Commissioners approve contractor to replace two bridges

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – In a two-hour called meeting and work session Monday, the White County Board of Commissioners considered a wide-range of issues from the replacement of two bridges on New Bridge Road to setting the fall hours at Yonah Preserve.

The county had hoped to replace the bridges one at a time, but when the initial bid request went out with that requirement, no bids were received. When the county rebid the project to allow the bridges to be replaced at the same time, the low bidder was Savannah-based E&D Contracting Inc. Commissioners with a bid of $1,043,645.50.

Most of the funding for the bridges will come from the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant. The county will be required to provide a match of approximately $238,000.

Commissioners also approved an amendment to the proposed fiscal year 2018-’19 budget. County Clerk Shanda Murphy informed the board that a line-item by line-item review of the budget identified several instances where, based on historical numbers, the amounts could be increased and several other instances where the amount of expenditures could be decreased.

Additionally, Murphy said the county had received about $440,000 in additional revenue in the last couple of weeks that can be added to the budget.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner announced the county had received a check for $100,000 from the state of Georgia to help with emergency road repair of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Alberto in May.

 

In other decisions, the board approved:

  • The annual contract for the senior center with the Department of Human Services to provide transportation for seniors to the senior center and to the grocery and doctor’s offices in the amount of $32,000.
  • Adopted of a surplus resolution for eight vehicles assigned to the Sheriff’s Office;
  • The purchase of two new fully-equipped Ford Explorers for the Sheriff’s Office from Jacky Jones Ford for $86,930;
  • An increase in the fee for participation in league basketball at parks and recreation of $5;
  • A title transfer of a 2000 Blue Bird bus from the White County Board of Education to the Sheriff’s Office;
  • Adoption of a resolution passed by the Georgia General Assembly that mandates all counties to increase the cost of 911 calls from pre-paid wireless phones from 75 cents to $1.50;
  • Authorization to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for a new compactor for the convenience center;
  • Appointment of Commissioner Edwin Nix to serve as the voting delegate for the 2018 ACCG Legislative Leadership Conference;
  • Appointment of Erica Owens to the White County Department of Family and Children’s Services Board.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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Road projects, emergency funding for Alberto damage on agenda for Board of Commissioners meeting Monday

Business, News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners has a busy agenda schedule for Monday’s work session and called meeting with 15 items to discuss, including a review of the bids received for proposed 2018 road projects.

The roads that were approved by commissioners this year qualify for the state’s local maintenance and improvement grant (LMIG).

The board will also consider designation of Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) emergency funding for damage caused by tropical storm Alberto. White County was hard hit by the storm, especially along Hwy. 75 between Cleveland and Helen. The county received 15 inches of rain during the seven days after the storm made landfall.

Other items to be discussed, include:

  • A 2018-‘19 transportation contract for the senior center;
  • Adoption of a surplus resolution for eight vehicles assigned to the Sheriff’s Office;
  • A request by the Sheriff’s Office to purchase two vehicles;
  • A revision to the recreation department’s participation fees;
  • A resolution to amend the fiscal year 2018-’19 budget;
  • Transfer of a 2000 Bluebird bus from the White County Board of Education to White County EMA;
  • Adoption of resolutions related to collection of 911 service fees as required by House Bill 751;
  • Approval of the bidding process for a new compactor for the convention center;
  • Consideration of appointing a voting delegate for the 2018 ACCG Legislative Leadership Conference;
  • Appointment to the White County DFACS board;
  • Establishment of fall season hours for Yonah Preserve;
  • Establishment of a boating policy on Yonah Preserve Lake;
  • Presentation of a monthly financial status report.

 

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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BOC approves lower-than-expected millage rate

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners struggled to set the new millage rate during a third and final public hearing Monday. Commissioner Craig Bryant’s initial motion called for a rate of 11.25 mills. That was quickly voted down by Commissioners Terry Goodger, Edwin Nix and Lynn Holcomb. Bryant tried again with a motion of 11 mills. That too failed. Finallly, Commissioner Lynn Holcomb’s motion for 10.75 mills gained unanimous approval.

But the lower millage rate led to another struggle. The budget the Board tentatively approved last month was predicated on setting the millage rate at 11.25. But now that the 10.75 rate has been approved, county staff must find approximately $683,000 in spending cuts to balance the budget.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner strongly opposed withdrawing money from county reserves to help balance the budget. The Association of County Commissioners Georgia recommends counties keep three months of operating expenses in reserves to use in an emergency like the tropical storm that blew through White County last month. The county now has the equivalent of about 1.8 months in its reserves.

“For 10 years, the county has received a strong financial rating by carrying two to three months or more in our fund balance,” he said. “I feel like we’re playing with fire (by considering a reduction in the fund balance.”

Commissioners then turned the work over to county staff to find the necessary cuts and bring its recommendation back to the Board as soon as possible.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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BOC holds second public hearing millage increase

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – After holding the line on the county’s portion of the millage rate for seven of the last eight years, the White County Board of Commissioners has announced and advertised a second consecutive increase. Commissioners held the second public hearing during a called meeting Thursday afternoon.

The third and final public hearing is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. July 30.

The county’s announced millage rate for fiscal year 2019 is 11.25, an increase of about 1.26 mils from 2018. From 2010 through 2013, the rate remained steady at 9.19 mills despite the economic downturn. From 2014-2016, commissioners reduced the rate to 9.168.

But the operation of county schools makes up the larger portion of a citizen’s tax bills. The White County School System has announced a millage rate of 17.481, bringing the overall rate that homeowners must pay to 28.731 mills.

One mill equals one dollar for ever thousand dollars of taxable value. The Tax Assessor’s Office determines the fair market value of property, which is then taxed at 40 percent. Thus the owner of a $300,000 home taxed at 40 percent of its value ($120,000) multiplied by the overall millage rate of 28.731 would pay $3,447.72 ($1,350 in county taxes and $2,097.72 in school taxes).

The 2019 approved county budget totals $18,925.734, an increase of about $1.5 million. Approximately $1 million will pay for a long overdue salary increase for law enforcement and other county employees as well as the addition of two new positions.

Counties that plan to increase the millage rate are required to advertise the increase in the local newspaper and hold three public meetings. White County will hold its third public hearing on July 30 at 4:30 p.m. Citizens wishing to speak in favor of or in opposition to the increase are invited to attend.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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State deeds 1,000-acre Yonah Preserve to White County

News

CLEVELAND — White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner opened Monday’s meeting with a blockbuster announcement that will benefit the county for generations to come.

“I have the distinct pleasure of presenting to you, the citizens of White County the official deed — signed by Governor Deal and with the state seal — the 1,000-acre Yonah Preserve.” The announcement drew loud applause from those in attendance.

The county entered into a 50-year lease of the property from the state five years ago.

“Since then, the state of Georgia with Governor Nathan Deal and other state officials have seen White County’s commitment to developing an outdoor destination program from ball fields to hiking and biking trails to fishing,” Turner said. “These activities will not only benefit White County for generations to come, but also give us an opportunity to draw people from outside our area.”

The only caveat attached by the state is the land be used for the public good.

Only about 20-25 percent of the acreage is buildable due the terrain, which consists of mountains and ridges.

“This is a golden opportunity for the county as we move forward if we’re going to be a tourist-based community,” Commissioner Edwin Nix said. “I’m proud the governor has done what he’s done.”

In other decisions, the Board unanimously adopted the annual Legacy Link contract for operation of the Senior Center.

Commissioners also approved:

  • A resolution to request the Georgia Department of Transportation to install a traffic light at the intersection of Hwy. 129 and Tesnateee Gap Valley Road;
  • A resolution issuing a call for a referendum for the 2020 SPLOST;
  • A planting plan to provide a buffer between Yonah Preserve athletic field area and nearby homes;
  • Allowing staff to proceed with rebidding construction work on the two New Bridge Road bridges;
  • Scheduling process for setting the 2018 millage rate.
  • New summer operating hours for Yonah Preserve. Effective July 12, the preserve will be open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. through Labor Day.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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Cities can hold SPLOST funds for indefinite period of time

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners held a brief called meeting Tuesday (June 26) to consider a request by the City of Cleveland for an amendment to the 2020 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) intergovernmental agreement (IGA).

County Manager Michael Melton confirmed he received an email from Cleveland City Manager Tom O’Bryant asking that the language in IGA be amended to allow the city an indefinite period of time in which to spend its share of the SPLOST proceeds.

Collections of the 2020 SPLOST will end in 2026. The state typically requires that municipalities spend the proceeds within five years after collections are terminated. Failing to do that, the city is required to return the unspent money to the county.

However, White County SPLOST and Project Manager Kevin Hamby said, “The state leaves these things up to an agreement between the county and cities.”

Commissioners unanimously agreed to the amended IGA which allows both Cleveland and Helen to keep the proceeds for an indefinite period, but both are still required to spend the money only on SPLOST-approved projects.

The Board also unanimously approved the reappointment of Bill Black as the private sector representative on the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

Commissioners also approve the distribution of local victim assistance payout (LVAP) funds which recognizes a new fund recipient, South Enotah Child Advocacy Center.

 

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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Goodger casts only “no” vote on fiscal year 2019 budget that will likely increase millage rate

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – On a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Terry Goodger opposed, the White County Board of Commissioners approved a fiscal year 2019 total budget of $23,663,399 Monday that will likely mean the first tax increase for citizens in four years.

The new spending plan calls for an increase of $2,509,954 in the total budget since last year. Also included is the addition of six new full-time and three part-time employees and a $2 per hour pay rise for employees other than law enforcement, which received a pay raise earlier this year.

It was the fact that the pay raise for other employees was included in the budget without a vote of the Board of Commissioners that drew Goodger’s strong opposition.

“I don’t recall that we had a formal vote saying we were going to give a pay raise,” Goodger stated. “If we pass this budget, it will be in there but we never really had a discussion on the Board about that. I know we have got to pass a budget but it strikes me as wrong that we may pass a budget with a big millage increase because we have got to give a pay raise.”

In presenting the budget, County Manager Michael Melton said, the proposed general fund budget is $18,925,734 and balancing the budget would require some use of the fund balance and “more than likely” a millage increase. Public Safety will receive the biggest slice of the budget, approximately 48.7 percent, followed by General Government 23.2 percent.

Separate funding makes up $4,734,665 of the overall budget with E-911 getting the most at $1,051,582.

Commissioners approved a contract with Charles Black Construction in the amount of $121,885 for finishing the football field at Yonah Preserve and a lighting services agreement with Georgia Power in the amount of $107,406 plus $632.46 monthly.

The Board also approved revisions to the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) road projects that will allow Stanly Nix Road, Mauldin Road, Bonnie Pearl Lane, Hawthorne Drive and Cedar Hollow to be paved by August 31.

 

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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Second public hearing on 2019 budget set Monday

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners will hold a second public hearing and consider adoption of the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget Monday (June 18) at 4:30 p.m.

The general fund budget is proposed at $18,925,734 combined with a separate fund balance of $4,737,665 for a total budget of $23,663,399, which represents an increase of 11.8 percent in the 2018 budget.

County Manager Michael Melton said during the first public hearing last week the $2 million increase in this year’s budget is the result of adding positions in the fire department, roads and bridges and parks and recreation and a $2 an hour pay raise for employees other than public safety, which received their pay raise earlier this year.

The county has a reserve fund of approximately $4 million and commissioners are considering using about $1.2 million from that fund to balance the budget which would leave about 2.6 months of operational funds to cover an emergency.

Commissioners will also consider approval of a design change presented by Carter & Sloope for the Yonah Preserve football field area, a cost estimate provided by Charles Black Construction for finishing one football field at Yonah Preserve and a lighting service agreement with Georgia Power for Yonah Preserve.

Other issues to be addressed by the Board include the approval of the renewal contract with the Chattahoochee Group for landscaping at Freedom Park and revisions to the current special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) road project timeline.

Finance Director Jodi Ligon will present the monthly financial status report.

 

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. 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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