Commissioners approve 10.75 millage rate for FY 2019

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Following a third public hearing Monday, the White County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the 2019 rollback millage rate at 10.75 mils.

The proposed rate is the same as last year, however, keeping the millage rate at the same level represents a tax increase of .204 mils. Without the tax increase, the rate would have been no more than 10.546 mils.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $160,000.00 is approximately $12.65 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $130,000.00 is approximately $10.61.

Kevin Hamby reported that revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) has exceeded all expectations. The voter-approved referendum was projected to raise $19,000,000.The revised and actual estimated revenue has been adjusted to $24,351,668.

The local option sales tax (LOST) has also outperformed expectations. The 2019 projection was $2,502,538. To date, the county has received $2,774,370. Tourism has also produced another success story. Anticipated revenue for 2019 was $805,675 while actual collections total $977,811.

Will Wagner presented a brief report on the Historic Preservation Committee, saying the committee has met monthly for about six months. “We’ve been looking at camp meetings and have had several reports on those,” Wagner said. “We have also gathered some information from the White County Historical Society. They have been very helpful.”

Commissioners approved a low bid of $81,608.34 by Precision Paving to deep patch and overlay Truelove Road and deep patching of Post Road and Old Hwy. 75 South. Commissioner Craig Bryant recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

The Board unanimously approved giving Public Works Director Dave Cangemi $5,000 to place a hold on the purchase of a 60-foot used bucket truck and to hold a called meeting to approve the purchase price if a suitable one can be found.

Commissioners unanimously approved Commission Chairman Travis Turner to serve as White County’s voting delegate for the 2019 ACCG Legislative Leadership Conference.

Finance Director Jodi Ligon presented the monthly financial report (pre audit, does not include accrued revenue).

General fund revenue for the month of June was $711,107 while expenditures were $1,773,734. Year-to-date revenue is $17,573,474 and expenditures are $18,122,189.

The Board projected collecting $133,200 in alcohol taxes and fees and thus far has collected $126,671. The FY 2019 budget anticipated collection of $1,020,000 in the title ad valorem tax. Collections so far are $1,013,689. Collection of the hotel/motel tax have surpassed expectations. The projection was $805,675. So far, the county has collected $977,811.

 

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White County Commission approves $24.1 million budget

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners approved a fiscal year 2020 budget of $24,123,352 Monday. The general fund budget which is made up of agriculture, judicial, culture and recreation, housing and development, general government, public safety and public works is $19,190,827.

Commissioners anticipate $19,190,827 in expenditures and $18,266,105 in revenue with the balance to paid out of the fund balance.

About half the general fund budget ($9,538,610) is earmarked for public safety, which includes animal control, detention center, sheriff’s office, EMA, EMS, 911 and fire services. General government, which includes 12 departments plus the contingency fund will receive 21.25 percent of the general fund.

The Board also approved spending $392,900.40 on road improvement projects for Asa Dorsey Road, F-M Road, Shepherd Drive, Fire Station No. 6 parking driveway area, Yonah Preserve Trailhead Road parking area and Old Blue Creek Road.

Also approved unanimously Monday:

Gary Bowen’s request to rezone 1.66 acres at 4680 Hwy. 115 from C1 Community Commercial District to C2 Highway Business District;

James Penner’s request to rezone 28.67 acres at 5050 Hwy. 129 from C1 Community Commercial District to A1 Agriculture/Forestry District;

James and Sydney Vandiver’s request to rezone 2.23 acres on Asbestos Road from C1 Community Commercial District to R3 Residential District (Seasonal);

Legacy Link Contract 2019-2020 for the operation of the senior center;

The 2019-2020 ACCG-IRMA proposal for liability insurance coverage;

Renewal of the landscape services contract for Freedom Park with the Chattahoochee Group;

Award the contract for propane services with Blossman.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a proclamation to Garvis and Judy Kinsey

After 37 years in the ministry, the couple retired Sunday (June 16).

“In honor of Garvis and Judy Kinsey’s lifelong commitment to White County where they have served selflessly for over 40 years, the White County Board of Commissioners hereby expresses our recognition and appreciation for the contributions you have made,” Turner said. “We extend our best wishes o you on the occasion of your retirement.”

The couple met while students at Piedmont College and married in 1971. Five years later, they started a kindergarten in the basement of their home. They began preaching at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in 1982. In 1986, they moved to Cool Springs United Methodist Church and in 1988, the founded the White Creek Christian Academy with a mission of developing students to full potential academically and spiritually.

In retirement, the couple will continue to mentor the new administrators and volunteer at the school.

Fetch Your News would also like to express its gratitude and best wishes to the Kinseys.

 

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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Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex is now open

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County’s own field of dreams became a reality Saturday when the ribbon was cut on the beautiful $4.1 million Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex.

The day began with the Parade of Athletes as hundreds of ballplayers and coaches marched to one of the four new ballfields. White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner dedicated the facility and thanked those who helped make the day possible.

Gov. Nathan congratulates county at Saturday dedication ceremony.

Governor Nathan Deal and wife Sandra were on hand along with Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant, Edwin Nix and Lynn Holcomb.

The ballfields are part of the 1,000-acre Yonah Preserve that thus far, included about 9 to 10 miles of hiking and biking trails that attract about 350 vehicles per week. The trails were built by the Southern Off Road Biking Association (SORBA) at no cost to taxpayers. There is a beautiful fishing lake on the property that will be open soon and a new football field will be added in the near future.

The property was originally leased to the county for $1 with the agreement that it would be used for the public good and recreation. The lease was converted to county ownership last year.

“We are continuing to hold dear to our word to that we will manage this property with respect to its natural God-given aspects while providing an awesome recreation program not only for White County but Georgia as well,” Turner said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Saturday’s Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex.

Gov. Deal said, “You all did a great job with this property. I envision that it will continue to grow and expand and you’re going to become a destination spot. If there is one thing I have noticed in Hall County and Gainesville area, in particular, is that the investments they have made in fields like this bring many, many people from all over the country. Traveling baseball for young people is a very popular activity. There is a lot of recreational dollars that follow it so I think you’re going to be richly rewarded for your foresight and your investment and I congratulate all the members of this county commission and you, Travis, in particular.”

Senator Gooch thanked the governor for his help in making Yonah Preserve possible and added that things like this don’t happen without good relationships between city, county and state officials.

 

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 proclaims Mar. 4-8 Exceptional Children’s Week

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – In a moving declaration, White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a resolution proclaiming March 4-8, 2019 as Exceptional Children’s Week in White County during Monday’s work session.

In reading the resolution, Turner pointed out some interesting facts, including: 10.3 percent of White County residents under the age of 65 have a disability; 566 students in White County students are currently receiving special education services and 75 percent of special education students graduate from White County High School every year. That graduation rate is double the state average and ranks in the top five in Georgia.

During Exceptional Children’s Week, the White County School System and community partners will host activities celebrating the acceptance of students with disabilities. A disability A to Z book will be published, workshops and lectures will be held at Truett McConnell University which will educate parents, school staff, college students and the community at large about a variety of disability topics.

“If you have never had a chance to participate in or at least watch a Special Olympics, I would encourage you to do so.”

In other business, staff presented a draft short-term rental ordinance for the Board to consider that sparked a 45-minute discussion during the work session and set the state for the called meeting that followed.

Several residents of White County subdivisions including Panorama Estates attended the meeting and voiced their concerns about short-term rentals. Commissioner Edwin Nix, who has often expressed his feelings about this type rental, said, “I understand why you people don’t want this around you. If I lived in there, I wouldn’t either.”

In the end, nothing was settled and Turner said, “We’re trying to get our arms around this. I don’t know where we’re going yet but, gentlemen, I do believe we’re going to have an additional meeting.

In January, the Board imposed a 90-day moratorium on short term rentals that ends April 8.

Commissioners did pass a resolution to express opposition to House Bill 302 which would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to or regulating building design elements as applied to one or two family dwellings.

Photo: Front: Shawn Ellis, Brook Ellis (girl) Ashley Ellis (mom), Bailey Ellis, Joe Grillo (chair), Jane Grillo. Back: Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant, Travis Turner, Lynn Holcomb and Ed Nix.

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White County commissioners grapple with short-term rental issues during Tuesday’s called meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Short-term rentals have become a booming industry, forecast to reach $23 billion in the U.S. by 2022.  The rise in popularity has left governments struggling with how to regulate rentals, rental operators and neighborhood activists.

White County commissioners spent one hour in a special called meeting Tuesday morning, wrestling with what is a much more complex issue than it may seem on the surface. County staff is charged with drafting regulations for short-term rentals. Tuesday’s meeting was called so commissioners could provide some direction.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner expressed the difficulty of regulating short-term rentals, saying, “I’ve gone from one extreme to another trying to find a common-sense middle ground.”

On the one hand, those who would like to rent rooms in their home on a short-term basis argue they have a right to use their property as they see fit. On the other, their neighbors counter that kind of activity can affect security in the neighborhood as well as property values.

Commissioner Edwin Nix said, “I’ve probably put more thought into this than anything since we started land use. It is our responsibility and the citizens of this county are looking to us to protect their interests. One thing I would want if I lived in a subdivision is to know who my neighbor was each night. This commissioner would almost vote not to allow this in a subdivision. Period.”

Nix advised staff to pay attention to health issues in drafting regulations. “You’ve got health issues when drafting criteria,” he said “Are (rentals) on public water? Are they on well water? Is the sewage system designed to handle what they are doing?”

There are also licensing issues, insurance issues, parking issues and zoning issues to be addressed.

County Manager Michael Melton said, “What we need to know from the Board is do you want this regulated under land use or do you want it regulated under a permit system?”

Commissioner Terry Goodger pointed out that Hall County and the City of Savannah are struggling with the same issues and they have left it under land use.

Board voted unanimously to have staff draft a stand-alone ordinance and present it to the Board in two weeks for review.

 

 

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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Kemp Bus Tour stops at Truett McConnell Tuesday

News, Politics

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp’s “Road to Victory” bus tour visited the campus of Truett McConnell University, a Christian liberal arts and sciences school in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, Tuesday morning.

Following morning chapel service led by Anthony George, senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, in the beautiful George Blaurock Student Wellness Center, Kemp briefly addressed students and staff and delivered a message of faith and hope.

The Republican candidate for governor said, “I know God has a plan for our family and I’m just here living It out. We’re going to know shortly what that plan is and we’re trusting in the Lord every single day. That is giving me a lot of peace in my heart. Its people of faith – in a lot of ways – this campaign is about.”

Kemp said he was encouraged to see how many young people are interested in the campaign.

“I’m optimistic that we see a lot of young people all over our state that are interested in who their leaders are going to be. They want good government. They want to have good opportunities and that’s why I’m running, so my kids and you all and your kids, one day, will have all the same opportunities that I have had.”

Many government heavy-hitters at both the state and local level were on hand to show their support for Kemp, who will face Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz in next Tuesday’s election.

Governor Nathan Deal told attendees he is aware that politics has a bad rap but he said, “The truth of the matter is our great nation is based on the idea we are not just a democracy. We are a republic in which people have the right to elect their leaders. If those leaders do not reflect the moral values that our nation should have, our nation will not remain strong.”

Other leaders who visited with Kemp included, Congressman Doug Collins, State Senator Steve Gooch and White County commissioners Travis Turner, Terry Goodger and Edwin Nix.

 

 

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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Travis Turner elected chairman of GEFA

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BOC Chairman Travis Turner

CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner has been elected chairman of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) board of directors effective Jan. 1.

“I am very honored to have been voted chairman by our board of directors,” Turner said Tuesday. “I will have some big shoes to fill in Boyd Austin who has a great understanding of the water issues in Georgia. I hope to continue his strong leadership.”

GEFA provides low-interest loans for water, sewer and solid waste infrastructure, manages energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, oversees land conservation projects and manages and monitors state-owned fuel storage tanks.

To date, GEFA has provided more than $3.7 billion in low-interest loans to cities, counties and infrastructure authorities for improvements to water, sewer and solid waste systems. More than 1,600 projects have been funded by GEFA to date, including solid waste management projects and land conservation purchases and easements.

Turner is currently serving his second four-year term on the White County Board of Commissioners. He also serves as vice chairman of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia’s Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund board of trustees.

 

 

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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Commissioners adopt new land use fee schedule

News

From left Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant, Travis Turner, Sr. Center Director Bonnie York, Lyn Holcomb and Edwin Nix

CLEVELAND, Ga. – During Tuesday’s called meeting, the White County Board of Commissioners adopted a Land Use Fee schedule for the first time that will apply to future zoning applications. The fee will be $250 and will become effective Jan. 1.

Meeting for the final time before the new year, commissioners unanimously approved a request to apply for the 2018 Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) in the amount of $1,382,174 for the Town Creek Bridge rehabilitation project. Town Creek is the oldest bridge in the county. Commissioner Lyn Holcomb said, “It is also in the worst shape of any bridge in the county.”

Commissioners also awarded bids for prep work on Sam Craven Road to Nelson’s Grading ($86,584). Crumley Creek received the bid for prep work on Joe Franklin Road ($41,870).  Bids were also awarded to Stratton Construction for paving of Sam Craven ($181,777), Stanley Nix ($185,532), Joe Franklin ($71,997) and Mauldin Road ($38,480).

Commissioners unanimously agreed to purchase a dump truck from Gainesville-based Rush Truck Center for $135,395 and a 4-door Ford crew cab from Jacky Jones Ford for $28,895.

The county will make some badly-needed improvements to the Senior Center in 2018 after commissioners agreed to spend $129,223.45 to add parking spaces, improve the entrance way and construct steps leading to the Administration Building.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, the county honored Bonnie York, the woman whose devoted leadership has guided the county’s Senior Center the past 32 years. York is retiring.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a proclamation in her honor then added, “The proclamation says, Bonnie, you have made a difference, that’s all well and good. I feel that pales in comparison to what you’ve done in ministering to our community for over 32 years. We can’t say it enough; we greatly appreciate you serving our parents and grandparents over the years.”

Commissioners took turns expressing their heartfelt appreciation for the leadership York has provided.

 

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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