Board of Commissioners introduces new department directors

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners introduced two new county employees at Monday’s work session and called meeting – Derrick Canupp, director of public works and Kimberly McEntire, director of parks and recreation.

To Board approved several land use permits.

The application of Benjamin and Samantha Boatright for a conditional use permit (CUP) to be placed in the short-term rental program on 1.78 acres located at 355 Chastain Road was approved 5-0.

Charlene Kent’s application for a CUP to be placed into the short-term rental program on 3.58 acres located at 4845 Hwy. 255 South in Cleveland was approved 4-0 with Commissioner Craig Bryant recused.

The Board also unanimously approved Paul Seabolt’s request for a variance from Land Use Regulation ArticleXXII – definitions of terms/cemetery family plots on one acre located on Hwy. 284 in Cleveland, The  cemetery, once known as O’Kelly Cemetery,  is also located on what was once a family farm.

Public Safety Director David Murphy asked for and received approval to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for replacement of a 1998 GMC C-8500 fire engine.

White County Board of Commissioners meeting set Monday

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners will introduce Derrick Canupp, the new Director of Public Works, and Kimberly McEntire, the new Director of Parks and Recreation, when it meets Monday, Nov. 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

Other agenda items the Board will consider include:

  • The land use application filed by Benjamin and Samantha Boatright for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for 1.78 acres locatedat355 Chastain Road in Sautee Nacoochee to be placed in the short-term rental program;
  • The land use application filed by Charlene Kent to request a CUP on 3.58 acres located at 4845 Hwy. 255 South in Cleveland to be placed in the short-term rental program;
  • The land use application filed by Paul Seabolt to request a variance from Appendix C XXII definition of terms/cemetery family plots for property located on one acre at Hwy. 284 in Cleveland;
  • The Tax Release Application filed by Jimmy and Pamela Bedingfield for property located at 555 Monroe Ridge Road in Sautee Nacoochee;
  • Adoption of County Resolution 2021-11, approving the surplus of 5 White County Sheriff’s Office vehices;
  • A presentation by Elections Supervisor Akyn Bailey regarding the Street Maintenance Process in the Elections Department;
  • A staffing update from Scott Masters, Director of Emergency Medical Services and Bill Scandrett, EMS Manager;
  • A request by the White County Fire Department to issue a request for proposal for a replacement fire engine (1998 GMC C-8500);
  • Award of a contract for the installation of Airport Road bridge;
  • Award a contract for the inspection and testing on the Airport Road Bridge installation project to Southern Geotechnical Consultants;
  • Approval of a Change Order for the contract with Colwell Construction  for improvements to Redd Road and Bolton Road;
  • Designation of the resurfacing of Asbury Mill Road as a 2022 Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant project.

BOC will review audit report Monday

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – Mr. Clay Pilgrim of Rushton and Company will present the Fiscal Year 2020 to 2021 financial audit report when the White County Board of Commissioners meet Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building in Cleveland.

The Board will present a proclamation to honor White County retired educators. They will also present a proclamation to the White County Chamber of Commerce to declare Nov. 18-25 as Farm City Week in White County.

Commissioners will consider awarding competing bids for two certificates of deposit.

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

White County will receive Broadband Ready Community Certificate Monday

News

 

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – A representative of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs will present the Georgia Broadband Ready Community Certificate to the Board of Commissioners when it meets in regular session Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building on Helen Hwy.

Commissioners also will consider approval of the 2021 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant application submission by the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office.

The Board is also expected to consider approval of the contract with Dell Marketing, L.P. for Microsoft volume licensing.

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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOC plans to make Board appointments during work session, called meeting

Business

 WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners will attempt to fill a number of Board vacancies when it meets in a combined work session and called meeting Monday, Sept. 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building

 Board vacancies to be filled include Avita Community Partners, a three-year term that ends in June 2024, White County Development Authority, a six-year term that expires June 2027 and White County Recreation Advisory Board, a three-year term that expires Dec. 2022.

 Commissioners will consider the appointment of a voting delegate to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia Policy Agenda Setting Session.

 Patrick Brennan, executive director of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Center will present an update on the organization’s activities

 The Board will also consider three land use applications.

 Darya Ishchanka has filed an application to redistrict 2.45 acres located at 7832 Hwy. 75 from R-1 (residential single family) to R-3 (residential seasonal district) to be included in the county’s short-term rental program.

 Don Hasty has filed an application to receive a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) 0.36 acres located at 60 Hwy. 356 in Helen to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program.

 Tommy Hunt has filed an application to redistrict 3.31 acres located at 60 Tesnatee Gap Valley Road in Cleveland from R1 (residential single family) to C-2 (Highway Commercial).

White County Board of Commissioners will hold called meeting Thursday

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners will hold a called meeting Thursday (Sept. 9) at 930 a.m.in the County Administration Building.

Commissioners will consider the purchase of a 2021 Ford Explorer for the County administration, a van for the Senior Center and a replacement bridge for Airport Road from Contech, Inc.

The Board will then consider entering into executive session in order to discuss matters of personnel, real estate and litigation.

White County BOC approves temporary hiring of ambulance personnel

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – As it has in many Georgia counties, the COVID-19 delta variant has led to a critical shortage of ambulance service. County Commissioners approved emergency short-term funding in the amount of $39,698 per month through November to address the problem during Monday’s work session and regular meeting.

The additional funding is for one ambulance staff for seven days a week for 90 days and will be  reevaluated in November.

Commissioners unanimously approved three applications for the short-term rental program. The properties are located at 528 Laurel Ridge Road in Cleveland, 74 Lynch Mountain Road in Sautee Nacoochee and 1086 Hwy. 356  in Helen.

Cleveland Mayor Josh Turner, Dr. Barry McCarty, Dr. Gene Pease, Will Wagner, Woody Wood, and Barbara Jockers were appointed to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to participate in the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission’s revision of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

The Board tabled a decision on the purchase of a replacement bridge for Airport Road from Contech in order to conduct additional research on the issue

The Board also presented a proclamation to the White County Historical Society proclaiming Sept 2, 2021 as Georgia History Day in White County.

Board works to address critical shortage of ambulance service

Business, News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The explosion of COVID-19 delta variant has not only caused a shortage of hospital beds at many hospitals in Georgia but a critical shortage of personnel to man ambulances in White County as well.

Public Safety Director David Murphy said the county’s Status 13 calls increased by 500 percent from August 2020 until August 2021 due to the virus. Status 13 cases are those when there are no ambulances available. “Those calls receive a fire department first responder usually and an ambulance from a neighboring county or one that is returning from the hospital that may not be in the county yet,” said Murphy.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center receives most White County patients. Murphy noted that due to the shortage of beds at NGMC, a large number of patients are being treated in the ambulance that brought them which creates a critical shortage of ambulances in White County Murphy said.

As of Monday, NGMC is providing care for 284 COVID patients, 84 percent are unvaccinated and 95 percent of those in critical condition are unvaccinated.

White County Public Safety personnel have experienced their own COVID issues. Murphy said two 911 call center staff, four firefighters and five Sheriff’s Office personnel have tested positive.

The county has an additional ambulance that is not being used due to the shortage of personnel.  The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to spend $39,698 per month through November to provide a short-term solution while Murphy and his staff work on a long-term solution.

 

Commissioners will review agreement with NGHS ambulance service Monday

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga.  – The surge in COVID-19 Delta variant cases will lead the Board of Commissioners to consider approval of additional funding for ambulances in the Northeast Georgia Health System agreement when it meets Monday a combined work session and regular meeting at 4:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

Health experts say the variant causes more infections and is twice as contagious as previous variants. Advisory committee to participate in the Georgia Mountain Regional Commissions revision of the White County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

There will also be a discussion regarding approval of the purchase of a replacement bridge for Airport Road from Contech, Inc.

Three land use applications will be considered during the meeting:

  • Sam and Louise Heresy have requested a conditional use permit (CUP) on 1.75 acres at 528 Laurel Ridge Road in Cleveland to be placed in the short term rental program;
  • James Johnston IV and Courtney Johnston have requested a CUP on 1.45 acres at 74 Lynch Mountain Road in Sautee Nacoochee to be placed in the short term rental program.
  • Sherry Shortt has requested a CUP ON 1.046 acres at 1086 Hwy. 356 in Helen to be placed in the short term rental program.

Finance Director Jodi Ligon will present the monthly financial status report and there will be a proclamation to the White County Historica Society, proclaiming Sept. 25 as Georgia History Day in White County.

County offices will be closed on Sept. 6 in observance of Labor Day.

 

Commissioners approve County Manager contract

Business

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an employment contract with Joey Cason, the new county manager during Tuesday’s called meeting.

Cason will begin work Sept. 20. His compensation package includes an annual salary of $112,000 with a review at the end of six months, three weeks’ vacation, up to $5,000 in moving expense, participation in the county employees’ benefit program and a county-owned vehicle.

Cason previously served as executive director of the Camden County Public Service Authority.

“For me, this is a kind of dream come true,” said Cason whose father served as a city manager and county administrator. In 1997, he said he set a goal of becoming a county administrator.

The county has been awarded close to $12 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, (ARPA), half of which was received in May with the remainder due in May 2022. Commissioners voted to designate the funding to construction of a multi-use facility to be constructed at Mt. Yonah Preserve.

The facility will be used to support public health mass care in preparation for future hazards or pandemics that have been identified in the county’s emergency plan. Anticipated uses include mass vaccinations, storm shelter, storing emergency supplies in a climate-controlled environment and storm shelter.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to apply for two separate grants that would provide funding for expansion of broadband services to the county.

The first is a $10.02 million National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant on behalf of Windstream. $7.7 million would come from federal funding with Windstream $ 2.3 million. If approved, broadband would become available to an additional 4,680 households.

The county will also apply for a state grant on behalf of Trailwave HEMC in the amount of $15 million, $12 million of which would come from state funding with the balance provided by Trailwave. If approved, broadband would become available to an additional 5,120 households.

In both cases, the county merely be a conduit. No county funds will be expended.

 

 

County will finalize contract with new county manager Tuesday

Business

Joseph Joey Cason

 

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the employment contract for Joey Cason, the new County Manager when it meets in a called meeting Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, 1235 Helen Highway.

Cason was declared the sole finalist on Aug. 11. Most recently he served as Executive Director of the Camden County Public Service Authority (PSA). His Public Service career began in 1976 at the age of 15, where he worked for the Valdosta Parks and Recreation Department (VPRD) cleaning bathrooms and preparing ball fields for games. In 1981, he joined the staff at the Valdosta YMCA in Youth Sports as a full time employee.

He has worked as a Recreation Supervisor at Valdosta State Prison, Athletic Director for the City of Albany, Associate Executive Director for the Valdosta YMCA, Recreation Director for the City of Brunswick and Executive Director for the Greater Columbus Sports and Events Council. Cason also ran a successful private business for 20 years.

In other business, the Board will consider project designations for funding under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Act which was passed in March is part of a $1.9 trillion package that was intended to combat COVID-19, including public health and economic impacts.

Commissioners will also discuss approval of the grant application for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) funding for Windstream’s proposed expansion of broadband services in White County.

 

Joseph Cason named sole finalist for White County Manager

Business

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners today announced that Joseph “Joey” Michael Cason is the sole finalist for the position of White County Manager

The White County Board of Commissioners will make its final decision to fill the at a Called Meeting on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

Cason is currently Executive Director of the Camden County Public Service Authority (PSA). His Public Service career began in 1976 at the age of 15, where he worked for the Valdosta Parks and Recreation Department (VPRD) cleaning bathrooms and preparing ball fields for games. In 1981, he joined the staff at the Valdosta YMCA in Youth Sports as a full time employee.

He has worked as a Recreation Supervisor at Valdosta State Prison, Athletic Director for the City of Albany, Associate Executive Director for the Valdosta YMCA, Recreation Director for the City of Brunswick and Executive Director for the Greater Columbus Sports and Events Council. Cason also ran a successful private business for 20 years.

Cason believes that County Government should strive to improve the quality of life for citizens. He strives to find ways to better serve the citizens while also being a good steward of taxpayer money.

Cason feels that staff should be empowered to take responsibility to solve problems and solutions that are best for all parties involved. In Cason’s current position, revenues have increased by 200% in the last three years, while operating at revenue greater than expenses.

He grew up in Valdosta Georgia where his father was the Finance Director, and later the City Manager for 12 years. He is married to Sheila Bandy Cason and they have a total of 5 children, 4 grandchildren. Cason holds a BBA in Management from Valdosta State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University. His family is excited about this opportunity.

Commissioner Nix warns residents to beware of scam involving paving asphalt

Business

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — Commissioner Edwin Nix issued a stern warning to White County residents during Monday’s meeting to beware of scammers.

Nix told of a couple of senior citizens who had been approached about doing paving work with asphalt left over from a county job. Interim County Manager Shanda Murphy said they operate under the name R and M and quote a decent price on the front end but inflate the price on the back end.

“Be careful, don’t be conned by these guys,” Nix said. “They have no heart. They don’t care how they treat you or how they conduct business. If somebody comes and approaches you about paving asphalt left over from a county job, or something like that, first of all, that should not be happening if it’s county property to start with.”

White County Sheriff’s Deputy Gus Sessam, who attended the meeting, said he was aware of two victims, one who had been scammed out of $34,000.

Commission sets 2021 millage rate

News

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – Following a third public hearing Monday, the White County Board of Commissioners approved a 2021 millage rate of 10.75 — the same rate as the last four years – to support a general fund budget of $15,885,315.

Commissioner Craig Bryant pointed out that 65 percent of the taxes raised goes to the school system. “So, when you break down the services we give for 35 cents on the dollar, we’re getting our money’s worth,” he said. “We do run this county like a business. We’re all business people up here. We do squeeze old George pretty tight.

The two long-time White County residents who spoke during the public hearing agreed.

Elaine Mobley said, “I truly appreciate all our commissioners. I approve of this tax digest. I do not want to see any of our services ended and no one has said anything about what they are willing to give up. I don’t want to see us have to give up our senior citizens center or recreation department or fire coverage. We need all these services. I strongly recommend we continue to accept this tax program.”

Willliam (Bill) Huff, who was raised in White County, said despite complaints about high taxes he heard at previous public hearings, “You are providing the best possible services this community can afford. I get good value for the taxes I pay.”

The Commission Chairman announced the county has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year ended June 30 2020.

The Board also:

  • Approved the purchase of two extractor units from Wholesale Commercial Laundry Equipment at a cost of $11,615 each;
  • Awarded bids for triple surface treatment roadwork to Caldwell Construction for Bolton Road, Luke Road and Redd Road in an amount not to exceed $221,519;
  • Approved an additional fee for the Elite Team Basketball League of $600;
  • Agreed to use Charles Black Construction as the construction manager at risk for the renovation and expansion of the Tax Commissioner’s office.

 

Commissioners will hold two public hearings on 2021 millage rate Monday

News

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – County commissioners will have a very busy day Monday (July 26.) At 8:30 a.m. they will hold the first of three public hearings on the proposed 2021 millage rate, followed by a work session and called meeting at 4:30 p.m. and the second public hearing on the millage rate at 6 p.m.

During the 4:30 work session, commissioners will consider the following:

  • The land use application filed by John and Amy Crow to request a conditional use permit at 1196 Deer Woods Trail to be placed into the short term rental program;
  • The land use application filed by Kenneth Paul Clark to redistrict property located at 180 Briarcliff Lane in Cleveland from R-1 to R-3 to be placed into the short-term rental program;
  • The Sheriff’s request for SPLOST funding for eight vehicles with equipment, security cameras for the detention center and an x-ray machine for the courthouse;
  • A resolution approving the joint comprehensive plan update;
  • Approval of 11 annual agency contracts;
  • Adoption of a resolution for ratification of the Board of Elections By-laws;
  • A discussion of the tax commissioner’s office renovation project.

 

 

 

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