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to open 2004-05 hoops season Tuesday at Flowery Branch
Believe it or not its time for
local teams to get back on the hardwood.
Jackson Countys basketball teams will begin the 2004-05
season next week with a trip up Hwy. 29. Both the boys
and girls squads head to Flowery Branch Tuesday for season
Commerce Bands Together To Pull Off Playoff
Win Over Trion
Its one thing to beat a team twice in a year. Its
quite another to win a playoff game with a freshman starting
at quarterback. Commerce managed to do both this past Friday
With Reuben Haynes filling in under center for the injured Caleb
Jordan, Commerce scaled down its game plan and emerged a winner,
throwing only four passes while rushing for 224 yards in an inspired
13-7 win over Trion.
Done in by the
Jeffersons season ends in first
round of playoffs. Jeffersons football season came to an
end last Friday night nearly three hours away from home.
Despite a promising start, the Dragons fell 28-14 at No. 8 Bremen
in the first round of the state playoffs. The two squads were
tied at 7-7 at the half, but the Blue Devils made enough plays
to come out on top in the final two quarters.
to have full-time agent
After over one year of asking the University
of Georgia to find the funding for a county extension agent in
one of the states leading agricultural counties, Bob Waldorf,
Stephens County extension agent, told the Banks County Board
of Commissioners at a meeting held Monday that a county agent
would move into the county as soon as the application process
Day program set Thurs. at BCMS
Banks County Middle School will hold
its Veterans Day program on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m.,
in the gym.
BOC to seek judges
order on tax digest
County commissioners are tired of waiting
on a tax digest. So Monday they voted to do something about it.
The board of commissioners (BOC) agreed 5-0 to seek a judges
order giving them the right to use the 2003 tax digest instead
of the incomplete 2004 digest as they set next years
budget and approve tax rates. County commissioners did not set
a date Monday on when they would present the request to a judge.
BOC creates new pay
classification, promotes Salter
County commissioners created a new class
14 tax appraiser III position Monday, then they promoted
Mechell Salter to that classification, with pay reflecting five
The Jackson Herald
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THREE CARS IMPOUNDED
Sheriff Stan Evans is shown with one of the cars used by the
county marshals office that were impounded Monday for using
blue lights, which he says is only allowed of law enforcement
A two-year-old dispute between the Jackson
County Sheriffs Office and the county marshals department
came to a head Monday morning when Sheriff Stan Evans impounded
three vehicles belonging to the marshals department.
Evans said the cars were illegally outfitted to look like regular
law enforcement vehicles, but that the marshals department
is only a code enforcement agency.
Im not contending that the county doesnt need
an enforcement agency for its zoning ordinances, Evans
said. I feel like they do. (But) I dont feel like
they ought to be wearing guns and badges and have blue lights
and be carrying shotguns.
Evans said he met with county officials two years ago about the
issue, but that no changes were made. Following Mondays
action, Evans said that county manager Al Crace had called another
meeting for Friday to discuss the issue again.
This will be the second such meeting, Evans said.
The first we had trying to resolve this issue was in 2002,
but it was not resolved to my satisfaction. Hopefully, we can
get the issue resolved on Friday. Until then, these cars will
be impounded. We will wait and see.
Evans defeated the head of the county marshals office,
E. C. Brogan, in last weeks General Election. Brogan was
reportedly in the marshals office Monday morning while
the cars were being impounded, but he did not come outside.
Deputies confiscated the cars after making an inventory of each
vehicles contents and photographing the inside of the vehicles.
The three cars were then loaded on skid tow trucks and taken
to the impound yard at the sheriffs office complex.
This issue has been on-going ever since (the marshals
department) was started, Evans said. It was stated
that they would have the same power as deputies. Thats
not so. They have no authority to stop anybody or make arrests.
This issue has got to be resolved. They are portrayed as something
they are not. They look like law enforcement officers, but they
are not. Were not going to tolerate this anymore.
Evans said one of his problems is that the public often believes
the county marshals are his officers.
That is my contention, he said. When they roll
up there and they write Granny a ticket for burning
leaves, they think its one of my officers. They even have
our insignias, or sheriffs star, on their shirts.
OKs Arcade water deal
But county authority, new BOC members opposed to plan
Jefferson city officials gave final agreement Monday night to
a plan being pushed by the current board of commissioners that
will take away a large area of water and sewerage service from
the county water authority and give it to Arcade.
The move could spark another round of intense, and complex, political
fighting as the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority sees
its financial stability threatened by the splintering of its
This week the new chairman of the authority, Phillis Holland,
sent a letter to Georgia Department of Community Affairs commissioner,
Mike Beatty, asking the DCA to postpone approving the deal. She
hints in the letter that the authority is prepared to litigate
the matter if the agreement, known as House Bill 489, moves forward.
In addition to an impending high-stakes political brawl, giving
Arcade a water and sewer service area could also mean that the
way is being paved for one, or possibly two, large high-density
SUMMIT MEETING LAST WEEK
At a meeting last week between many of the key players involved
in the issue, Arcade mayor Doug Haynie insisted that the town
be given a large swath of water and sewerage service territory
in and around the town, including the area which includes 3,000
acres of potential development. Haynie said Arcade wants to control
its own destiny.
On the table is a plan for a 2,000+ housing development by a
group of Gwinnett County developers. Another project of a similar
size on 1,300 acres is also reportedly being discussed.
But county water officials, and the three newly-elected members
of the board of commissioners, told Haynie at the meeting that
giving away the water service territory to Arcade would put the
countys ability to pay its water authority bond debts in
jeopardy and would shift the cost of those debts to all other
county water system customers. And officials said that if the
county water system isnt allowed to grow, it could mean
that property taxpayers will have to ante up to help pay the
Also at last weeks meeting, county school system officials
expressed caution to all the parties involved about allowing
high density projects, such as the ones being proposed near Arcade.
School officials said they are concerned about the impact such
high-density projects would have on school overcrowding.
JEFFERSON SIGNS OFF
Despite the concerns aired at last Thursdays meeting, the
Jefferson City Council gave a final sign-off to a new shared
services 489 agreement Monday night. Jefferson Mayor
Jim Joiner attended last weeks meeting between Arcade and
other officials and apparently agreed to support Arcades
position in the matter.
The agreement, which was written by the current BOC, had been
agreed to by all the countys towns except Jefferson until
Monday night. Jefferson had earlier agreed to Arcade having a
service territory, but had stalled signing the final document
after it was opposed by members of the county water authority
and the newly-elected BOC members. Members of the incoming BOC
had asked Jefferson leaders not to sign off on the deal and allow
the new BOC to renegotiate the agreement after Jan. 1.
Many observers believe that Arcade service area deal is a backdoor
effort by the current BOC to dismantle and weaken the county
water authority, with which it has been feuding for over three
years. The BOC failed to take over the authority in a legislative
bid in 2002.
The hard push by Arcade to have its own water and sewer service
area apparently stems from the plan by a Gwinnett County development
group to build a residential community on 1,300 acres known as
the old 4W farm.
The developers have reportedly approached Arcade about the service
territory, and the city recently received an annexation request.
Some observers believe that the developers want to annex into
Arcade to escape zoning regulations in the county, regulations
which might not allow the amount of density the developers would
like to have.
Arcade would like to have the tap fees and other revenue associated
with water services. Although Haynie said at one point during
last weeks meeting that wanting a water service area was
not for city revenue, he also said several times that Arcade
needed to develop new revenue streams.
Also apparently in the works is another planned residential community
on 1,400 acres known as the old Terry farm which
has also reportedly discussed annexing into Arcade.
While Arcade officials argued for a service territory, many county
leaders, and soon-to-be leaders, are strongly opposed to the
At last Thursdays meeting, water authority chairman Holland
and vice chairman Hunter Bicknell were cool to Haynies
plan for Arcade to carve away service territory from the county
If we start giving away areas of high growth, it undermines
our abilities as a whole, Bicknell argued.
Incoming county commissioners Pat Bell, Tom Crow and Jody Thompson
were also cool to the idea.
Bell told Haynie that in 1999, Arcade was not interested in being
in the water business, and she pointed out that as the Bear Creek
Reservoir was being developed, the county tried to get local
governments, including Arcade, to participate.
Every city in the county was begged to come into Bear Creek,
she said. We didnt have any takers, so we (the county)
went out on a limb by ourselves.
Water officials also pointed out that the county water system
has main trunk lines running through the 4-W farm property already
and that it is in a position to service the area without Arcade
acting as a middleman. And the county water authority already
has a number of water lines in Arcade service customers.
Crow asked Haynie what Arcade will be able to do that the authority
I think Arcade can respond quicker, Haynie answered.
Part of issue goes beyond just Arcade. Also in the agreement
are plans to take service area away from the county water system
for Commerce and Braselton. And some officials believe if Arcade
is given its own territory, it will open the door to Pendergrass
and other towns wanting new or expanding service areas, which
would in effect cannibalize the county water system and ruin
The county water system has millions of dollars in bond debts
to repay, debts based on projected growth of its system over
the years. If the ability to grow is taken away, officials say
those debts will fall onto the shoulders of property taxpayers.
All of the county water systems debt was designed for revenue
bonds, meaning the debts would be repaid from income generated
by the county water system. If that system cant repay those
debts because it isnt allowed to expand, then the debts
will have to be repaid from general county taxes.
SCHOOL OFFICIALS SPEAK
While county and city officials debate cutting up the water service
areas, officials from the county school system warned all the
parties involved that no matter who controlled the water service,
the future of the county school system was at stake.
What I have to say, youre not going to want to hear,
said county school superintendent Andy Byers when asked if he
had any input in the discussion.
Byers warned the groups about the cost of allowing such high
density projects in the county.
I am concerned about the destiny of Jackson County as a
whole, Byers continued. He noted that the 2,000 houses
in the 4W Farm development could result in 3,500 children.
Theres no way we can build schools (for those children),
Byers warned. Well have to build mobile home schools.
Byers suggested that the water authority reserve its water and
sewer treatment capacity for future industrial growth and that
the county should encourage larger lots as a means of reducing
the population density.
We can very soon run out of water the way growth is going
up this interstate corridor, Byers warned.
He also spoke to the need to have a balanced tax digest and said
there was no way the tax revenue from the houses proposed for
such developments would fund the education of the children coming
In addition, he speculated that uncontrolled and concentrated
growth will erode the quality of the three school systems in
the county. When it becomes impossible to adequately fund the
school systems, Byers said, the entire quality of life
in Jackson County will decline. We could have a real problem
in 15 years...We cant allow developers to come in here
and develop the projects and leave us with all the problems.
sets millage rate, 2005 budget
The Jefferson City Council approved its
2005 budget at $4.8 million Thursday evening, after setting a
6.49 millage rate.
The council held a called meeting for the action, after having
discussed the budget and millage rate at length during the previous
Mondays work session.
Council member Bosie Griffith asked city manager David Clabo
if the figures had changed any since Monday and Clabo said the
overall budget had not, but that a requested part-time person
had been pulled from the Crawford W. Long Museum,
which changed those numbers down a little.
The council had previously discussed the need for a full-time
museum director, as well as a full-time Better Hometown Jefferson
manager, rather than have that be one combined position.
Are we absolutely sure we need a full-time downtown development
authority (director)? Griffith asked.
Mayor Jim Joiner and Clabo agreed that the position is needed.
Were not adding any employees, Joiner explained.
The museum assistant will be elevated to director.
Instead of granting two half-time persons to help with the museum,
the council has agreed on one half-time person instead.
Steve Kinney, C.D. Kidd III, Griffith and Marcia Moon unanimously
approved the millage rate and budget. Philip Thompson was unable
to attend the called meeting.
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Decades, DOT Awards Bid For First Half Of
U.S. 441 Widening Project Between Athens, Commerce
GAINESVILLE The Georgia Department
of Transportation has awarded a $21.6 million contract to widen
U.S. 441 from Nicholson to the Clarke County line.
The E. R. Snell Company will begin this winter the 7-mile project
to widen U.S. 441 to four lanes with a median. A second phase,
widening the highway from Nicholson north to the Commerce bypass,
will be awarded soon.
Construction of the first phase is expected to take three years.
According to the DOT, construction will start with grading for
the new lanes, which means there will be little disruption
to motorists. Once the new lanes are built, traffic will be shifted
to them so the contractor can upgrade the existing lanes.
The widening project has been on the DOTs horizon for two
decades, during which time the project has been scheduled, moved
back, moved forward and rescheduled and re-routed numerous times.
Last year the DOT finally began clearing buildings off the new
right of way.
BOE looks at
Few acceleration days proposed for county
If the proposed 2005-06 calendar is approved in December, Jackson
County students will start school on August 5 next year and will
wrap up the 2005-06 year on May 24. In between would be 180 school
days and 27 vacation days.
What Jackson County students and parents wouldnt see as
many of in the coming school year under the proposed calendar
would be acceleration days, typically set in October and February
for students who need extra attention. Instead, after-school
attention would be more prevalent, school officials say, with
the ongoing mentoring effort hopefully helping students to make
more gains than a week here and there.
After school on a weekly basis all year long works better
than a week for acceleration, said superintendent Andy
Byers. The 20 extra day money can be used for after school,
Saturday (school) and summer school.
The Jackson County Board of Education discussed its 2005-06 proposed
calendar at a work session Thursday night, but voted Monday night
to postpone a decision until December.
Also noted on the proposed calendar are numerous testing dates
Georgia High School Graduation Test dates scattered throughout
the year; End of Course Tests at the end of each semester; fifth
and eighth grade writing tests in January; CRCT throughout the
month of April; and advanced placement exams in May.
Dr. Keith Everson, director of administrative services, explained
that the proposed calendar was worked around test dates.
Teachers would begin pre-planning on August 1, before students
arrived August 5. Rather than a week in October, students would
have two days off, with one of the days set aside for staff development.
The proposed calendar includes three days of holidays at Thanksgiving
and two weeks at Christmas.
Instead of a week in February, students would see three holidays,
and would have a week off in April for spring break. One and
two-day vacation days are scattered through September, January
and March, as well.