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BOC updating county subdivision regulations

The Banks County Board of Commissioners has already met two times and spent several hours reviewing the subdivision regulations line-by-line and made several proposed changes.

When the final proposed changes have been made and reviewed by the county attorney, a vote will be taken on the updated document.

The latest review of the subdivision regulations came at the July meeting of the BOC when the commissioners spent over hour making more changes, including updating the definition of Class 3 and Class 4 subdivided property. Class 3 will be the division of a track into 5 to 9 lots. Class 4 will be the division of a tract into 10 or more lots. The property must be zoned to R-1. It was also added that a road study must be conducted by the applicant.

Some other proposed changes made include the following:

•every subdivided property must have a separate driveway.

•panhandle/flag lots are not allowed.

•fire hydrants must be provided at 500 feet intervals.

•maintaining dedicated roads with 150 feet of right-of-way.

•no more than 75 lots in a subdivided piece of property can be dependent on a single road for access/exit.

Hebrons 225th year celebration planned

Hebron's 225th year anniversary is planned for July 30-Aug. 1.

Events will include:

•Friday, July 30, bonfire, 6 p.m.

•Saturday, July 31, songs and stories, 6 p.m.

•Sunday, Aug. 1, HHS meeting, 10 a.m.

•Sunday, Aug. 1, 11 a.m., homecoming communion worship.

•Sunday, Aug. 1, 12 p.m., dinner on the grounds.

Founded in 1796, Hebron hosts an active Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest historical societies in the state of Georgia and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The historical grounds include the church and sanctuary, historic graveyard and both Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans, one-room school house and extensive grounds with a meditation trail through the woods.

The church is located at 1255 Hebron Road, Commerce.

For more information, contact dbillingslea@habershamschools.com or visit historichebron.org/225th.

15 new COVID cases reported in past two weeks

Fifteen new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Banks County in the past two weeks, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

There has been a total of 1,685 COVID-19 cases reported since data first began being collected on the virus on March 2020. There have been 37 deaths and 205 people hospitalized from COVID-19 in Banks County.

Banks County continues to have one of the lowest rates in the state of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccination. There are only 24 percent of the population who have received both doses of the shot. This is the lowest rate in North Georgia, however, a couple of South Georgia counties have a lower rate. Statewide, 37 percent of the citizens have received both shots, while 44 percent have received one shot.

Motorists who travel along Yonah-Homer Road in Banks County can't help but smile at this field with thousands of sunflowers. It's certainly a bright spot. Lee and Anna Dempsey own the five acres which are covered with thousands of sunflowers. The Dempseys have three children and live in Gainesville but enjoy coming to Homer to see the sunflowers on their property. Mr. Dempsey said it's the third year they have planted the sunflowers. 

Plans being made for start of new school year

Teachers will return to the classroom on Aug. 2, with students to follow on Aug. 6. Banks County School System superintendent Ann Hopkins gave an update on preparations for the new school year when the board of education met on July 15.

There will be no virtual learning this year, and plans are not to quarantine. Masks will not be required, but students can wear them if they prefer to. Notifications will be given if students or staff members have a positive COVID case. Dr. Hopkins said hopes are that it will be a “more of a normal school year.”

Something new this year will be an after-school program for all grade levels offered in partnership with the YMCA. CARES funds will go toward paying for this program. Transportation and food will be provided, and tutoring will be offered.

“This is a true blessing for our children,” said Dr. Hopkins, who added a request for after school care had been a need asked for from community members. “It is an answer from God to take care of some of our kids.”

The school system will also have a new school psychologist and speech pathologist this year, as well as approximately 35 new staff members.

Assistant superintendent Joy Edwards reported that new teacher orientation will be held on July 29, which will include a school bus ride around the community.

“We are really excited to get them off to a great start,” she said.

Also, at the meeting, assistant superintendent Hank Ramey game an update on the track project. He said it will be complete as soon as the area has three consecutive days without rain.


Also at the meeting, the BOE:

•approved policies on teacher evaluation applications and paid parental leave.

•approved the annual meal program bids for the school year.

•heard an update from financial director Mike Beasley, which includes that ELOST for June was $352,295, which is up $168,550 over last June.

•set the ELOST at a maximum of $400,000 per month.

•approved the annual salary schedule for the school year.

•heard from Beasley that the proposed budget is $43.08 million, with is up 10.6 percent over the current budget of $38.9 million. The budget includes the CARE funds the school system received due to the pandemic. “The goal is to give you this information to simmer on,” Beasley said. A vote on the budget, and millage rate, will be held on Aug. 16. The proposal is to keep the millage rate the same as the current rate. 14.5.


The BOE also approved the following personnel: hiring Karen E. Andrews, Eric DeWayne Young and Annie B. Reece, all teachers; Ashley D. Cook and Sydney A. Truelove, both paraprofessionals, and Kaci L. Ward and Angela G. Riley, both bus drivers; and accepting the resignation of Leslie Turk and Amanda Bedford, both teachers; and Preston Krumnow, bus driver. 

BOC to vote Aug. 10 on millage rate

The Banks County Board of Commissioners will vote on a proposed 7.831 millage rate when it meets at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Annex Building in Homer. This will be a decrease over the current millage rate of 8.419. In 2019, the millage rate was 8.533

Farm Day coming up at public library

Farm Day will be held at the Banks County Public Library on July 29 featuring the Georgia Ag Experience Classroom.

The Farm Day will include games, farm animals, farm fresh foods, photo opportunities, the mobile book mobile and lunch.

Call and reserve your spot at 706-677-3164.

Back to School Bash planned July 31

Banks County Family Connection will host a Back to School Bash from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, at Banks County High School.

There will be bounce houses, cotton candy, Kona Ice, games, big slides, pizza and lots of free items.

The Banks County Sheriff's Office will be offering fingerprint identification cards. The Banks County Health Department will be giving free COVID-19 shots,a s well as menigitis shots for a free.

Those who applied for a book bag, will receive it at the event.

Job assistance offered to people laid off

WorkSource is continuing to assist people who live in or have been laid off from one of the WSGM Area counties- Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White; and fit one of these scenarios:

•Has never been employed.

•Temporarily or permanently laid off due to COVID-19.

•Is currently receiving or exhausted unemployment.

•Has been unemployed for 27 or more consecutive weeks.

For more information, visit the website, www.gmrc.ga.gov/wsgm.