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FRONT PAGE - AUGUST 25, 1999 - HOMER, GA

EDUCATION

Enrollment up four percent at county schools
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Enrollment in the Banks County school system is up four percent over last year with 2,225 students going to classes this week.
This is up 92 students over last year's second-day enrollment of 2,133. There are 584 students at the high school, 896 at the middle school, 359 at the elementary school and 386 at the primary school.
The biggest increase is at the middle school due to the addition of two grades and an influx of students. Fourth and fifth graders moved to the old middle school and sixth, seventh and eighth graders moved to the old high school, combining the two.


A GOOD-BYE HUG
Jessica Thomas gets a good-bye hug from her mom, Felicia, on her first day of kindergarten last Friday. She is a student in Robin Gale's class.


When classes began on Friday, there were 923 students enrolled at the middle school, although that number dropped by Monday, according to superintendent Dock Sisk.
Kay Rogers, middle school principal, said the grades are up across the board except for eighth, which remained almost constant. Rogers had anticipated 843 students.
"We are up almost across the board," she said. "We are definitely out of room although we do have some mobile units available."
The increases have caused some of the classrooms to be slightly overloaded. There are 34 or 35 students in some of the classes and the state maximum is 33.
"We will make some changes once the dust settles so we will be in line," said Rogers. "We have quite a few more students than we thought we would."
The numbers in special education have also increased dramatically, so Rogers may have to hire another teacher in that area, she said.
While overcrowding has been a problem at the high school for years, that problem was taken care of when the new facility opened last week. So far, they are up only four students from the same time last year, although more students are expected to trickle in.
Sisk said the new high school, which has a capacity for 970 students, should handle growth for some time.
"Historically, we gain 30 or 40 a year (at the high school)," he said. "Unless growth goes crazy, that school should last five or six years. It is designed to put a wing on both sides whenever necessary."
When asked about the possibility of building a new middle school, Sisk said that could be addressed in three years when the one cent sales tax for education comes up. Currently, that money is being used to pay for the new high school. The middle school would be built behind the football field at the new high school, he said. The school system bought 100 acres at the Hwy. 441 site and is presently using 65, he said.
When asked about moving the eighth graders to the high school to handle the growth, Sisk said that would not be possible without losing approximately $150,000 in state money that is used to fund exploratory and extended planning periods at the middle school. The sixth, seventh and eighth graders must stay together, he added.

COMMUNITY

Cannon will resign Maysville council seat
BY DREW BRANTLEY
Maysville City Council member Kristy Cannon will resign her office by Labor Day, according to her announcement at the body's meeting Monday night.
"To put a cap on the rumors, I will be resigning at the end of the month," Cannon told the council. "I am in the process of filing for divorce and will be moving out of the county but I am still a property owner in the city of Maysville and this is still my permanent address. Until further notice, that hasn't changed."
Speculation had surrounded Cannon's current residential status. She stated after the meeting that she would probably be moving out of the county by Labor Day weekend.
In what was apparently her final council meeting, Cannon raised several issues about how city money and time are being spent. She stated that a man had claimed to have entered city hall on Monday, June 28, to find no one in the office.
She also questioned how the city tracked payment for contract services. Her final query came on the repayment of a loan by the Maysville Fire Department for a fire truck the city bought in a purchase-lease agreement with Maysville in August of 1996.
Cannon said she could not find a record of payment on the loan by the fire department. City clerk Lois Harper said the fire department had made payments, the latest coming on April 20 of this year.
In other action, the council:
·heard a complaint from Ray Garmon about cable service from the Benchmark company, which serves Maysville. Garmon asked the council to consider finding a new cable company if service and repair efforts did not improve.
·agreed to allow the Community Club to hold the 32nd annual Maysville Festival this year. Club officers Catherine Daniel and David Oppenheimer made the request. The council also agreed to accept a bid from DH Equipment to supply the festival with portable toilets.
·received a complaint from Larry Gatrel on the city's enforcement of leash and vicious animal laws. He stated a pack of dogs killed two of his dogs on separate occasions, killing one. City attorney Gary Freeman told Gatrel to review the ordinance later at city hall to see what action the law would allow.
·heard the mayor say the city's water supply from Banks County had been assured as Y2K compliant.


Baldwin to meet with Texas firm on privatizing sewer system
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The Baldwin City Council has agreed to set a meeting with a company to discuss privatizing the city sewer system.
Aqua Source, Texas, has sent a proposal to council members that would include a 20-year contract to take over the operations of the sewer system. The bid price will not be decided until representatives from the company evaluate the system and the area.
Aqua Source proposes to keep all existing employees and offer them competitive wages and a benefits package, according to a letter read by Mayor Mark Reed during a work session Monday.
Currently, Aqua Source operates systems in Alabama, Texas, South Dakota and Indiana, according to Reed.
The council recently ran an advertisement for bids on this project and Aqua Source was the only one to apply.


Qualifying ahead for Alto election
The Town of Alto will be holding qualifying for the mayor's seat and council seats for Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and Post 4 Sept. 15-17.
Current incumbents of each post are: Mayor, Olen Jack King; Post 1, Tim Tanksley; Post 2, Carolyn Cabe; Post 3, Miriam Sosebee; and Post 4, vacant. The qualifying fees are: Council member, $18, and mayor, $22. Hours for qualifying are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.
The election will be held Nov. 2.
COMMUNITY

BJC appealing state report
By Jana Adams
The BJC Nursing Home has begun the appeals process to try to clear its name after a state report released recently included negative statements about the facility and its patient care.
Bob Burns, nursing home director, and Dr. Bob Marshburn, a member of the BJC Hospital and Nursing Home Authority's executive committee, reported to the authority Monday evening that the appeals process is underway for some of the statements made in the state review.
While Dr. Marshburn said the executive committe and the nursing home are not at liberty to challenge the state's comments publicly, they are doing all they can to clear the facility's name within the regulatory (process).
"We feel we will," he added.
Joy Brown and Linda Edge of Crystle Springs Nursing Home, Commerce, attended the meeting to offer support for the BJC Nursing Home staff.
Brown said she realizes that the different state review teams can get different reports on different days, and she and Edge said they would help the BJC staff in any way they could.
Burns said the nursing home has submitted its application for state compliance and is awaiting those results.
In other matters, Burns reported that members of nine other nursing homes will visit BJC Nursing Home Wednesday for geri-olympics.
In action items, the authority approved tuition reimbursement for Kathy Ridling, and voted to give Dr. Scott Giaimo, podiatrist, staff privileges.
Anna Chambers reported that the hospital auxiliary will hold a gold jewelry sale from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, September 9.


Tax notices going out
Banks County taxpayers should be receiving their new property value notice this summer.
The county property re-evaluation was done to be sure that all land in the county is valued at 100 percent of fair market value, according to a pamphlet mailed out by the county board of tax assessors.
"Assessors assign fair market value to all properties to ensure that the tax burden is distributed equitably and uniformly," according to the mail-out which went to all property owners. "This state requirement must be met by counties or certain state funds could be withheld and the county prohibited from collecting taxes."
Anyone with questions about their tax notice is asked to call the assessors office at 677-6223. Those who do not agree with the value placed on their property may file a written appeal with the Banks County Board of Assessors, P.O. Box 35, Homer, Ga., 30547. Property owners have 45 days from the date of the mailing of their property value notice to file a written appeal.
The appeal should contain the reason for the appeal, any information which supports this such as a recent appraisal, recent attempts to sell the property and recent sales of comparable property. The appeal goes to the board of assessors and then to the board of equalization. If it still is not resolved, the matter goes on to the Banks County Superior Court.
The Banks County Board of Tax Assessors is responsible for the valuation of all real and personal property in the county and its municipalities. The board used the county "in-house" appraisal staff to perform the county's property re-evaluation.
"By using our county staff instead of hiring a private appraisal firm, the county will be saving thousands of dollars and using appraisers that are more familiar with county properties and local market trends," according to the information mailed out from the tax assessor board.
The notice also lists the factors used by the county assessors to determine property value. This includes: "fair market value," which is the amount a knowledgeable seller will accept for a given piece of property. Considerations include the selling price, replacement cost of the property and the income generated by the property. Other areas taken into consideration include condition, topography, location, size, construction, design, services, use and zoning.


The Banks County News - Homer, Georgia
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