the effect
to the natural environment were among the issues they addressed.
Road delay stalling
Jackson County may be losing industrial
prospects because of county delays in building Concord Road and
upgrading Possum Creek Road.
Sources close to the issue said this week that at least two projects,
totaling $27 million in initial investment, are on hold because
the board of commissioners failed to meet its June 1 deadline
to have the two roads completed.
The deadline was one part of the deal the Jackson County Board
of Commissioners agreed to in 2002 to lure a $60 million Toyota/MACI
plant to the Jefferson-Pendergrass area just north of I-85.
The sources also said that several other potential industrial
projects had backed away from serious consideration of land in
the area because of the road delays.
The missed deadline has also upset Toyota officials, who in late
May demanded an explanation from the county as to why it had
failed to do the roads.
The two road projects, totaling nearly $7 million, are not designed
just to serve Toyota, say officials. The roads are designed to
serve a large swath of industrial land north of I-85 between
Hwy. 129 and Hwy. 98. Concord Road is supposed to be completed
to Hwy. 82 by the year 2010.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher said last week that the county delayed
the roads in order to do other roads in the county first and
that Toyota itself had delayed building its plant. But if the
roads were delayed on purpose, no indication of that was every
communicated to Toyota or to the myriad of other players who
are involved in that and other related industrial development
In response to the situation, the BOC ran a full page advertisment
in this weeks Herald that talks about a Toyota Partnership,
but it does not list road construction as part of the BOCs
commitment to the firm.
BESHARA NOW INVOLVED
Following critical comments about the lack of work on the roads
from members of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority
two weeks ago, sources close to the issue say that commissioner
Emil Beshara, whose district includes the Toyota project area,
has gotten involved in the discussions.
Earlier this week, Beshara, Fletcher and county manager Al Crace
reportedly met in private with some members of the IDA to discuss
the road issue. Since then, Beshara has reportedly gotten more
involved in the discussions and pushed for the county to get
moving on the road projects.
CONCERNS AIRED EARLIER
Although concerns about the road only recently came to a head
in public after the county missed its deadline, a number of development
officials had expressed concerns for months about the lack of
work by the county on the roads.
In an email memo to Fletcher in March, Richard Valentine, a former
owner of the property where Toyota is locating and owner of several
hundred acres in the area slated for industrial development,
said there were six prospects looking at sites around Toyota,
but that rumors about the roads not being done had caused them
to back away from pursuing plans in the area.
We have received feedback from some of the prospects about
rumors that the roads may not be completed as planned, or not
at all, wrote Valentine. Therefore, some will not
commit to Jackson County without actually seeing dirt being moved.
Harold, does the government of Jackson County intend to
honor its contract with Toyota Industries of North America and
have the roads completed by June 2004?
Part of Valentines concerns apparently stemmed from reports
that Fletcher had in private said referred to Concord Road as
a Waddell road and that it would not be built. Valentine
said the four different people have told him Fletcher made such
comments to them.
In response to the Valentine email in March, Beshara responded
with a scathing rebuke of Valentine and said that the roads would
definitely be built by June 1.
COUNTY MISLED ON TIMELINE?
Toyota officials had also raised questions earlier about the
lack of work on the roads in monthly meeting with county officials
and had been told by Crace that everything was on schedule.
Documents obtained by The Herald this week show that county officials
had consistently given Toyota information that indicated the
road projects were on a working timeline.
In February 2003, county officials outlined a timetable for work
on the roads where construction plans were to be submitted for
final review by August 21, 2003.
In a May 9, 2003 document, county officials outlined plans for
Concord Road to be bid and construction done between September
2003 and April 2004.
But in a May meeting, Crace reportedly told Toyota officials
that not only had no work begun on the roads, but also that no
schedule for completing the roads was available.
Auto Parts & Service
Garden & Agriculture
Industry & Manufacturing
Personal Care Services
Retail Stores & Outlets
Excel On Critical CRCT Exam
Commerce Elementary School third graders
did extremely well on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
(CRCT) that play a role in determining advancement into the fourth
Of the 117 children who took the test, 114 passed it, according
to Superintendent of Schools Larry White.
Thats real good. Think about it only three
failures, White said. That tells me my elementary
teachers are doing a good job down there.
Principal Kim Savage said all three students who did not pass
the test have learning disabilities. Two have since been re-tested
and a third is out of the state for the summer.
We were really, really, really pleased, she said.
You just never know from year to year. We felt like we
had worked really hard to make sure they knew what was expected
of them. It was better than I thought; we braced ourselves for
Eventually, CRCT results will help determine passage or failure
in the fifth and eighth grades too. Statewide, systems had braced
for as many as a third of third graders to be held back.
Children who did not pass the test are given remedial opportunities
over the summer. Commerce Elementary School offers a summer
reading and math camp to allow children to work on specific
I was really pleased with our ESOL (English as a second
language) population, Savage said. I was kind of
worried about them. I wasnt sure how well they would do,
but they did really well.
Savage said the schools third-grade teachers were thrilled
although she could not resist, when reporting the results,
telling them that 23 students failed. Then: Oh, I read
that wrong, it was three, she corrected.
They had kids they were worried about, she explained.
They felt like they knew the material but might get nervous.
I told them all that hard work paid off.
White said he was surprised and relieved when the results came
I was really surprised, he said. If Id
had to take a guess, I would have thought wed be in good
shape if we had 90 percent passing.
calls election for $5.25 million bond
Impact fees an option for financing recreation
Jefferson will hold a July 20 city election, along with the primary
election, to give citizens a chance to vote on a 20-year $5.25
million general obligation park and recreation facilities bond,
the bulk of which would be used to develop phase one of a new
City officials are considering development impact fees as a financing
option for the bond; according to a consultant, impact fees could
finance as much as 50 to 75 percent of the cost, with the remainder
of the debt service paid through taxes.
Were going to ask the people to go to the polls and
say whether they want to obligate themselves for $5.25 million
over 20 years, Mayor Jim Joiner said. I think its
real important for people to understand this is a general obligation
bond and is backed up by the city.
During a called meeting Monday, the Jefferson City Council voted
unanimously to call for the city election, which will be held
at the downtown fire station. The notice of election, which will
be published in The Jackson Herald for four weeks, beginning
June 16, calls for a principal amount of $5,250,000, payable
semi-annually at rates not exceeding 6.25 percent.
Originally, the council had discussed setting the amount as not
to exceed $7 million, but city attorney Ronnie Hopkins said Monday
night that the city had decided to fix the figure at $5.25 million.
Phase one of the new recreation complex would include baseball
and softball fields, gymnasiums, football/soccer fields, parking
lots, roadways, and other related park facilities, according
to the notice of election.
Likewise, the funds would also be used to pay off the remaining
$725,000 owed on the property, which is located off Old Swimming
Pool and Old Pendergrass roads, Hopkins said.
The citys recreation board has been organizing a committee
to provide information about the bond referendum and the recreation
complex (see separate story on page 1B).
Part of what you want to know is how to pay this back,
city manager David Clabo said Monday night. (Consultant)
Bill Ross will give us ideas on what well be able to do.
Ross spoke Monday night about using development impact fees
an idea the city has been tossing around for over a year
as a way to finance the bond payments. The city will appoint
its final member of a development impact fee advisory board at
its Monday, June 14, meeting to study the pros and cons of implementing
While Ross said he will have no definitive answers on exact figures
until his study is complete, he said the city could anticipate
between 50 to 75 percent of the cost being covered by future
Seventy-five percent if you set the impact fee at the maximum
and 50 to 65 percent with a more reasonable fee, Ross said.
You wont be able to pay 100 percent with impact fees....but
Im confident you can set an impact fee that will cover
50 to 60 percent.
Remember theres a safety belt, Ross added.
Youll revisit the impact fees every year and make
adjustments. You will look at setting the millage rate each year
to make up (the difference).
Mayor Joiner pointed out that the city would not have enough
in impact fees to cover both phases of the proposed recreation
complex, and that the city would be saving up for
the second phase.
In some years you may collect more than you need for the
debt service and you can save up for phase two, Ross said.
Clabo said that the city is also looking at other uses for devlopment
impact fees, such as fire, police and libraries.
We may not have the entire package ready by July 20, but
we know enough at this point that youll be making money,
Council members Bosie Griffith and Philip Thompson were not present
for Monday nights called meeting.