News from Madison County...

NOVEMBER 10, 2004


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Madison Co. should hold non-partisan elections
It is not often that I find something good to say about Athens-Clarke County. But this time, they did something right. Voters in Athens overwhelmingly approved a plan to require non-partisan elections. The measure won 69 percent “yes” to 31 percent “no.”

Margie Richards
Does God live under your bed?
Well, the elections are over and now it seems it’s time to jump headlong into the holiday season. Some of you probably already have. Maybe even a few of you have been smart enough and energetic enough to finish your Christmas shopping.


SPORTS
Houston has lift off
Raider wrestlers prep for first year under new coach. Perhaps for the first time in the Madison County wrestling program’s history, a new Raider coach has a tough act to follow.
Richie Houston comes to Danielsville after the team enjoyed a successful three-year span under Steve Mason which saw 23 state qualifiers under his watch and a two-time state champion in Mark Arnold.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Banks County 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 state’s 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 is complete.

Veterans’ 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.

 


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Evans impounds marshal’s cars
A two-year-old dispute between the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the county marshal’s department came to a head Monday morning when Sheriff Stan Evans impounded three vehicles belonging to the marshal’s department.

Jefferson 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.

 mainstreetnews.com
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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Time to Grapple

Madison County’s wrestling fans can get a look at the 2004 high school squad Thursday night at the Raider Rumble in the old Danielsville gym off Hwy. 29 next to the government complex. Pictured at Monday’s MCHS wrestling practice are (top) Ace Samples and (bottom) Kevin Ciciora.

BOC to seek judge’s 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 judge’s order giving them the right to use the 2003 tax digest —instead of the incomplete 2004 digest — as they set next year’s budget and approve tax rates. County commissioners did not set a date Monday on when they would present the request to a judge.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash told commissioners they either needed to seek a judge’s ruling or look at borrowing money. Otherwise, they may not have enough money to run the government come January.
“We’re at the point of needing to do a temporary collection order and collect on last year’s digest...or we need to think about borrowing money,” said Nash.
Commissioner Bruce Scogin said he didn’t feel borrowing money was a viable option.
“I’d rather see us do a temporary collection order for collecting on last year’s digest than borrow,” said Scogin. “I feel at some point we’ll get a digest.”
The county board of assessors has yet to bring tax assessment appeals under the “magic” figure of 700 — the maximum number of pending appeals Madison County assessors can have and still submit a digest to the state.
County tax assessor chairman John Bellew, who was defeated by Nash in the Nov. 2 race for the BOC chairman’s seat, said Tuesday that he felt the assessors can bring the total number of pending appeals under 700 at their regular meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the BOC conference room in the county government complex.
If the assessors, in fact, do bring the number of pending appeals below 700, then those who receive a second appeal notice that night will have 21 days to file an appeal. Once that time has elapsed, a digest could be submitted to the state for approval around the beginning of December.
Once a digest is approved, the county’s tax-levying boards — the commissioners, the school board and industrial authority — can set their tax rates and tax bills can be mailed to property owners.
BOC BUDGET NOT
YET APPROVED
The BOC has not yet approved the 2005 county budget. And right now, based on projections with 2003 digest figures, proposed expenses are approximately $686,000 more than anticipated revenues in the preliminary 2005 budget.
Essentially, if the 2003 digest is used, the BOC will have to look at either increasing its tax rates or significantly slashing the proposed budget.
The BOC will address the 2005 budget in upcoming meetings.


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 years experience.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood asked chairman Wesley Nash if Salter would be working in the BOC office or the tax assessor’s office. Salter was fired earlier this year by the board of assessors, but Nash overturned that dismissal, declaring it an unjust termination — a decision the BOC backed — and Salter was moved from the assessor’s office to the commissioners’ office.
“Until we find out what the tax digest is doing, I don’t know how to answer that,” said Nash, adding: “She’ll stay in this position until a position opens up there (in the assessor’s office).”
Youngblood asked what Salter’s job duties are in the BOC office now. County clerk Morris Fortson said Salter is “helping us with whatever we can find for her to do,” adding that she needs to be back where she is trained.
In separate personnel actions, the board agreed to rehire part-time seasonal supervisor Sandra Chastain at the recreation department and agreed to hire Charles Middleton as a 75-percent employee van driver/custodian for the senior center.


County commissioners to review proposed leash ordinance
Local leaders are considering proposed animal control laws for Madison County.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood handed fellow board members a proposed six-page leash ordinance Monday night, noting that he had taken many suggestions from commissioner Bruce Scogin and added parts of animal control laws from neighboring counties.
The BOC agreed to look over Youngblood’s proposals and discuss the issue at its next meeting. If the ordinance is approved, a first hurdle in animal control will be cleared. However, implementing actual animal control will require funds for manpower, equipment and training.
If approved, the ordinance will be known as the “Madison County Leash Law.” Youngblood’s proposal states:
•GENERAL PROVISIONS: “Within the unincorporated boundaries of Madison County, Georgia, no person shall own, keep or harbor, outside the confines of the owner’s property (meaning owned, rented or leased) any dog which is not held firmly on a leash, not longer than six feet, by a person who has control over such dog. All persons owning, keeping or having possession, charge or custody of any dog shall confine such dog on their premises by means of a leash, tether, run or proper enclosure.”
•NUISANCES: “Any owner or attendant of a dog shall exercise proper care and control so as to prevent said animal from becoming a public nuisance. Excessive or untimely barking, intervening of passers by on public ways, chasing vehicles, attacking people or other domestic animals, trespassing upon public or private property in such a manner as to damage property shall be deemed a nuisance.”
•VACCINATION: “Every owner of a dog more than six months old shall have the dog vaccinated or re-vaccinated at appropriate intervals by a licensed veterinarian. Any impounded dog shall not be released to owner until proof of current vaccination is provided. If valid proof of vaccination cannot be provided by owner, the impounding officer may have the dog vaccinated at owner’s expense.”
•IMPOUNDMENT: “Any dog may be impounded for the violation of any section of this ordinance. In any case where a dog has not attacked a person or other domestic animal, the dangerous dog control officer shall have broad discretionary authority over the disposition of said dog. Any dog that attacks a person or another domestic animal, or is deemed a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Madison County ‘Dangerous Dog Control Ordinance.’”
•DOGS RUNNING AT LARGE: “It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having in his or her possession any dog to allow such to be at large without the owner or person in charge thereof having control over such dog. (*Hunting dogs shall be deemed under control while on land with the consent of the owner thereof and engaged in normal hunting activity for the particular type of hunt involved.) An owner or person having in his possession a dog may allow the dog to be at large on the owner’s property or on other property by permission of an owner that does not provide the animal with access to a sidewalk or street.
For the rest of this story see this week's Madison County Journal.

 

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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.


Assessor’s hearing set for Dec. 16
A Superior Court judge will hear arguments for and against the county board of assessors in just over a month.
The hearing is set for 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 16, in the county Superior courtroom in the government complex in Danielsville.
Last month, the BOC filed a lengthy complaint against the assessors asking for a recommendation from a judge on whether there is sufficient grounds for dismissal of three of the four current members: chairman John Bellew, John Mallonee and Gerald Coutant. (The commissioners are not seeking the dismissal of recent appointee, Samantha Garland.)
In their complaint, the commissioners claim that the three tax board members have “failed to perform their duties and requirements and meet the qualifications imposed upon them by law in numerous respects...”
Bellew, who lost the race for the BOC chairman’s seat to Wesley Nash last week, contends that the charges lack merit.
But he said he will “most likely” resign sometime after the 2004 digest is finalized because he believes the commissioners will be out to get the board of assessors as long as he is on the board.
“I will be more of a liability to the assessors than an asset,” said Bellew on continuing to serve.
For the rest of this story see this week's Madison County Journal.


Two fired from tax commissioner’s office
Tax commissioner Louise Watson, who was re-elected to another term last Tuesday after facing a challenge from one of her employees, Kathy Stamps, fired Stamps and employee Donna Epps from the tax commissioner’s office the day after the election.
Watson was out of town this week and unavailable for comment.
Stamps said Tuesday that she would prefer to withhold comment for now, but would have plenty to say after she checked to see what her options are. Epps also declined comment.
Watson defeated Stamps with 5,721 to 3,830 votes, 59.9 to 40.1 percent.

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