BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County Schools start back Wednesday, August 7, 2019!
The official calendar 2019 – 2020 calendar is as follows!
Note: Days for Spring Break and holidays can be used to make up days missed due to inclement weather or other reasons.
7:30 – 8:00 Students report to the cafeteria with breakfast being served starting at 7:40 am.
8:05 – 9:30 Block 1 Class
9:36 – 11:01 Block 2 Class
11:07 – 1:04 Block 3 Class and Lunch
1:10 – 2:35 Block 4 Class
2:40 – 3:10 FLEX Time/Block
West Fannin Elementary School Daily Schedule:
8:15 – 8:40
8:40 – 10:50
10:50 – 11:45
11:45 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:00
Gross Motor Skills
2:00 – 2:45
8:15 – 9:50
9:50 – 10:40
10:40 – 11:20
11:20 – 12:20
12:20 – 1:15
1:15 – 2:45
8:10 – 8:55
8:55 – 9:50
9:50 – 10:40
10:40 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:25
12:25 – 1:25
1:25 – 2:45
8:05 – 8:55
8:55 – 9:50
9:50 – 10:45
10:45 – 11:40
11:40 – 12:40
12:40 – 2:45
8:00 – 8:55
8:55 – 11:00
11:00 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:55
12:55 – 3:00
8:00 – 8:50
8:50 – 10:55
1st Block/1st and 2nd Period
10:55 – 11:50
11:50 – 12:50
12:50 – 3:00
2nd Block/3rd and 4th Period
8:00 – 9:55
1st Block/1st and 2nd Period
9:55 – 11:50
2nd Block/3rd and 4th Period
11:50 – 12:35
12:35 – 1:25
1:25 – 2:10
2:10 – 3:00
FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.
Blue Ridge, Ga – July financial report informed commissioners that insurance claims blew 2019 risk management budget by 37 percent.
Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway delivered her monthly financial update for 2019 through June. Several departments were over budget six months into the year. Some departments carried pre-payments for leases from the beginning of the year.
Gazaway also met with all department heads to address line items individually.
However, Risk Management went 37 percent over budget, outpacing overages in other departments.
Health insurance claims represented the bulk of Risk Management expenditures. Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson, asked “what are we looking at as far as curtailing it. We’re already way over what we budgeted?
The new insurance policy which took effect on July 1 should help reduce the expense. The insurance company, who works with the county, expected with spouses coming off the policy that government could save over $200,000-$300,000 in insurance claims.
Gazaway stated, “We installed some new programs to hopefully keep employees healthier, but as far as claims go, that’s just when they go to the doctor.”
However, Gazaway doesn’t have the numbers of how many people stopped using county insurance in July. The number of claims was down from last year, but no guarantee about people’s health for the rest of the year.
In 2017, the fund balance covered the overages. However, if insurance claims continue to rise, then more health care changes could be coming for Fannin County employees or changing the entire insurance program.
“Certain people that have gone over a certain amount, reinsurance pays us back. We haven’t gotten some of that money back, but they will eventually if it’s the same people, give us money back, explained Gazaway, “We have a stopgap that we pay out before we get the money back.”
Currently, Fannin County has $200,000 in reinsurance claims.
“I’m very concerned about this number,” stated Johnson, “I’m not trying to be hard-nosed. I don’t deal with numbers where I just sit here and hope. It’s like me hoping none of my guys wreck today. I know what the cost could be if they all decide to hit each other.”
Gazaway assured that all the reinsurance money back from some employees, but has to go over the stopgap first. At the year-end, the county will get a check back if it spent over the maximum amount, which is $2.4M.
“I just budget less than that hoping we don’t have to spend that money,” stated Gazaway.
2019 marked the third year Fannin County operated off a self-insured plan.
“The motivation to go to that in the first place was the anticipation that there would be savings, which hasn’t happened,” stated Chairman Stan Helton, “I guess a conventional insurance program, they would tell us the cost so we can allocate it that way…I don’t like it either. It’s the biggest variable cost in the whole budget.”
Johnson asked, “Can we buy the amount down?”
Gazaway offered to raise deductibles or out of pocket costs, but everything affects the employee. For the last three years, deductible and premiums have remained the same.
“At some point, we’re going to have to be competitive with other benefit plans,” said Johnson, “eventually the county might have to absorb some of the costs because everything that happens can’t directly affect the employee. Other
plans might be more attractive to an employee.”
The county also pays for tobacco cessation methods on the new plan, which means the county will spend more money in the short-term with hopes that future claims decrease. Currently, a two-week supply of patches costs around $30 and a two-week supply of nicotine gum cost $40.
Still, smokers are expected to pay an extra $50 on their insurance premium starting January 2020, and the county doesn’t cover cessation methods forever. Several tobacco users have informed Gazaway they will pay the $50, so county might not experience and expenses increase from covering cessation patches, gum, inhaler or lozenge.
SPLOST and LOST for 2019 continue to rise with SPLOST 10% ahead of 2018 intake at this time. Currently, the county’s budget even for the year, not under or over.
Recreation Department Improvements
Recreation Department Head Eddie O’Neal presented a bid for a TOPO survey of the park to fix drainage problems. The bid for $13,700 TOPO service provides Recreation Department with a starting point for creating solutions to heavy rains on soccer, baseball, and softball fields.
“Playing surfaces are lower than walking paths and parking lot, and it’s a continual fight to maintain,” said O’Neal,
“We can take the TOPO survey to engineers get help with drainage and what needs to happen on these fields.”
SPLOST funds will pay for improvements.
“We’ve had a considerable amount of rain,” stated Post Two Commissioner Glenn Patterson, “They wouldn’t be able to practice or play games.”
455 to 500 kids use those fields every year.
Blue Ridge, Ga – Fannin County’s operating two percent under budget through April of 2019.
As of April 30, 33 percent of the budget’s been spent for the year with Fire/EMS/ EMA, Tax Assessor, Sheriff’s Office, and County Jail still showing over budget due to the first of the year lump sum lease and loan payments made at the beginning of the year.
Per the April 23 meeting, Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway broke out the Public Works and SPLOST Budget to provide more clarity about where the money comes from and is going.
“The public works old SPLOST is because we’re going to use the old money on the roads until it runs out, and then we’ll start on the new SPLOST,” explained Gazaway.
Baseball admissions factored in slightly into the recreation budget, but the month of May was not reflected in this report.
“We’re two percent under budget because we’re making up some of the differences from earlier in the year,” stated Gazaway, “LOST and SPLOST collections are up again this month from the prior years.”
EMA Director Robert Graham advised choosing Custom Works for the ambulance remounts at $104,980 as the most acceptable vendor for the job. The business also priced an add-on door locking systems for the ambulance at $1,800, bringing the total to $106,780.
“The locking system on the doors on the box [will be] activated front door locks when we lock the front doors,” said Graham, “We need this because we make many trips out of town to hospitals, and we need to lock the back of the truck. Our drugs and equipment are all in the back.”
Currently, seven doors and compartments must be locked with a key when getting out of the truck, and EMA employees must remember to unlock these doors when going back out to have access to them.
“It would be a great benefit to add that to this truck and going forward in the future to the standard bid specs,” lobbied Graham.
The truck won’t be available until closer to 2020 due to Chevrolet chassis unavailability.
Graham also confirmed that the county wouldn’t be short on equipment during this time with back-up trucks and placing an order for a new ambulance to replace an aging one with 90,000 plus miles on it.
Next, Graham introduced bids for a new ambulance to be purchased in the 2020 and on that year’s budget. Currently, new ambulance models aren’t available, but a waiting list has formed for 2020. Graham wanted to go ahead and get Fannin’s EMA name on the list.
“If we don’t get a truck each year that we fall behind and have maintenance issues,” said Graham.
“You had this idea that it was better to go ahead and place an order with the stipulation that it wouldn’t be delivered until after the first [of the year] because in the past you wouldn’t get this new ambulance until fall,” explained Helton to the room.
MEDIX proposed $140,130 for a 2020 model Chevrolet with the delivery after January 1, 2020. Custom Trucks and Bodyworks offered $143,021 for a 2020 model Chevrolet with the delivery after January 1. ETR, LLC proposed $187,768 for a 2019 model Ford F-450 with the delivery after January 1.
The Commissioners approved Custom Works for remount and tabled the new ambulance bids after Graham asked for more time to review.
Waste Management decision was tabled again to give the commissioner’s more time to review Advanced Disposal Systems and CASH proposals after meeting with both organizations.
Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff experienced an equipment emergency after losing a 16-year-old mower in the middle of mowing season and had found a used replacement mower for $43,500 with 70,000 hours on it.
Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson said, “The piece that [the used mower] is replacing, we salvage it and get rid of it. It’s got way too many hours to put any more money into it.”
Ratcliff stated that he had no plans to fix the old mower with over 100,000 hours in it already.
The emergency purchase puts the county back at 10 mowers and back on track with mowing for the spring and summer.
Miss FCMS Maddie Denton and Junior Miss FCMS Annelise Hughes
(Left to Right) Junior Miss FCMS 2nd Runner-up Abby Chambers, Junior Miss FCMS 1st Runner-up Morgan Craine, Junior Miss FCMS Annelise Hughes, Miss FCMS Maddie Denton, Miss FCMS 1st Runner-up Dadrian Flowers, Miss FCMS 2nd Runner-up Abigail Baliles
Blue Ridge, Ga. – An audit of the Fannin County School System’s SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) collection and spending has shown that the district is being good stewards of these funds.
Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney explained the purposes of the independent audit were a requirement by the state when SPLOST collections exceed $5 million within a county.
SPLOST collections for 2017 totaled approximately $5.1 million and collections for 2018 topped that number bringing in $5.6 million.
Finance Director Susan Holloway explained that the Fannin County School calendar year ran from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, and that collections during this period was the first fiscal school year that the system met the amount requiring an audit.
Georgia code section O.C.G.A.20-2-491 requires public school systems to maintain continuing performance audits for expenditures of sales tax.
Mauldin and Jenkins was selected to carry out the audit for the school system.
“They audit 40 school systems, including more schools in Georgia than any other firm. They also audit 53 counties including more counties in Georgia than any other firm, and they audit 112 cities including more cities in Georgia than any other firm,” Holloway said explaining the reason for choosing Mauldin and Jenkins and added, “We felt they were solid.”
The audit’s purpose was to find out if the Fannin County School System was meeting 3 requirements:
- 1. Provide a goal that ensures tax funds are spent efficiently and economically, so that the school district receives the maximum benefit from dollars collected.
- 2. Provide reports not less than once annually to ensure that the terms laid out in item 1 are being met.
- 3. Provide for periodic public recommendations not less than once annually for improvements in meeting the goal specified in item 1.
Mauldin and Jenkins tested approximately 60 claims. These claims accounted for $1,027,970 or 15.3 percent of total disbursements for the year.
Holloway announced the findings of the audit saying that Mauldin and Jenkins “concluded that the Fannin County School District’s SPLOST is operating in compliance with all laws and regulations, the referendum approved by the county citizens and industry best practices.”
Special recognition was given to Director of Maintenance and Facilities Danny Shinpaugh by the auditing firm for his role in providing the BOE with continuous and thorough updates regarding construction projects relating to school properties.
Having looked into the bidding and decision making processes involved, focusing on the recently constructed Agricultural Center, along with negotiations that had been made, Mauldin and Jenkins also recognized Shinpaugh’s outstanding management in overseeing construction projects.
“It was a very fair process,” Holloway said of the manner in which the audit was performed and gave special credit to her team in the finance department for the hard work and many hours they put in all year: “There’s a lot of times they’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave and they’re willing to dig in.”
“With the Superintendent and the Board’s support I have been able to hand pick these awesome ladies. I appreciate you for that,” Holloway said expressing thanks for all her fellow coworkers.
Dr. Gwatney shared his thoughts on the findings of the SPLOST audit: “It’s comforting to have the reassurance of an external audit to show that these funds that are being collected are being utilized legally, properly, ethically and in the manner that matches the referendum.”
The Fannin County School System is now hoping that the residents of Fannin County will continue the district’s success and provide the school system with a continuation of collections for SPLOST.
With the SPLOST IV referendum allowing the school system to collect but not exceed $27.5 million by March 2021, projections are indicating that this goal will be met before the ability to collect SPLOST funds expires.
It is the hopes of the BOE and fellow faculty with in the Fannin County School System that the public will allow for a continuation of this collection with the increased cap amount to be $34.5 million.
A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, March 19 for the approval of the SPLOST V referendum and Early Voting is taking place now. If passed the new referendum would allow FCSS to move the cap of SPLOST funds to $34.5 million.
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
What Did The Oscars Portend?
The 2019 Oscars, in the final analysis, was the second lowest viewed Oscars event in it’s history. We know why. The movie industry no longer celebrates a positive America but dwells in revealing a racist America. The skinny little director, Spike Lee, in his plum purple suit, matching soft cloth cap, and weird jewelry, was the very epitome of uncontrolled racism and hate.
We’re told Spike is a “Hollywood celebrity.” What makes him one? Because he’s black and makes movies or because he’s loud, flashy with an anti-American agenda and serves well the Hollywood left’s propaganda message? It’s hard to tell really.
I did not watch the awards ceremonies from beginning to end but, to escape inane Progressive car insurance ads, pleas for monetary gifts for this needy organization or that, I would flip to the Oscars and did so just as Spike Lee won his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. I missed his bitter tantrum when his movie, Black Klansman didn’t make the cut for best picture.
Watching his acceptance performance, talking about love not hate, diversity and blah, blah, while spewing racist hate in nearly every sentence, convinced me that Spike Lee is not a real celebrity, just a faux one, a ridiculous Hollywood character that the liberals who are Hollywood, consider to be only an appendage to celebrity, barely tolerable because of his dissimilarities.
Spike is tolerated because he is a boorish, loudmouthed, brash, flashy fellow who can condemn others and reject criticism because he can safely hide behind the shield of racism. Actually, do we really think that anybody outside the Hollywood film industry really cares what Spike Lee, or any of the other anti-American leftists entertainers really think? Mostly, Hollywood is all about themselves, that’s why the industry is moving out, some here to Georgia.
The one movie I shall take the time to watch is the Best Picture Oscar winner, Green Book. with black actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for best supporting actor and white actor Viggo Mortenson, who didn’t. They did a masterful job! I’ve watched trailers of the movie and it’s one I look forward too not because it has a theme overcoming racism but because I heard some real good dialog, saw some great acting and I am sufficiently acquainted with that era of Southern history to know what it was all about and not be conned into believing otherwise.
I enjoyed driving Miss Daisy some thirty years ago too, for exactly the same reasons. Unlike Driving Miss Daisy, the driver in Green Book was a tough white guy, a bouncer from New York who need the job and was ambivalent about who hired him. He certainly recognized the racial differences but his passenger was the better man at least professionally. It all works out.
So, why the vitriol about this movie? There were three other movies in Oscar contention that addressed racism: Black Panther, a feel good cartoon about a black Super Hero in a blacks only dream world of good guys; Roma, about the labor travails of poor Latina’s, and Spike Lee’s Klansman. I believe what really got Spike’s racist goat in a tither was the fact that the Green Book, about racial reconciliation in a Jim Crow south, was directed by a white guy. Ouch!
All the rest of those artistic categories I could care less about. Doubtless they were well deserved and good on them but, if the Spike Lee train of thought permeates deeper into the conscious fabric of what is left of Hollywood, the whole shebang could soon die. Americans want to see good movies, not Leftist propaganda. Why can’t they understand that?
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em!