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 FRONT PAGE - OCTOBER 20, 1999 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

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HITTIN' THE RAILS

Friends Hannah Wood and Blaine Smith, both 3, enjoy a ride together on the train at the Danielsville Fall Festival sponsored by the Rotary Club of Madison County last Saturday.



LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Nowhere Road subdivision may be in the works
BY MARGIE RICHARDS
The rezoning of approximately 90 acres for a proposed subdivision on Nowhere Road got a green light from the planning and zoning commission Tuesday night, despite the objections of several neighboring landowners.
The commission voted 5-2 to recommend approval of a controversial request by Gene Howard to rezone an 88.77-acre parcel from A-2 (agricultural, five acre minimum) to R-R (rural residential, two acre minimum) in order to subdivide it into 31 proposed lots.
The board of commissioners will make a decision on the matter Monday at its 6:30 p.m. meeting.
Howard put several conditions on his request in an attempt to reassure landowners in the area that he wanted "to do whatever it takes to have a quality development."
The conditions include restricting the homes to "site built only" with 1,500 square feet of heated space and requiring that they receive "architectural approval" by the developer.
Tom Foley, who lives across from the property, voiced several objections to the proposed development, citing impact on the water table by the increased water usage and by the added septic tanks, as well as increased traffic along Nowhere Road. He is also concerned that property values might go up in the area, causing an increase in taxes for area residents.
"My main concern is I want to live in a rural area," Foley said. "That's why I moved here."
Several neighbors wondered whether conditions on the land would be upheld if it were sold before it was developed.
Zoning administrator Lee Sutton assured them that the conditions, if approved, will follow the land and not the property owner.
"The conditions (on lots) are screened before any building permits are issued," he said.
Pat Armour, who owns 52 acres on neighboring Nowhere Trail, told the commission that she "hated to see this many homes come into (the area) all at once" and that she specifically didn't want any manufactured homes to be located on the land.
"We've worked too hard and too long to have what we have," Armour said. "And we don't want a subdivision that wouldn't be up to our standards."
In a separate request by Howard, the commission also voted 5-2 to recommend approval of a 1.03 acre parcel adjacent to the 88-acre parcel on Nowhere Road from A-1 to R-R. The smaller parcel will be blended into the larger acreage as part of the subdivision.
In another matter, the commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of an amended request by Barbara Carey to rezone 5.69 acres on Water Oak Road from A-2 to R-R. Carey, who was representing her father-in-law, said the family wants to provide a home site for her disabled brother-in-law.
Carey had originally requested the property be rezoned to R-1, but agreed to reconfigure the lots so that both can be designated R-R, which falls more in line with the county's comprehensive land use plan for the area
.


BOE to set tax rate Nov. 2
6.5% increase expected
BY ZACH MITCHAM
County citizens may see a slight increase in their property tax rate for county schools.
The Madison County Board of Education will set its property tax rate, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. in the high school media center.
Superintendent Dennis Moore gave the board tax digest information provided by the county tax commissioner Tuesday. To cover the system's fiscal year 1999-2000 $4.17 million local budget, the board will need to increase the tax rate 6.5 percent by .77 mills, an increase from 11.7 last year to 12.47 this year.
Of that, 1.2 mills is for bond debt with the rest going to maintenance and operations.
This year's school maintenance and operation tax digest is up 9.8 percent over last year - from $336 million to $369 million.
Moore said the expected tax increase is due to costs related to a number of school construction projects. The middle school occupied a new six-classroom wing in August and the high school will occupy a new 14-classroom wing on Oct. 27. Construction of the Hull-Sanford Elementary School, which will include 36 classrooms, is expected to be completed in February.
Moore said additional personnel, furnishings, instructional supplies, buses, maintenance and utilities will be required for these new facilities, meaning more funds are needed.


Tax assessors' office seeks new position
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Creating a new position in the county tax assessors' office could cost some $35,000, but that person may bring in much more revenue for the Madison County government, according to county officials.
Kerry Bryant of the tax assessors' office told commissioners Tuesday that the county has approximately $57,000 in uncollected mobile home ad valorem taxes this year. There are 6,000 mobile homes in the county.
The proposed new person in the tax assessors' department would assess the taxable value of every parcel in the county over a two-year period, Bryant said. And officials expect increased assessments to generate more funding for the county.
Bryant also suggested that the person have the authority to issue citations for code violations.
"We're running across a lot of (home) additions that have never been properly permitted," said Bryant. "...It's more or less the honor system now."
The proposal was made as county commissioners discussed the county's 2000 budget, which will be adopted some time before the new year.
Chairman Wesley Nash's proposed $8.67 million budget is down slightly from this year's. Nash recommended some changes Tuesday to his original proposal, including a $3,700 increase in the library budget and a $10,000 increase for building maintenance and repairs.
Nash said he would like the board to hold another meeting to discuss the budget before final approval is given.
In a separate matter, Bryant reported that an audit of county businesses worth $200,000 or more should be completed sometime within the next six months. Officials expect more tax revenue from some businesses once the audit and appeals related to that audit are complete. Bryant added that the purpose of the audit is not to generate more funds for the county but to make sure taxes are collected fairly.



The Madison County Journal - Danielsville, Georgia
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