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FRONT PAGE - OCTOBER 20, 1999 - HOMER, GA

MOMS FOR A DAY

Jamie George (L) and Erin Simmons cared for Kaitlyn Duncan, 2, and Kaelan Standridge, 2, when the early childhood development class provided baby-sitting service for a day.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Demorest files injunction against Baldwin on water
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The City of Demorest has filed an injunction against the City of Baldwin to challenge its decision to enter into contract negotiations to privatize the town's water system.
Demorest attorney Jim Butterworth is asking the court to grant the city the right to manage the water system for 100 years unless both cities agree to a change in ownership.
Baldwin council members have been in negotiations with Aqua Source to take over the day-to-day operations of both the water and waste water plants owned by the city. While contract negotiations to manage the waste water plant will continue, water plant negotiations are at a standstill during this civil action.
According to a 1986 contract, Baldwin owns the system and it has a 50-year contract with Demorest to manage the system with a right to an additional 50-year renewal, according to Butterworth. The original contract also designated Demorest to receive 75 percent of the water produced, while 25 percent goes to the Baldwin.
"There was to be no change in ownership or the conditions of the management except upon the written consent of Baldwin and Demorest," Butterworth contends.
In 1995, a modification was made to the original contract, which stated Baldwin would obtain an $831,000 Rural Economics Development Com-mission loan for renovations to the water system. The number of gallons and purchase price were also modified.
Butterworth stated that city attorney David Syfan, who drafted the modification, added a "miscellaneous" paragraph to the agreement. The paragraph was developed to "bind the parties," but it also allows Baldwin to further modify the agreement by written instrument as long as the indebtedness exists with REDC.
"This provision was never agreed upon between the parties prior to Syfan inserting the sentence in the miscellaneous provision of the document," Butterworth said. "Therefore, it cannot form a material part of the agreement.
"If this statement was intended to give Baldwin a unilateral right to modify the agreement, then any mutuality would have been destroyed and the whole agreement is void. There was no meeting of the minds relative to the miscellaneous paragraph."
Baldwin acted again to modify the agreement in 1998, the injunction contends. That modification allows Baldwin to remove the right of Demorest to manage the system.
City officials began exercising those rights when they entered into the negotiations with Aqua Source. Demorest officials attended a recent meeting of the Baldwin council, and warned that this agreement would not take place without a battle.
"I don't see how you think we are going to sit still and let this take place," stated Demorest Mayor Malcomb Hunnicutt.
Annexation question simmering
BY DREW BRANTLEY
While the public hearing on an annexation request for 38 acres off Old Cornelia Road would not be held until the November Lula City Council meeting, plenty of voices in opposition were ready to go last Monday night.
Several landowners around the potential annexation site across from Harris Drive stated points against the proposed subdivision planned by Doug Calvert, who presented the annexation request at the council's Sept. 20 meeting.
City attorney Brad Patton explained to the group that no discussion would be taken at Monday's meeting, where the first reading of the proposed ordinance was made.
"What we have to do is have the first reading on annexing the 38 acres," Patton said. "Then, by law, we have to wait 15 days to have a public hearing. That will happen at the Nov. 15 meeting. This is just following due process."
Mayor Tim Allen said that neither Calvert nor any of the other parties for the development project would be at Monday's meeting.
In other action, the council:
·announced a hearing has been set for Nov. 15 for Sam Roberts to discuss a dilapidated house on his property within the city limits.
·voted to install no more than four speed breakers on the main road of the Narramore Subdiv-ision. The council delayed choosing how many breakers and where they would go before looking at the road.
·Allen informed the council that a study into placing a traffic light at Athens Street revealed that one was not warranted. He said the report did show that 85 percent of the traffic traveled at 47 miles per hour or greater on that road, which has a 35 mile per hour speed limit.
·agreed to look over applications to replace city clerk Suzanne Martindale, who will be leaving her position before next month's meeting.
·Patton told the council he would be sending a letter to the corporate offices of Benchmark Cable to express complaints over service, coverage area and old equipment made by citizens.
Purchase of Banks Crossing land in works
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The Development Authority should have a piece of prime real estate to market at Banks Crossing in the near future.
For months, board of commissioners chairman James Dumas has been negotiating with a property owner trying to secure the option on a 160-acre piece of property in the industrial park. A contract has been drafted, revised and re-revised and the two entities are nearing an agreement.
"We have got almost everything worked out," Dumas told DA members during a meeting on Thursday.
The option will begin when the county extends Industrial Park Road to Hwy. 59 and will last for two years, said Dumas.
"He said we could market it anytime," Dumas said. "I want to get it nailed down so a prospective buyer can deal through us."
The property owner has also agreed to give the right of way necessary for the road that is expected to be two-thirds of a mile long. The county has agreed to run water and sewer lines to the area.
In March, the BOC also voted to pay $25,000 in engineering fees to design the road. The county should get assistance from the Georgia Department of Transportation to build the road.
Reception set to honor Sisk
A reception in honor of Banks County School System superintendent Dock Sisk will be held on Tuesday, October 26, from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m. at the Banks County High School media center.
Farm Bureau plans dinner for Oct. 28
The Banks County Farm Bureau will hold its annual dinner meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at the high school cafeteria.
Barbecue will be prepared by the Banks County FFA members. The cost is $2 per person.
Alto meeting cancelled
The Alto Town Council meeting scheduled for last Tuesday evening was cancelled due to the lack of a quorum.


The Banks County News - Homer, Georgia
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