CHASE ENDS WITH COLLISION
A 15-year-old male allegedly
stole a truck and led law enforcement officers on a chase up
Hwy. 29 Thursday evening before colliding with a patrol car at
the courthouse square in Danielsville. No one was injured in
collides with police car
BY MARGIE RICHARDS
A juvenile in a stolen pickup collided with a patrol car on the
courthouse square in Danielsville around 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept.
9, after leading deputies on a chase down Hwy. 29 from the Golden
Pantry in Dogsboro.
The suspect allegedly stole the Toyota pick up truck from owner
John Treadway while it was parked at the gas pumps. According
to Treadway, he was inside the store at the time the truck was
According to a press release issued by Chief Deputy Bill Strickland,
deputies posted a watch for the truck and set up a road block.
The suspect drove recklessly past, leaving the road several times
and striking one patrol car before reaching Danielsville, according
to a Georgia State Patrol report.
Once in town the chase ended when another patrol car in the chase
collided with the truck.
According to the sheriff's report, no injuries were sustained
and minor damage was incurred to the patrol units.
The juvenile has been incarcerated in the area youth detention
center in Athens on multiple charges.
BOC keeps lawsuit policy
BY ZACH MITCHAM
If a Madison County official wants
to file suit against another county officer, he can still do
it with the guarantee that his attorney's fees will be paid by
The Madison County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to
keep the county's current policy on legal expenditures, which
allows a county official to file a lawsuit at the county's expense.
Commissioners Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted to change the
policy, while Bill Taylor, Nelson Nash and Patsy Pierce opposed
Since taking the District 5 post this summer, Scogin has pushed
for a change in the county's legal fee procedures. Scogin wanted
the county to require majority approval from the commission -
or a judge's order - before awarding attorney's fees on suits
filed by county officials.
Scogin has said he feels the interests of taxpayers are not served
under the current policy.
"For us to have an expense policy that allows us to sue
and get our expenses paid is not in the interest of the county,"
The District 5 commissioner believes the policy change would
"effectively stop all those suits" between county officials.
Other commissioners say Scogin's proposal is not the solution
to recent tensions. Board member Nelson Nash said adopting Scogin's
proposal could tie the hands of a board member with a legitimate
reason to file suit.
"I've never filed a lawsuit," said commissioner Nelson
Nash. "But when it comes to protecting taxpayers, I don't
want to rule it out."
Patsy Pierce agreed with commissioner Nash, stating that if she
is acting to protect the public, she shouldn't have to fork out
her own money on attorney's fees.
"If you're standing up for the people who elected you, do
you have the right to take the action necessary?" Pierce
asked Scogin, who replied that, under his proposal, the board
would retain the right to take legal action with a majority vote.
Taylor said he saw "loopholes" in Scogin's plan that
could affect defense of board members facing suits.
"I know we need changes, but this isn't the change we need,"
County attorney John McArthur said both the current and the proposed
legal fee policy protect board members who are targeted in a
lawsuit related to their job.
Three commissioners - Pierce, Ken Clark and Jack Fortson - sued
county commission chairman Wesley Nash in 1997, claiming the
chairman was abusing his power of office in several ways, basically
leaving the board out of the decision-making on fiscal and personnel
matters. A judge ruled in favor of the commissioners and that
decision was upheld this year on appeal. Pierce recently filed
a contempt order against Nash, claiming the chairman was failing
to follow the judge's orders.
Bank owes back
taxes after billing mixup
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Merchants and Farmers Bank owes Madison
County an unspecified sum in back taxes after an apparent billing
While no dollar figure has been set on what the bank owes, commission
chairman Wesley Nash, who refused to reveal the name of the bank
during Monday's commissioners' meeting, told the board that the
owed figure may be in the ballpark of $80,000 accumulated over
According to county auditor Wayne Tamplin - of Treadwell, Tamplin
and Company - Merchants and Farmers Bank owes the county an undetermined
sum for taxes levied specifically on banks.
"It's a locally imposed tax (from banks) to city and county
government," said Tamplin.
Tamplin said the bank owed a total of approximately $16,000 over
the past three years, but that he could not confirm the figure
offered by Nash in the meeting.
Tamplin said the bills for the tax have not been issued from
the county to the bank over the years.
"It was an oversight on both parts (county and bank),"
John Terrell, chairman of the board for Merchants and Farmers
Bank, said he was "embarrassed" over what was an "honest
mistake." He said the bank never paid the taxes because
they never got a bill from the county.
"We haven't refused to pay any taxes," said Terrell.
"We did not know we had to pay this."
Terrell said the bank would "do what we need to do"
to make things right. The bank has, in fact, paid $7,019 for
the tax for 1999.
Jim Patton named to BOE
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Comer's Jim Patton has been named
to the District 4 seat of the Madison County Board of Education,
filling the unexpired term of Beth Bolin, who resigned recently.
The post will be up for election again in November of next year.
Patton, who is not related to school board chairman Jimmy Patton,
was the first of three candidates interviewed by the BOE Thursday.
Mike Sales, who ran for the post against Bolin last November,
and April Hitchcock Watson, both from Danielsville, also sought
Board members Robert Haggard, Elaine Belfield and chairman Patton
voted for Patton, while John Mason chose Sales.
Each candidate answered a number of questions about the state
of the school system, how it's succeeding and how it can be improved.
Patton, whose son attends Madison County Middle School, said
parents, in general, lack confidence in schools.
"There has been an eroding of confidence in public schools,"
said Patton. "That's evident with the explosion of home
schooling. Parents don't have faith in our schools."
Patton, who operates a cabinet shop, said he wants to see technology
emphasized in the schools, adding that he's pleased with his
son's access to technology in Madison County schools.