Fannin County May 2022 Primary Results

Board of Commissioners, Board of Education, Election
Primary results

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia’s May 24, 2022 primary has received nationwide attention over its U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. For Fannin County voters, the ballots also included two seats on the Fannin County Board of Education and the Post 2 seat on the Fannin County Board of Commissioners. The primary results came in late on Tuesday evening.

After polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, results from all 12 voting precincts were not given until after 10 p.m. Fannin County saw a total of 2,184 early and absentee ballot votes, and unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State website show a turnout of almost 32%. While an official summary and certified results were not yet ready, the initial primary results were given at the Fannin County Courthouse.

Board of Commissioners

Larry Syputa

Larry Syputa ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for Post 2 Commissioner.

Glenn Patterson

Patterson is the incumbent Post 2 Commissioner.

In the Republican primary for Post 2 Commissioner, Incumbent Glenn Patterson was challenged by Greg Staffins, Larry Sosebee, and Anita Weaver. Patterson won the Republican primary for Post 2 Commissioner, and will face the lone Democratic candidate, Larry Syputa, during the November 2022 general election.

Glenn Patterson received a total of 3,500 votes across all 12 voting precincts, early votes, and absentee ballots. Larry Syputa received a total of 455 votes in his primary.

 

 

Board of Education

Bearden will remain on the Fannin County Board of Education after winning his primary.

Mike Cole

Mike Cole is the incumbent Vice Chair on the Board of Education.

The incumbent, Bobby Bearden, was challenged by Debi Holcomb and Clarence “Junior” Farmer in the Republican primary. Bearden won his primary with a total of 3,690 votes across 12 voting precincts, early votes, and absentee ballots.

Incumbent Mike Cole will also return to the Fannin County Board of Education after an uncontested re-election bid. Cole has served on the board since he was elected in 2018. He received a total of 5,011 votes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full election results can be found here.

 

An interview with Post 2 Commissioner candidate Larry Sosebee

Board of Commissioners, Election
Sosebee

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Larry Sosebee is a candidate for the Post 2 seat on the Fannin County Board of Commissioners. He joins Anita Weaver and Greg Staffins in a primary challenge against the incumbent Post 2 Commissioner, Glenn Patterson. Sosebee has served as a Fannin County commissioner before, and told FYN “The knowledge that I’ve got, that I could bring back to the board, from what I had in the past would be substantial to them.”

Larry Sosebee has been in the Fannin County community for 68 years and has run a business in the area for over three decades. He also said he was involved with the community before elections began and is active with people who need help with anything.

Touching on his previous eight year tenure on the board, Sosebee noted a few of the projects accomplished during that time. He mentioned establishing the Fannin County Water Authority, paying off the recreation department, constructing turn lanes at Mercier and Highway 2. He also said the board worked to get Pulse Medical and Walmart brought into the county, while also keeping the county’s budget one of the lowest in the state. These achievements, Sosebee noted, were not made by a single commissioner: “We didn’t do it single-handily, I say we because it takes a board to do it.” He also briefly discussed intergovernmental agreements, saying “you’ve got some good people on these boards that like to work together.”

Sosebee also discussed the state of Fannin County’s economy. “I think we’re in a good place where we’re at right now,” he said. He cited the “enormous” amounts of special-purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funding that the county receives. Additionally, Sosebee compared the increase in the county budget since his time in office, “We had a budget of 17 million, I believe it was. Now it’s somewhere in the 30-31 million range. Yeah, Fannin County is in a very good place right now.”

Despite the increase in revenue, and expenditures, Sosebee said some aspects of the board’s budget need to be changed. He specifically mentioned the Fannin County Public Works, who are responsible for the county’s roads. Sosebee said the department is receiving large amounts of SPLOST funding, but he suggested that the department can be wasteful and inefficient with its spending. Further, Sosebee criticized large purchases of “pretty toys” that sit unused. He provided his own experience as an example, saying his area is often ignored by mowers. “There’s more to it than mowing up on and Aska and around the lavish places,” Sosebee said.

Sosebee also said he believes the commissioners could do a better job involving the community with its work. “I think they reach out to the community for very little. They make their decisions behind closed doors,” Sosebee then cited the recent agreement between the Board of Education and the commissioners that will bring a stand-alone library to Fannin County. “The community needs to be more informed on what’s going on, because its their money,” he said. He contrasted the current practices of the board with his own experience, adding “we didn’t buy anything into any significant amount unless the public was notified.”

He also discussed rental unit issues in the county and the impact they have on housing affordability. Sosebee did mention a recent change to license fees but said “they should have went up to about $1000 on it.” The issue of housing affordability carries into workforce issues, as Sosebee noted. “We just don’t have enough employees,” he said. Touching on public safety, Sosebee said there are not enough deputies in the county, and those the county employees are underpaid. Similarly, he said firefighters are well underpaid: “The volunteers are quitting everyday because they can’t get their pay.” Sosebee added that despite the county’s first responders being underpaid, especially for the time and work they put in, “Fannin County’s got some of the best EMTs and firefighters, that I say, in the state of Georgia.”

Again touching on his past experience, Soseebee said “I was always for the working man and the people that was in the area. They were welcomed by me, and I just want them to remember me as someone they could rely on and come to if they need to.” If elected to serve as a commissioner again, Sosebee said “I’d like to be more vocal. I was always the quiet one.” He added, “Knowing what I know now, I’d be more vocal and more involved in various things that’s going on in the county.”

The Post 2 Commissioner seat is currently held by Glenn Patterson. The Republican primary election on May 24, 2022 will include Glenn Patterson, Anita Weaver, Greg Staffins, and Larry Sosebee. The winner of the primary will face the only Democrat candidate, Larry Syputa, this November. More information about the election on May 24, 2022 can be found here or at the Fannin County Board of Elections website. FYN made an effort to contact every candidate, but we were ultimately unable to speak with Anita Weaver.

An interview with Post 2 Commissioner candidate Greg Staffins

Board of Commissioners, Election
Greg Staffins

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Greg Staffins is a Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner candidate. He joins Anita Weaver and Larry Sosebee in a primary challenge against the incumbent Post 2 Commissioner, Glenn Patterson. During an interview, Staffins discussed his candidacy and goals for the county. “If I come elected, then I’ll sure fight everyday for the citizens and putting Fannin first, and I’ll do that with all my heart,” he told FYN.

Greg Staffins is a businessman in Fannin County. He is also a member of the Fannin County Republican Party, and Staffins says he’s been a member since he moved to the area 12 years ago.

Staffins said many people, who believed his experience as a businessman would make him a good commissioner, encouraged him to run for the position. He also mentioned his applicable experience working with the city of Loganville, Ga. Staffins noted that he has been endorsed by Loganville’s mayor.

As a commissioner, Staffins is “all about putting Fannin County first, and putting first everything we do.” He believes the county is ready for change “in a big way,” mentioning that the five candidates all hoping to serve is evidence of that.

Staffins raised several issues he wants to find a solution for. One that he emphasized was the county’s lacking trash services. Staffins suggested utilizing space at fire stations to provide some remedy to the trash issues, “each one of the parking lots sits empty, we can simply put dumpsters.” He also mentioned the similar need for recycling services.

Staffins also stressed the importance of strengthening Fannin County’s police and fire departments. Those departments, he said, are “overrun with tourists on the weekends.” He highlighted that the population of the county almost doubles during weekends, saying: “We definitely need some help for getting those guys additional trucks, cars, and staff and be able to pay them what they’re worth.”

Another issue Staffins touched on was the lack of an aquatic center in the county. “We need that in a large way. We don’t have anything in the winter water-wise, swim-wise to do,” he said. Staffins added that despite the recent agreement to revitalize the city park’s pool, it is outdoors and can only be used during a small portion of the year. He argued in favor of an aquatic center as a solution, saying “we need something that can be used 12 months out of the year.” Staffins briefly mentioned that an aquatic center would be more accessible to the seniors of the county.

Staffins also stressed financial responsibility and warned against “frivolous mistakes with tax payer money.” As an example, he cited the purchase of the Whitepath building. Staffins said the building was bought “without having an inspection, and Patterson made the motion to buy it.” He noted the cost of the building was over one million dollars. After the building was purchased, a hazardous materials survey showed the presence of asbestos and lead paint.

Continuing a push for financial responsibility, Staffins discussed the current state of the tourism industry in Fannin County. He said hundreds of rental units throughout the county are bringing in millions of dollars in revenue: “I want to see that money spent wisely. I want to see that money go back to the taxpayer and the citizens’ usage.” Staffins suggested that increase in funding could be used to complete projects that would benefit locals and improve the quality of life in Fannin County.

He also explained he sees room for improvement of community involvement with the board. Staffins criticized the current policy for public comment at board meetings. He also raised concerns about a recent agreement with the Fannin County Board of Education that will bring a standalone library, saying “I want to make sure that the citizens are happy with that library solution.” He warned against the agreement that he said was done “without a person on the library board in their presence.” Staffins continued, “I think that when you make decisions, you need to include everybody involved.”

When asked what he wants voters to remember, Staffins said “I won’t let you down, and I won’t waste one penny of the money, and I’ll make sure that Fannin County is put first in everything we do.”

The Post 2 Commissioner seat is currently held by Glenn Patterson. The Republican primary election on May 24, 2022 will include Glenn Patterson, Anita Weaver, Greg Staffins, and Larry Sosebee. The winner of the primary will face the only Democrat candidate, Larry Syputa, this November. More information about the election on May 24, 2022 can be found here or at the Fannin County Board of Elections website. FYN made an effort to contact every candidate, but we were ultimately unable to speak with Anita Weaver.

An interview with Post 2 Commissioner candidate Larry Syputa

Board of Commissioners, Election
Larry Syputa

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Larry Syputa is the only Democrat running for the Post 2 Commissioner seat on the Fannin County Board of Commissioners. The Republican primary has four candidates, and the winner will run against Syputa during the November 2022 election. Syputa spoke with FYN about his candidacy, which he says will “offer a different perspective, an opportunity to have somebody on the board that will give a new outlook.”

Larry Syputa is not from Fannin County, but he grew up fishing and hunting in the North Georgia area. He has worked as a sheet metal mechanic and settled in Suches with his wife after traveling the country.

Syputa said his run for the board was prompted by indifferent government action leaving things like how they have been and not creating positive change. Syputa raised the county’s budget as an example. While he thinks the current commissioners manage the money well, he adds: “Maybe a little bit too much so. We have built up quite a large fund, millions of dollars, that could be used for some of the ideas I’ve mentioned.” Syputa suggested that the money already saved by the county could be used to fund beneficial county projects without a tax hike.

Syputa highlighted several ideas that he would like to bring to fruition as a commissioner. One he focused on was the preservation of Fannin as a rural county: “I’d just like to see the county continue to be rural, and we can have that because we have so much national land around that’s not going to get developed. But, the other side is that we need to be cautious how we do continue to develop the land that is available.”

Syputa noted the lack of zoning ordinances at the county level. Creating zoning ordinances to protect the rural areas from overdevelopment is something Syputa said he would be open to. “I still believe in property rights. I believe that people have the right to do with their property pretty much as they want unless it infringes on somebody else,” Syputa added. He also gave the example of increased erosion caused by clear cut lots: “Cutting trees without considering effects like erosion is something that needs to be handled.” He similarly mentioned chemical herbicides currently used by electric companies on roadsides as a negative impact on the environment.

In addition to preserving Fannin’s natural beauty, Syputa said he would like to see expanded accessibility to the natural attractions of the area. Adding bike lanes to county roads is one idea he floated. He also mentioned inadequate parking in many places that can lead to road blockages.

Currently, many forms of alcohol sales are restricted to the city limits. Syputa said he would like for Fannin County to become “wet” and have beer and wine access expanded throughout the county. “We’ve got a lot of service stations and small markets that would love to have, I talked to quite a few of them, would love to have a beer and wine sales. It would keep our people from driving long distances,” he added. Syputa noted that allowing sales countywide would keep more people, both locals and tourists, inside Fannin County.

Continuing the discussion of tourists, Syputa said he believes the county is balancing their needs and the needs of local residents well. “They generate a huge amount of resources to the local businesses,” he explained. He added that he doesn’t see the interests of residents and tourists as a conflict, but an “opportunity to utilize the resource, which is tourism, and expand on it.”

Increasing community involvement is something Syputa said could be done better. He noted that early evening meetings can make it difficult for people to attend. To expand accessibility to the commissioners’ work, Syputa suggested holding meetings later in the evening and potentially working with local cable companies to broadcast them.

Larry Syputa is the only Democrat running to be a commissioner in Fannin County. “As a lifelong Democrat,” Syputa told FYN, “I understand that this is a heavily Republican area, but I also understand that the people here go by who you are as a person. So, if I’m to be elected, I think that I’m middle road enough that I can work with anybody.” He noted that the county position is a “far cry” from national politics, “I don’t think that’s important as far as running the county goes. I think having a Democratic voice and perspective, a progressive perspective, is positive, and I think that’s positive for the county.”

The Post 2 Commissioner seat is currently held by Glenn Patterson. The Republican primary election on May 24, 2022 will include Glenn Patterson, Anita Weaver, Greg Staffins, and Larry Sosebee. The winner of the primary will face the only Democrat candidate, Larry Syputa, this November. More information about the election on May 24, 2022 can be found here or at the Fannin County Board of Elections website. FYN made an effort to contact every candidate, but we were ultimately unable to speak with Anita Weaver.

An interview with Post 2 Commissioner candidate Glenn Patterson

Board of Commissioners, Election
Glenn Patterson

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Glenn Patterson is the incumbent Post 2 Commissioner for Fannin County. He is seeking re-election for a second term, and told FYN that he wants voters to remember “the things that I have done for them that are positive results in my three and a half years, and that I want to do more.” Patterson is facing a primary challenge from Republican candidates Anita Weaver, Larry Sosebee, and Greg Staffins.

Patterson said he is a member of several city groups. He noted his Christian faith and service as the Vice Chair of the Fannin Christian Learning Center Board. He is a board member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame which is a group that “just celebrates the people from Fannin County that have excelled in various sporting activities.” Patterson also holds a specialist degree in education and has worked 32 years in the education field. In Fannin County, Patterson said he has worked as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

Community involvement is important to Patterson, and he said serving as a commissioner has allowed him to give back to the community and the people that have helped him grow up and kept him looking in the right direction. “I love Fannin County. I love its citizens. I think we’ve got a fine group of citizens, and even as we grow and move forward it’s just a good place to live and grow up,” Patterson added.

When asked about his accomplishments as a commissioner, Patterson pointed to recent “unprecedented” intergovernmental agreements. One agreement with the Fannin County Board of Education will bring a stand-alone library to the county, which he notes has been worked on for many years. Another agreement with the City of Blue Ridge, Patterson explained, will revitalize the city pool and other recreational areas. He said making these intergovernmental agreements takes unity and reaching out in faith and trust. “Unity and partnerships brought together, and I’m real proud of that because we are so much stronger, and we’re able to achieve the goals for our citizenry within Fannin County when we work together,” Patterson added.

“I think we’re all very conscious of being good stewards to the citizens’ money,” Patterson said about the Board of Commissioners. He also said he is proud of the county’s millage rate, which he noted is one of the lowest in the state. When it comes to collecting revenue and approving expenditures, Patterson said, “We don’t want to overtax our citizens, but we want to give them the things that they need.” He used the upcoming improvements to the Fannin County Recreation Complex at Blue Ridge City Park as an example, saying the initial expenditures will ultimately help the local economy.

When balancing the needs of tourists and residents in Fannin County, Patterson first said “you’ve always got to remember your citizens.” He said much of the revenue brought in by tourists is used to reinvest in the community. “A lot of it is not tangible things,” Patterson noted, “It’s things like our police department, our public safety, our fire and rescue, our 911. All these things that we need to protect our citizens that are here 24/7 everyday.”

Patterson said he likes to interact with the citizens and believes it is a “very important thing, to stay in touch with the citizens. Because it’s easy to not do that, to just think that you as a commissioner know more than anybody else.” He noted he does this by communicating directly through calls and emails, but also by holding a public comment portion of each meeting. “You can’t let your ego get in the way of true communication with the citizens of Fannin County,” Patterson added. Being open to new ideas and listening to concerns is something Patterson said he puts effort into: “It’s not what I want. It’s what the citizens of Fannin County need, and I’ve got to seek that out.”

The Post 2 Commissioner seat is currently held by Glenn Patterson. The Republican primary election on May 24, 2022 will include Glenn Patterson, Anita Weaver, Greg Staffins, and Larry Sosebee. The winner of the primary will face the only Democrat candidate, Larry Syputa, this November. More information about the election on May 24, 2022 can be found here or at the Fannin County Board of Elections website. FYN made an effort to contact every candidate, but we were ultimately unable to speak with Anita Weaver.

Commissioners proclaim Mental Health Awareness Month

Board of Commissioners, Community
Mental Health Awareness Month

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — The Fannin County Board of Commissioners proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, with representatives from Fannin County Family Connection in attendance. The board also received an update on the city park agreement recently signed by the board and the Blue Ridge City Council.

City park

The Fannin County Recreation Complex at Blue Ridge City Park is already being prepared for improvement projects.

Recreation Director Eddie O’Neal first told the commissioners that an advisory board will hold their first meeting on May 12, 2022. The board will include Blue Ridge City Council members Angie Arp and Christy Kay, Director O’Neal, Fannin County Parks and Recreation Board member Cline Bowers, Leadership Fannin Steering Committee Coordinator Christie Gribble, and Commissioner Johnny Scearce. The newly created board will help oversee the upcoming improvements to the park, now named the Fannin County Recreation Complex at the Blue Ridge City Park. “We’re trying to give everybody in the county and the city an opportunity to have a really nice park,” Commissioner Scearce said.

O’Neal noted that work on the park has already begun. He said the playground equipment will be replaced with ADA compliant equipment by the end of 2022 and the new pool and splash pad facility should be open by the summer of 2024. According to O’Neal, the county will also continue to honor existing contracts between the school system and the city of Blue Ridge, that allows school sports teams to play at the park.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness MonthRepresentatives from Fannin County Family Connection were in attendance at the meeting to see the board proclaim May 2022 as Mental Health Awareness Month. Anna Speessen, Chair of the Mental Health Strategy Team, read the proclamation before it was signed by the commissioners. In part, the proclamation read: “Whereas prevention is an effective way to reduce the burden of mental health conditions, and there is strong research that animal companionship, humor, spirituality, religion, recreation, social connections, and work life balance can help all Americans protect their health and well-being.”

Speessen continued, “Whereas every citizen and community can make a difference in helping end the silence and stigma that for too long has surrounded mental illness and discouraged people from getting help.” Chairman Jamie Hensley thanked the group while signing the proclamation for the second time, saying, “We want to thank y’all for everything that y’all do for us and for this community.”

Fannin Commissioners appoint Grable to Economic Development Authority

Board of Commissioners
Commissioners

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — The Fannin County Board of Commissioners met April 26, 2022. At the meeting they approved an appointment and several purchases.

At their last meeting, the commissioners tabled the appointment of Steve Grable to the Fannin County Economic Development Authority. They all noted a desire to speak to Grable personally before approving the appointment. At their April 26 meeting, Post 2 Commissioner Glenn Patterson said, after meeting with Grable, “I feel like he’s very qualified to help us out, and appreciate him doing so.”

Fannin County Fire Chief Larry Thomas first told the board that the Fannin County Fire Department had assisted Polk County, Tenn. with a fire that destroyed the Ocoee Whitewater Center that morning. Thomas then shared that the fire department had received a letter of acceptance for the Fireworks Tax Grant. The county will receive $19,017 after contributing $2,113. The total $21,130 will “purchase some much needed turnout gear,” Thomas added.

Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff spoke to the board about projects and purchases. The board heard updates about future paving projects on parts of Tower Road, Daves Road, Picklesimer Road, North Burgess Gap Road, Fightingtown Creek Road, Peter Knob Road, Friendship Road, Snake Nation Road, and Weaver Creek Road. Those projects will be done using SPLOST funding, but a paving project on Cutcane Road will receive funding from the Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG).

Ratcliff also noted that the county will be returning about $100,000 to the SPLOST fund after the state government allocated funding for Newport Bridge. Ratcliff requested purchase of a pole barn for $20,990 and Kubota tractor for $36,670.72. “We’ve tried our best for the last year and a half now to get that better equipment to provide the better service for our community,” Chairman Jamie Hensley said before approving the purchase.

Chairman Hensley also briefly spoke about the intergovernmental agreement announced on April 22, 2022 that will bring Fannin County a standalone library: “We’re thankful to be able to say that.” Commissioner Patterson added: “I think it’s gonna be something that can stand long after we’re gone, and help … young and old alike in so many different ways.” In addition, Chairman Hensley announced that a meeting will be held at Blue Ridge City Hall on May 2, 2022 to discuss the city’s park.

Fannin Commissioners approve Excise Tax Ordinance

Board of Commissioners
Fannin BOC approves Excise Tax

FANNIN, Ga. — The Fannin County Board of Commissioners held two public hearings and a regular meeting on Feb. 22 that continued discussions on Excise Tax and Alarm Ordinances.

During the board’s Feb. 9 meeting, the first readings for the proposed Excise Tax and Alarm ordinances were held. After input from citizens and county officials, the board brought amended ordinances back to the public for a second hearing.

Debbie Jackson speaks on Excise Tax Ordinance

Debbie Jackson spoke to the board about the changes the final ordinance would make.

The Excise Tax – Rooms, Lodging, & Accommodation Ordinance received no public comment during the first public hearing of the evening. Lodging Tax Administrator Debbie Jackson spoke before the commissioners voted, “The basic two changes that we’re asking for would be to raise the registration fee from $25 per year to $100 when they register, with a renewal fee of $100 [annually],” she noted, “The only other thing would be the collector credit. We’d be doing away with the collector credit, that’s just a potential for abuse.”

The Alarm Ordinance received lengthy commentary during the public hearing. Mr. Bates, who said he works in security, raised his concerns with the ordinance and its effectiveness. “I think we all need to sit down and bring all the companies effected, the actual installing companies in here to talk about this,” he said. The board spoke with Bates about what changes he believed would be the most effective and how to implement them throughout the county. After the public hearing, the commissioners tabled the ordinance for further discussion. Chairman Jamie Hensley explained the decision saying, “We don’t quite have this finished, just to be honest with you. We’re still trying to tweak it up a little bit … It’s a very important thing within our county. We want to make sure that we have it right before we do move forward.”

The Commissioners also took action to correct a leasing error from 2005. The land lease left the county with a long-term lease not only on the property where Fire Station #5 is located, but on the owner’s home as well. The board approved a motion to release interest except on the tract with the fire station.

After receiving additional public comment during the regular meeting, the Board of Commissioners told those in attendance that they were in the process of creating a noise ordinance to address complaints from county residents.

 

Deputy Director Darrell Payne retires after 38 years

Community, News
Darrell Payne retirement

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Deputy Director Darrell Payne stated it’s been an honor to serve the people of Fannin as part of emergency services.

Payne’s seen EMS goes through several changes over the years and commended EMS employees and volunteers for their efforts. He added that Fannin has one of the best EMS departments in the state.

“It’s a role that you never know what you’re going to see when you go out there,” Chairman Jamie Hensley said, “We appreciate the job you’ve done for this county.”

Post One Johnny Scearce detailed his experiences working with Payne since they first started in their respective departments. He told Payne, “It has been an honor.”

EMA Director Robert Graham gave Payne a watch to recognize his years of service.

Becky Huffman will be replacing Payne as EMS deputy director. Huffman’s the first female to hold the role.

Hensley explained that several people interviewed for the position, and everyone brought something unique to the role. However, Huffman earned the job.

“She doesn’t care to come in there and tell me how she feels, sometimes that’s good, sometimes that bad. I appreciate that about her. I think she sees both sides and she’s going to do what’s best for both,” Hensley commented.

Huffman’s first order of business in her new role was to ask permission to bid out to replace an existing ambulance. They need to replace a truck and then remount the existing ambulance box on a new chassis.

Fire Department Update

Fire Chief Larry Thomas gave a good update concerning ISO rating. After speaking with the inspection manager, Fannin is expected to drop back down to a 5/5x rating. The new number will be published in November 2021.

COVID-19 resulted in a slow down of processing rate updates, but the manager told Thomas that he was pushing Fannin through.

“It takes work of water departments, 911, and the fire department. Everybody’s involved,” Thomas explained about the process.

Hensley asked for Thomas to create a list of all the steps necessary to drop down to a 4 ISO rating. It would give the commissioners a tangible goal to strive for in the future.

Thomas also presented quotes for a new squad vehicle and moving the current car into more of a utility vehicle role. The county approved the purchase of the lower quote from Blue Ridge Ford for $32,700.

30-day moratorium on special use permit for alcohol license

News
special use permits

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Fannin County Commissioners opted for a 30-day moratorium on special use permits for alcohol licenses while they gather more information and the ordinance is rewritten.

When Fannin County added the alcohol permit ordinance to its official code, commissioners did not include a special use provision, but the application for a special use permit is available to the public.

The first special permit didn’t cause any issues with the county, and the sheriff’s office gave the go-ahead for the second event requesting a special use permit.

Post One Johnny Scearce asked, “Is there any liability that can fall back on the county?” County Attorney Lynn Doss stated the county wouldn’t be liable for these events.

Special event permits require hired security to be always on the scene.  Doss added she believed the requirement for special events is one off-duty officer for every 200 to 300 people.

More venues are becoming available throughout the county and a special use permit might benefit their businesses. However, parameters need to be set in place to prevent everyone from applying for a special use beer and wine permit.

County Attorney Lynn Doss doesn’t know where the application came from, she didn’t create it, nor knows how it became available to the public.

“It’s not that it’s a bad idea. It might be a great idea. It’s just that literally in our ordinance there’s no provision for it. There’s no regulation of it. If the commission feels okay with just continuing on and letting individuals make applications until we can get the ordinance rewritten, which we’re in the process of doing, that’s fine. Another idea is just to say there is a moratorium there will be no special use permits issued until the ordinance is rewritten,” Doss explained.

Since beer and wine came into the county, two special use permits have been approved for use.

Liquor sales aren’t allowed within the county, but the city can sell liquor, beer, and wine. Liquor requires a vote, and when alcohol was placed on the ballot previously, it failed. The commissioners at the time found a way around the citizen’s opinion and brought just beer and wine into the county.

police chief

Post One Johnny Scearce also serves as Blue Ridge Police Chief and has experience with alcohol regulations.

“I just think when it comes to alcohol you’ve got to have things in place that’s going to cover you. There is a lot of liability,” Scearce remarked. “Our responsibility here is to make sure we’re looking at the best interest of the people.”

Special use permits would only be for beer and wine.

Plus, if the county grants a license, the Georgia Department of Revenue still must approve a license for a business going forward.

“Willow Falls can get a permit that’s not a special event permit that would be good for a year,” Doss explained, “It has to renew every year.”

The first issuance of an alcohol license is $10,000 and the renewal is $150. It’s also tied to food sales. The markers serve as a buffer to keep people out of the market.

Chairman Jamie Hensley posed a hypothetical for a person who received their alcohol license, “I start going to different venues in the county…how is that fare that I’m able to do that when say Toccoa Restaurant had to pay $10,000 to be able to sell it…If I’m the person that gets to put on that one-time event at this location and now I can go to this location and do it again because I’ve got my license.”

Doss confirmed that a situation is something that needs to be addressed in the updated ordinance. She then cited a Supreme Court Case that stated an alcohol license is a privilege is not a right. The county can put in place different stipulations depending upon the business and use purposes.

Anyone who serves alcohol in Georgia must pass a background check, which is currently reported to the state.

A facility in Georgia can only hold 24 special use permits a year. Public parks are considered county property and will never be allowed as a location for alcohol events.

Some Fannin County restaurants would prefer that the new ordinance included Sunday beer and wine sales to compete with Blue Ridge establishments.

The updated ordinances in Fannin are in process but likely won’t be finalized till the end of the year. Ordinance updates require two public hearings before final approval as well.

In 30 days, the commissioners will decide to either extend or eliminate the moratorium. During this time, they will review all existing materials and decide on the best course forward.

A Call for Clarity in the County Budget

News, Police & Government
property taxes increase non-critical state of emergency 2020 Budget

Blue Ridge, Ga – Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson asked for revisions in the Public Roads/SPLOST department to clarify the monthly financial reports.

The Public Roads and SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) represented one line item of the budget summary report. Since financial updates began two years ago, Board of Commissioners’ Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway has presented the two items together.

Points of interest in the 2019 budget. The third line item was the point of discussion.

Johnson stated that combining Public Works (budget and expenditures) and SPLOST makes it difficult to recognize where the money is being spent. “I don’t understand why we’re doing a report if I can’t see the numbers,” said Johnson. He also noted that other departments were separated and easier to comprehend.

Gazaway offered to break down SPLOST into four segments: Public Works, EMS, Recreation, and Administration and add a slide in the next budget meeting. She said, “It’s no problem to split [SPLOST] out and present it differently.”

She also suggested providing a detailed financial print report to the commissioners each month since she already has that information pulled for her records.

These updates will begin during the next financial update report at next month’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

Gazaway gives the financial update at the second board meeting of every month, and this report detailed all expenses from Jan. through March 2019. Departments were showing 1% over for the year, but Gazaway pointed out that lump sums, such as the courthouse loan debt and lease payments were due at the beginning of the year. As a result, the numbers should even out as the year goes on.

GDOT Budget for Madola Bridge Project Approved

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga – The Fannin County Board of Commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for Madola Road bridge construction during the Tuesday, April 23 board meeting.

The commissioners and GDOT must agree on the proposed budget before construction or improvements can proceed. Costs for the project will be split between the state of Georgia and Fannin County with the county expected to pay 50%. The shared cost includes not only bridge work but right of way acquisitions and expenses during the construction process.

GDOT recently recalculated the initial estimate of $327,000 and lowered the proposed expenses to $150,000 total with Fannin paying $75,000 instead of $163,500.

“I like that quite a bit compared to what we had,” said Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton.

“It’s an important bridge to the community. The state’s going to be taking a majority of the cost. I think $75,000 is a very good number for Fannin County,” stated Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson.

Madola road bridge

The Madola Road bridge over Fightingtown Creek is scheduled to be replaced starting in 2022.

Construction will not begin until July 1, 2022, or later. The state still needs to approve the proposed project budget. Only once the budget receives the sign-off from the state will the county have to pay $75,000. Also, the expected amount could still change between now and the start of construction.

Madola Road Bridge built in 1956 was downgraded to a 5-ton weight limit in 2017 by GDOT. The department marked the bridge for replacement during that same inspection. Due to the limited usage, these improvements will open the road back up to motorists with larger hauls.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the MOA and go forward with the project.

Next, Robert Graham, Fannin County EMA Director, announced that the county received a $26,000 federal grant to update the hazard mitigation plan.

A hazard mitigation plan is in place to help lessen the impact of disasters through identifying risks and vulnerabilities and developing long-term strategies to protect people and property. Fannin County’s current plan is updated every five years with November 2016 being the most recent plan approval.

Graham added, “These grants are only available after there has been a disaster in Georgia, then the federal government makes this hazard mitigation money available.”

The grant amount broke down as follows:
• Federal Share: $19,500
• State Share: $2,600
• Local share: $3,900

According to Graham, previously the county portion was paid via in-kind labor, and he expects the same this time, meaning the local portion will be minimal if anything at all.

If approved, Graham will have a new plan in place in 2020.

Fannin County Board of Commissioners considers budget item

News, Politics

Commissioner Chairman Stan Helton welcomed everyone at 5:15 p.m. for its bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

District Attorney Alison Sosabee

District Attorney of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit of Fannin County B. Alison Sosabee appeared before the Board requesting funds to employ an administrative assistant. The new assistant would help alleviate the work load being placed upon the department due to an increase of 32% in criminal case loads being experienced in Fannin County.

 

According to http://www.ajcda.org/fannin-county, “The Fannin office is staffed by two assistant district attorneys, an investigator, a circuit-wide sex crimes investigator, two legal assistants, and a victim advocate; prosecuting cases in superior, probate, and juvenile courts.”

Sosabee stated there is a need for additional funding of “$28,481 which would increase her department’s budget to $381,657. The original budget set by the Commissioners for the District Attorney’s office was $353,176.”

Her department supervises the Youthful Offender Pretrial Program. Saying of the additional responsibility in man hours and case load increase, “We need help moving forward to effectively do our jobs.”

After a lengthy discussion, Johnson and Patterson voted to approve the amended budget request while Helton opposed.

EMS Director Robert Graham

EMA/911 Director Robert Graham presented to the Board the following proposals:

  • A change in biohazard disposal companies: The current company has been charging the county $12,000 a year. He has contacted another source who will pick up biohazard materials for approximately $600-800 a year. Approved.
  • There were nine bids to help county resources in case there would be a major disaster here in Fannin County. Contracts will be sent out to Southern Disaster Recovery, LLC from Simpsonville, SC, and Phillips & Jordan, Inc., Knoxville, TN winners of the bids. They will only be dispatched if the need arises, the companies will then be placed into action.
  • Requesting EMA be placed on the waiting list for a new ambulance truck for 2020. Currently an ambulance package chassis used for “remounting/refurbishing an ambulance is not due to be available until 4th quarter 2019,” Graham said. He suggested the county makes sure it has the required ambulances needed to service the growing community.

Post Commissioners Earl Johnson stated, “We need ambulances. We can’t do without them.” and Glen Patterson added, “Public safety is our highest priority.” The positive comments from the commissioners enabled a unanimous vote for EMA to be proceed with plans on the refurbishing of an ambulance and to make Request For Proposals on a new one.

Variances were approved for:

  • Frank M. Tate & Gregory Spencer: remodel and rebuilding a home on an existing foundation.

  • Joseph M & Bonnie Hrynyk: building a garage per specifications in variance order.

  • Oak Vista, LLC: building a carport only. Variance was asked originally for a patio and carport.

  • Serene Mountain Properties, Inc.: to build a house on a private road.

During the time set aside for public commentaries, local citizen Ralph Garner spoke to the commissioners regarding a comment by a board member at last months meeting. Garner felt it was inappropriate and disregarded local medias attempt to voice legitimate concerns over lack of transparency with North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network administration and management. He also voiced concerns and asked the board to keep abreast of investigations being made in the case of David Ralston, Georgia Speaker of the House.

The commissioners were unanimous in its vote to reappoint the following persons on the Fannin County Water Authority: Chairwoman Anita Weaver, Mark Berger, and Zack Ratcliff. It also voted to help purchase a fourth 911call center console for the EMA department at a cost of $16,749.11.

The board adjourned at 7:22 p.m. Next meeting will be March 12, 2019 at the Fannin County Courthouse.

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North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network continues to provide much needed services in our area

Community, News, Non Profit

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network (NGMCN) is not often highlighted among the nonprofit charities in our community. With the sensitive nature of the services they provide, it is a fine line that the charity must walk in order to financially continue operations and still protect the anonymity of the victims who seek their help.

Fannin County, North Georgia, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Victims, Advocacy, Services, Awareness, Shelter, Board Member, Steven Miracle, Executive Director, Julie Welch, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Chairman, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Glenn Patterson

NGMCN has two thrift stores, one located in Blue Ridge and one in McCaysville. Both stores help to provide financial assistance to the charity organization.

Started in 1986, the NGMCN is entering its 33 year of service.

“There are a lot of non profit organizations in our community providing care and support to residents of Fannin County,” NGMCN Board Member Steven Miracle said explaining where the charity’s services fall, “Our mission is to provide safety and support to survivors and their children of sexual abuse and domestic violence.”

Miracle went on to explain that there are four major areas in which the organization focuses:

  • Sexual Assault. Through NGMCN victims of sexual assault are provided counseling and support services to help navigate them through a very difficult time.
  • Domestic Violence. While NGMCN offers the counseling and services to victims of domestic violence as it does to victims of sexual assault, it also offers shelter to house these victims and their children.
  • Legal Advocacy. NGMCN has a trained staff that will help victims navigate the sometimes daunting legal system.
  • Education Awareness. NGMCN helps to spread the word of domestic and sexual violence through community outreach. This includes working hand in hand with law enforcement, hospitals, and different organizations that provide services to these victims.

In 2018, NGMCN housed 129 residents at their shelter. This accounted for 3,173 bed/nights (a measure of occupancy for one person assigned to one bed for one night). Residents of the shelter were also provided with well over 10,000 units of service.

“That’s actually sitting across from a survivor and their children within the shelter to be able to make phone calls, to be able to help them with any type of individual support,” NGMCN Executive Director Julie Welch explained the term “units of service”.

Outreach clients or those who did not require a shelter stay for last year totaled 158 clients and 8,700 units of service.

So far in 2019 the charity has already provided 380 bed/nights, 87 hotline calls, and 600 units of service.

Once a victim has stayed at the NGMCN shelter, the services continue even after that person has checked out. The charity works with community services in the area that the victim chooses to move to and helps provide a network of resources.

Welch said of this work, “That way we can provide a net of services so they don’t fall through the cracks.”

Over $60,000 were provided to those who reached out to NGMCN in 2018. This financial assistance is used when a client leaving a threatening situation has no source of income initially or is needed as short-term emergency funds.

Fannin County, North Georgia, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Victims, Advocacy, Services, Awareness, Shelter, Board Member, Steven Miracle, Executive Director, Julie Welch, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Chairman, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Glenn Patterson

NGMCN will host a 5k run or 1 mile walk on April 13, 2019 in downtown Blue Ridge.

“The fact that we are part of the budget is very much appreciated,” Miracle spoke to the Fannin County Board of Commissioners about the role the county plays, “and the support that you provide in helping us provide services to survivors and victims of our community is very, very much appreciated.”

Fannin County Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson shared his thoughts, “I admire what you do because quite simply, every situation you deal with is not a good situation, and you continually do it and your passion about what you do and everything that your organization does do, no one knows. I admire people who work behind the scenes. They do the things that they do. They don’t do it for any glamour or glory, they do it just for the reason you all do it because that’s what you feel like you should do.”

Welch acknowledged that it takes many volunteers, staff, and the community as a whole to provide these services: “It’s not just us. There’s a whole host of other people. It’s a team and working with law enforcement, the judicial system, hospitals…it’s completely a team and community effort.”

“I know some people that you literally saved their lives,” Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton thanked Miracle and Welch for the work they do. “Getting them out of situations that are horrendous. I’m not sure how many people in the county are aware of what a great thing you do. You do such a great thing for the community.”

There are currently 49 clients in their legal advocacy program and NGMCN is housing 14 people in their 12 bed shelter.

“Often times we will have moms that come in that will have small children,” Welch explained the high occupancy.

NGMCN serves both men and women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence. They hope by promoting education and awareness in these areas that eventually the cycle of abuse will come to an end.

 

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 [email protected]

Feed Fannin celebrates 10 years of service

Community, News, Non Profit

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Feed Fannin is celebrating 10 years of serving Fannin County and throughout the years the all volunteer organization has grown and become a template for other projects across the state of Georgia.

Feed Fannin was founded in 2009 by Barbara Ferer who had a vision of bringing individuals together to “educate and encourage our community towards self-sufficiency while providing food for those in need”.

The very first garden planted in Fannin County was at Davenport Brothers Wood Yard and from there smaller gardens popped throughout the community.
“Our primary goal is to provide food or funds for the pantry,” Feed Fannin Board of Directors member Jane Kimzey said explaining the mission of the organization, and what Feed Fannin has provided to the Family Connection food pantry.

Feed Fannin, 10 Years, Family Connection, Board of Directors, Chairman, Founder, Barbara Ferer, Jane Kimzey, John Sugg, Food Pantry, Gardening, Organic, Agricultural Center, Future Farmers of America, FFA, Fannin County Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Proclamation, Bowls of Hope, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

Representatives from Feed Fannin stand with the Fannin County Board of Commissioners after having a proclamation signed recognizing 10 years of success.

Through organically gardening a variety of produce, which varies year to year, Feed Fannin was able to raise and contribute 7,415 pounds of vegetables to the community in 2018. This large amount is predominantly attributed to, beyond the vast hours of work volunteers put in regularly, the Fannin County School System leasing a tract of land on Ada Street.

According to John Sugg, Chairman of Feed Fannin, acquiring the Ada Street property allowed the organization to grow exponentially.

“We are here today and we have one purpose, to tell you all thank you. This partnership means a lot to us,” Sugg spoke recently to the Fannin County Board of Education.

The Ada Street property was first leased from the school system in 2013, with the first garden being planted on site in April of 2014. The land, which is leased for $1.00 per year, not only allowed for Feed Fannin to move forward in their mission but also opened up an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship between the organization and the local schools.

Working side by side with Fannin County’s Future Farmers of America (FFA), Feed Fannin is excited to see the school system’s new Agriculture Center completed adjacent to their gardens.

“We work closely with their new Ag Center which is a jewel in this community,” Sugg said of the relationship shared with Fannin County schools.

Assistant Superintendent Robert Ensley spoke of the school system’s appreciation for Feed Fannin, “They have been a great partner to us. Through our STEM program and different things, they have helped us financially and been a partner in the community. They do a lot of great things.”

Since their beginning in 2009 Feed Fannin has provided the local food pantry and community with 64,797 pounds of produce. Along with this produce Feed Fannin works to raise money for the Family Connection food pantry.

“We either give the money directly to the food pantry in some cases, but in some cases we use it to purchase milk and eggs,” Kimzey spoke of the use of the funds raised each year.

Since 2009 Feed Fannin has raised over $320,000 to support area projects. Besides general upkeep of gardens and equipment, all money raised goes directly into the community, as there is no paid staff and the organization runs on a volunteer basis only.

Feed Fannin, 10 Years, Family Connection, Board of Directors, Chairman, Founder, Barbara Ferer, Jane Kimzey, John Sugg, Food Pantry, Gardening, Organic, Agricultural Center, Future Farmers of America, FFA, Fannin County Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Proclamation, Bowls of Hope, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

A photo from the 2017 Bowls of Hope fundraiser showing a large crowd enjoying the annual event.

Much of the funds raised for Feed Fannin come from the annual Bowls of Hope fundraiser. 2018 saw record breaking numbers as this fundraiser alone was responsible for bringing in almost $32,000.

So what’s in store for the future of Feed Fannin? Currently more than 168 volunteers work to provide services to the county. These services include year long educational classes, working with local elementary schools on gardening programs, continuing a relationship with Fannin County’s FFA program and stocking shelves with home grown goods for the local food pantry.

Feed Fannin has recently added a research and development team to keep up with the latest methods in gardening and to look into ways to improve an already successful program. An experimental garden has also been added to the Family Connection property and is being funded by an independent organization.

There is work being done to expand Feed Fannin’s allotment garden where individuals with less than ideal conditions for gardening can make use of the community land and plant their own small gardens.

Chairman of the Fannin County Board of Commissioners Stan Helton read from a proclamation acknowledging the work done by Feed Fannin, “Where as hunger in Fannin County continues to be problem, Feed Fannin, a group of individuals have joined forces to eliminate hunger in Fannin County by helping others help themselves through community gardening, education and shared resources.”

Feed Fannin invites all citizens of Fannin County to celebrate with them as they mark 10 years of service in our area. The annual fundraiser, Bowls of Hope, will be held on April 27, 2019 at Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard.

 

 

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 [email protected]

Tourism brings big dollars to Fannin County

Community, Fannin County Chamber, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – There is no denying that our area is a hot spot for tourists and the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce gave a 2018 update letting citizens know just how much money our thriving tourist industry is bringing to our area.

Last year alone, $39 million was collected in local lodging tax by both the City of Blue Ridge and Fannin County.

“That’s just the ones who pay the tax,” Jan Hackett, President of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce spoke of the significance of these numbers, “so anyone out there who is an Airbnb or a VRBO who is not paying the tax is not in that number.”

In recent years Georgia Tech teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to do a study on our economic impact numbers. According to Hackett the purpose of this study was to determine the amount of dollars spent in our local economy based on the lodging taxes collected.

Georgia Tech was able to produce an equation that they felt would portray an accurate number based on percentages of sales in direct comparison with lodging taxes.

“Based on their percentages the amount of money that visitors spent directly was $170.5 million dollars,” Hackett said explaining the findings for calendar year 2018 and added that this number is based on overnight visitors alone and does not account for day trippers and our area’s population of second home owners.

According to these numbers and based on SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) collections last year, overnight visitors made up roughly a third of all retail sales in the county. SPLOST reported a record breaking $555 million is sales last year for Fannin County.

Hackett broke down the numbers into a daily average. On average per day lodging brings in $100,795 and visitors spend roughly $484,375. This equates to $39,347 of taxes collected locally.

While our county can become crowded due to the visitors, there is a definite positive impact these visitors bring with them. Roughly one-third of the jobs in Fannin County (excluding governmental) are supported by the tourist industry, and all the extra revenue saves residents approximately $865 in taxation per household.

Hackett pointed out that in 2001: “At that point in time we had less in retail sales than any county in the four around us.” These counties include Fannin, Glimer, Pickens, and Union.

Fast forward to recent years and Fannin County is now leading the way in retail sales and economic growth. A comparison shows that in 2001 retail sales were approximately $150 million and in 2018 retail sales were $555,697,658.

With the lodging tax now being split 50/50 between the chamber and the county, Hackett reported that the decrease from the 70 percent that the chamber previously received has not posed any negative effect on the ability to market our area.

Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton explains where the extra revenue the county is now getting from the split in lodging tax is being spent, “When we adjusted this ratio between the board of commissioners and the chamber, our intent was to take half of that increase and put it into safety.”

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson is credited with the idea of investing the funds into public safety, and had pointed out in previous meetings that his reasoning is simply with more people visiting and more events being held in our area there becomes an increased demand for emergency services to be provided.

Up next for the Chamber of Commerce is to continue to promote growth and visitation in our area. Hackett said of moving forward, “Our mission is only to help make Fannin County a better place to live, work and play.”

The chamber has recently focused efforts into making the Copper Basin area a desirable place to visit and has teamed up with the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government Study to produce an in depth study of McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown.

“The Carl Vinson Institute is doing a kind of strategic planning process for McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown….the Copper Basin,” Hackett said of the partnership and added that she is expecting the study to be complete by the end of February.

The study and planning will work to make the Copper Basin area a more appealing place to work, live and visit. Its focus is to re-brand the area. Under the name the Copper Basin Renaissance, the partnership with UGA is focusing its campaign on the slogan “Copper Basin. Too Great for One State”.

Hackett said of the chamber’s focus, “As Blue Ridge has gotten more crowded, it only makes since to try to do more in McCaysville and Copper Hill and the Basin, so that when visitors are here we’ll have them spread out in the county.”

The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce debuted a new website that went live in March of last year. 617,905 users visited the site and of those users 82 percent were new.

The new design of the website landed the chamber a prestigious Silver Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.

“To give you an idea of what an honor that is, the Jackson Hole Wyoming website also won a silver,” Hackett said of the accomplishment.

The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce plans to continue efforts in 2019 to once again bring in record numbers to our area and help define Fannin County as a resilient place to visit or to make home.

Featured Image: A small sample of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce new award winning website.

 

 

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 [email protected]

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