Board of Assessors to Hire New Personal Property Agent

News, Tax Assessors

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – During their meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2019 the Fannin County Board of Tax Assessors announced that they would be hiring a new Personal Property agent.

Kim Callahan will be a new employee covering this position, which is currently filled by Yvonne Middlebrook.

Middlebrook will still be employed with the board, but she will begin working on the Real Property side of the board.

Personal property agents deal with movable property, or anything subject to ownership aside from land, whereas Real property agents deal with immovable property, or the land and anything attached to it.

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Blue Ridge Cannery to Open for Season

Community, Press Release

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Blue Ridge Cannery will open for the 2019 season on Thursday, July 11. The cannery provides a clean and convenient place to process vegetables and fruits for its customers each canning season.

Families have used the cannery for years and the tradition continues. The cannery allows customers to quickly process larger quantities of food than possible at home. The cannery is easier to clean as well.

Customers need to bring their products ready to pack and process as well as the supplies needed. Customers can choose whether to bring in their own glass jars which will be processed for 40 cents for each jar or metal cans may be obtained from the cannery and will be processed for 70 cents per can. First time users will be taught how to use the facility.

The cannery is located in the old State Farmers Market complex off East First Street.

The cannery will be open on July 11 and then on each Tuesday and Thursday in July, August, and September at 8 am with the exception of July 16 which it will be closed. The product must be ready for the cooker by 12 pm (noon).

For more information call 706-632-0208.

The cannery is managed by Rhonda Mathews Fannin County High School Agriculture Education Teacher, Emily Dean Fannin County High School Agriculture Education Teacher and Cherie White Fannin County Middle School Agriculture Education Teacher, and operated by the Fannin County Board of Education.

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Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 06/10 to 06/15

Arrest Reports

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for www.fetchyournews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Fannin County. Those arrests are posted on www.fetchyournews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Amelia Estates Seeks to Maintain Private Water System

News, Water Authority

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Representatives of Amelia Estates spoke with the Fannin County Water Authority in regards to keeping their private water system during the authority’s meeting on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Appalachian Water is seeking a letter from the authority stating that they are not near the estates. But because they are, and are able to and willing to serve the area, this letter has not been furnished.

The private system currently in place consists of two wells, each 463 feet deep, with one being currently used and the other lying dormant for future usage. The water from these wells have been tested against Appalachian water tests to confirm the quality of the water.

The filtration system alone for the private wells have cost the residents of Amelia Estates approximately $7,000.

The claim is that the residents of Amelia Estates are happy with their current system. They pay $34 per month and do not want to be metered or pay the expensive prices the Water Authority has in place.

Georgia law dictates however that the water usage must be monitored, so cooperation between The Water Authority and Appalachian Water is needed for Amelia Estates to obtain a permit.

Fannin County Water Authority

The Water Authority states that they have no problem not moving their water lines into the estates, but that they assume no liability for what may happen.

Private water systems have been known to fail, and the county has had to step in to do things such as place crates of water for those effected, etc. The Water Authority has seen people make these requests in the past, just to have them come back a few years down the line with problems they encounter. The authority doesn’t wish to say they won’t ever serve the area, but would rather say that they won’t in the immediate future.

The authority would like documentation containing signatures from the residents of Amelia Estates before moving forward, but cite that they would like more time to research this and get back to Amelia Estates during next month’s meeting, which is currently scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 2 pm. Stay tuned for future updates!
 
 
 
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Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 6/9 – 6/15

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
706-632-1958
Fax 706-632-8003

June 9, 2019 thru June 15, 2019 Responses

M1: 43
M3: 12
M4: 36
M11: 40

Polk Co. EMS: 2

Total: 133

Law: 353
Fire: 4
Rescue: 41

Total Emergency Calls: 492

Total Incoming Phone Calls (911 and Admin): 1027

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 06/3 to 06/10

Arrest Reports

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for www.fetchyournews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Fannin County. Those arrests are posted on www.fetchyournews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

City Council Backs Derelict Property Ordinance

City Council, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Blue Ridge City Council backed their newly proposed Derelict Property Ordinance during their meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, citing improvements to current ordinance.

One of the structures targeted by the Derelict Property Ordinance. Click to enlarge.

As one would expect, the ordinance was drafted in response to currently standing structures that are in need of repair. There were several specific locations the city has been struggling with, some definitely worse than others.

The ordinance was drafted by attorney James A. Balli in response to Jeff Stewart (Zoning, Land Development, Project Manager of Blue Ridge, Ga.) and the City Council’s requests for a solution to the properties in question.

Suzie Soave, a sales associate at local real estate company, had initially asked Stewart what could be done in response to comments such as “why some of these structures are allowed to be eyesores and possibly dangerous to the neighborhood and why ordinances are not being enforced.”

There is already a similar ordinance in place, though City Clerk Kelsey Ledford states that the current ordinance is “outdated, completely open to interpretation which encourages selective enforcement and would allow the mayor and council to without notice order an abatement of a nuisance property. If notice was provided the only hearing is in front of the mayor and council, no court or no warrant. If a citizen disobeyed the council order, they are subject to arrest.”

Another one of the structures targeted by the Derelict Property Ordinance. Click to enlarge.

She continues that this proposed ordinance “removes far-reaching power from the mayor and council in this area of law”, and “removes the ability for someone to be arrested for non-compliance, and adds procedural safeguards require by the state to protect citizens.”

Council member Rhonda Haight says that this ordinance will allow Police Chief Johnny Scearce to better do his job, with Mayor Donna Whitener stating that the new ordinance would be much more straightforward in regards to what Scearce’s responsibilities would be regarding enforcement of the ordinance.

Only one citizen signed up to speak against the ordinance; Michael Eaton, former Blue Ridge Zoning Board of Appeals, stating that he believes this ordinance will have unintended consequences, and thinks that Mayor Whitener may use it in her favor.

Many in attendance seemed to have concerns despite the council’s efforts to distinguish fact from fiction regarding the new ordinance, however.

Another view of the first building. Clearly not in as bad of shape as the second. It is located near the other building. Click to enlarge.

Only one council member, Kenneth Gaddis, spoke out stating that he believes that the council is rushing the ordinance, citing that tax payer money is on the line for something that he believes the council has had little discussion about, especially considering that the first reading was of a draft that still needed modification.

The ordinance is set to be voted on and potentially passed during the councils July meeting (currently scheduled for Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 6 pm), and those who wish to speak before the vote should contact City Clerk Kelsey Ledford to sign up.

(Apologies for the quality of the second half of the video. A different recording device had to be used, but this shouldn’t be an issue in future recordings).

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Newly-Formed Development Authority Shares Mission and Vision

Development Authority, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The newly-formed development authority shared their mission and vision with the public during their first official meeting on Monday, June 3, 2019 at the Blue Ridge City Hall.

The mission of the Downtown Development Authority, as read by board member Michelle Moran, “is to enhance the economic potential, and preserve the historical character, of the downtown district through promotional activities, development, and an organizational structure that focuses on community involvement with local business’, residents, and other citizens.”

Moran continued that the vision, though not yet approved, is that “Blue Ridge is Appalachia’s most inclusive, family-friendly, fresh water destination featuring world-class dining and shopping, a growing economy, entrepreneurial opportunity, and all-season recreation. The city of Blue Ridge is also designated Georgia Community Authority and Georgia Council for the Arts. We are committed to preserving our unique community while maintaining a vital, successful and attractive downtown for our residence, merchants and visitors. All citizens of Fannin County will have a greater appreciation, respect and understanding for the historic center. The Central Business District (CBD) will be valued as a vibrant economic and cultural district and a vital contributor to the communities heritage and identity. The CBD will be better because of the partnerships, investments and enhanced sense of place. Blue Ridge will have an enhanced quality of life in which to live, work and play.”

The Vision statement approval has been tabled until further modifications can be made, so changes are to be expected.

One thing board member Jay Hamilton wished to clarify, in response to a question from a citizen attending the meeting, is what exactly a Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is and what a DDA does. Hamilton states that a DDA has several purposes.

They are used in cities throughout the state as a mechanism to revitalize and re-develop municipal central business districts. The purposes are outlined by four P’s: protect, powers, projects and potential.

For protect, DDA’s are regulated by state statute so they can provide protection to cities who work through their DDA’s. Example, cities are not liable for their DDA’s debts or contracts.

For powers, DDA’s have certain powers granted by the state that cities don’t have. For instance, to acquire by purchase, lease, or otherwise, in the whole lease and dispose of real and personal property. So they would be able to acquire buildings, etc. and lease them back to the city, etc.

For projects, DDA’s are charged with re-development of their service area and completing projects. For an example, the acquisition and renovation of downtown properties for target business recruitment and expansions.

For potential, DDA’s are concerned only with their mission and projects, not the burdens of the local government. So board members have the potential to solve problems and engage in sustainable redevelopment.

Hamilton went on to say that grants, fundings and so on are available to the Downtown Development Authority that simply aren’t available to the city.

Several board members were absent from the meeting, and there’s much that needs to be re-examined and modified moving forward. Fetch Your News will be attending upcoming meetings with the newly-established Downtown Development Authority, so be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

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