Departments update the Board of Commissioners

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) received updates from several departments at the second monthly meeting held on Jan. 23.

FetchYourNews, Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Larry Joe Sosebee, Earl Johnson, Financial Director, Robin Gazaway

Board of Commissioners receive updates from several county departments.

The first to speak to the board was Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff. Ratcliff spoke of the recent severe weather experienced throughout the county and the impact on the county’s resources reserved for such scenarios.

“With temperatures being in the low teens, it made it pretty difficult to clear the roads,” Ratcliff spoke of the recent snow storm that closed county offices and Fannin County schools for several days.

Due to the recent freezing weather, Ratcliff reported that his department had used 300 tons of salt and 150 tons of the 89 gravel that the county had set aside, and that supplies of these would need to be replenished.

Ratcliff also reported that two vehicles in the Public Works department, a chipper and a Ford flatbed, were in need of repairs and would possibly have to be replaced in the near future.

“Our sign department made and replaced over 400 signs, street signs, this year.” Ratcliff updated.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee questioned the cost of replacing signs, and Ratcliff replied that it varied but the approximate cost was around $35.00 per sign. Ratcliff also stated the department was increasing the height of many signs posted and this action had reduced the number of signs being stolen.

Ratcliff spoke of cuts made to the department and highlighted that salaries had been brought down by $500,000 from the previous fiscal year of 2016. Ratcliff added, “We’re still getting the same amount of work done.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton addressed Ratcliff, “Just to reiterate what you’ve done here, if you go back a year ago, personnel wise and wages, you cut that in excess of 25 percent, and you’ve done it the right way.

FetchYourNews, Fannin County, Blue Ridge Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Parks and Recreation, Eddie O'Neal. Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee

Parks and Recreation Director Eddie O’Neal talks about Christmas Clash basketball tournament.

“What I see is more efficiency out there,” Helton added. “The folks that say you can’t shrink government, well you prove that you can.”

Eddie O’Neal, director of Fannin County Parks and Recreation, was second to update the BOC. O’Neal reported that 1,600 visitors had signed in and made use of the recreation facilities in the month of December.

“We also hosted our third annual Christmas Clash basketball tournament where we had 52 teams compete,” O’Neal spoke of the growth of this event.

Teams came from several counties within Georgia for this four-day event. O’Neal informed the board that the success of this event had generated nearly $15,000 in revenue.

O’Neal also spoke of the Summer Day Camp program, which continues to grow, and of additional services that might be offered this year. Parents who utilize the program have inquired of a later pick-up time.

Currently, children in the program would need to be picked up by 3 p.m. O’Neal suggested an extra charge to cover costs of keeping the facility open later so parents could pick up at 4 or 5 p.m.

The cost for two weeks of the Summer Day Camp program is $30.00, and an extra charge of $20.00 is being proposed for parents who wish to have a later pick up.

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson was pleased with the transparency of revenues and purchases that is now being shown in frequent reports from the Parks and Recreation department, and Stan Helton added that he had received numerous calls from citizens that expressed their enthusiasm for the programs that the department has been adding.

“We’ve been approached by Faith Presbyterian Church. Those guys have always done what’s called a Seamless Summer food program,” O’Neal added to his update.

The Seamless Summer program provides food for children in need over the summer. Union County High School would prep meals for this program in the past, but will not be able to in 2018 due to renovations taking place over the summer break.

The department of Parks and Recreation has been approached to see if they could prep these meals while prepping their own meals for the Summer Day Camp program.

“We would like to help these guys out,” O’Neal went on. The program feeds a little over 200 kids during the summer and is funded via reimbursement from Bright from the Start, a Georgia state Department of Early Care and Learning.

No decision was made by the BOC regarding this proposal.

Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody notified the BOC that the Scrap Tire Removal Program has been a success and that the future dates scheduled for tire drop off have been cancelled.

FetchYourNews, Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Tax Assessors, Board of Assessors, Larry Joe Sosebee, Troy Junnier

Board of Assessors member Troy Junnier speaks on behalf of the tax assessors in hopes of getting new vehicles.

“We took over 6,000 tires in,” Woody spoke of the success of the program and adding, “We’ve expended our funds.”

Board of Assessors board member Troy Junnier spoke on behalf of the Tax Assessors Office asking for two replacement vehicles for the department.
“If you don’t allow us to get two more (vehicles), then it is going to cause us a big issue countywide,” Junnier stated, presenting his case to the board. “It’s going to cost all the county residents in the future higher taxes anyway.”

Discussions became heated as Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson expressed that the department does not need new vehicles and should look into buying used.

Ultimately the board agreed to consider purchasing two used vehicles for the department with a spending limit of $20,000 per vehicle.

Johnson ended the exchange, “When I get done with these vehicles, I don’t want to hear anything from the tax assessors (about vehicles) ever again for my remaining three years.”

 

 

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Scrap Tire Removal Program Continues in Fannin County

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The Scrap Tire Removal Program is extending its drop off of scrap tires through the month of November.

Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody announced in September that the county had received a scrap tire grant.Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Larry Joe Sosebee, Land Development, Marie Woody, Scrap Tire, Program, Grant, November

Woody had been working since earlier this year to secure this allocation. The grant, issued by the State of Georgia, will fund the financial costs associated with removing scrap tires from Fannin County.

Originally the drop off of scrap tires was scheduled for the month of October, but Woody consulted with Fannin County Commissioners at the October 24, 2017, meeting, and it was decided to continue this program through the month of November.

Woody stated, “We have collected 1,736 scrap tires to this point. The funds are there to extend this program.”

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee brought up the possibility of dropping off large truck tires and tractor tires, which were previously prohibited. Sosebee stated that he had received many calls asking if these tires would eventually be allowed at the drop-offs.

It was decided to allow larger tires to be disposed of in this program.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the program through the month of November, and increased the limit of tires allowed for drop off from 10 per week to 20 per week.

Woody released the following statement regarding the Scrap Tire Removal and Grant:

We would like to encourage Fannin County residents to take advantage of this grant and dispose of their unwanted tires. This would help eliminate mosquito habitats as well as provide an opportunity to clean up the surrounding area. Since tires are not biodegradable for many, many years this will be a good opportunity for us to do something for future generations.

The tire disposal offer is being extended to county residents only. We will not collect tires from dealers, service stations, tire centers or retail businesses. The only requirements will be to complete a brief information sheet, listing the number of tires and the location where the tires originated, with name, telephone number and address.

Funding for the grant was made possible by the citizens of Georgia, citizens like you and me. We are still required to pay the $3.00 disposal fee when tires are purchased, so don’t think that if you take your tires home from the tire dealer that you don’t have to pay this service. Legislation was passed in the 1990’s that enable tire dealers to charge a fee for tire disposal at the time new tires are purchased.

It is wonderful to see this grant awarded to Fannin County. We would like to thank the Fannin County Road Department for their assistance in collecting abandoned tires along county roads. This task is essential in our efforts to keep our roadways safe and clean.

Tires may be dropped off to the Road Department, located at 229 Aska Road, Blue Ridge, Ga 30513.

If you have any questions, please call Marie Woody at 706-258-5170.

 

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

Legislation To Be Admended

Community, News
Fannin Court House

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The Fannin County Commissioners held their final meeting of the month on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

County Chairman Stan Helton opened by holding the first of two public readings to change county legislation.

The first piece legislation up for change involves the selling of county equipment that is no longer in use. Currently the county must list this equipment in a local paper and accept bids.
If this amended legislation passes it would give the county the option of selling the equipment online or opening up the possibility of onsite auctions.

The grant could bring new walking trails to Horsehsoe Bend Park.

The second piece of legislation with a proposed amendment deals with the county budget. Our current legislation states that the budget must be passed at the first public meeting in December of each year.

The proposed change would allow for the commissioners to pass the next year’s budget by the first public meeting in December. This would allow commissioners to pass the budget sooner if all information is finalised.

Neither readings were met with opposition from the public and a second reading is scheduled to take place at the commission’s first regular meeting in October.

Eddie O’Neal, Director of Fannin County Parks and Recreation was present at the meeting and had positive updates to report concerning Fannin County’s After School Program.

The program had received three new enrollees, which brings it to its maximum capacity. Mason Tractor sponsored one of these children and the other two are expected to be sponsored by another local business.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Parks and Recreation, Eddie O'Neal, Land Development, Marie Woody

Woody announces details of the Scrap Tire Grant.

O’Neal informed  the commissioners that all of the counselors had “recently completed CPR training” along with specialized training for working with children.

The After School Program is currently working to receive a grant from KaBOOM!. If awarded, this grant would be used for playground equipment.

Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson was happy to hear the progress of the After School Program.  He expressed that this creates opportunities for children who might not otherwise be able to receive them. He stated, “I’m so glad to hear the After School Program is doing so well. It’s a very good program.”

County Chairman Stan Helton inquired about the Recreational Trail Grant that O’Neal had been looking into. O’Neal responded, “We need to get the land surveyed and get that paperwork started.”

O’Neal confirmed that the grant amount had been raised to $200,000. If the county receives this grant it will go towards walking trails at Horseshoe Bend Park.

Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody announced that Fannin County had received a grant for scrap tire removal and laid out plans to collect and dispose of the tires.

The grant amount of $15,950 is expected to help the county with the removal of approximately 30,000 tires.

Woody also updated the board with the progress of the county’s condemned properties. The condemned property located on Riverside Lane had been successfully demolished and removed.

The completion of the Riverside Lane project marks the fourth property to be demolished and cleared this year. The other three properties that have previously been cleared are located on Highway 2, Ada Street, and East Street.

The Fannin County Board of Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

 

Read more about Fannin County’s Scrap Tire Grant at “Fannin County Awarded Grant for Scrap Tire Removal“.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Fannin County Awarded Grant For Scrap Tire Removal

News, Press Release

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody announced at the September 26 Fannin County Commissioner’s meeting that the county had received a scrap tire grant.

Woody had been working since earlier this year to secure this allocation. The grant, issued by the State of Georgia, will fund the financial costs associated with removing scrap tires from Fannin County.

Residents can bring tires for disposal on certain dates in the month of October. The next expected disposal dates will be in March of 2018.

The grant totaling $15,950.00 will remove approximately 30,000 tires from our area. Previous efforts to eliminate scrap tires from Fannin County resulted in the removal of 8,000 tires.
At this time only car and small truck tires will be accepted.

Woody released the following statement regarding the Scrap Tire Removal and Grant:

Fannin County was recently approved for a $15,950.00 grant by the State of Georgia to aid the county in disposing of scrap and abandoned tires. The grant will enable us to collect scrap tires from residents living in Fannin County. Residents can drop off (10) ten tires per week per household. Tires must be free of water, dirt or mud and rims. This is only for car tires. Other vehicle tires will not be taken at this time.

We will have two amnesty tire events the first dates will be October 2-5, October 9-12, October 16-20, October 23-26 and October 30-31, 2017. The next dates will be March 5-8, March 12-15, March 19-22, and March 26-29, 2018.

We would like to encourage Fannin County residents to take advantage of this grant and dispose of their unwanted tires. This would help eliminate mosquito habitats as well as provide an opportunity to clean up the surrounding area. Since tires are not biodegradable for many, many years this will be a good opportunity for us to do something for future generations.

The tire disposal offer is being extended to county residents only. We will not collect tires from dealers, service stations, tire centers or retail businesses. The only requirements will be to complete a brief information sheet, listing the number of tires and the location where the tires originated, with name, telephone number and address.

Funding for the grant was made possible by the citizens of Georgia, citizens like you and me. We are still required to pay the $3.00 disposal fee when tires are purchased, so don’t think that if you take your tires home from the tire dealer that you don’t have to pay this service. Legislation was passed in the 1990’s that enable tire dealers to charge a fee for tire disposal at the time new tires are purchased.

It is wonderful to see this grant awarded to Fannin County. We would like to thank the Fannin County Road Department for their assistance in collecting abandoned tires along county roads. This task is essential in our efforts to keep our roadways safe and clean.

Tires may be dropped off to the Road Department, located at 229 Aska Road, Blue Ridge, Ga 30513.
If you have any questions, please call Marie Woody at 706-258-5170.

Fannin County Board of Commissioners Hold Final July Meeting

Community, News
Fannin Court House

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County Board of Commissioners held their final meeting for this month on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Among the items on the agenda, County Commissioners addressed the issue of the County Roads Moratorium. There was public commentary that addressed both sides of the issue the county faces when deciding to adopt or remove roadways from its care.

Fannin County Board of Commissioners, County Road Moratorium

Citizens address the Board concerning county roadways.

Citizens were there to ask Fannin County to consider adopting Phase 1 of the My Mountain Community into its county road system for maintenance and upkeep, citing that this phase of the community has been in existence for almost 20 years. On the opposite side of the discussion, citizens expressed concern on current county roads that they feel have been neglected. Post Commissioner Earl Johnson urged the Board to use caution when adopting new roads into the system, wanting first for the county to obtain proper inspections and right of ways before making any decision. Fannin County Post Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee and Commission Chairman Stan Helton agreed with this assessment. While voting to continue the county road moratorium, there was also a unanimous decision to work on current roads in the system before accepting new roads.

Ken Petty, Fannin County Maintenance Department Head, addressed the Board seeking approval for three issues needing financial payment from the county. He presented cases for $5,340.00 to replace a compressor on the commercial Trane air conditioning unit at the jail, $19,160.00 for improvements to the Animal Control Facility located on Fannin Industrial Park, and roof repair at the county maintenance building.

Petty was only able to present one bid on the broken compressor at the jail. When questioned by Post Commissioner Earl Johnson on failure to receive further bids, Petty stated that no one he contacted in Fannin County was willing to work on the unit. Johnson further questioned Petty as to why he was not providing the county or the bidder with a proper scope of work, and both agreed in the future that this documentation will be provided. Ultimately the board agreed to address and fix the issue of the air conditioning since it is essential to the jail’s day to day operations, but opted to table the other two issues until further documentation and bids could be obtained.

Commissioners expanded the Board of Assessors through resolution and praised the three current appointees for bringing the county up to compliance with the State of Georgia. The expansion will bring the current board of three members up to a state allotted five member board. The board unanimously voted to appoint former Superintendent Mark Henson to a four year term on the Board of Assessors, and Troy Junnier to serve a three year term. Chairman Helton felt that the addition of these two individuals based on their experience and knowledge of the county would keep operations within the Board running smoothly for years to come.

Marie Woody discusses options for the Scrap Tire Management Grant.

Marie Woody discusses options for the Scrap Tire Management Grant.

Marie Woody with Land Development informed the board that all requirements were met to move forward with condemnation of property located at 188 Riverside Lane. The cost of removing the structure would be approximately $7,500.00 and approval was granted to advance this project. This property will be the fifth this year to be condemned and removed. Discussion was also held about the Scrap Tire Management Grant that was obtained from the State of Georgia. Post Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee wants to focus on where the man power will come from to complete this project and does not want to tax an already short handed Road Department of the county.

Finance Director Robin Gazaway presented the public with year to date financial information showing that the county is currently $1,675,006 under budget for the fiscal year 2017. Out of the county’s $27,131,207 yearly budget expenditures, actual amounts show that $12,975,846 has been spent.

Most county departments reported staying within or under their current budget amount as of July 18th. Administration was the only department reporting an overage with their current rate of spending at 72.9%. For departments to fall under budget their current rate should be below 54%. When questioned as to why this number was so high, Gazaway explained that new county policy requires all insurance claims be filed under a single department, and that they were working on an amendment that would create a new line item to reflect changes in this policy.

It Takes Communities to Build a House: Step 1

Community

Local Fannin volunteers:  Ed Edwards, Kaye Clark, David Kaspar, Steve Ketcham, Lucy D’ Amico, Marie Woody

Saturday, July 23rd

Habitat for Humanity is constructing its fifth-house in Fannin County off Loving Road in Morganton.  This time, 57 volunteers from Fort Payne, Alabama are here to help.  For their annual mission trip, New Oregon Methodist Church chose to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Fannin and Gilmer Counties.

FetchYourNews caught up with local Habitat for Humanity volunteers on Saturday to find out about the project.

Marie Woody and Lucy D'Amico

Marie Woody and Lucy D’Amico

Marie Woody has been serving through Habitat for Humanity for six years.  Ms. Woody is also the Chief Land Development Officer for Fannin County.  Because of both roles, Ms. Woody sees the house evolve from paperwork to completion.  Ms. Woody’s faith leads her to work with Habitat for Humanity.  She sees her work with Habitat for Humanity being an extension of her faith.  She is helping others by giving them a hand up.

Lucy D’Amico is the construction manager for Habitat for Humanity of Fannin and Gilmer counties.  She also serves on the Board of Feed Fannin.  After retiring as General Manager for Winfield Companies in Naples, Florida, she moved to Fannin County to “do stuff I loves and enjoy the people.”

Ms. D’Amico said that the New Oregon United Methodist Church have goals they set out for themselves this week – roof, walls, siding and windows.  The group blesses communities all over the county through their house-building summer mission trip says Ms. D’Amico. The group begins on Monday morning and finishes on Thursday about noon.

The house is three-bedroom, two-bath, and 1,236 square foot.  By October, it should be ready for occupancy.

 

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Woody and Sosebee State Their Vision for Tax Commissioner’s Office

Election, Politics

In the Tax Commissioners race, the candidates were different about what changes they would bring to the office. Both candidates gave examples of their long-standing dedicated work in non-elected Fannin government offices. Marie Woody focused more on the structure of the office and training for employees; whereas, Shirley Sosebee spoke about how to improve efficiency within the office.

Ms.  Woody stated that her goal is to get the Tax Commissioner’s, the Tax Assessors and Land Development offices harmoniously working together. Ms. Sosebee said that she would improve the efficiency of the Tax Commissioners office by having more forms and information available electronically. Another of Ms. Sosebee’s goals, if elected is to continue straightening out the mobile home tax digest.

As to the question of solving tax delinquency, Ms.  Woody said that she would send certified letters to let people know they are behind on their taxes.  Ms. Sosebee gave an example of how successful she is at hunting down tax dodgers.  Last year, there were 100 properties slated for auction due to back taxes owed.  By time of the auction, she had resolved 88 of the cases and only 12 properties were sold to collect back taxes.  In 2015 tax collection, which Ms. Sosebee oversaw, tax collection was 95% of what was owed.

Both candidates talked about the difficulty taxpayers have accessing the Tax Commissioners office.  Ms. Woody wants to open the office at 8 am; Ms. Sosebee is considering a satellite office outside of downtown Blue Ridge that is open once a week.

 

FetchYourNews is compiling voters’ questions to the candidates.  If you have any questions for  Ms. Sosebee or Ms. Woody, submit them in the comments section at the end of the Fannin Elections Voters’ Guide. Please don’t include editorial statements in the question. FetchYourNews will be asking candidates these questions in interviews throughout the campaign season.

 

 

See Related Posts:  Fannin Elections Voters’ Guide: Names, Faces and Candidate Information

 

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Water Authority Makes Progress

Featured Stories, News

The Fannin County Water Authority held its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. (more…)

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MG

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