Citizens defend Tax Assessors

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – There was no shortage of comments as citizens filled the public commentary portion at the Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting to express their outrage over the recent handling of Chief Tax assessor Dawn Cochran.

After reading about the exchange between county commissioners and Cochran in local media, citizens of Fannin County spoke in defense of the Tax Assessors department.

Frank Moore of the Aska Road area was first to speak. Moore, an attorney, works on property tax appeals and has firsthand experience dealing with the Tax Assessors department and Cochran herself: “That is a very professional office.”

Appalled by the questioning of Cochran’s education by Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton, Moore expressed his opinion, “Whoever was asking that question makes me wonder where’s your MBA? Where’s their high degree of education that qualifies them to do anything?”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, GMASS, Georgia Mass Apprassial Solutions and Services, Public Commentary, Education, Frank Moore, Lane Bishop, Sonia Smith, Sandra Daugherty, Ralph Garner, Marcella Olsteen

Fannin County citizen Frank Moore spoke of his outrage over the recent handling of Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran.

Moore also expressed concerns over recent Board of Assessors (BOA) appointment Angelina Powell.

“And who’s the person that would actually put Angelina Powell on the Board of Assessors instead of that man right there?” Moore asked motioning to former BOA Chairman Lane Bishop.

At this point Helton put a stop to Moore’s questioning stating that Moore’s actions were boarding a personal attack, “We’re not here to criticize citizens like that. That’s out of line, so let’s move forward. Criticize me if you wish.”

“If anything I’m attacking the board for making that decision,” Moore replied to Helton, “I don’t know who made that decision, but it was a foolish decision.”

Others who spoke were just as angered as Moore over the questioning of Cochran’s education.

A former board member of the BOA, Sonia Smith, asked, “It’s not that you need an education to ask a question is it?” adding, “I believe her questions were educated. She wanted an answer to her question.”

Smith also stated that the commissioners’ behavior toward an employee could be very discouraging for other personnel who might now be intimidated to ask a question.

Sandra Daugherty of Sugarcreek agreed with Smith’s perceptions of the BOC possibly making it difficult for county employees to come to them with questions.

“To be clear everyone, I’m addressing you, Mr. Helton, and you, Mr. Johnson (Post 1 Commissioner), both as a human being and as a public official, you should both be ashamed of yourselves. Not only do you owe Dawn Cochran an apology, but you owe everyone sitting here that night an apology.”

Former BOA Chairman Lane Bishop was present to defend Cochran having worked with her for several years: “Dawn Cochran doesn’t have a formal degree as you so crudely pointed out, but she does have a PhD. It’s in honesty.”

Bishop accused the BOC of having a vendetta against the Tax Assessors department. Speaking directly to Chairman Helton, Lane stated, “You’re real vendetta against the Tax Assessors office is because you can’t control it.”

Lane elaborated further, “Also the fact, the new board three years ago fired Steve Stanley, your’s (Helton) and Larry Joe Sosebee’s friend. The good ol’ boy syndrome lives in Fannin County.”

“Maybe it’s time for the voters of Fannin County to consider a recall petition on you,” Bishop concluded his time, “a class action lawsuit and call the department of revenue on all three of our commissioners.”

Blue Ridge resident Ralph Garner reasoned, “Why tarnish the legacy of good that you (BOC) are doing with ugly behavior like that? A prolonged repetitious rant is out of order most any time.”

Marcella O’Steen of Epworth approached the matter on a more personal level stating that Dawn is someone’s mother, daughter and wife. O’Steen was unable to hold back anger as she stated of the situation: “If I were her (Cochran) husband, I would kick your a**!”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, GMASS, Georgia Mass Apprassial Solutions and Services, Public Commentary, Education, Frank Moore, Lane Bishop, Sonia Smith, Sandra Daugherty, Ralph Garner, Marcella Olsteen

Former BOA Chairman Lane Bishop accused commissioners of still using the “good ol’ boy” system.

After agreeing to discontinue the profanity, O’Steen was allowed to continue speaking. Unlike many of the other speakers who were focused solely on Helton and Fannin County Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson, O’Steen also accused Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee of negative behavior in the meeting.

Sosebee who had previously complimented the Tax Assessors department during the June 12 meeting failed to take action making him just as guilty according to O’Steen: “Out of three men up here not one of you came to her defense.”

While people certainly expressed their outrage over the perceived treatment of Cochran, many were also displeased with the option that was presented of outsourcing some of the of the workload of the Tax Assessors office.

It was proposed at the June 12 BOC meeting to look into a contract with Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions & Services (GMASS). In this contract, GMASS offers to appraise a third of the counties parcels each year for three years. This would keep the county in compliance with Georgia state standards.

The GMASS contract would cost taxpayers a total of $784,000 for three years of service. Chairman Helton pointed out that Fannin County’s total yearly budget for the Tax Assessors department is far more than surrounding counties, and this contract could be a way to alleviate some of the financial burden on the taxpayers of the county.

Helton clarified that he was not advocating to completely replace the tax assessors department: “You always need to have some local involvement and people there.”

“What they’re (tax assessors) not telling everyone, is they already are using this company(GMASS),” Johnson said of the proposed contract.

Chief Assessor Dawn Cochran did confirm that she had planned on asking for help in 2019 with approximately 13,000 parcels.

“No one voted to do it,” Johnson said explaining the proposed contract,”I’m all about saving the taxpayers money, but we’ve got a lot of research to do.”

“I have not had to raise the mileage. I didn’t get elected to look at the tax assessors. I got elected to save taxpayers money,” Johnson concluded his feeling about the public commentary.

Helton expressed a similar view to Johnson: “Fannin County taxpayers are contributing almost $1 million a year to fund our Tax assessors office. This is the highest budget in 10 Northeast Georgia counties, including Cherokee, NC. I think the citizens have a right to expect their Chairman to ask tough questions instead of worrying about my bedside manner.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

David Cooper feels he can reach across party lines and defeat Doug Collins

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – David Cooper will face off against Josh McCall for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat Democratic nomination. The winner of the May General Primary will then run against Republican incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the November General Election.

Collins has held the Georgia 9th Congressional District seat since 2013.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Republican, Democrat, Doug Collins, Josh McCall, David Cooper, 9th Congressional, 9th District, Congressman, Second Amendment, Fannin County Democratic Meeting, Debt Clock, Education, Green Technology, Clean Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business

David Cooper seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

Cooper stopped by the Fannin County Democratic meeting to share with Fannin County residents why he feels that he is the best man for the job.

“I am soldier. I have served in the forces that have guarded this country and our way of life, and I am prepared to serve again,” Cooper introduced himself.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, Cooper has also had a career working various levels of government and is currently retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During his employment with the EPA, Cooper worked in hazardous waste clean up and also worked in commercializing green options, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

Because of his background, Cooper feels that he can reach a wide audience: “I speak the language of patriotism and sacrifice. I speak the language of compassion and selfless service. I speak the language of public participation, cost effective regulation and legislation.”

“It is not about giving a speech. It’s not about making a list of here’s my issues, and wouldn’t it be cool if we could do these things. That is what every politician is taught to do,” Cooper said, explaining he wants to see real accomplishments.

“I am an unconventional candidate, and I will be running an unconventional campaign,” Cooper noted, adding that unlike his opponent, McCall, he would in fact seek to sway Republican voters. “I have the skills and experience to have those conversations.”

Cooper is convinced that there is no such thing as a single-issue voter and is confident that he can find common ground and common values among all residents of Georgia’s 9th District.

Cooper summarized his beliefs and his platform into three key elements, with the first being a need to “save democracy”. He feels this can be accomplished by stopping fake news, ensuring clean elections, and implementing term limits.

His second stance is to “protect what we hold dear.” Cooper cited a few areas that deserve our attention and care, with these being social security, medicare, women’s rights, the environment, veterans, and small businesses.

Cooper labeled his final stance as “progress for the future.” He would like to see steps made toward universal health care, common sense gun control, clean energy, fair taxes and affordable education.

“Not free education,” Cooper pointed out, “until we can get healthcare for everybody, don’t talk to me about free education.”

Locally, Cooper would like to work to support small businesses, citing that they are uniquely numerous in our area due to the tourism industry. He feels that one way to promote this would be to “energize the Small Business Administration to do more to support and provide more outreach.”

“That’s how we keep the Georgia 9th vibrant, keep these small businesses going,” Cooper added.

“Collins should not be making rules for anyone,” Cooper spoke of his Republican opponent. “His loyalties are not with the people.”

In the General Primary, Cooper said the focus should not be about himself running against McCall, but instead he advised the crowd, “You need to pick the person who can beat Doug Collins and who has a plan.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Josh McCall prepares to face Doug Collins in upcoming election

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Josh McCall hopes to receive the Democratic nomination in the race for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat.

This seat is currently held by incumbent Congressman Doug Collins. Collins has been Georgia’s 9th District representative since 2013.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Republican, Democrat, Doug Collins, Josh McCall, David Cooper, 9th Congressional, 9th District, Congressman, Second Amendment, Fannin County Democratic Meeting, Debt Clock, Education, Green Technology, Clean Energy, Environment

Josh McCall seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

McCall has been traveling the district during his campaign, and made a stop at the Fannin County Democratic meeting to discuss with residents why he should represent our district.

Tired of hearing negativity in politics and disagreeing with many of today’s political moves, McCall stated that it had gotten to the point where he dreaded looking at his phone to get the latest news.

“Inevitably, as though it is some kind of force of fate, I do open my phone because I do care about my country and I want to know what’s happening,” McCall added.

Criticizing the Republicans, McCall referred to the party’s Debt Clock: “because everything that goes into feeding the poor people, those Republicans are putting it on the clock.”

“They just passed a bill handing over the fortunes of our children that was supposed to go into green infrastructure and the educational facilities of tomorrow,” McCall spoke of the party’s hypocrisy, “and it went into the pockets of billionaires.”

McCall added, “Let me tell you the red letters of our (Democrats) debt clock. They are written in the blood of students who died at Parkland. They’re written in the blood of the children who died daily from gun violence in this nation, which is breaking out like an epidemic.”

According to McCall Republicans used to care about urgent matters such as the National Debt and what is being left to the nation’s children, but their concerns have since shifted.

McCall wants to see focus put on healthcare and the costs related to this field, stating, “Those are the threats that are really facing us. You deserve life and you deserve health.”

“It is my fundamental belief that nobody should die because they are poor, and that nobody should be poor because they are dying,” McCall reiterated his passion to see meaningful change.

On national matters, McCall would like to see corporations “put on check” for environmental damage, and for lobbyists and organizations to have less of a hold on our government, citing that NRA (National Rifle Association) money is what stops real change to gun control.

“We are in too many nations right,” McCall said stating that we should pull forces out and invest at home,”There is not a single nation with a possible exception of Korea, that is any better off than it was before we invaded it.”

McCall would like to form a Public Service Coalition to serve at home and focus on social needs. The Civil Conservation Corp. could provide services such as taking care of the elderly in their homes and aid in environmental protection and clean up in exchange for scholarships to colleges.

For a two year term, McCall suggests, participants could receive a two-year technical degree scholarship, and for a four-year term, participants could receive a scholarship for a four year Bachelor’s Degree.

McCall switched gears to speak of his stance on the Second Amendment, “I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. The problem is the NRA does not. They only believe in that second part that makes them money.”

Citing that no one is safe in any public space in today’s climate, McCall emphasized that there is need for a well regulated militia.

“If they are law abiding citizens of sound mind, I want them to have that bolt action rifle. Their hunting rifle,” McCall stated, but also explained that there needs to be meaningful change.

One simple solution that he felt could have a lasting impact would be to have a 10 bullet limit on magazines, and outlaw removable clips. Other solutions would be to have gun owners secure weapons in their homes to keep them away from children. McCall stated that Georgia was number one in the nation for toddlers to die of gun related deaths.

“I don’t believe in confiscation,” McCall made very clear if new reform were to pass.

Locally McCall would like to focus on infrastructure in the 9th District, and have improvements to infrastructure done by people trained in our area.
If McCall were to receive the Democratic nomination, he spoke of where he differs from his Republican opponent Doug Collins.

“I believe that Doug Collins is most vulnerable in his complacency,” McCall stated and added that this election year Collins cannot ignore the Democratic party.

“Compassion and cooperation are the center pieces of my campaign,” McCall said and then added, “That is where he is vulnerable, he has not a compassionate or cooperative bone in his body, and that is our strength.”

McCall concluded by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper? My answer to that is a resounding yes. This race is truly not about me. I have faith in the people of the 9th District.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

FREE Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening for Women 40-64 at Fannin County Health Department

Announcements, Health, Lifestyle

FREE Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening for Women 40-64 at Fannin County Health Dept!

Blue Ridge (GA) – FREE Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and is provided to eligible women ages 40 to 64 at the Fannin County Health Department.

“Early detection is critical,” said Catherine Knight, RN, Fannin County Nurse Manager.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States and in Georgia, but when found earlier, it is more likely to be treated successfully and women are surviving longer with breast cancer. Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. However, in the past 40 years, the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline is largely due to many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical pre-cancer before it turns into cancer.

These free Breast and Cervical Cancer screening services are available at the Fannin County Health Department for women who are Georgia residents ages 40 to 64 with limited income and limited or no health insurance:

  • Clinical Breast Examination
  • Mammogram
  • Pap test
  • Referrals to treatment through the Women’s Health Medicaid Program

All women who qualify are urged to call the Fannin County Health Department to make an appointment for Free Breast and Cervical Cancer screening at (706) 632-3023 right away! The health department is located at 95 Ouida Street in Blue Ridge.

Mountain Education Charter High School dual enrollment

Rebel's Corner

Dual enrollment allows students to attend college while in high school earning college credits and fulfilling graduation requirements at the same time. It is a great opportunity for students to get a head start on their college classes. Pictured, Ms. Dillard, right, discusses dual enrollment possibilities with Shea Ross. Ms. Dillard gave a presentation on dual enrollment to all Mountain Education Charter students during Student Appreciation Week.

Mountain Education February Student of the Month

Rebel's Corner

Mountain Education Charter High School congratulates Jefferson Jones as the February Student of the Month.  Jefferson is a senior who has really been fired – up to complete his graduation requirements and graduate this May. His teachers are so proud of his work ethic and happy to see his determination to finish. Jefferson wants to major in business administration and hopes to open his own business some day. We wish Jefferson well as he continues his academic pursuits.

Congratulations!

WFES Character Education

West Fannin Elem

The Character Ed word for the month of October was Self-Control.  The definition is “Controlling one’s actions and feelings;  Making good choices; Being patient and controlling your temper”

These students were chosen for consistently displaying this character trait throughout the month.  Congratulations to all of you!

Pictured from left to right- Front row: Haygen Mathis, Daniel Carder, Dereck Dixon, Savannah Herndon, Addie Dean, Bentlee Elmore, and Carson Callihan.  Middle row:  Skyler Gazaway, Cooper Huffman, Colton Bradburn, Alex Stover, Makayla Ellis, Ava Twiggs, Will Jones, and Matthew Payne.   Back row: Devin Meissner, Casi Mealer, Vince Foster, Caden Strickland, Jaclyn Cracknell, Emily Dickey, Mason McDaniel, and Jaden Kendall.   Not Pictured:  Mckinley Sandefur

Senators Release Bipartisan Recommendations For Economic Growth In Appalachia

Politics, State & National

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top