Council approves resolution to reduce speed at Truett McConnell

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – The Cleveland City Council unanimously approve a resolution in support of reducing the speed limit in front of Truett McConnell University (TMU) Monday. The resolution now goes to the White County Board of Commissioners and, if approved, Senator Steve Gooch will deliver the resolution to the Georgia Department of Transportation for final approval.

TMU Director of Alumni Relations and Public Policy Dr. John Yarbrough addressed council, saying, “With our growth of property and students, we now have eight points of agress and egress within a quarter mile.” The reduction in speed from 45 to 35 mph, he said, would increase safety for students.

Council voted unanimously to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Board of Commissioners to accept the historic Oak Springs School and property from the county. The school, which was the first one in White County for black students, will be converted into a community center.

“Due to the historic nature of the school, city council is very interested in preserving it,” said City Manager Tom O’Bryant.

Council also approved the Georgia Municipal Association District Directors Ballot that includes Annie Sutton as second vice president and a request for City Clerk Connie Tracas to take an online course for accounting at a cost of $419.

O’Bryant met with White County and city of Helen officials last week to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement with regard to a division of funds from a proposed 2020 special purpose local option sales (SPLOST) tax.

In earlier SPLOSTs, the two cities each received about 20 percent of the revenue. Both, however, agreed to settle for 13 percent in the last two SPLOSTs to help fund the county jail. Now they want a return to the 20 percent level.

O’Bryant said the city has identified a list of projects it would like to fund. Those projects would cost about $5.4 million and require about 20 percent of projected revenue. Any future SPLOST, however, must be approved by White County voters before it can be implemented.

Council approved the purchase of a Dodge 1500 pickup truck from Jacky Jones Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram to replace a city-owned truck that had a blown engine. Funding for the vehicle will come from voter-approved SPLOST funds.

Callie Armour, a White County Middle School student and 4-H member, told council about a project that her 4-H class is working on involving the building of a planter for the city square with plants and colorful plants.

 

 

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Cleveland’s new water tank is ready to serve city

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Cleveland City Council learned Monday the city’s new water tank is ready for use

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The Cleveland City Council heard from City Engineer Brian Rindt Monday who said the long-awaited water tower is now “substantially” complete and ready for use.

Rindt reported the tank was filled to the five-foot level Monday. The contract called for the work to be completed by Nov. 7, and Rindt said the company had requested an extension of five days due to inclement weather. Council voted unanimously to award the extension, meaning the contract was completed in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

The company now has 30 days to complete a punch list that includes grading, grassing and fencing.

Rindt also informed the board that casing in well no. 7, located on East Jarrard Street, does not meet EPD standards for the thickness of the casing and must be brought up to the agency’s standards.

Council then voted unanimously to spend $7,900 with Lanier Well Drilling to make the necessary improvements.

Beth Truelove requested the city provide services such as police, fire and sanitation for the annual Christmas in the Mountains Celebration scheduled for Dec. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. Her request received unanimous approval.

Council discussed possible future annexations but decided not to move forward at this time.

City Administrator Tom O’Bryant updated the council on the status of one of the city’s fire trucks that is in need of repair. O’Bryant said the city received two estimates, one for $112,000 and the other for $150,000. He also presented the council with an option to purchase a 1997 fire truck from Brackets Fire Truck Repair for $96,000. The vehicle comes with a six-month, bumper-to-bumper warranty. It has an engine and transmission installed in 2009.

Council gave unanimous consent to purchase the used ladder truck.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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O’Bryant is Sole Finalist for Cleveland City Manager Job

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Tom O’Bryant is sole finalist for Cleveland City Manager job.

CLEVELAND — White County Community and Economic Development Director Tom O’Bryant is the sole finalist for the position of Cleveland City Manager.

The city received 29 applications for the position and interviewed four applicants before naming O’Bryant as the finalist.

O’Bryant has been employed by the county since 2006.

A city-issued press release said O’Bryant’s appointment as city manager will be announced at the July 10 meeting.

“This is a wonderful opportunity,” O’Bryant said Thursday. “I look forward to working with the mayor and city council to help move the city forward.”

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Commissioners’ Work Session Scheduled Monday

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners will hold a work session Monday, at 4:30 p.m. followed by a called meeting to consider going into an executive session to discuss personnel and real estate.

Mitchell Posey, Special Agent in Charge of the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office will request board approval to apply for the 2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $359,412.00.
White County would serve as the fiscal agent for the grant funds.

Director of Community and Economic Development Tom O’Bryant will propose an amendment to the county code associated with the excise tax levy for wholesalers of distilled spirits in White County.

Patrick Brennam, executive director of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association will provide an update on programs at the facility. The office is located at 283 SR 255 North in Sautee and is open fro 9 a.m. until 5 p.m Monday through Friday. The Galleries and Historic Museum and Folk Pottery Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

On Feb. 17-19 the center will host the second annual Nacoochee Art Festival in conjunction with the Winter Festival Arts Tour, Alpine Helen Festival and Unicoi Fireside Craft and Art Show.

Commissioners are also expected to consider the appointment of Judi Lawson to the White County Department of Family and Children Services Board for a five-year term to expire June 30, 2021.

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Drug Enforcement Grant, Tax Levy on Distilled Spirit Distributors Discussed at Monday Work Session

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — GBI Special Agent Mitchell Posey came before the White County Board of Commissioners work session Monday to ask for approval to apply a $359,412 grant to fund the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO).

Posey explained that the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the federal government is the same grant the board has approved for several years. It pays about half the salaries of the agents and does not require any match from local government.

ARDEO is one of 11 multi-jurisdictional drug task forces and is made up of at least one agent employed by a law enforcement agency in White, Lumpkin, Banks, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens or Towns counties.

Director of Community and Economic Development Tom O’Bryant presented a proposal to amend the county code associated with the excise tax levy for wholesalers and distributors of distilled spirits in the county.

O’Bryant explained that when the county adopted a dozen or more amendments to the county code it overlooked wholesalers and distributors.

“Right now, they’re not paying the tax,” Commission Chairman Travis Turner said. “But they will pay 22 cents per liter.”

Sautee Nacoochee Community Association Executive Director Patrick Brennan previewed SNC’s upcoming Winterfest. SNC is partnerning with Unicoi State park & Lodge and Helen Arts & Heritage Center for the inaugural event being held Feb. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. More than 145 artists will perform live and visitors can win original art and fine craft prizes. For more information visit the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association web site.

The board also discussed the appointment of Judi Lawson to the White County Department of Family and Children Services for a five-year term.
These items are expected to be voted on at the next scheduled voting session.

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