Fannin County Water Authority looks to expand services

Community, News

The Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) discussed expansion of their utility services to include the Lake Cove development area. This topic was thoroughly evaluated by board members and consultants at the regular monthly meeting of FCWA held on Aug. 15.

Kurt McCord, Project Engineer with Carter and Sloope, Inc., ran initial fire flow testing for this project on July 27. It was determined from these tests that there is currently enough water pressure on existing lines to adequately supply water in the event of an emergency.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Water Authority, Lake Cove, Rocky Point, Morganton, Expansion, Service Area, Chairwoman, Anita Weaver, Board Member, Angie Arp, Carter and Sloope, Kurt McCord, Project Engineer

FCWA looks to expand service areas and plans for possible future demand.

“When you look at size and lines, you look at two things,” McCord said explaining his findings and offering recommendations to the board. “You look at one, just normal domestic use, and then you look at fire flow.”

McCord explained that in an area such as Lake Cove and Rocky Point that there is not enough development to base the size of the pipes on domestic use, and that the FCWA must look to fire flow to determine the appropriate specifications to move forward.

While the expansion to the Lake Cove area could take place in the foreseeable future, McCord pointed out that now would be the time to go ahead and plan for the possibility of expansion to the Rocky Point area as well.

To be able to expand to Rocky Point, the board would need to plan on installing an 8 inch pipe, rather than the 6 inch pipe needed to just supply Lake Cove. By going ahead with larger capacity piping the FCWA would only have to pay a difference in material costs.

McCord said by being preemptive in this matter, it would cut future costs and added, “If there was more development, these lines would be able to handle that.”

Showing concern of residents following through with water hookup and services, Board Member Angie Arp questioned the limited security a signed letter of intent and inquired about recieving a upfront deposit.

After a brief discussion and careful thought, the board decided that residents wishing to have county water lines run to their area would need to sign a letter of intent and pay a $125.00 fee. This one time fee is per lot where a tap will be placed.

The fee, however, will be deducted from the overall cost to the consumer for water hookup once construction is completed.

The board agreed that there needs be at least 20 residents express interest in the Lake Cove area before the project begins. Estimates for the total number of customers this line will accommodate currently exceeds the minimum requirement of 20.

“This is the kind of project SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) was designed for,” FCWA Chairwoman Anita Weaver stated.

FCWA voted unanimously to move forward with finding the level of interest in the area for this extended line. Surveying and permitting will be the first phase of the project and could take approximately 6 months to complete.

Once surveying and permitting is done, construction can begin.

 

 

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

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Rate increases for Fannin County Water Authority

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Customers of the Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) were left wondering if their bills would see an increase after the city of Blue Ridge implemented a rate increase for wholesale customers.

The city of Blue Ridge increased their rates by $1.00 per 1,000 gallons of usage in June 2017. This increase affected all city water customers. The city announced recently that their wholesale buyers, FCWA and the city of McCaysville, would see another similar increase in 2018.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Fannin County Water Authority, Rate Increase, Chairwoman Anita Weaver, Vice Chairman Larry Chapman, Zack ratcliff, David Falls, Angie Arp, Mark Burger, Kay Kendall

FCWA board members discuss the impacts of a rate increase.

“The city of Blue Ridge has made an increase for our water services. I know a lot of you are here today to see how it is going to effect your rates,” FCWA Chairwoman Anita Weaver addressed the crowd at the April FCWA meeting.

Weaver also acknowledged that the news of this increase has not left the FCWA with time to discuss its potential impact: “The water authority has really not had an opportunity to go over all of this at the present time, to look at our budget, to see if there will be an increase.”

Following the June 2017 rate increase from the city, the FCWA passed on 75 percent of the increase to its customers.

FCWA board member Kay Kendall was present at the city meeting when the wholesale rate increase was implemented and explains why there was a need to raise prices: “I was at the meeting and if I understand it right, it was due to the cost for them (city).”

FCWA is currently in a three-year contract with the City of Blue Ridge, and there is little in the contract to prevent any kind of increase the city might enforce.

“There’s no promise that in terms of looking at increases,” Weaver said explaining the current contract, “just a very vague statement that says, ‘we (city) can do whatever we want, every time, every year.'”

Questions arose from current FCWA customers asking the board what can be done to renegotiate the terms of the contract, and what the board plans to do moving forward.

The board was unable to discuss the reworking of the contract, and Kendall added, “We fully recognize that, right now, the city holds the cards.”

Assuring customers that the board is not taking the matter lightly, Weaver said, “I have talked with a couple of the council members and I plan on continuing to talk to them to see what we can resolve in this matter.”

FCWA Vice Chairman Larry Chapman added to Weaver’s thoughts, “A lot of the questions you folks have are the same questions we have and we’ve got to find the answers to those.”

The FCWA hopes to have more answers in their next monthly meeting scheduled to be held Wednesday, May 16, at the Fannin County Courthouse.

 

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Angie Arp appointed to Fannin County Water Authority

Business, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Water Authority will see a new board member in March while other departments saw reappointments to boards during the Feb. 13 Fannin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee made recommendations for both the board of the Fannin County Water Authority and the board of the Fannin County Tax Assessors. Sosebee’s recommendations were met with approval of fellow BOC members.

Janie Bearden, a current member on the Board of Tax Assessors, saw reappointment to this board for another term.

Another reappointment came to the Fannin County Water Authority as Larry Chapman was unanimously approved to serve another term.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Littering, Trash Services, Land Developement, Marie Woody, Fannin County Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Tax Assessors, Dawn Cochran, Janie Bearden, Fannin County Water Authority, Larry Chapman, Angie Arp, Department of Family and Children Services, Family Connection, Sherry Morris

Board of Commissioners get straight to business at February’s first meeting.

Angie Arp was also recommended by Sosebee for the Fannin County Water Authority board and was unanimously voted into this position. This three-year term will begin on March 1.

The BOC’s first monthly meeting opened with public commentary that brought about discussion from the board as well as from Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby.

Epworth resident Richard Sims discussed the ongoing littering problem throughout Fannin County: “The trash that’s littering the highways, I believe a large part of that is due to the home pick up services. These individuals are not securing garbage that they are picking up from homes and allowing it to literally blow off their trucks.”

Sims suggested possible solutions such as requiring these haulers to have hard top covers or begin strictly enforcing the county fines and issuing tickets for the maximum amount of $1,000.

Fannin County Commission Chairman Stan Helton took personal interest in this commentary, “I feel the board has been very assertive since day one on trying to attack this trash issue. That is something I don’t like to see myself.”

Helton believes that current county ordinances address this issue, and it is just a matter of finding an effective way to enforce the laws. Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody is tasked with imposing these ordinances.

Unfortunately, Woody is only able to ticket these offenders if caught at current waste disposal facilities, and as Sheriff Dane Kirby pointed out, officers are unable to ticket offenders unless they personally witness the act.

“It’s a state law, in the state statute, that you can’t make traffic offenses based on what somebody else tells you,” Kirby explained.

Commissioners along with Kirby agreed to be more vigilant about this issue and pursue current county ordinances and fines in dealing with offenders.

Kirby, while not on the agenda, had an emergency expenditure arise that needed the board’s immediate approval. The dishwasher in the county jail recently quit operating, and upon inspection, it was recommended that the stove in the jail also be replaced.

Both appliances have been in use since the current jail opened several years ago.

“We don’t put items like that in our budget,” Kirby explained of the department’s predicament to the board. “We just don’t plan for things like that happening.”

Ed Hawkins, with the Fannin County Maintenance Department, researched replacement appliances for Kirby, and Kirby deferred to Hawkins’ recommendations.

The industrial dishwasher found would cost the county approximately $20,000 and the new stove would run around $2,500.

Kirby described the two quotes that were obtained for the replacement dishwasher: “One of them was a $20,000 dishwasher and they installed it for free, and the other one was a $15,000 dishwasher and they charge you $5,000 to put it in.”

Helton motioned that the county replace both appliances for the jail, Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson seconded the motion, and all three commissioners voted in favor of the new appliances.

Commissioners re-entered into a contract with the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) regarding funding from the county.

No representatives from DFCS were present to discuss this funding.

Helton explained that this is an annual agreement that Fannin County has been involved in for years: “This is basically the budget we approve for 2018 – $50,558 – and we’re required each year to sign this showing that we are in fact going to fund them the amount that we say we will.”

Sherry Morris, director of Fannin County Family Connection, Inc., was present to ask the BOC that Fannin County continue to serve as Family Connection’s fiscal agent.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Littering, Trash Services, Land Developement, Marie Woody, Fannin County Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Tax Assessors, Dawn Cochran, Janie Bearden, Fannin County Water Authority, Larry Chapman, Angie Arp, Department of Family and Children Services, Family Connection, Sherry Morris

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee inspects the Tax Assessors new vehicles at the Fannin County Public Works Department.

Morris updated the board on services provided through Family Connection during 2017. According to Morris, 105 people were served through the pantry. This number is actually down about 9 percent from 2016.

Morris also personally thanked the BOC for entering into opioid litigation: “Thank you so much for working on that opioid (litigation), because as you (Helton) know from being a volunteer at Family Connection, we see first hand, day to day, what happens with families who are in the opioid crisis and the poverty that results from that.”

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran from the Fannin County Tax Assessor’s Department presented the BOC with a number of bids for two new vehicles for her department.

Two used vehicles will be purchased from North Georgia Ford. The 2016 Ford Escapes will come with a price tag of $20,000 each.

Through negotiation, Cochran was able to receive a seven-year, 125,000-mile warranty on one of the vehicles, and an extended warranty on the other. The extended warranty will cover an additional 90,000 miles.

After a long debate on the need for these new vehicles the board unanimously approved the purchase of the two used Ford Escapes.

 

 

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

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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.

Blue Ridge City Council November meeting cancelled

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – According to information posted by Mayor Donna Whitener, the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Blue Ridge City Council has been cancelled.

Whitener added that council members Angie Arp, Rodney Kendall and Bruce Pack are all unavailable to attend the meeting due to other obligations.

In last week’s City Council election, Arp lost her re-election bid to Kenneth Gaddis, who will replace her in January, while Kendall and Pack both chose not to run.

Continue to follow FetchYourNews for up-to-date coverage of the Blue Ridge City 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.

Blue Ridge election results: Whitener, Herndon, Thomas re-elected, Gaddis, Cornelius, Fitts will join

Election, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Unofficial results from the Blue Ridge Mayoral and City Council elections were tallied late Tuesday evening, Nov. 7, at City Hall.

After six hotly contested races, Mayor Donna Whitener, Post 1 City Council Member Harold Herndon and Post 2 City Council Member Rhonda Thomas retained positions while candidates Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius and Nathan Fitts will all take oaths as Post 3, 4 and 5 city council members, respectively, in January.

Incumbent Whitener defeated local business owner Brendan Doyle 288 to 185 in the mayor’s race. Whitener described the night’s results as “extremely exciting.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Mayor, Election 2017, Donna Whitener, Blue Ridge City Council

Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener

“I have a really good council going in. They have lots of experience, lots of knowledge. They’re going to bring a lot to the table at Blue Ridge. I can’t wait for the next four years,” the mayor stated. “We’re going to focus on infrastructure. We have some serious issues there (with) upgrading infrastructure (and) the same thing we’ve been doing: paving roads. We’re going to continue to keep working toward keeping a vibrant downtown.”

Herndon was re-elected in what became an uncontested contest after candidate Jane Whaley failed to qualify for the election because of city residency requirements and the Georgia Supreme Court ultimately denied her appeal of city Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald’s ruling to remove Whaley from the ballot following a Sept. 25 hearing with Whaley, her attorney, Frank Moore, and City Attorney David Syfan. Herndon received 317 total votes in the election while several uncounted ballots cast showed abstention in the Post 1 election, according to Gerald.

Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 1, Harold Herndon, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 1 City Council Member Harold Herndon

The Post 1 incumbent said he was “looking forward to another four years” on the council.

“We’ll just see how things work out. You just never know – no matter who it is or where they come from – whether you’re going to get along with them or not or whether you share some of the same opinions,” Herndon said of the council elect.

While admitting the new council had several challenges on the horizon, Herndon explained, “You’ve got to look at finances and see how (the city is) sitting … There’s a lot of things that have to come together before you can even come to a decision about what you might be able to do.”

Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Gergia, Rhonda Thomas, Post 2, Election 2017

Post 2 Council Member Rhonda Thomas

In the Post 2 race, incumbent Rhonda Thomas won over downtown business owner Angelina Powell with 255 votes to Powell’s 223. After the final tally, Thomas said she was “thrilled with the results.”

“I think everyone who will be on this council are going to do a fabulous job. It’s a diverse group of people who have great ideas, and we’re going to come together for the benefit of the city, for the residents and for the businesses, and we’re going to make a difference,” Thomas stated. “Blue Ridge should be excited about their choices.”

Citing parking and city infrastructure improvement as key challenges facing the new council, Thomas was optimistic of the city’s future. “You’ll see a huge difference in this city in the next four years,” she added.

Whitener, Herndon and Thomas will all be entering their third terms, each having served since 2010.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 3 Council Member Elect Kenneth Gaddis

Challenger Gaddis defeated incumbent Angie Arp in the Post 3 race taking 288 votes to Arp’s 186. “It feels great; it feels amazing,” council member elect Gaddis said after his win.

“I’m excited to work with the citizens. That’s my key. We are a council, but we are working with the citizens,” Gaddis added.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

Post 4 Council Member Elect Robbie Cornelius

Receiving 255 votes to Mike Jacobs’ 205, Cornelius won the open seat of Post 4.

Cornelius shared the sentiments of all the other winning candidates of the night and was excited to begin on the city council. Relieved that the campaign was over, Cornelius laughed, “I’m tired. I’ve been out in the rain all day (campaigning).”

In the closest race of the night, Fitts overtook David Stuart by 20 votes, receiving a total of 244 in the open contest for Post 5.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 5 Council Member Elect Nathan Fitts

“We’re going to work on parking (and) the infrastructure of the water lines and sewer lines,” the council member elect said of city needs. “Hopefully, we can make it so streamlined we can all get along and do things a little more professionally.”

According to Gerald, 486 total ballots were cast in the 2017 election. Of that sum, 221 ballots were cast on Election Day, 229 were early voting and 36 were absentees. “If I’m not mistaken, that’s probably a record (turnout),” Gerald said of the election.

For continual coverage of the Blue Ridge City Council, stay with FetchYourNews.com.

 

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.

The Results Are In

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The polls have closed and the ballots have been counted in Blue Ridge.  Citizens filled City Hall on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, to hear the outcome of several months of campaigning.

The race for Mayor and City Council of Blue Ridge was a long fought battle for many of  the candidates, and the unofficial results are in.

As it stands, you can expect to see the following faces representing the residents of Blue Ridge in January:

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Fannin County, Georgia

Mayor Elect Donna Whitener

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 1, Harold Herndon, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 1 Elect Harold Herndon

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 2, Rhonda Thomas, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 2 Elect Rhonda Thomas

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Elect Post 3 Kenneth Gaddis

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

City Council Post 4 Elect Robbie Cornelius

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 5 Elect Nathan Fitts

 

 

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

Blue Ridge City Election Results

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Polls are set to close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. After a very public campaign, Blue Ridge residents will get to know who will represent them for the next four years.

Counting of the votes will begin at approximately 7:10 p.m., and results will be announced in the race for Blue Ridge City Council and Mayor.

Follow FetchYourNews for updates live from Blue Ridge City Hall.

 

***Update 7:20 p.m.***  Electronic Ballots have been tallied. Currently the votes stand at:

Mayor :   Donna Whitener (I) 113       Brendan Doyle (C) 103

Post 1:     Harold Herndon  (I)  159

Post 2:     Rhonda Thomas (I)  91        Angelina Powell (C)  126

Post 3:     Angie Arp (I)  101                  Kenneth Gaddis (C)  116

Post 4:     Robbie Cornelius   107          Mike Jacobs    100

Post 5:     Nathan Fitts  100                   David Stuart  112

 

***Update 9:00 p.m.*** Paper Ballots have been tallied. (Number of votes include electronic voting previously tallied.)

Mayor :   Donna Whitener (I) 288       Brendan Doyle (C) 185

Post 1:     Harold Herndon  (I)  317

Post 2:     Rhonda Thomas (I)  255        Angelina Powell (C)  223

Post 3:     Angie Arp (I)  186                  Kenneth Gaddis (C)  288

Post 4:     Robbie Cornelius     255        Mike Jacobs    205

Post 5:     Nathan Fitts  244                   David Stuart  224

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle

Candidates for Mayor. (L) Incumbent Donna Whitener (R) Challenger Brendan Doyle

 

Unchallenged City Council Post 1 Harold Herndon

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 2, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelena Powell

Candidates for City Council Post 2 (L) Incumbent Rhonda Thomas (R) Challenger Angelina Powell

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Angie Arp

Candidates for City Council Post 3 (L) Challenger Kenneth Gaddis (L) Angie Arp

 

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

Candidates for City Council Post 4 (L) Robbie Cornelius (R) Mike Jacobs

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Post 5, Election, Nathan Fitts, David Staurt

Candidate for City Council Post 5 (L) David Stuart (R) Nathan Fitts

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Latest Wolf Report and 2018 Blue Ridge City Council Agenda Suggestions

Election, GMFTO

What issues do you feel should be on the first agenda for the “new” 2018 Blue Ridge City Council? BKP has a few suggestions for them. Hear what his suggestions are and send us any that you feel should be on there as well. Also, you do not want to miss BKP’s “wolf watch” update!

Whaley plans to Appeal to Georgia Supreme Court

Election, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Judge Winegarden denied the first appeal on behalf of Jane Whaley and the decision to disqualify her as candidate for Blue Ridge City Council Post One.

On Friday, October, 13, 2017, an appeal hearing was held at the Fannin County Courthouse. The case was heard by Judge Richard Winegarden due to the recusal of the Superior Court Judges who serve in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit which includes Fannin County Superior Court.

City Council Post One Candidate Jane Whaley was found ineligible to run after a hearing questioning her residence was held on Monday, September 25, 2017.

Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald was tasked with this initial decision, and decided to disqualify Whaley based on evidence presented. Gerald stated in a letter explaining the decision, “Under Mrs. Whaley’s own testimony, she did not reside within the city for the 12 month period.”

Whaley publicly stated shortly after the decision, “I believe I am a legitimate candidate, and I am going to appeal this decision.”

Whaley’s attorney Frank Moore filed an appeal on the decision to disqualify Whaley reciting that Georgia is a domicile state, and under that definition intent to dwell qualifies as residency.

The hearing on October 13, began at 5:00 P.M. and lasted until 9:00 P.M. Judge Winegarden heard arguments from both sides, Moore representing on Whaley’s behalf and City Attorney David Syfan representing the decision made by Gerald.

After hearing the evidence presented, Winegarden denied the appeal. He found “that the determining of the Election Superintendent should be affirmed.”

Moore requested a stay on Winegarden’s decision at that time. This would allow Whaley’s name to continue to be on November 7, 2017, election ballots, and give time for the Georgia Supreme Court to hear the case.

Winegarden did not grant this request, but Moore is hopeful that the Georgia Supreme Court will issue a stay if granted a hearing on the appeal.

Moore is preparing a request for an appeal of the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court. He expects to have this request entered by Tuesday or Wednesday, October 17th / 18th.

Campaign signs supporting the candidacy of Jane Whaley have recently been removed from the City of Blue Ridge. Moore also sent a request that these signs be put back up while Whaley continues her appeal process.

VIDEO: Is it Possible a High Rolling Gambler is Running in Blue Ridge?

Community, FYNTV, GMFTO, Politics

How important is it to know how our candidates live their lives outside of politics?

Paraphrased from GMFTO on FYNTV:

Would you want a City Council Member that was a high roller?

Would you vote for a candidate that REGULARLY gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I don’t know yet, but I understand it is possible that a candidate is a casino regular, maybe not just a regular, but possibly a high roller?

The source can’t be revealed, and it isn’t 100% verified, but this is a source that would KNOW!

 

Major Development in Blue Ridge Council Qualifications

Election
Blue Ridge

BKP reacts to the latest breaking news on the selectivity of the investigations regarding residency requirements in Blue Ridge. To read our official report on this breaking story click here.

Paraphrased Transcript:

There is a letter to Barbie Gerald from Frank Moore, who represents Cindy Trimble. The letter suggests that Mr. C David Stuart may not be qualified to run for BR City Council, his place of residence is not the commercial body shop he owns. Also mentioned in the letter, N Brendan Doyle, owner of The Boro Pub. Doyle stated under oath that his residence is 150 W Main St., which is the Boro Pub.

Moore attached pictures of the properties and tax records of the zoning. There is only a certain amount of time to challenge it. However, recent precedent suggests Barbie Gerald must investigate.

Obviously there was some picking and choosing going on. Who talked these people into running? Maybe it was Johnny Searcy or Angie Arp? After all, Angie Arp does own the land surrounding The Boro. She was seen on multiple occasions going in and out of The Boro. Maybe she was the one who convinced him to run?

It seems to me that one candidate stood out. One candidate that didn’t fit the mold that Angie Arp, Barbie Gerald, and others wanted.

But there is a proof, for a fact, that people were ordered to sit outside Jane Whaley’s apartment to take pictures all day. To see if there are lights on at night. To see if there are people in and out during the day.

A judge will be the one to decide whether or not Jane Whaley can run for office. Yet, there are still many questions to ask of Ms. Gerald.

Why wasn’t the residence of Brendan Doyle investigated?
Why wasn’t the residence of David Stuart investigated?
Who put pressure on Barbie Gerald to investigate Jane Whaley?

Only time will tell…

JOURNALISTIC Malpractice

Citizens Speak, Letters to Editor
Dear Mr. Harbison,
I am offended, shocked, and stunned – but not surprised – at the continuing lack of objectivity and fairness of the News Observer.  I have been a subscriber for more than a decade and a reader for multiple decades.  You are objective and fair with SPORTS reporting, but your paper clearly has a bias –  if not agenda –  in your POLITICAL reporting.  Your front page article in the October 4th edition regarding my wife Jane’s candidacy for City Council treated each allegation and argument of Ms. Barbie Gerald and Mr. Syfan as gospel truth, and made my wife look evasive and untruthful.  Everyone who knows her, knows full well that Jane DOES NOT LIE OR EXAGGERATE, nor did she when signing her qualification affidavit UNDER OATH stating that she was a resident of the City of Blue Ridge qualified to run for a seat on the City Council.  That, sir, is TRUE, and the Superior Court will so rule.
What you didn’t report was the bombshell evidence at the “hearing” that Mr. Syfan represented Angie Arp personally.  Yes, to deprive Jane of her constitutional right to run for public office, Mr. Syfan ginned up a challenge to Jane’s residency and held a so-called “hearing.”   What was clear as a bell (and your reporter knows it because he was there) was that Ms. Gerald was unqualified to be an Election Superintendent thereby allowing her to be exactly what they wanted her to be – a mere pawn and shill for Mr. Syfan and his block of City Council members who have had a choke hold on the City Council for the past 4-8 years.  The resulting dysfunction (to put it charitably) of that controlled council has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds from the City and put them into the pockets of none other than Mr. Syfan.  Indeed, he profits from mayhem, confusion, and dissent!  And this election chicanery is just the latest example because it, too, will end up costing the City as it continues to pay for the bad and self-interested advice of a hopelessly conflicted  counselor – Mr. Syfan.
Also newsworthy, but ignored by your paper, was that the delayed occupancy of our home at Sycamore Crossing was DUE TO “THE CITY” which forced us to stop work on our apartment on the second floor over Sycamore Crossing thereby delaying our expected April 2016 move-in.  By the way, Sycamore Crossing is now recognized as the “meeting place” and landmark property in the City of Blue Ridge – and all because of a person who Mr. Syfan and Angie Arp have thrown off the ballot.  Not qualified to run? Garbage!
Look also at page A7 “CANDIDATES SPEAK—”  where you carry photos of eight (8) candidates that chose to attend, participate, speak and answer questions at the only public community forum for the city council election.  Notably, HOWEVER, there were nine (9) candidates there – the ninth being JANE WHALEY who garnered loud applause for her candor, honesty and commitment to Blue Ridge – while her opponent didn’t even do the only thing he has done for the City in his eight (8) years on the council – show up.  Where was your fairness and objectivity on page 7.  Jane will be ordered back onto the ballot, and she will run and win a seat on the City Council.  That is when you will start to truly see a Better Blue Ridge!
Sincerely,
Bill Whaley M.D.

GMFTO VIDEO: How Blue Ridge Blocked Whaley’s Candidacy

News, Politics

The Blue Ridge City Council extravaganza took a funny turn this weekend with a misspelled sign going up on behalf of Angelena Powell. Also, the REAL STORY behind why Jane Whaley was halted from running for city council. (Time Code Listed in Description)

  1. ANGELENA POWELL SIGN 0:00 – Her sign was misspelled “Councel” instead of “Council.” It was the talk of social media this weekend. Arp, Powell, Doyle is reminiscent of Schizophrenic Jeopardy on MadTV.
  2. JANE WHALEY 12:00 – Sources tell BKP: Angelena Powell does not live in the city limits either. There were several people in the community who did not want Jane Whaley to move in by a certain date. “We need to stop every candidate in their tracks.” Suddenly, it was “discovered” the back porch did not meet the proper code, it stuck out a couple feet too far. Therefore, she was unable to move in. Nothing was said about the violation until much later. A stop work order was issued later on. The zoning board disqualified the residence. They were then ordered to build a wall to chew up more time. It was a gameplan to disqualify Whaley
  3. BKP’s Opinion: They shut her down knowing she might run for city council. They blocked the construction of her apartment to keep her from running. There is an organized effort going on, from the City Council down to the Zoning Commission. “The City has to realize that the pipes going through here is going to pile up crap. You can’t keep building until you fix the pipes.” Stop work order was put in place.

Blue Ridge City Sewer Rates Set To Increase In 2018

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Sewer rates are expected to increase next year for the residents of Blue Ridge.

In a special called meeting of the Blue Ridge City Council on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, council members held their first hearing of the 2018 budget. Among the noted items in the proposed budget was a 3% pay increase to most city employees and a raise in sewer rates for citizens.

The new rate, set to take effect in 2018, would increase consumer fees by $1.00 per 1,000 gallons.

Mayor Donna Whitener questioned the exact reasoning for the increase and pointed out even with the increase it “still keeps us in the negative as far as sewer.”

The increase will fund a complete rehab of the pump station located at Trackside Lane. The updates to the pump station are expected to cost approximately $900,000.

The Environmental Protection Division of Georgia has mandated upgrades, and the process of these improvements must begin by the summer of 2018. The City is still looking into GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency) loans to help offset initial payments to the project.

Downtown parking was also discussed at the meeting. Council Member Rhonda Thomas presented the possibility of off campus parking located on city owned property near the Swan Drive-In.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, 2018 Budget, Mayor Donna Whitener, Rhonda Thomas, Angie Arp, Harold Herndon, Sewer Rates

Proposed off campus parking area.

Thomas had recently met with Street Supervisor Mark Clemmons to discuss the possibility of using this area. It is estimated that 160 additional parking spaces could be provided to the city through use of this land.

With the recently passed shuttle bus ordinance, visitors would have the option of being shuttled downtown.

Whitener questioned the logistics of the shuttle asking, “How long will the shuttle run? What if somebody gets stranded in town and are not able to get back to their car and have to walk?”

Councilmembers considered plans for signs designating the shuttle schedule and agreed that there were still areas that needed to be closely examined. Council Member Angie Arp stated about the property, with the shuttle it “helps make it more viable.”

Thomas agreed and said that parking in this area “could become long term, but is definitely a short term possibility.”

Arp took time at the meeting to discuss possible improvements to the city park and pool. She is a strong advocate for the idea of an indoor pool in that area.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, 2018 Budget, Mayor Donna Whitener, Rhonda Thomas, Angie Arp, Harold Herndon, Sewer Rates

Council and Candidates focus on updates to the city park.

She suggested using funds from the recent sale of the marina to upgrade the site. The funds available from that transaction are approximately $400,000.

The City Council will have a second hearing on the 2018 Budget on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 6:00 P.M.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Candidates Face Off at Forum

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Candidates for Blue Ridge’s City Council and Mayoral race faced off on Thursday, September 28, 2017, giving residents an opportunity to hear exactly where their candidates stood on many important issues.

The candidates followed a regulated format. Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement and another two minutes for a closing. Predetermined questions from popular issues in the city were randomly asked of the candidates.

Every candidate accounted for their top priorities for the city, if they were to be elected. Almost every candidate responded their top priorities would be to focus on infrastructure and parking downtown.

Jane Whaley, Candidate for Post One, came to the stage unopposed. Harold Herndon had previously announced he would be unable to attend the event.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Council member Rhonda Thomas addresses package sales in Blue Ridge.

A few of the candidates brought up priorities that were not a common theme. Whaley stated she had another priority along with infrastructure and parking, to “protect the residential zones, and make sure they stay residential.”

Post Two candidates, incumbent Rhonda Thomas and challenger Angelina Powell agreed on the common issues. They both felt that infrastructure and parking were matters to be addressed. Powell stated, “We are growing. We’re not going back.”

They were asked about their stance on package sales being allowed in the City of Blue Ridge. Powell was not opposed to this idea, but seemed unwilling to take a solid stance.

Thomas noted that in order for this to happen, registered voters of our county would have to start a petition and get a significant number to sign in favor. She referred to to success of package stores in Ellijay and that visitors will stop there before coming to Blue Ridge saying, “We’re losing a lot of money.”

Saying she would not go out and actively support it, Thomas promised to listen to what was being asked of her as a councilmember.

Post Three candidates, incumbent Angie Arp and challenger Kenneth Gaddis focused heavily on infrastructure and recreational areas. Both candidates would like to see improvements to our city pool.

Gaddis wants to see the pool revamped to be a more welcoming place for families to enjoy. Arp agreed with Gaddis, and said that she had playground designs that she “had brought to the council several times.” Arp also would like to see a city indoor pool.

Gaddis focused on the infrastructure of the city as being a top priority. He stated, “I’m a little upset right now because we’re paving roads where the water lines haven’t been replaced yet.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Challenger Kenneth Gaddis questions the city about proper planning.

Candidate for Post Four, Robbie Cornelius went to the stage unopposed. Mike Jacobs, also seeking a seat for Post Four chose not to take the stage. Cornelius spoke of a different reason than other candidates for wanting to improve parking downtown.

While many candidates focus on parking being an issue for businesses and for tourists, Cornelius would like to see it improved for the residents. She stated, “most don’t go downtown because they can never find parking.”

This statement brought to light an issue for locals that had previously not been addressed.
Nathan Fitts, candidate for Post Five, also came to the stage unopposed. His opponent, David Stuart, had opted not to participate. Fitts addressed his broken leg as he made his way to the podium on crutches. “When I announced that I was running, they said break a leg. I didn’t know they meant literally.”

Fitts was asked his opinion on the legal fees that have been spent by the city in recent years, replying with,”It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

He acknowledged that there is a need for legal representation and to be able to receive counsel from someone with expertise, but also noted that “paying attorney fees because people don’t get along is unacceptable.”

The Mayoral candidates were the last of the evening. Incumbent Donna Whitener and Challenger Brendan Doyle agreed on many of the issues that had been discussed previously.

Both candidates gave praise to our city police department and agreed that infrastructure needed to be a priority.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Mayor Donna Whitener and Challenger Brendan Doyle debate term limits.

Whitener and Doyle were asked if they believe there should be regular meetings between the County Commissioners, City Council of Blue Ridge, as well as Councils from other cities within our county.

Neither candidate was opposed to this idea. Whitener stated that she felt it would be beneficial and that she thought “we have a great working relation now.”

Doyle agreed with Whitener and thought the regular meetings would add unity to Fannin County. He stated that, “we should be there to support through thick and thin.”

One of the issues that separated these two candidates was the topic of term limits. When asked if they would be in favor of term limits on our local officials, Doyle supported the idea.
Whitener opposed this idea stating that the amount of information to learn is too much for a short time period and would not allow an official to be effective in their post if term limits were implemented. She stated that, “Government is a different beast.”

Elections for City Council and Mayor will be held on November 7, 2017.  Each candidate urges residents to get out and vote.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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