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This week's Commerce News

This week's Commerce News

This week's Commerce News


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Kids' Photo deadline extended to Dec. 10
The deadline for turning in photographs of children for MainStreet Newspapers' 33rd annual special Christmas kids section has been extended until FRIDAY, DEC. 10 at 5PM. No photos will be accepted after this time.
Photographs of children ages 8 and under are featured free of charge in the special editions planned for the week of Christmas. The children must live in Banks, Madison or Jackson counties. The name, age, address and parent's name must be listed on the back of each photo.
Photos may be turned in at any of MainStreet's offices in Jefferson, Homer, Danielsville, Braselton or Commerce. They may also be mailed to: MainStreet Newspapers, P.O. Box 908, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.

Progress On Progress Road

The Jackson County Road Department is at work on "Progress Road," the first stretch of paved access road parallel to Interstate 85. The first section will run from Ridgeway Road north to U.S. 441, and has been cleared and the centerline staked. The second phase will run south from Ridgeway Road to Georgia 98. Officials believe such roads will hasten commercial and industrial development along I-85.


City Taxes Higher
Citizens Of Commerce Will Pay 7.5% More For Schools, 4.2% More For City Operations
Commerce taxpayers will get their annual greeting from City Hall by the second week of December, but it won't be a Christmas card.
During a called meeting Monday night, the Commerce City Council officially set the property tax rates, clearing the way for the printing of and delivery of tax bills.
The city council set the tax rate at 16.65 mills for the city school system and one mill for city government. The school tax is up by .53 mills, while the city tax is at the same rate it has been for the past several years.
While the rate change is minimal, the school tax levy of $1,637,992 represents a 7.5 percent increase over last year's levy of $1,514,370. And even keeping the city's rate level at one mill, the city government realized a 4.2 percent gain in taxes.
City Clerk Shirley Willis said she would fax the rates Tuesday morning to Tax Commissioner Don Elrod with the expectation that the bills will be due the first Friday in February.
Both the city government and the school system published a five-year history of their tax levies, as required by law. Since 1995, school taxes have climbed by 29 percent. The city, which gets the vast majority of its revenue from utilities, sales tax, franchise taxes and other fees, has seen its property tax levy increase 34 percent during the same period, which is how much its tax digest has grown.
City officials say the one mill collected for the city is actually used to make sure that the school system is fully funded in the event that collections are less than 100 percent.

City Council May Revisit Zoning Decision
It appears that the issue of the mobile classroom at Providence Academy will be on the Commerce City Council's agenda at its Dec. 13 meeting.
The topic came up at Monday night's called council meeting at which the tax rate was set, although no action was taken.
Ward 2 Councilman Donald Wilson broached the subject:
"I've been having a lot of feedback on that," said Wilson. "People are saying that we did it for one and didn't for another."
Wilson was referring to the fact that the city council approved a conditional use permit so the city schools could have mobile classrooms for another year but denied a permit for the Christian school to have a mobile classroom. In both cases, the council followed the recommendation of the Commerce Planning Commission.
"We can't discuss that tonight," explained Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. "I'm sure it will be on the agenda at our next meeting."
Meanwhile, officials of Providence Academy hope to resolve the matter without going to court, although they say they will go to court if they have to.
Following the city council's action Nov. 8, City Clerk Shirley Willis sent the school a letter asking that the mobile classroom be removed. The school, which uses the trailer for junior and senior high school classes, has kept the facility in service.
Ray Morris, director, says the school is in contact with a legal organization, exploring its options in the matter.
"We would like to get this resolved without going to court," he said.
Both Wilson and Councilman Sam Brown indicated that they had received constituent calls about the issue.

Maysville Budget Includes 8 Percent Salary Increases
MAYSVILLE -- The Maysville City Council, in a budget work session Monday night, agreed to an eight percent salary increase for city employees.
Police Chief Ricky Armour had requested 10 percent increases for the police department, but Mayor Richard Presley and council members Scott Harper, Jim Saville and Andy Martin agreed on eight percent across-the-board raises.
The council discussed the need for a written personnel policy and plans were made to begin that process during the new year.
Per Armour's request, city clerk Lois Harper reviewed the proposed 2000 salary budget for the police department and explained that the $73,825 was based on a 10 percent increase and includes the librarian's salary of $15,000.
Armour requested permission from the council to have a phone line and electricity installed at the site for the new building, which will be located near the water tower. A chain link fence will be installed around the building and the expense will come from the water and sewage budget. Armour is to meet with department head Ralph Sailors regarding placement of the building.
The council denied Sailors' request for a new truck. It was agreed that the city has a used car that will be made available to the water and sewage department.
The proposed office supply budget of $2,000 was increased to $5,000 so a new printer can be purchased. The printer is needed to computerize the city's check-writing procedures, officials said. At present, all checks are handwritten.
Presley explained that the fire department is a new budget item. Fire Chief James Lyle has requested $16,150. Previously, Banks County paid $11,150 to the Maysville Area Fire Department for service to customers living in the Banks County portion of the Maysville city limits. The city of Maysville paid the remaining $5,000.
It was reported that the city was informed by Banks County Board of Commissioners chairman James Dumas that Banks County will no longer pay for any fire and emergency services provided by the city. Dumas reportedly indicated that residents of Banks County living in the city limits of Maysville will be served by the Banks County Fire Department.
Council members questioned the legality of this arrangement, and Presley said he has spoken with Dumas and city attorney Gary Freeman. Presley indicated Dumas will stand firm regarding the issue and Freeman indicated there did not appear to be any legal recourse. Council members indicated they would like Freeman to review this matter again.
The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.

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