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Tax Assessors question county accounting practices

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A misunderstanding of county accounting practices and a misuse of terminology had the Board of Commissioners (BOC) questioning whether the Board of Assessors were keeping two sets of books.

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran spoke at the June 12 Board of Commissioners meeting about a line item in the Tax Assessors budget that she felt was an error.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Board of Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, Troy Junnier, Budget, Line Item, Maps, Aerials, GMASS, Georgia Mass Appraisals and Services

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran questions to the BOC on why her numbers do not match the county’s official accounting records.

The line item in question concerns the purchase of new aerial maps for Fannin County. According to an agreement made last year, the Tax Assessors Department would pay for the mapping upfront, but other departments who would benefit from use of the maps would reimburse the county for their portion of the overall price.

“We started at $24,000,” Cochran said explaining the line item, “We paid $8,000 out to QPublic. We paid $22,000 to EagleView which is for the maps. We paid $1,000 for LiDAR (Light Detection and Radar) and that put us a balance of negative $7,000.”

Cochran stated that the revenue to date for her department was $7,508.13 and that invoices had been sent out to other departments for their share in the mapping costs for a total of $12,513.35.

“The current balance that should be in the line item for maps and aerials is $13,021.68,” Cochran concluded.

Cochran approached the BOC because the department still has expenditures for the year that would need to come from that line item and worried that already showing a negative balance would reflect badly on continued spending.

Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton explained that crediting back revenue to a department is not how the county’s accounting practices work. Helton stated that the way the county keeps records of its expenditures and revenues is set by the county’s auditors, Rushton and Associates.

According to Helton, revenues from any department are put back into the county’s general fund. He cited the Tax Commissioners office as an example of why this is the practice. Helton stated that if revenues were credited back to a department, such as the Tax Commissioners, it would in a sense give the department unlimited spending abilities.

“They tell us that you don’t offset expenses with revenue,” Helton said explaining the auditors recommendations. “You just don’t do that.”

Helton went further to ask if Cochran had ever invited Fannin County’s Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway to a Board of Assessor’s meeting to explain this practice. Cochran replied that she had not, but that she had been in contact with Gazaway via email and that all board members were copied to the exchange.

Cochran did not back down from her claim saying that it is important to keep accurate numbers from the top down, adding “Our number’s don’t match up with Ms. Gazaway’s numbers.”

Helton questioned Cochran’s accounting background and why she felt that her knowledge was correct over the county’s hired CFO.

Cochran stated that her board was upset over this “false negative” and stated, “It’s really hard to try to keep two sets of books.”

This statement immediately caught the attention of the commissioners with Helton asking Cochran to clarify and if she had made both sets of books available to the county’s CFO Gazaway.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Board of Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, Troy Junnier, Budget, Line Item, Maps, Aerials, GMASS, Georgia Mass Appraisals and Services

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson would like to see clearer lines of communication be established between departments and the Board of Commissioners.

Cochran replied that she does keep two sets of books and had made them available. Gazaway, however, stated that she had never seen the second set of books.

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson questioned, “Your board is upset. Which set of books are they upset over?”

Later, Board of Assessors board member Troy Junnier would clarify Cochran’s statements, “Dawn brings up a spreadsheet. It’s not a separate set of books or anything like that.”

Junnier also stood behind Cochran’s questioning, “It looks bad on our department because we’re showing a negative line item when we’re really not.”

Helton explained that the negative line item would be amended at the end of the year budget review and that all of this could have been explained by Gazaway at one of the Board of Assessors meetings had she been invited to a meeting to discuss.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee pointed out that the BOC is more concerned with a department’s overall budget, “You’re concerned over a line item and your overall budget is right where it should be.”

“I understand why,” Johnson expanded on government accounting,”and if we all three (commissioners) understand why, you don’t have a problem because at the end of the year, as was said earlier, we’re going to vote to amend the budget, if you are over budget.”

Johnson added that there needs to more face to face interaction with the BOC and the departments when issues arise. Johnson’s reasoning is that interacting face to face and in public meetings would help to eliminate miscommunication and misinformation being spread through media outlets.

“Stop the emailing. If there is a problem come to a meeting. If there is a problem, handle it at your meetings,” Johnson said to Cochran expressing his frustration with the current lines of communication. “I for one am sick of friction between the Board of Assessors and the Board of Commissioners. I’m tired of reading stuff in the papers before you even come here.”

“Before your accuse the county and the Board of Commissioners of essentially not knowing what they’re doing, you might ought to come here first,” Johnson added.

Cochran replied to Johnson saying, “I can’t help how the media takes things and what they do with it.”

“It seems like there is an effort to discredit this board and our CFO,” Helton expressed his feelings on the matter. “It needs to stop. We are doing things accurately.”

Junnier replied to the BOC, “We didn’t come to try to make it seem like we were trying to discredit anybody.”

“I was concerned that it (negative line item) would come back not only just the department head or the department itself, but also on the assessors board,” Junnier added.

In the end Junnier thanked the BOC for fully explaining the accounting practices of the county, and for addressing the negative line item in the Board of Assessor’s budget.

After Junnier and Cochran took their seats, Chairman Helton spoke with the commissioners about a possible way to lower the budget of the Tax Assessors department.

“You know I’ve expressed a concern for sometime about our budget in our Tax Assessors department,” Helton said proposing an alternative way to structure the department, “and I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at the other counties. There’s some counties out there and their budget is just a fraction of ours.”

Helton presented the board with a 3 year contract proposed by independent appraisal company Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions & Services (GMASS). In this contract, GMASS offers to appraise a third of the counties parcels each year for three years.

The cost of this outsourcing would be approximately $223,000 for the first two years and $338,000 for the final year. The total of this proposal would be $784,000 over three years.

Johnson pointed out that the total in the proposal for three years of service is less than the current budget of the Tax Assessors department for a single year.

“I’m for anything that saves money,” Johnson said addressing the current money being spent by the county in this area. ” I know I asked two or three years ago if our money would ever come back down and I was told no. After we came back into compliance, that it would never go back down.”

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.”

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran did confirm that her department already outsources rural parcels and had planned on asking for help with approximately 13,000 parcels, a little under half the county’s total parcels, in 2019.

The BOC agreed to look over the possibility of outsourcing appraisals and would address their findings and concerns at a later date.

 

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

Georgia DOT repairs the pavement on State Route 60

Press Release

GDOT: Edge pavement repair begins in Fannin County 

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A Georgia DOT Maintenance crew begins today its work on repairing the deteriorating edges of pavement on State Route (SR) 60 in Fannin County.  Work will proceed daily Tuesday through Friday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Edge repair is a maintenance activity that is intended to guard against pavement failure along the edges due to the action of traffic and the loss of edge support that occurs due to the presence of water, aggressive-growth vegetation, and wind from either traffic or the atmosphere.  Georgia DOT’s edge repairs are designed to minimize the effects of
shoulder drop offs and maximize the safety of the roadway for the traveling public.

You know that construction work zones are dangerous, but do you know that they are not always stationary? Moving work zones that conduct maintenance activities like litter pickup, asphalt repair, mowing, edge pavement repair, pavement marking and sweeping may move slowly and stop intermittently. Treat moving work zones like any other – Pay Attention – Slow Down – Watch for Workers.  And always, expect the unexpected. Work zone safety is in your hands.

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Community
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
June 19,  2018
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Fannin County Sponsoring 
Electronics Recycling 
Ecyclers USA will be at the Senior Center on June 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to recycle your electronics. These will include:
  • Computers and Peripherals
  • Subassemblies and Components
  • Surplus Inventory
  • Home Electronics
  • Central Office and Communication Room Equipment
  • Microwave/Ground and Satellite Based Transmission Equipment
  • Office Equipment
  • Barcode Equipment, Pagers, Copy Machines, Fax Machines, Telephone Systems (cordless, cellular, desk)
  • Security Equipment
  • Utility and Power Equipment
  • Metals
**There will be a $10.00 fee for each Television or CRT Monitor**
440 West 1st St., Blue Ridge, GA
To see specifics on items that may or may not be available to be recycled:

Ribbon Cuttings!
 
June 12 was the ribbon cutting for Duane Thomas, Realtor with
Anchor Brokerage.
______________________________________________

June 14 was the ribbon cutting for Skyfall Cabin. Located in a brand-new, gated community with access to the Toccoa river, 10 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, Skyfall Cabin is a brand new 3200 square foot modern cabin featuring an expansive open floor plan with a pool table, shuffle puck, dart board and more. This cabin sleeps up to 8 adults and 4 children.

June Community Events Calendar
June 19 – Summer Youth Art Camps, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 23-24 – Ride the Rails Festival, Mineral Bluff Depot
June 22– Georgia Mountain Classics Cruise In, Dairy Queen
June 29-30 – Riverfest, Downtown McCaysville
June 29 – Firecracker Special, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
June 29 – Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade, Lake Blue Ridge
June 29 – McCaysville Fireworks, Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill
June 30 – Old Timers Parade, Downtown Blue Ridge
June 30 – Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks, Lake Blue Ridge Dam
July 4 – 4th of July Observance, Epworth Community Club
July 4 – Blue Ridge Freedom 5k and 10k, Downtown Blue Ridge
July 4 – 4th of July Fireworks, Meeks Park
 
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern
Wednesday
*Visitor Time, 10:00 a.m. – Noon, Tri-State Model Railroaders, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
Thursday 

 
Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ in the Park
* Brewery Tours & Tastings:
Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR –Click Here

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestView our videos on YouTubeView on Instagram
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Recycle Your Electronics
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Calendar of Events
June 19 – Business After Hours, Blue Smoke Barbecue, 3365 East First St., Blue Ridge
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 21 – Ribbon Cutting for SafeKeep Pest Management at the  Chamber
10:00 a.m.
June 25 – Ribbon  Cutting for Escape the Line Ocoee’s #1 Escape Room, 115 Ocoee St., Copperhill, TN
10:30 a.m.
June 27 – Board of Directors Meeting, Chamber Board Room, Executive Committee at 11:00 a.m, Board of Directors
12:00 p.m.

June 28 – Ambassador Lunch at Mesquite Grill, 4860 Appalachian Hwy., Blue Ridge
12:00 p.m.
____________
Member Events
Glow River Float

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Community, Fannin County Chamber
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
June 12,  2018
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Fannin County Sponsoring 
Electronics Recycling 
Ecyclers USA will be at the Senior Center on June 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to recycle your electronics. These will include:
  • Computers and Peripherals
  • Subassemblies and Components
  • Surplus Inventory
  • Home Electronics
  • Central Office and Communication Room Equipment
  • Microwave/Ground and Satellite Based Transmission Equipment
  • Office Equipment
  • Barcode Equipment, Pagers, Copy Machines, Fax Machines, Telephone Systems (cordless, cellular, desk)
  • Security Equipment
  • Utility and Power Equipment
  • Metals
**There will be a $10.00 fee for each Television or CRT Monitor**
440 West 1st St., Blue Ridge, GA
To see specifics on items that may or may not be available to be recycled:

June Community Events Calendar
June 16 – Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 16 – Blue Ridge Wine and Jazz Festival, Downtown Blue Ridge City Park
June 16 – Blue Ridge Chamber Music Festival – PULSE Trio, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
June 19 – Summer Youth Art Camps, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 23-24 – Ride the Rails Festival, Mineral Bluff Depot
June 25 – Georgia Mountain Classics Cruise In, Dairy Queen
June 29-30 – Riverfest, Downtown McCaysville
June 29 – Firecracker Special, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
June 29 – Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade, Lake Blue Ridge
June 29 – McCaysville Fireworks, Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill
June 30 – Old Timers Parade, Downtown Blue Ridge
June 30 – Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks, Lake Blue Ridge Dam
July 4 – 4th of July Observance, Epworth Community Club
July 4 – Blue Ridge Freedom 5k and 10k, Downtown Blue Ridge
July 4 – 4th of July Fireworks, Meeks Park
 
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern
Wednesday
*Visitor Time, 10:00 a.m. – Noon, Tri-State Model Railroaders, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
Thursday 

 
Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ in the Park
* Brewery Tours & Tastings:
Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR –Click Here

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestView our videos on YouTubeView on Instagram
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Recycle Your Electronics
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Calendar of Events
June 12 – Ribbon Cutting for Duane Thomas, Realtor with Anchor Brokerage at the Chamber
1:30 p.m.
June 13 – Ribbon Cutting for Impact Design & Creations at the Chamber
11:00 a.m.
June 19 – Business After Hours, Blue Smoke Barbecue, 3365 East First St., Blue Ridge
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 27 – Board of Directors Meeting, Chamber Board Room, Executive Committee at 11:00 a.m, Board of Directors
12:00 p.m.

June 28 – Ambassador Lunch at Mesquite Grill, 4860 Appalachian Hwy., Blue Ridge
12:00 p.m.
____________
Member Events
The mission of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce is to provide services to members, support existing business and promote economic development and tourism, while preserving and enhancing our community’s character, natural resources and quality of life.

 

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 06/11 to 06/16

Arrest Reports

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for www.fetchyournews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Fannin County. Those arrests are posted on www.fetchyournews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Four life-flighted after car accident on Scenic Drive

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A head on collision left four adults having to be emergency flighted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Car Accident, Automobile Accident, Scenic Drive, Erlanger Hospital, Life Fore, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Fire Department, First Responders, Georgia State Patrol, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, James Dickey, Gary Patterson, Kimberly Patterson, Heather Seigler

Scene of head on collision on Scenic Drive.

James Dickey of Blue Ridge, Ga., was traveling southbound on Scenic Drive shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7. Dickey had with him passengers, Gary Patterson (Blue Ridge) and Kimberly Patterson (Blue Ridge).

Dickey’s Ford F-150 crossed the center lane while navigating one of Scenic Drive’s many curves and struck a Ford Escape head on. The Escape was driven by Heather Seigler who is also a resident of Blue Ridge, Ga.

After the impact Dickey’s truck overturned onto it’s right side. Gary Patterson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was completely ejected from the vehicle.

The Escape, driven by Seigler, spun several times before coming to a stop.

Emergency crews were on the scene within 10 minutes of receiving dispatch and determined that the car accident victims would need to be taken to Erlanger Hospital, the area’s nearest trauma facility, for treatment.

Four Life Force helicopters arrived to airlift the victims who were all suspected of having serious injuries.

As of Monday, June 11, Kimberly Patterson and Heather Seigler are still admitted at Erlanger Hospital for continued treatment. Passenger Gary Patterson has been discharged from the facility. The condition of driver James Dickey was unable to be confirmed.

Charges involving the accident are pending.

 

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

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 06/04 to 06/10

Arrest Reports

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for www.fetchyournews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Fannin County. Those arrests are posted on www.fetchyournews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

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