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Baldwin to hold election March 16 to fill vacant council seat

The Baldwin City Council approved at its recent council meeting holding a special called election on March 16, 2021, to fill the vacant Post 4 city council seat.

The seat has been vacant since the September 2020 resignation of Jeff Parrish.

Qualifying for the March election will be held Monday, January 11, 2021, through Friday, January 15, 2021, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

The qualifying fee is $35.

Qualifying will take place at Habersham County Elections and Voter Registration, 130 Jacob’s Way, Suite 101, Clarkesville.

The person elected will begin serving immediately and will serve until the term ends on December 31, 2021.

If a run-off is required, it will be held on April 13, 2021.


In other business at the meeting, the council approved the following items:

•annexation and rezoning request from Lula Capital LLC for property located on Wilbanks Rd. – with a reduction in density.

•purchase of a mini-excavator and trailer at a cost not to exceed $50,000 – to be funded with Banks County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) 3 revenue.

•$25,126 in repairs to the Lee Arrendale State Prison lift station – to be paid out of the prison operating and maintenance fund.

•2021 Habersham County Inmate Agreement.

•variance request for Adams Homes AEC LLC on six lots in the Highland Pointe Subdivision – reducing the front setback to 20 feet instead of 35.

•variance request for a special use for Glenn and Donna Nix to combine six tracts of property into one and place a double-wide manufactured home on the property.

•water and sewer rate increase effective March 31, 2021.

•Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loan agreement to fund a water transmission line from the city’s water distribution plant to the J. Warren pump station. The loan is for $1.036 million – 30-percent principal forgiveness ($310,800) – with the balance financed at 2.59 percent interest.

•a property bid packet for 18.95 acres on Industrial Blvd. that is owned by the city – bids will be accepted until 3 p.m. on January 30, 2021.

•recognized Cody Cantrell at the 2021 Public Works Employee of the Year. Public works director Scott Barnhart presented a plaque to Cantrell.

As part of the club initiative to contribute to literacy in the community, the Banks County Rotary Club donates books to the local school system in honor of the speakers each week. Joy Edwards (right) is shown accepting books at Banks County High School on behalf of Rotarian to Vickie Martin (left), BCHS media specialist.

Early voting under way for runoff election

Early voting is underway for the Jan. 5 runoff race.

Early voting will be held Dec. 14 - 18, Dec. 21 - 23 and Dec. 29-31. All early voting will be at the Registrars Office in Homer, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.

All Election Day voting, on Jan. 5, will be at the Banks County Recreation Department, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Three races will be on the ballot in the Jan. 5 run-off election.

•The Public Service Commission race between incumbent Republican Lauren "Bubba" McDonald and Democrat Daniel Blackman.

•The Senate race between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

•The Senate race between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Banks County E-911 collected blankets to be delivered to the Banks County Senior Center, Northridge Nursing Home, Habersham Retreat and The Oaks in Baldwin during Christmas.

227 COVID cases reported in Banks County in past week

Banks County has had 227 more positive COVID-19 test results since last week, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Data shows that 1,028 Banks County residents have tested positive for the virus since March, compared to 801 who had been reported last week. There have been 17 deaths in the county since March due to COVID-19 and 121 people have been hospitalized because of the virus.

Banks County is having a large Covid outbreak, making it one of the most troubled areas in Northeast Georgia for the virus.

As for the percentage of those who tested over the past week, 19.5 percent were positive for COVID.

BOE approves personnel

The Banks County Board of Education approved several personnel items at its December meeting, including the following: the retirement of Billy Whitlock, bus driver, and Kim Standridge, teacher; and hiring Ricky Baker, bus driver.


In other business, the BOE approved the following:

•application for facilities use — Georgia S3DA (Scholastic 3D Archery) to utilize Leopards Den 2.0 for Scholastic 3D Archery on February 13 & 14.

•Banks County High School Tennis to sponsor a T-shirt fundraiser December 2020 – April 202l

•BCHS Tennis to sponsor tennis tournament (dates to be announced after regular tennis season).

•approved the fiscal year 2021-2022 school year calendar.

Kaylyn Beasley is shown during a recent home game vs. East Hall.

Motor vehicle System to be upgraded

Banks County, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Revenue, will upgrade its Georgia DRIVES Motor Vehicles System.

The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is upgrading to a new version of the Georgia Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System (DRIVES).

"This upgrade will keep us up-to-date with the latest technology advances and will ensure we have access to the most recent enhancements and features of the software," tax commissioner Becky Carlan stated.

Implementation of the upgrade will require vehicle registrations and titling services, including e-Services and tag renewal kiosks, to be unavailable Wednesday, January 13, through Monday, January 18.

Vehicle owners with renewal dates in January are encouraged to do so prior to January 13 to avoid delays.

What to Expect: Wednesday, January 13, 2021:

•County Tag Offices and the Motor Vehicle Division will not be able to process transactions.

•All online motor vehicle related services including online tag renewal services will be offline January 13 – January 18.

•Motor Vehicle Self Service Kiosks will be offline January 13 – January 18.

How will this impact Georgia customers and drivers?

•During the week of January 19-22, walk-in customers may experience delays and longer than normal wait times. To avoid such delays, Georgia residents with January and February renewal dates are encouraged to renew prior to Wednesday, January 13.

•Customers and dealers seeking to conduct any title transactions should complete their business at a county tag office prior to Wednesday, January 13.

•Dealers will be able to initiate electronic title and registration (ETR) transactions and issue temporary operating permits (TOPs) over MLK Day weekend.

•Law enforcement will still have access to motor vehicle records through a statewide backup file.

Call the Banks County Tax Commissioner’s Office a call at 706-677-6204 for more information on the upcoming scheduling changes.