A Peace Pole was dedicated in downtown Homer Monday afternoon by the Banks County Rotary Club as members of the community gathered around the lawn in front of the Historic Courthouse.
Rotary Clubs across Georgia were celebrating the International Day of Peace Monday to shine a light on peace. Members of the Banks County Rotary Club decided to dedicate the Peace Pole, an iconic symbol with the message of "May Peace Prevail on Earth” as part of the celebration.
Banks County Elementary School decorated and painted messages on the peace pole.
“Peace poles are an international signal standing vigil in silent prayer for peace on earth,” Rotary Club president Vicki Boling said at the event. “Peace poles can be found in nearly every country in the world. There are tens of thousands of them in communities just like ours all around the world. Each peace pole bears the message may peace prevail on Earth in different languages on its four sides. The Banks County Rotarians decided that it was time to have a Peace Pole in our community so we recruited the efforts in the Banks County School System to bring this pole to life. The Peace Pole being dedicated today displays the message of peace in English, Spanish, Hebrew and Korean.”
The dedication included the reading of poems written about peace by Banks County Middle School students Alaina West, Xander Ledford, Josiah Groover and Isabella Hardy.
BCMS eighth grader Drew Daniel led in the singing of The National Anthem.
Rotary District 6910 Assistant Governor and Banks County Rotarian Rick Billingslea, who is pastor of Hebron Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation.
Doug Cheek, Mayor of Homer and Banks County Rotarian, led in the pledge to the Flag.
The upcoming city election on Sunday alcohol sales was discussed at the Lula City Council meeting Monday night. Lula city residents, in both Banks and Hall counties, will vote on the referendum on November 3.
If approved, the referendum will authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages – beer and wine - for consumption on the premises on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 12 midnight in any licensed establishment which derives at least 50 percent of its total annual gross sales from the sale of prepared meals or food in all of the combined retail outlets of the individual establishment where food is served and in any licensed establishment which derives at least 50 percent of its total annual gross income from the rental of rooms for overnight lodging.
Banks County residents inside the city will be directed from the Banks County polling location to the city’s polling location in order to vote for the referendum or Banks County voters can cast a vote during early voting.
MONTHLY WATER METER REPLACEMENT COST TO INCREASE
At Monday’s meeting, the council approved a 25 cents per month increase in the meter replacement fee that is charged to its customers. The first increase will take place in October 2020, the second increase will take effect in January 2021 and the third in March 2021 – for a total increase of 75 cents. The current fee is $1.50 per month – the total increases will take that amount to $2.25.
The fee increases became necessary due to the cost of the meters.
RAILROAD AVENUE REHABILITATION PROJECT TO PROCEED
The council also unanimously approved moving forward with the Railroad Avenue rehabilitation project that will make the roadway one-way from Eighth St. to Hwy. 51.
The estimated cost of the project is $1.25 million and is eligible for funding with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) revenue from both Banks and Hall. The timeline for the project is 14 months.
The city plans to move forward with the engineering for the project.
In other business on Monday, the council:
•denied a request from Ryan Chitwood with A&R Homes for a reduced rate on tap fees for 162 lots in the Magnolia Station Subdivision. Bergin said Chitwood was requesting to receive the in-city rate for the tap fees instead of the out-of-city rate – amounting to a $324,000 savings. The council suggested continuing to persue annexation of the property which is located at the entrance to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
•recognized the Yard of the Month winners.
•approved spending $1,576 for an electronic front door lock and $1,180 for an infrared body temperature detection terminal scanner all-in-one machine. Both of these items will be used at city hall in an effort to better accommodate the public and employees in providing service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The council discussed how to handle opening city facilities back up to the public. City manager Dennis Bergin told the council things change on a daily basis on how to handle this.
•unanimously approved extending the 50-percent off Depot rental rates through December 31, 2020. The rate will apply to any event book through December 31, even if the event will not be held until after December 31.
•approved a request from Kim Martin for a refund of $132 for a building permit that was issued in March 2018 for improvements on property at Chattahoochee and Cobb streets and was never used.
•unanimously approved applying for a Department of Natural Resources grant with a 50-percent match from the city for additional park property. The council approved not to exceed $50,000 for the city’s match. The deadline for the application is October 31, 2020.
•heard from Bergin that 100 new water meters had been purchased from Delta Meters at a cost of $20,500. Bergin said this was a cost that had already been budgeted. Bergin also told the council that he had received a cost not to exceed $10,000 from Melsnick for the city’s water and sewer rate analysis.
•was reminded by Mayor Jim Grier that Friday, September 25, would be Lula Day at Jaemor Farms and the council was invited to the event to begin at 10 a.m.
•heard from Bergin that the city’s Christmas in the Park event has been set for 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, December 5, in the downtown area.
•was reminded that a $100 credit per district would be awarded to the Yard of the Month winners in November. The decorations need to be up by October 31 for judging for awards to be presented in November.
Face masks are now required in the Banks County Annex Building and Banks County Courthouse.
Citizens going into the buildings for meetings and other business will be required to wear face masks due to concerns with the spread of COVID-19.
Face masks are also required in Homer City Hall.
The Banks County Board of Education hired the following personnel when it met on Sept. 17: Erika Boyle, teacher; Dakota Brook Kimbrell, paraprofessional; Elizabeth Carter, bus driver; and Angela Carlan and Rebecca Crance, both bus monitors.