News from Banks County...

DECEMBER 15, 2004


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Problems with doctors
The rising cost of medical care and ever-increasing insurance costs are concerns of everyone. In fact, not many weeks go by that I don’t hear some horror story from someone about medical or insurance concerns.

Zach Mitcham
When it comes to lyrics, ‘tape it to a biscuit’
Sometimes I find as I’m driving down the road, singing along with a song, that the wrong lyric is more fun than the right one.


SPORTS
Lady Leopards stepping up, but falling short
Kayla Duncan: running the show
Lady Leopards head coach Jodie Watkins said players on the team are starting to step up and show some talent on the court.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Sheriffs office pulls out of 911 dispatch system
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office pulled out of the county 911 system this week following the reinstatement of an employee to the department’s radio dispatch.

‘Mess’ Aside, City’s New
Sewer Plant In Operation
Commerce’s new $8.2 million sewer plant is in operation, although construction continues on site and probably will until spring.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Tax bills won’t be mailed in 2004
As digest delay continues, hearing on BOC’s
effort to oust three assessors set for Thurs.
Don’t expect a property tax bill mixed in with your Christmas cards. And no, you won’t get it by the time the big ball drops in New York on New Year’s Eve.

Luminarias set for Sat.
The 20th annual Madison County Luminarias and Live Nativity will be held Saturday, Dec. 18, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Booger Hill and Moon’s Grove roads in Danielsville.

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Holiday Spirit

NATIVITY SCENE IN GILLSVILLE
At the live nativity held last weekend at Gillsville Baptist Church, one scene depicted was reading the scriptures from a scroll. Pictured above are: Tammy McCoy, Homer; Bridget Marlow, 10; Rachel Collins, 5; and Tony Mullins, 9.

Gillsville town hall to open in former downtown store
The members of the Gillsville City Council will soon have a new home, albeit only temporary.
At last week’s meeting, council members discussed setting up shop in an old historic building, locally known as “Mrs. Ruby’s store.”
Councilman Richard Ferguson said baseboards and crown molding had been installed and that the store was looking pretty good. It already is wired and has water. The store was one of the first of the downtown buildings to begin the renovation process and is the farthest along.
Ferguson suggested a phone line be installed and an electric heater purchased so the public has easier access to city documents and information.
“There’s nothing to keep us from setting up temporarily in the store,” he said. “It’s in pretty good shape.”
There was some discussion about what type of phone system to set up, and even using a cell phone to get around the $60 business phone fee.
City clerk Paula Whiting pointed out that the city needs to have an answering machine, a fax machine and access to the Internet.
Councilman Ronnie Whiting said he did not think a cell phone would solve the problem.
“We need to have a real phone that people can call,” he said. “It’s not just for the residents. We have to think about county business and other outside inquiries.”
One of the reasons the council needs to move ahead with the plan to create a city hall, no matter how modest, is to provide a place where potential council candidates can come and fill out the necessary documentation.
R. Whiting said: “The Hall County registrar said the way we’re doing it now, out of my home, is not really legal. We cannot have qualifiers coming to our home, a private residence. She let us do it last year, but she didn’t like it.”
P. Whiting added: The bottom line is that we can’t do city business out of our home. We need to have a central public location where the residents can come to conduct business.”
The council agreed and voted to purchase an electric heater to adequately heat the store and approved moving ahead with the transition.
City attorney David Syfan reminded the council that it would have to approve an amendment to the election ordinance and change the address to the store. The qualifying advertisement, set to be printed in February, would reflect the new address. The posts held by Ronnie Whiting, Tim House and Poole will be on the 2005 ballot.
The council began the renovation of three historic buildings last year and though things have been moving slower than the members would like, there has been much progress made.
In other business, the council:
•discussed the Christmas open house planned for downtown Gillsville at 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 18. The event is sponsored by Friends of Gillsville and will feature carolers, refreshments and tours of the historic buildings in the renovation progress.
•discussed setting up monthly financial reports. Jones and P. Whiting have been working with an auditor to clear up the city’s accounts and align them with state regulations for municipal budgets. The monthly reports will also provide necessary information for future years. Jones said, in January, the council should plan yearly projects to be included in the next budget as well as other expenses of running an office in the new city hall. The Gillsville fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
•approved the Hall County solid waste management plan.
•approved adding a name that was left off the list of recent annexations.
•announced there would be no work session during the month of December.
•learned that one of the town’s American Flags and pole had been stolen.


Holiday open house planned in Gillsville Sat.
Friends of Gillsville and the City of Gillsville invite all area residents to a holiday open house.
This holiday event will be held Saturday, December 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. in downtown Gillsville. It will feature caroling groups, complimentary food and beverages and give folks a look at the progress of the building renovations.
“Bring your family, friends and neighbors and help us celebrate the holidays in downtown Gillsville,” leaders say.


Flu shots are in
The Banks County Health Department has begun dispersing flu shots for the very young, elderly and at-risk residents.
Jan Hill, county nurse manager, said 300 adult does of the vaccine were available for adults and 150 doses for infants and children when vaccinations began early Monday morning. Some 250 adults received their shots, but very few children were vaccinated, said Hill.
“We had many, many or our senior citizens coming in for their flu shots,” said Hill. “By the end of the day, there were only 30 adult doses left.”
Hill said the number of doses received was not that much off from last year.
Contact the health department at 677-2296.


Courthouse closed for holiday
The Banks County courthouse will be closed Thursday, December 23, Friday, December 24, and Monday, December 27, for Christmas. The courthouse will also be closed on Friday, December 31.



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Baldwin approves annexation of Habersham Airport Industrial Park
The Baldwin City Council approved a request Monday from the Habersham County Industrial Development Authority to annex a 6.73-acre tract located in the Habersham Airport Industrial Park.
The approval was made though the city’s ordinance requires property owned by an entity or individual(s) be annexed in its entirety, which in this case would total 50 acres, in order to receive water and sewer service.
During Thursday’s work session, IDA member Charlie Miller requested the rezoning and annexation of just two parcels, tracts 6 and 7, which have been sold and need water and sewer service, something the county cannot provide. He added that there was still some discussion on the county level as to road building and maintenance.
“The county has agreed to pave the road up to these parcels,” he said. “We don’t know about the rest. We can go back to the commissioners and try to get them to pave the road all the way to Duncan Bridge. In the big picture, it would open the land up to potential prospects and include the 50-acre tract owned by Charles Sullivan Construction.”
City attorney David Syfan pointed out that due to the development and design of the industrial park it would be possible to bring in just the two parcels as long as the land was contiguous with Baldwin’s city limits. He added that the road, however, is a legitimate concern of the council.
Councilman Ray Holcomb worried that such a move might set a precedent, allowing other developers or property owners to bring in tracts one or two at a time. He also pointed out that developers of subdivisions were required to pave roads and that he didn’t see much difference between the two. He told Miller it would be less expensive to request the annexation of the entire 50-acre tract.
Mayor Mark Reed said: “This is a good starting point. We need to show we’re willing to work with the county.”
The tract was recently sold to a manufacturing company, Glenroe Technologies, relocating from Florida, that will employ around 100 people. The building is about 80 percent complete, according to Reed.
Miller said he understood the problems and would convey the council’s concerns to the board of commissioners.


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