This week's Commerce News
This week's Commerce News
This week's Commerce News
|FRONT PAGE - DECEMBER 29, 1999 - COMMERCE, GA|
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Major Event In
The decision by the Southern Company to build a $400 million peak generating plant in Jackson County was one of the major local news stories of 1999. The plant, when the second phase is completed, will generate more than $3.5 million per year in property taxes. It is the biggest economic development project ever for Jackson County.
$1.9 Million Low Bid Accepted At Special Meeting Last Tuesday
Students will welcome the new year in portable classrooms at Commerce High School.
The Commerce Board of Education has awarded a $1.9 million contract for the renovation and modification of the school at a called meeting last Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Bowen & Watson Construction Company, Toccoa, submitted the low bid of $1,907,000 for the work, and AES Environmental Inc., Braselton, submitted the low bid of $34,783 for the removal of asbestos floor tiles. The board of education approved both bids.
"The bids came in within our budget," stated Superintendent Larry White. "I'd been worried. With older buildings, you never know how it will come out. It made my holidays, I'm telling you."
According to White, AES was to begin work before school resumes Monday. The company will start at the east wing.
Overall, the project is expected to take 270 days. When it is over, the school will have new floors and ceilings, a new art classroom in what is now a maintenance area, a new health occupations lab, more energy efficient windows, closed in breezeways, new exterior doors and a new fire alarm system.
But the most noticeable improvement will be at the front entrance, where a canopy will extend from the current entrance so drivers can drop kids off under cover. The entrance will be "more dressy," says White, and the improvement will extend to the exterior.
There, visitors will find a receptionist's office through a storefront-type window just like in the middle and elementary schools.
"That will give it a more welcome atmosphere," White stated. "What happens now is people come in and wonder 'Where do I go?'"
Construction will begin in the east wing, proceed to the south wing and then the main building.
Five companies bid on the project, with bids going all the way up to $2.09 million.
Students, meanwhile, will go to portable classrooms on loan from the Jackson County School System instead of east wing classrooms. Once the east wing is completed, the mobile units will house classes from the south wing.
Commerce To Consider B Wilson Rd. Annexation
Having completed in 1998 the annexation of everything inside the Commerce bypass on the east side of town, the city is taking the first tentative steps that could lead to a similar annexation on the west side.
At the suggestion of Ward 4 councilman Bob Sosebee and at the direction of the city council, Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. has appointed a six-member committee to look into the issue of annexing land inside B Wilson Road.
The road runs from Quality Foods to the Jefferson Road. Among the land inside is Montgomery Shores subdivision.
The homeowners' association of that subdivision brought the matter up, according to Sosebee.
"The homeowners' association of Montgomery Shores has approached us," Sosebee said. "We are already planning on looping our water line with a major extension down B Wilson Road, and we already serve that whole area as part of the East Jackson Fire District. In my mind, it was just a good time to look at the possibility of doing some local legislation, maybe bring B Wilson Road and everything inside it into the city, similar to what we did with the bypass."
Hardy named Sosebee to chair the committee. Other members are Sam Brown, councilman from Ward 3; city residents William Studdard and Henry Slocum, and Dr. Joe L. Griffeth and Dr. Sammy Thomason, both residents of the affected area.
"Once the committee meets, it will research the pros and cons. If legislation is not a possibility, we will look at other possibilities open to us like the 100 percent method, to see if we can get enough annexed to get Montgomery Shores," said Sosebee.
Reminded of the outcry from affected residents when Commerce annexed inside the bypass, Sosebee indicated that the city fathers learned from the experience.
"If we go by that (local legislation) route, Eddie (Sen. Eddie Madden) will be brought in and educated on the pros and cons the very first thing," Sosebee said. "Last time, we thought he had been brought into the loop of information, but he wasn't."
In addition, there will be a public hearing. That was one of Madden's complaints against the city on the previous action.
"Also, we're going to make sure Scott (Rep. Scott Tolbert, who will be a resident of Montgomery Shores) and Eddie, if that's what the council decides, are included," Sosebee added.
The city plans to run a water line the length of B Wilson Road as part of its long-range water system improvements. It will also loop along Sheep Pasture Road to Waterworks Road. Asked if the committee would consider annexing inside those water system boundaries as well, Sosebee said he was unaware of any interest in those areas.
"The only citizens I'm aware of who have expressed an interest are those in Montgomery Shores," he said.
How quickly a resolution is reached may depend on the level of opposition, according to Sosebee. Should the committee find no opposition to annexing the entire tract, legislation could be introduced this year. On the other hand, if opposition is heavy, it may be the 2001 legislative session.
After All Of The
Predictions, Not Much Expected From Y2K
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