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 FRONT PAGE - NOVEMBER 3, 1999 - COMMERCE, GA

Play Opens Thursday Night

The Cold Sassy Players will lift the curtain Thursday night at 8:00 on the first of four performances of Neil Simon's comedy "Come Blow Your Horn." The cast includes John Haubenreich, left, who as "Buddy", finds himself uncomfortably close to the sexy and rich Peggy Evans.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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Y2K Fears May Kill New Year's Party, Dance
Fear of a Year 2000 crisis may kill a long-time Commerce tradition.
Officers of the Commerce Area Business Association will recommend to the group's membership that the annual New Year's party and dance be canceled.
"Due to previous commitments, many city businesses and individuals who are longtime supporters of our dances will be unavailable to attend or support this event," said CABA President Rob Jordan. "It is therefore the recommendation of our executive committee and our dance committee that the millennium dance be postponed until Dec. 31, 2000."
The "previous commitments" are mostly related to businesses whose employees will have to be on hand at midnight Dec. 31 to baby-sit computers that could possibly have problems with the Y2K bug.
BJC Medical Center, Jackson EMC, some financial institutions and other companies will reportedly have staff on hand when the new year begins to deal with any Y2K problems.
The issue was to be put to a vote of members at their November meeting this (Wednesday) afternoon. The group had already put $2,500 down to reserve a band.
There is a possibility that the dance will go on as scheduled, but with a disc jockey instead of a band, that it will be held a day later or another dance will be substituted at a later time, said Susan McCorkle, who is on both the Dance Committee and the Executive Committee. There is also the possibility that the general membership will vote to go along with the original plan.
"I think there has been kind of a gradual discovery that so many people are going to be working or be on standby or be at a special church service. Some people are going to be with families in other parts of the country. When we started to contact the people we count on to be at the dance, this is what turned up," McCorkle said.
New Year's has been deemed the start of the "new millennium," even though the 21st century doesn't actually begin until Jan. 1, 2001. But the fact that Dec. 31, 2000, falls on a Sunday could make it difficult to organize a party next year.


Pope Retains School Board Seat In Commerce
Incumbent District 5 board of education member Lanny Pope was re-elected Tuesday in the only contested race in Commerce.
Pope turned back challenger Kimberly Kamp, 43-13.


Voters Approve Gov't Change And Sales Tax
JEFFERSON -- Jackson County voters overwhelmingly approved Tuesday a dramatic change in how their county government operates and approved a $35 million special purpose local option sales tax.
By a 2,547-662 margin, voters opted to change to a government featuring a five-member board of commissioners and a county manager. In a secondary decision, voters opted to elect four of the commissioners by districts, preferring that by a 1,987-1,024 margin.
Next year, voters will elect five part-time county commissioners, including a chairman who runs at large and four members who run from districts.
The sales tax vote, approved 2,175-1,053, is a victory for city and county governments, not to mention the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, whose chairman, Richard Cathey, led the efforts to get the tax passed in the wake of last year's 66-vote SPLOST failure.
At stake was a total of about $41 million divided among local governments. The SPLOST is expected to bring in $35 million over five years, although officials set a $45 million ceiling in the hopes of strong economic growth. Of the $35 million, 70 percent is earmarked for water and sewer projects. Twenty-three percent is allocated for roads, bridges and sidewalks, and the Georgia Department of Transportation has promised to match those dollars by 75%, which means the approximately $8 million generated by the roads and bridge portion of the tax will attract another $6 million in DOT funds.
The remainder of the money would go for recreation (5.5 percent) and a training facility (1.5 percent) for the county's firemen.
For Commerce, passage of the tax means $5.5 million. The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority should get $17.3 million, the county road department $9.4 million (counting the DOT match), the county recreation department $1.2 million, Nicholson $738,000, and Maysville $400,000.
JEFFERSON OK'S LIQUOR
Jefferson voters approved liquor by the drink, 300-158, and Jim Joiner beat incumbent Ward 5 Councilman Jack Seabolt, 122-107.


Proposed County Tax Rate Virtually Unchanged
BY ANGELA GARY
JEFFERSON -- It appears that the cost of Jackson County's government will go up 7.5 percent next year.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners adopted a tentative budget Monday morning that will require $447,300 more than the current year's budget. Projected tax rates for residents of unincorporated areas of the county will stay at 7.58 mills, while the rate for city residents will be 9 mills, compared to 8.98 this year.
The action is tentative, with a final vote to be taken on the millage rate and the 2000 budget in a called meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The virtually stable tax rates were possible because the county's tax digest, upon which rates are based, grew substantially.
The total expected tax levy is $6,416,805, compared to $5,969,505 for the current year.
The commissioners also discussed raising the millage rate if the special purpose local option sales tax vote on Tuesday failed, but decided instead that the county department heads would be asked to reduce their budgets by one percent each if the referendum didn't pass.
"I'd rather do that than raise taxes," commented commissioner Henry Robinson.
Commissioner Pat Bell made the motion for the one percent decrease if the SPLOST failed.
The commissioners got an unpleasant surprise when they found out that the final tax digest was $35 million less than the preliminary digest. The difference amounted to $200,000 in revenue.


Newspapers To Go To Press Early Next Week
The Commerce News will be published a day early next week, thanks to the U.S. Postal Service.
Because the Post Office will be closed Thursday, Nov. 11, for Veterans' Day, the MainStreet Newspapers, which include The Commerce News, The Jackson Herald, The Banks County News and The Madison County Journal, must all be printed early so subscribers will get their newspapers before Friday.
The papers will be printed Tuesday, will be on newsstands Tuesday evening and will arrive in local subscribers' mailboxes with Wednesday's mail. The MainStreet offices in Commerce, Jefferson, Homer and Danielsville will be open on Veterans' Day, however.
To meet the early production schedule, all deadlines for next week's newspapers have been moved up. The deadline for classified advertising will be Noon Friday, and the deadline for all other advertising will be at 5:00 Friday. The advertising for all news items to be published in next week's papers will also be at 5:00 Friday.

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