LET IT SNOW
Despite the warm day,
Hope Melton, 4, was happy to portray a snowman for the Miracle
Years of Learning Float during the Comer Christmas Parade last
Photo by Margie Richards
set for Thurs.
Those concerned about how the proposed
Danielsville bypass and Hwy. 29 road widening project may affect
them may get more answers Thursday.
Department of Transportation officials will be on hand Thursday
from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Madison County High School cafeteria
to take questions from the public about a planned Hwy. 29 bypass
The DOT reported in August that as many as 53 Madison County
households and 11 commercial establishments may be forced to
move to make way for the bypass and Hwy. 29 road-widening project
slated for construction in 2006. That project is expected to
cost approximately $30 million.
THE DOT PROPOSAL
The proposed highway will be four lanes, two lanes in each direction,
divided by a 44-foot depressed grass median from Dogsboro to
north of Danielsville.
In some areas along Hwy. 29, the proposed roadway will be moved
to new locations to minimize impacts to historic and other environmental
resources. The areas of new location begin at county road (CR)
238 or Joe Graham Road extending east of Hwy. 29 to approximately
.3 miles north of CR 180/Ed Cole Rd. From this point, the alignment
would cross existing Hwy. 29 and continue on new location paralleling
approximately .2 miles northwest of existing Hwy. 29. The alignment
would continue on new location to approximately .25 miles north
of CR 228/Diamond Hill Rd. The alignment would then cross existing
Hwy. 29 on new location to the east and return to Hwy. 29 at
CR 411/Archer Rd.
Two alternatives are currently under consideration for bypassing
Danielsville, a southern alternative and a northern alternative.
The two bypass alternatives would begin at CR 221/Colbert Grove
Church Road, and extend onto new location to the northwest or
southeast of Danielsville. The northwest bypass of Danielsville
would cross Hwy. 98 approximately 0.5 miles northwest of Hwy.
29 and Hwy. 98 intersection. The northwest bypass would return
to existing Hwy. 29 at CR 88/lrwin Kirk Rd. and continue widening
and improving Hwy. 29 on the west side to Hwy. 281. The southeast
bypass of Danielsville would cross Hwy. 98 approximately .8 miles
southeast of the Hwy. 29 and Hwy. 98 intersection. The southeast
bypass would return to Hwy. 29 approximately .3 miles south of
Written statements will be accepted concerning this project until
December 24. Those statements may be submitted to: Mr. David
R. Studstill, P.E. State Environmental/Location Engineer 3993
Aviation Circle Atlanta, Georgia, 30336-1593
Pay in the Madison
County BOC office source of tension
New salary plan to be discussed Monday
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Pay in the Madison County commissioners' office is the source
of tensions in the county government. And again, the salary of
county clerk/financial officer Morris Fortson is a major point
Fortson's pay was cut $13,000 in January. But that pay slash
was overturned by the board shortly after Ken Clark's resignation
from the county commission, a vacancy that left his political
allies outnumbered at the commissioners' table on the issue.
Now the board is considering a pay plan that could raise Fortson's
salary by $2,132 next year. Some say that's just not fair; others
say his duties warrant an even bigger raise.
Commissioner Nelson Nash, who voted to return the $13,000 to
Fortson earlier this year, said he doesn't think the clerk should
get a hefty raise next year.
"I'm not voting for an $1,800 a year increase," said
commissioner Nash, who also questioned the pay of other employees
in the commissioners' office. "And I don't expect any other
board member to vote for it."
He added: "I voted to double my salary and I've about been
crucified for it. If we increase his (Fortson's) pay by some
$2,000, yeah, I'm going to say something about it."
Chairman Wesley Nash has said that Fortson agreed to a smaller
increase than he should get. Nash said that a salary study performed
by the county commissioners' office revealed that Fortson's salary
is far below that of workers in the same position in other counties
of similar size. That's true not just for Fortson, but for several
other employees in the county, Nash added.
Fortson's pay raise is actually the ninth highest proposed pay
increase in the county government (see chart). Nash said Fortson's
salary, as well as any other proposed pay increase in the county,
can be "substantiated through the survey."
The chairman also pointed out Monday that the budget for the
county commissioners' office is 17 percent lower than the previous
administration. And he added that it would be around 25 percent
lower without the pay increases the commissioners awarded themselves
last year. He said the lower budget is from reducing the number
of workers in the office.
"I'm eliminating jobs by hiring more qualified people,"
Nash said about the budget in his office.
The pay in the commissioners' office will likely be discussed
Monday at the 6:30 p.m. BOC meeting in the government complex.
The board is scheduled to receive input from other county officials
on the latest proposed county pay plan.
The most recent plan would give all workers at least a two percent
increase on their paychecks in 2000, with those workers deemed
underpaid by the county pay study receiving a bigger boost until
their pay reaches its proper level.
Officials expect bringing everybody into their appropriate pay
range would cost the county $120,000 in 2000 and about $80,000
The commissioners' aim is to balance pay with tenure and responsibilities.
As it is now, some employees make more money than others with
the same duties, even though they have logged less time for the
But there's been no quick fix to the problem.
One complication is that the county's constitutional officers
- such as the sheriff, the probate judge and clerk of court -
may or may not choose to bring their employees under a pay plan.
That means that a constitutional officer, who chooses not to
bring his employees under the county's plan, can set salaries
as he sees fit. If this happens, then a uniform pay system is
impossible. For example, a person doing a job in one department,
may find that he receives better money under a constitutional
officer for the same work.
So setting up a plan that is attractive to the constitutional
officers is an aim of commissioners.
But pleasing everybody has proven impossible. And those on all
sides of the issue have shown frustration.
District 5 commissioner Bruce Scogin said he is ready for action.
"I'm about ready to say 'no pay raises for anybody and let's
go on with business as usual,'" said Scogin at the end of
Monday's meeting. "I'm ready to go ahead (with a pay plan)
or chuck it all."