Details emerge on Blue Ridge water outage

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – New details have surfaced concerning Tuesday evening’s water outage in downtown Blue Ridge.

According to Rebecca Harkins, director of Blue Ridge Water and Sewer department, a contractor doing a road bore beneath state Route 515 near East Highland Street in an effort to install a two-inch water service line struck and ruptured a six-inch water main line Tuesday afternoon.

Harkins stated the incident occurred when the bore struck an unknown line under Hwy. 515 as it was being backed out. She added that the ruptured water main was eight-feet deep below at least a foot of pavement and was not detected by sonar equipment last week during preliminary work site preparations.

A ruptured water main near East Highland Street and state Route 515 resulted in a widespread water outage for downtown Blue Ridge water customers Tuesday evening.

Water service was restored to affected customers at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as crews removed a portion of pavement near the shoulder of Hwy. 515 to access the point of rupture, Harkins stated. Later Wednesday, the two-inch line water line was successfully installed and clean up of the site began.

Harkins said Johnson Paving will perform the pavement repair on the roadway after the clean up process is completed.

“The city of Blue Ridge would like to thank all of the utility crews that worked till 1:30 a.m. in the freezing temperatures to make sure water was restored to the customers. The city would also like to thank Holloway Trenching for stopping by and offering help,” Harkins said of the repair and clean up efforts.

 

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Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Parsons back as zoning administrator of Blue Ridge

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After a one hour and three minute executive session, the Blue Ridge City Council reconvened its special called meeting Thursday, Jan. 25, and announced three city personnel issues were discussed during the closed session.

Following this, the council approved the rehire of Roy Parsons to the temporary position of administrator of Land Development and Zoning. Parsons unexpectedly resigned the same position last year. Councilman Nathan Fitts abstained from voting citing he was undecided. “I’m not opposed. I just haven’t made my mind up since it’s a temporary position,” Fitts explained to Mayor Donna Whitener.

According to City Clerk Kelsey Ledford, Parson’s position is temporary as the city seeks to find a permanent administrator of Land Development and Zoning, and Parsons is expected to assist with that search.

Next, the council voted to proceed with advertising and conducting subsequent interviews for an additional full-time officer for the Blue Ridge City Police Department. “The police officer was requested by (Chief) Johnny Scearce and (Capt.) Rob Stuart. We have a shift that is not filled,” Whitener explained.

The council also promoted Kim Keenan from assistant supervisor of the city park to supervisor of Parks and Recreation Department.

Earlier in the meeting, the council held a first reading of an amendment to the city’s alcohol ordinance. Councilwoman Rhonda Thomas-Haight explained the three changes that the amendment proposes will address employee permits, ownership conflicts and pouring regulations.

The amendment would establish that employee permits will be valid for one year from the date of issue and renewal of the permit will occur upon submission of the renewal application and payment of the appropriate renewal fee, which will be no less than $30, provided that the person remains qualified for renewal. The amendment also would prohibit any city council member holding any beneficial interests in an establishment that has obtained an alcohol license from the city from voting on any matter involving the given establishment. Lastly, the amendment allows for establishments to have specials, such as happy hour specials, on poured alcoholic beverages.

The council approved the first reading of the amendment with Fitts abstaining citing a potential conflict of interest.

A change order for a previously approved shoulder erosion repair project on Trackside Lane was also approved in the public session of the meeting. The project will now also widen the roadbed of Trackside Lane in an area that Whitener described as “dangerous,” being only 16.5 feet wide and not wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

The cost of the additional widening work will be $15,580 and the cost of the original erosion repair project is $8,800. Whitener explained that funding for the original project will come from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) while the additional widening work will be paid through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds. Whitener also told council members the shoulder work had been delayed as the city awaited final approval to proceed with the project from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). “We finally got approval to move forward,” Whitener stated.

Johnson Paving has been awarded the bid for both projects.

 

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

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Blue Ridge City Council meeting slated for Tuesday

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Blue Ridge City Council will address a number of agenda items at the final regularly scheduled meeting of the year Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Last month’s meeting was cancelled after three council members had to tend to other obligations and could not attend the meeting.

City Council Member Rhonda Thomas

According to the meeting agenda, Council Member Rhonda Thomas will present a second reading of the city’s amendment to the Electric Shuttle Bus Ordinance. After the reading, the council will vote whether or not to approve the amendment. Thomas is also scheduled to lead discussion about a potential parking deck for the downtown area.

The council will also address an application for the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) for the city, which must be submitted by Dec. 31, 2017, to be eligible to receive potential LMIG funding for 2018.

Traver Aiken, executive director of the Blue Ridge Housing Authority, is scheduled to speak to the council concerning the prospect of waiving Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payments to the city as reimbursement for the Authority’s costs to repair sewer lines on BRHA property earlier this year.

The council will also vote on Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) lease resolutions for the purchase of a vehicle for the Blue Ridge Police Department as well as a trackhoe excavator for the city water department.

Resolutions to apply for Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) grant money for future potential projects, including sewer system upgrades and a water meter replacement project, will also be addressed.

Several purchase invoices will be awaiting approval from the council at the meeting, including three from Carter & Sloope engineering firm, one from Johnson Paving and another from Fortiline Waterworks.

In public commentary, Cesar Martinez, local business owner and president of the Blue Ridge Business Association, is scheduled to address the council.

 

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

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Back to business for Blue Ridge City Council

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After failing to achieve a quorum at the last month’s meeting, the Blue Ridge City Council met Tuesday, Dec. 12, for their last regularly scheduled meeting of the year.

The Council swiftly moved through a hefty list of agenda items starting with two Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) lease resolutions to purchase vehicles and equipment. The first resolution was to purchase a 2018 Ford Explorer for the Blue Ridge Police Department through a GMA lease for $30,591.58 with a 3.760 percent interest rate. The final payment for the lease will be Dec. 21, 2022, and the city will pay $33,482.22 with included interest.

Next, the city purchased a 2017 Caterpillar track hoe excavator and a 2018 F350 dump truck for the combined price of $85,950.30 through a GMA lease. The interest rate and payment schedule for this purchase is the same as for the previous purchase, and the city will pay $94,071.90 with included interest.

Two other resolutions were for loan acceptances from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA). The first loan, a Clean Water State Revolving loan, for up to $900,000 with a principal forgiveness of $225,000 if all loan funds are drawn will be used for sewer upgrades at Trackside Lane. The other loan, a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan, for up to $250,000 with a principal forgiveness of up to $49,970 if all funds are drawn, will be used for a meter replacement and upgrade project.

The Council also amended a city ordinance through a second reading and adoption to allow an exception for low-speed vehicles or motorized carts in the form of electric shuttle buses to be used on the public streets of the city in an effort to promote economic development downtown.

Blue Ridge City Councilwoman Angie Arp

Bids for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) water system improvement project were reviewed and discussed by the Council. While Mayor Donna Whitener mentioned it was recommended by the city’s water system engineering firm, Carter & Sloope, to proceed with the low bidder for the project, The Renee Group, Inc. of Doraville, Georgia, Councilwoman Angie Arp suggested the possibility of proceeding with the only local bidder, Holloway Trenching, LLC, of Morganton, whose bid was nearly $54,000 over that of The Renee Group. Ultimately, the decision to award the bid was tabled.

A Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) application for a $35,648 grant with a 30 percent was approved by the Council Tuesday. The grant would be used for road work on West First Street from Depot Street to the where West First meets West Main Street.

The Council unanimously agreed to allow the Blue Ridge Housing Authority (BRHA) to forego payment of its final 2016 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payment to the city as reimbursement to the Authority for costs to repair a sewer line and retaining wall at the BRHA’s Boardtown Road apartments. The PILOT payment was for $1,530.75. In addition, the Council approved a $5,500 estimate from Holloway Trenching for further repairs on a six-inch sewer line on BRHA grounds.

The Council discussed, but tabled, a $4,368.80 quote from ETC Communications for a downtown stereo system to be used during events and festivals, such as the recent Light Up Blue Ridge and Christmas parade, until more information could be procured about the safety of the system.

Among the other invoices and quotes approved were:

A $4,500.99 invoice to Johnson Paving for asphalt work on Banks Street;

A $4,094.20 quote from Fortiline Waterworks, of Cartersville, Georgia, for work on city hydrants;

A $4,700 quote from Hayes James engineering firm for mapping and geographic information system (GIS) services;

A $5,670 invoice from Carter & Sloope for general consulting, which included a review of the water drainage issues near Ada Street;

A $3,611.25 invoice from Carter & Sloope for engineering services for a sewer line project on Trackside Lane;

A $17,831.85 invoice from Carter & Sloope for engineering services at the city’s waste water treatment facility; and

A $6,599.60 quote from Peach State Amenities, LLC for three new six-foot long park benches and three 36-gallon trash receptacles.

President of the Blue Ridge Business Association Cesar Martinez

Cesar Martinez, local business owner and president of the Blue Ridge Business Association (BRBA), spoke briefly in public commentary about the success of the recent Light Up Blue Ridge festivities and Christmas parade held Saturday, Nov. 25, in downtown Blue Ridge and informed the Council of upcoming BRBA events, such as the BRBA Christmas Party Dec. 18 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Willow Creek Falls and the eighth annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook-Off in downtown Blue Ridge Feb. 17, 2018.

Near the end of the meeting, Mayor Whitener thanked outgoing council members Arp, Rodney Kendall and Bruce Pack for their service to the Council and the city. Collectively, all three members stated they were appreciative of the opportunity to serve the citizens of Blue Ridge but wished they could have accomplished even more during their tenures. Incoming council members Nathan Fitts, Kenneth Gaddis and Robbie Cornelius will join remaining members Harold Herndon and Rhonda Thomas in 2018.

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Georgia ranked No. 1 state in U.S. for business

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Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Georgia has been named the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business for the third consecutive year by Site Selection magazine, a leading economic development trade publication.
“Once again, Georgia has been named the top state in which to do business, reflecting our success in strengthening Georgia’s economic environment and creating a top-notch workforce,” said Deal. “Through collaborative public-private sector efforts, we have created hundreds of thousands of jobs for families, invested millions in our local communities and improved the overall quality of life for our citizens. This ranking is not only a testament to our strong business climate, but it also speaks to the commitment and support from our industry partners, communities and the people of Georgia.”
Each November, Site Selection releases rankings for the top states in which to do business. Georgia has been ranked among the top 10 states in Site Selection’s business climate rankings throughout the last decade, holding the top spot for the last two years.
“Georgia is a regular top finisher in our annual analysis of state business climates,” said Site Selection editor-in-chief Mark Arend. “But three consecutive first-place finishes in this ranking is a pattern. It says the state clearly has in place the business-attraction attributes most required by companies expanding and establishing new facilities.”
The rankings are determined by a survey of corporate site selectors paired with an index of tax burden criteria according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG’s Location Matters analysis and performance in Conway Data’s New Plant Database, which tracks new and expanded business facility activity.
“Site Selection’s third-time No. 1 ranking speaks volumes to our business-friendly environment, world-class infrastructure network, top-notch academic institutions, nationally-ranked training programs and vibrant socioeconomic culture,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “We provide companies looking to locate or expand here an experience that they cannot find anywhere else, and we will continue to work hard with our partners from around the state to maintain this reputation.”

FYN Sports Player of the Week Super Star Swag

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FYN Sports Player of the Week Super Star Swag

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FYN Sports Player of the Week Super Star Swag

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Click here to see FYN Sports Super Star Swag Player of the week of your own Fannin Rebels this week.

FYN would like to congratulate Chris Payne on being Player of the Week. Payne would give the White County Offense something to worry about getting two solo tackles for a loss in the backfield. He would add two other solo tackles for a total of four on the night. Payne would also jump on a loose ball recovering a fumble for Fannin.

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