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Commissioners don’t want horse racing in county

The Banks County Board of Commissioners made it clear Tuesday night that they don’t want horse racing in the county.

Scott Skrove spoke on behalf of Fidel Cabrera, who owns a 79-acre tract of property on Hwy. 59. He asked about the special event permit process and whether car shows and rodeos would be allowed on the site.

The commissioners spoke on the history of the property, where horse racing has been held in the past. BOC chairman Charles Turk also pointed out that a permit had been applied for to hold a car show on the property and it was denied, and the event was held anyway.

“The trust factor is gone,” Turk said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Skrove asked about the possibility of holding horse racing on another site in the county.

“I don’t think the people of this county want it,” commissioner Sammy Reece said of horse racing.

Turk added, “You can move it to another site but it’s going be to the same thing.” He added that he would not approve horse racing on either site. 


In other business at the meeting, the BOC discussed a request from Susan Sorrows that was on the agenda for a vote. Sorrows was not at the meeting and Turk said that two commissioners received text messages that she wanted her request to be withdrawn.

Sorrows requested a conditional use application to allow a recovery/rehabilitation center for women with drug and alcohol addiction to be located at 111 Jack Drive, Lula, on a 4.67-acre site.

The commissioners did agree to “shut down” this type of business if they find it is being operated on the site without approval

“We will shut it down tomorrow if we find someone in there,” Turk said.


In other business at the April 13 meeting, the BOC:

•approved a request from Fowler Brooks and Doug Fleming for a conditional use for a utility solar farm consisting of 17 acres at 222 Line Church Road.

•approved a request from Barry Sims to rezone 193 acres at 2111 Hwy. 323 from C-2 to ARR for the sale of the residential portion of the property.

•heard from Ray Nix a request that senior citizens over the age of 70 not have to pay school taxes.

•approved proclamations for Child Abuse Prevention Month and 9-1-1 Month.

•agreed to purchase a sewer grinder pump for the Dragstrip Treatment Facility at a cost of $19,924 from Franklin Miller, Alpharetta. The cost to install it was also approved, at a cost of $4,000.

•agreed to transfer the mobile command unit to White County.

•approved the contract for concrete for Fire Station 24 to the low bidder, SPC for $56,456.

•approved the propane gas bid to the low bidder, Blossman.

•agreed that, starting July 1, deposits for water service will be $300 and it doesn’t have to be in the land owners name.

•met in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss potential litigation.

Homer council discusses a plans for new park

“What would you like to see in a new park?” That question was posed by Mayor Doug Cheek during the Homer Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

The Friends of Homer Park will hold a meeting on Saturday, April 17, from 1-3 p.m. to toss around some ideas. Ideas that have been discussed include a picnic space, a party space, bike trails, a performance area, a splash pad, a water park and a playground. The park would be located on the 28 acres of city land on Evans Street.

The meeting will be held at the former Homer Alliance Church that has been donated to the city. Cheek said plans for the church will be discussed as well.

The site will be used for the Sunday School Celebrations to come, and plans also include locating a counseling center on the site.

In other business, Cheek gave an update on the proposed well. The geologist picked a spot that is 50 feet outside our property, and he wouldn’t budge on moving that spot, Cheek explained. So they have two choices. The first is to abandon that spot, or talk to the land owner and try to buy the small piece of property. The council agreed to talk to the landowner.

Cheek said there are no problems with the current well.

“Our well is producing a good 80,000 gallons a day, but we can produce water a lot cheaper than we can buy it from the county," he said.

The plan is to alternate the use of the wells.

Councilmember Cliff Hill gave members an update on the removal of the two diesel tanks. It was determined that the ground underneath the old tanks has been contaminated, so the council approved a measure to dig deeper, remove the dirt, and retest the soil at a cost of $4,000 additional dollars.


In other business the council:

•discussed a trash pick-up slated for Saturday, April 17, on Yonah-Homer Road.

•discussed upcoming SPLOST funding. Mayor Doug Cheek will meet with Banks County officials on May 16.

•talked about a traffic study on Sullivan Drive.

•approved a bid by Wesco Exterminating to treat the office facilities. They will pay $1,476 in the beginning with an annual renewal of $125.

•discussed a three way stop at Classic Overlook which is located off of Samples Scales Road.

-went into executive session to discuss litigation.

Temporary traffic light up on GA Highway 59 in Banks County

A temporary traffic light has been placed on GA Highway 59 in Banks County while a round-about is being constructed.

"We continue to see increased development in the Georgia High-Tech I-85 Corridor which is bringing prosperity to our region," economic director Richard Brooks stated. "Banks County in its part of the corridor is taking proactive steps to ensure that traffic will continue to move freely by creating a new roundabout on GA Highway 59 east of the intersection with GA Highway 63. While this construction is underway, a new temporary traffic light is in place on GA Highway 59 just east of the intersection with GA Highway 63 reducing traffic to one lane."

The roundabout is on-schedule to be completed by the end of April 2021, at which point the traffic signal will be removed.

Charles Turk, chairman of the Banks County Commissioners said, “We are continuing to invest in the future of Banks County by using grant funds and sales tax revenue to ensure that traffic continues to flow and development in the Georgia High-Tech I-85 Corridor continues.”

Scott Ledford, chairman of the Development Authority of Banks County, said, “Banks County will be participating in the 1st Annual Georgia High-Tech I-85 Corridor B2B Partnership Virtual Conference with the Province of Ontario, Canada, on June 2 at 2 pm, which is great news for the residents of Banks County.”

Brooks stated, "Banks County’s vision is to continue to develop high-tech production, mixed-use housing, sports complexes and commercial developments along the Georgia High-Tech I-85 Corridor in Banks County, enhancing the county’s reputation as a great place to work, live and play while still maintaining that rural feel and environmentally pure landscape."

The Georgia High-Tech I-85 Corridor extends from the intersection of Highway 985 and I-85 to the South Carolina border, encompassing one mile from the centerline to either side of I-85, through Gwinnett, Barrow, Jackson, Banks, Franklin and Hart counties.

Alto rejects offer to purchase city-owned property

In a split vote at Tuesday’s meeting, the Town of Alto council voted to reject an offer to purchase city-owned property.

Following a closed session for approximately 10 minutes, council member Eddie Palmer made a motion to reject the $27,500 offer from Marvin and Sharon Harris to purchase 1.43 acres at 289 Cedar Creek Dr. and council member James Turner voted to retain the property as well. Council members Allen Fox and PJ Huggins were opposed to the motion. Mayor Audrey Turner broke the tie by voting to retain the property.


In other business at the meeting:

•the council approved a resolution for a Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) for Habersham County.

•Roslyn Mason asked the council to consider placing a speed bump near her driveway on Wade St. She also filed a loud noise complaint for an individual who plays loud music around her residence.

•Ivey presented the March police department report, including: 84 calls from dispatch – 21 in Banks County and 63 in Habersham County; 14 assist to other agencies; 159 officer generated calls; 243 total officer activities; 61 community contacts; 70 traffic stops; five safety checks; 72 citations issued; nine arrests; 2,451 total miles patrolled; and 25,708 GCIC histories.


At the work session prior to the council meeting, the council discussed:

•the amount of funds in the Banks County T-Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) account. The balance is $256,182 through March 2021. The city plans to use these funds for work on Wynn Shoals Rd.

•the amount of Banks County and Habersham County SPLOST funds - $296,559 through March 2021.

•a meeting with Banks County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Turk on May 6 to present a project list for a 2022 Banks County SPLOST. Mayor Turner advised police chief Josh Ivey had asked to have public safety added to the project list for 2022, if possible.

•plans to flush water lines on Monday and Tuesday, May 10 and 11. Mayor Turner reminded everyone to run water before the flushing begins to drink and cook with. She also said residents would need to run their outside spigots after the flushing before using water inside the house again.

•the installation of pipes on Tuesday, April 13, for the Southgate project; the pads getting poured for the city’s generators; and the condition of Blalock Rd., which is washing away.

Baldwin to pick up furniture, large items April 26

City of Baldwin residents are being reminded to get their unwanted furniture and other large items curbside by Monday, April 26, for pick up by city employees.

This is the city’s alternative to its annual clean-up day for 2021.

Residents are asked to call city hall at 706-778-6341 to get on the schedule for pick up.