Brennan updates commissioner on popular events in Sautee Nacoochee

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – Monday’s Board of Commissioners work session and called meeting lasted less than one hour before commissioners voted to go into an executive session.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner was named the county’s 2021 voting delegate to the County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Policy Agenda Setting Session.

Patrick Brennan, executive director of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Center, provided an update on the non-profit organizations recent activities. The annual Folk Pottery Show and Arts Festival is the signature event. Brennan said the 2020 festival attracted 2,145 attendees, with 72 percent coming from outside White County. The 13th Annual event that was held this month was even bigger, attracting more than 4,000 visitors.

On Sat. Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., SNCA will host Touch A Truck on the Sautee Nacoochee Center campus, a family-friendly event that features a hands-on display of multiple specialty emergency vehicles, a helicopter fly-in, musical entertainment, and free medical events. Campus and galleries will be open at no charge.

The Board unanimously approved three land use applications, including one for Tommy Hunt to open a convenience store at 60 Tesnatee Gap Valley Road in Cleveland.

Commissioners approved Darya Ishchanka’s request for a land use application to redistrict 2.45 acres at 7832 Hwy. 75 Alternate from R-1 residential single-family district to R-3 residential seasonal district to be placed into the county’s short-term rental program.

The Board also approved a request by Don Hasty for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) on 0.36 acres located at 60 Hwy. 356 in Helen to be placed in the county’s short term rental program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White County approves 2022 budget

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Chairman Travis Turner

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — Coming off a year in which county government was forced to tighten its belt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. White County Commissioners voted Monday to approve a FY 2022 budget of $27,899.196 that includes an 11 percent increase in spending and maintains a millage rate of 10.75.

Chairman Travis Turner pointed out the new budget includes a 2.5 percent increase in the cost of living allowance as well as an additional 2.5 percent increase for employees who have graded well under performance reviews and will not require a millage rate increase for property owners.

Chief Financial Officer Jodi Ligon presented the budget and stated the Fund Balance will be used to balance the budget.

Sheriff Rick Kelley said, “Tthe cost of living increase is going to be huge for employee retention. There are several sheriff’s offices and agencies that have been losing employees at a fast rate and we’re starting to slowly lose a few here and there.”

 

Shanda Murphy will serve as interim County Manager

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners has announced that Shanda Murphy will serve as Interim County Manager effective June 26 – upon the resignation of Jason Cobb, who has served as County Manager since April 2020.

Mr. Cobb’s last day with White County will be June 25, 2020. Ms. Murphy currently serves as the County Clerk & Human Resources Director. She has worked in this capacity for the past 16 years.

Ms. Murphy will serve in this interim role as the Board of Commissioners continue the search to fill the County Manager position on a permanent basis.

Chairman Travis Turner said, “As the Board continues our interview process for our full-time county manager position, the Commissioners have asked Ms. Murphy to act as interim manager for a short-term basis. The board wants to see our citizens served with the best customer service and Shanda’s working knowledge will help keep business moving forward. I appreciate Shanda agreeing to continue to serve our citizens as we are growing as a community.”

Regarding this appointment, Ms. Murphy stated, “I am happy to serve the County in this interim role and I look forward to working alongside our great team of elected officials and department heads to keep all the positive things moving forward in White County until the Board can make a selection for this position. I appreciate the Board of Commissioner’s confidence in me”.

Commissioners approve website design

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – In the first meeting of the new year, the Board of Commissioners appointed Craig Bryant Vice Chairman and approved a contract with Municode for website design services at a cost of $16,500 plus an additional fee of $4,000 for hosting and support.

County Manager Jason Cobb and Commissioners Terry Goodger and Edwin Nix participated in the meeting via teleconference.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner said, “We have recognized for some time that our website could be more user friendly and provide more information. Our goal is to get that information into the hands of our citizens in a more efficient manner.”

The county’s new IT Director Joel Witcher said the new website will accomplish that goal.

The Board also denied Michelle Gunnin’s application for a conditional use permit (CUP) at 228 Spring Crest Road in Cleveland to be placed into the county’s short-term rental program.

Commissioners also approved the county’s 2021 Holiday schedule.
Finance Director Jodi Ligon presented the November financial report that shows revenue for the month at $4,412,326 and expenditures at $1,444,753. Year-to-date revenue s $10,276,572 and expenditures at $7,997,705. The November SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) collection totaled $546,482. The cities of Cleveland and Helen will each receive $70,332 from those collections.

State Rep.-elect Victor Anderson addresses County Commissioners

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – District 10 State Representative-elect Victor Anderson made an unscheduled appearance at Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting Monday to discuss some of the issues the state legislature will address during the 2021 General Assembly.

Anderson, is the former Chairman of the Habersham County Board of Commissioners and owner of a carpet and flooring store. He replaces State Rep. Terry Rogers, who chose not to seek reelection. Anderson defeated Democrat Nick Mitchell in the November General Election.

Anderson said he hopes to serve on the Governmental Affairs Committee next year. “Counties are considered an extension of state government but a lot of times we, as counties, get edicts instead of participation. That’s something I hope to carry to the state capitol and work on as well as some other fields I’m very interested in.”

Anderson cited the budget, election laws and continuing the state’s economic recovery as the top three priorities for lawmakers in 2021.

“In addition to the state budget, which is always a priority now we have two other major priorities which is a little different from previous sessions,” he said. “One is dealing with the election laws. Right now we have to clear that up before the next round of elections in two years. The second thing is dealing with the continuing economic recovery in the state from all the shutdowns and the impact of the COVID virus as affected.”

Commission Chairman Travis Turner said the Board looks forward to working with Anderson but is hopeful that following the Census and reapportionment White County would have fewer state representatives.

Currently, the county is represented by Rogers (R-Habersham), Matt Gurtler (R-Rabun) and Lee Hawkins (R-Hall). Because the county is split into three districts, White County residents often feel their interests are often ignored.

“I’ll be very open,” he said. “In conversations we have had, we would like to be narrowed down to two representatives. I say that very respectfully. For the representation of us as a community, we feel like we have been somewhat disenfranchised, especially in a growing community as we are.”

The state is expected to realign state districts late next year, following the completion of the Census.

Commissioners present proposed budget of $24,744,021

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners held the first public hearing on the fiscal year 2021 budget Monday. A second public hearing is set for Monday, June 15 at 4:30 p.m. Commissioners can approve the budget at that time.

The proposal calls for an overall budget of $24,744,021 and a general fund budget of $19,778,496. There were no increases in the 2020 departmental budgets with the exception of an increase in employee insurance premiums of $733,495. The increase in premiums will not be passed along to employees. Commission Chairman Travis Turner said the increase will be absorbed by the county.

The separate fund totals, which includes $1,043,227 in debt service and $1,098,800 in the E911 fund, totals $4,965,525.

The proposed commissioners’ budget, which includes the Local Option Sales Tax revenue, will be $5,089,362. The Sheriff’s budget is $3,603,938 and the fire department budget is $1,482,098.

Finance Director Jodi Ligon announced that the jail debt service will be paid off on Jan. 1.

 

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

 

Turner’s video explains what reopening the state means to White County

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – Board of Commissioners Chairman Travis Turner produced a video Thursday (Apr. 30) to update citizens on the changes that Gov. Brian Kemp’s reopening the state will have on the county.

“Under Gov. Kemp’s orders, short-term rentals may begin to operate again, but will have to adhere to the strict recommendations the governor has set forth and hotels will also have to follow the governor’s guidelines relating to social distancing,” Turner said.

Yonah Preserve hiking and biking trails will reopen Friday (May 1) under normal hours, including fishing on the lake. “Let me stress, however, the pavilion and restroom facilities will remain closed at this time to discourage gatherings of people,” he said.

Other outdoor recreation facilities such as the pickleball courts will reopen for use but the gymnasium and athletic fields will remain closed. Turner added, “We hope to reopen them soon, once our department managers have a plan to implement social distancing as well as when the governor’s state of emergency expires, which is scheduled for the middle of May.”

He emphasized that guidelines are subject to change at any point and cautioned residents to be aware of any updates, whether they are from the state federal or local level.

“As for our county government, our employees will return to regular staffing levels on Monday (May 4). We will continue to keep our facilities’ lobbies closed to the public for now. But we will reevaluate that decision as we get closer to the state of emergency being lifted.”

He also reminded residents to remain vigilant. “The COVID-19 virus is still active in our community,” he said. “Please protect yourself, your families and your community by practicing social distancing and stay at home as much as possible. If you do venture out, please by local and help our local White County businesses.”

 

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

 

 

White County enacts spending freeze for remainder of the fiscal year

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Chairman Travis Turner

Travis Turner

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that triggers a county-wide spending freeze on “non-essential items” for the remainder of the fiscal year Monday.

The resolution reads:

WHEREAS, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the White County Board of Commissioners is considering a proactive action regarding current expenditures; and

WHEREAS, tax revenues are expected to decline as a result of the shelter-in-place and social-distancing orders enacted by Governor Brian Kemp; and

WHEREAS, a spending freeze aimed at giving White County Officials and staff time to assess revenues and expenditures will be enacted immediately; and

NOW THEREFORE, effective immediately, the White County Board of Commissioners will institute a spending freeze for the remainder of the fiscal year on all goods and services that are not considered “essential” for daily operations of departments and for providing “essential” services to its citizens. Purchases related to the public health and safety needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are considered essential.

BE IT RESOLVED, for the duration of the spending freeze, all procurement for goods and services must be reviewed for approval by the County Manager and the Finance Director before purchases are made.

Adopted this 28th day of April, 2020.

In announcing the resolution, Commission Chairman Travis Turner said, “Items such as payroll, utilities and functions required by the state such as law enforcement, public safety, emergency services, court services and elections are not included.”

The Georgia Department of Revenue hasn’t posted receipts for the month of March yet. “Our numbers are a month behind so we have yet to see what impact the coronavirus is having on the budget both revenues and expenditures.” Turner said. “Our numbers through the end of March look very good and we want to keep them looking very good.”

But he noted that some White County residents haven’t worked in a month and are being forced to tighten their belts. “We need to take a proactive approach and tighten our belts too,” he said.

Regarding the pandemic, Commissioner Edwin Nix noted, “We’ve never been in this before. “We don’t know what the future holds.”

 

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

 

 

White County Board of Commissioners meets Monday

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County Commissioners will conduct three land use application public hearings when they meet in a combined work session and regular meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The first public hearing on the agenda is for Kelli Withrow who has requested that five acres located at 3216 Hwy. 75 South be redistricted from Agriculture Forestry District (A1) to Residential District Seasonal (R3).

The second is for Melo Hairapetian who has requested redistricting of 3.72 acres located at 102 Doc Dorsey Road from Community Commercial District (C1) to Highway Business District (C2).

The third public hearing is for Keith Edsall and Gina Santaniello who have requested that 4.79 acres located at 103 Blackwell Drive be redistricted from Single-Family District (R1) to Residential District Seasonal (R3).

Commission Chairman Travis Turner will read a proclamation in recognition of 911 appreciation week in White County and another that proclaims that April is Child Abuse Prevention month.

The Board will also consider:

  • Approval of preliminary road acceptance for Samson Way and Charleston Lane in the reserve at Mossy Creek subdivision;
  • Violations of the Mountain Protection Ordinance at 186 Cub Trail  and 41 Nugget Drive in Sautee Nacoochee;
  • Improvements to the parking/driveway area at the White County Fire Station No. 6 on Hwy. 129 North;
  • Various items for the White County Parks and Recreation Department, including hours of operation, fees for White County school students and the Department of Natural Resources annual trout release;
  • Purchase of bleachers for Yonah Preserve Recreational Park;
  • Revisions to the White County Land Use Ordinance related to required public hearings procedure and short term vacation rentals.

 

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

 

BOC approves lower-than-expected millage rate

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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

Commissioners approve new vehicles for sheriff’s office

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of two new replacement vehicles from Jacky Jones Ford for the Sheriff’s Office during a morning called meeting Monday.

The two fully-equipped police vehicles are a 2019 Dodge Durango and 2019 Ford Taurus that will replace a 2013 Taurus with 180,000 miles and a 2010 Crown Victoria with a total 190,000 miles.

The older vehicles will remain in the sheriff’s office pool as backup cars until the county decides to surplus them.

Commissioners have discussed the possibility of switching from a fiscal year budget that ends June 30 to a calendar year budget that would end Dec. 31.

Clay Pilgrim of Rushton and Company, the county’s audit firm, gave the commissioners a presentation, outlining the pros and cons each.

One advantage of ending the budget year on June 30 is that it matches the state’s year-end budget. “That doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but it can be in regard to grants and other state funding,” Pilgrim said.

One disadvantage, Pilgrim pointed out, is that the budget must typically be approved prior to the approval of the millage rate and digest.

The advantage of a Dec. 31 end to the budget year is budget is approved after the approval of the digest and millage rate, which removed much of the guessing game as far as how much revenue is available for the next year’s budget.

The disadvantage, he said, is “The audit process would begin in Dec. which is not good timing for staff since there are a lot of of items around the year end on finance staff like W2s and 1099s and generally closing out a calendar year.”

Commissioners left a decision for a future meeting.

Commissioner Terry Goodger made a motion, which was unanimously approved, to keep Yonah Preserve open seven days a week instead of the previous five. The new hours will be from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday through Sunday, it will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Chairman Travis Turner announced the county will host the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission meeting on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at Babyland General.

 

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

Commissioners agree to give cities 20 percent split of proposed 2020 special purpose local option sales tax

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 during a called meeting Thursday to divide the revenue from a proposed 2020 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) with the cities of Cleveland and Helen on a 60-20-20 basis.

Before it can be collected, however, voters must approve an extension of the one-penny tax in a November referendum.

In a recent work session, Helen Mayor Jeff Ash and Cleveland Mayor Shan Ash requested their cities receive 23 percent each. County officials, however, only seemed willing to part with 13 percent. Put to a vote Thursday, Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant and Lyn Holcomb voted in favor of awarding the cities 20 percent each.

“I thought it was fair,” Goodger said. “Several years ago, they had a bigger split. They moved down to 13 percent to help us bond the jail and now they want to go back to 23 percent.”

Commissioners originally estimated a six-year SPLOST would generate about $24 million. However, Goodger said collections have been stronger than anticipated the last few years. “Collections remained strong even during the bad times of the economy,” he said. “With two or three percent growth, over the six years of the SPLOST we could collect closer to $28 million.”

Both mayors said projects they would like to undertake would cost about $5.5 million.

Helen Mayor Ash said an expensive upgrade of its wastewater treatment facility would cost about half that. “We have 93 million gallons of sewage that has to be lifted and put in that pond (for treatment). We need a new lift station and those things aren’t cheap,” he said earlier this month.

The city of Cleveland wants to use its share of the revenue for improvements to the city courthouse, infrastructure, public safety facilities and roads and bridges.

Commissioners also approved a joint resolution with Lumpkin County that calls for Ga. 400 to be extended 16.2 miles from its intersection with state Route 60 in Lumpkin County to the new Appalachian Parkway in White County.

Ga. 400 has been an important catalyst for commercial, industrial and economic growth in the counties it runs through. Tourism is one of the top industries in White and Lumpkin counties, hosting about 1.2 million tourists each year. A major four-lane divided highway would make the counties more accessible to tourists. The counties will now present the resolution to state Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega).

“Senator Gooch will bring it to the Georgia Department of Transportation to see if they will put it into their bucket of things to do,” Goodger said. “It’s going to happen eventually. We just want to be proactive rather than reactive in trying to get this on the table now.”

 

 

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

 

White County Commissioners Review 2016 Audit

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — Clay Pilgrim presented what he called a “clean, unmodified” FY 2016 audit at Monday’s White County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“This is a good audit,” Pilgrim said. One area of concern, however, was in the Clerk of Courts office where payments are required to be made to the county on a monthly basis.

Pilgrim called the late payments a “significant deficiency.” County Manager Michael Melton said the Clerk’s September payment was not received until Friday, Dec. 2.  Pilgrim added that this is a problem that has been ongoing for several years.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner directed Melton to follow up with the Clerk’s office to get the problem corrected.

In other business before the board, Kevin Hamby presented the SPLOST status report and proclaimed the county is in “really good shape,” with collections about $3 million above projections.

Commissioners also:

Tabled a land use application by Rev. Nathan Morgan to build a parsonage at 176 Mount Scenic Drive because the applicant failed to attend the second meeting in a row:

Awarded the bid for maintenance work t the closed Duke’s Creek landfill to Nelson Grading for $15,000. Commissioner Craig Bryant abstained from the vote;

Approved Series 29016 bond documents to refinance the jail recreation projects at a greatly reduced rate from 3.16 percent to 1.72 percent;

Approved a proposal from Carter and Sloope Engineering for design of the future Yonah Preserve Facility at a cost of $4,000;

Extend the moratorium for 30 days on subdividing any property less than one acre within R-1 and A-1 districts that was set to expire this month.

Commissioners Approve Rehabilitation Work on County Bridges

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners approved  rehabilitation and improvement work on the Town Creek Road bridge and two bridges on New Bridge Road as part of the 2017 Local Maintenance Improvement Grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation during Thursday’s called meeting.

The grant is for $382,326.74 with a match of $114,694 from the county.

The board also approved a professional services agreement with Sastry Associates, Inc. for engineering work in conjunction with the LMIG project.

Commissioners then held a discussion, but took no action on, a proposed amendment to the White County Land Use Regulations that would permit a full-time child care facility to be built within agricultural and residential single-family districts.

The three commissioners who were present for the meeting (Chairman Travis Turner, Terry Goodger and Lyn Holcomb) indicated they could support what essentially would be a foster home with a limited number of children. However, they also said they want the request to go to the Planning Commission first and since that had not been done, they took no decision.

Commissioners Shoot Down Shooting Range

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners unanimously rejected a rezoning request by Caleb Huiet and Josh Wofford that would have allowed a private outdoor shooting range to be built on Hwy. 75 Alternate during Monday’s regular meeting.

Once again, the meeting room was packed by those for and against the shooting range. Commission Chairman Travis Turner asked and received restraint from the audience when the decision was announced.

At a recent public hearing on the issue, those supporting the request said they would like to have some place where they could teach gun safety to their children and grandchildren. Opponents said the range would disturb the tranquility of the area reduce property values.

Tammy Dean, who said her family has lived near the proposed facility for several generations, made the most compelling argument on behalf of her special needs daughter during that public hearing. Dean said her daughter suffers from epilepsy and is prone to seizures that can be brought on by loud noises.

“We have to take precautions at school,” Dean said. “She is not allowed to be in the building when a fire alarm goes off. We have had instances where we have had to call an ambulance and White County ambulances know when they come to pick our daughter up they can’t use their sirens. We have also had to take her somewhere else during the times when these gentlemen (property owners) have been shooting.”

In other decisions Monday, the Board tabled Shirley Van’s application for redistricting her property at 5642 Hwy. 115 West from single family residential to highway business district until several code violations have been rectified.

Commissioners unanimously denied a request for a variance from land use requirements for residential lot sizes of less than one acre by Tanvor, LLC.

In a 3-2 vote, with commissioners Terry Goodger, Edwin Nix and Lyn Holcomb in favor, the Board chose to go with a lease from Caterpillar for heavy equipment for the Road Department.

 

 

 

Commissioners Adopt 9.998 Millage Rate

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners voted to raise the millage rate by .89 mils to 9.998 Monday and the only complaint heard during the third and final public hearing was from citizens who thought the increase should have been bigger.

Elizabeth Wells, one of five people to make public comment, said she would be willing to have a bigger tax increase if commissioners would approve a pay raise for public safety personnel.

“We all know the importance of our public safety employees and the tensions that have arisen,” she said. “Now that our population has reached 33,000, their job is even more important. I’d like to see them paid more to stay here.”

Sheriff Neal Walden has spoken often about the high cost of training replacements when experienced deputies leave to accept higher paying law enforcement jobs in other counties.

Russell Mobley said, “No one wants to pay more taxes, but I strongly support the Board of Commissioners in raising the millage rate.”

Laurie Lee said, “I too support the commissioners and commend them for doing of this.”

Chairman Travis Turner and Commissioners Terry Goodger and Lyn Holcomb voted for the increase while Commissioners Craig Bryant and Edwin Nix opposed it.

Turner said, “Raising taxes is not what I’m all about but when you milk a cow, there is only so far you can go. We have to look ahead.”

The millage rate was 8.19 in 2006 and ’07 then increased to 9.19 in 2008 and remained there until it was lowered to 9.168 from 2014- ’16.

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