State to look into hurricane relief for Georgia

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia State Assembly will convene on Tuesday Nov. 13 in a special called session.

Governor Nathan Deal called this session to address the state’s role and responsibility in aiding those affected in Southwest Georgia by Hurricane Michael.

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The agricultural sector of Georgia has lost billions due to Hurricane Michael.

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston held a special press conference in Blue Ridge on Friday Nov. 9 to address this upcoming session.

“This is a very important session,” Ralston said of the reason for the called session. “I know that we have all been preoccupied with the elections that have been going on, but now that they are over, I think it’s important that we get around in a very concentrated way to helping Southwestern Georgia recover from the almost complete devastation resulting from Hurricane Michael.”

According to the most recent data, state agencies have reported $22 million in damages to state owned properties. These damage estimates have been reported as far north as Cobb County and as far east as Chatham County.

Ralston, who has himself been in person to visit some of the areas affected by Hurricane Michael said of the devastation, “I can tell you it will bring tears to your eyes to see all the houses that have been damaged and destroyed and the damage to our agriculture sector of our economy is just beyond belief.”

As of Oct. 31 it is estimated that $2.461 billion has been lost in the Georgia agricultural sector. This estimate includes crops such as pecans, cotton, and peanuts, as well as general loss in vegetables, poultry, dairy, and timber.

Ralston cited Seminole County, Georgia as having lost 100 percent of their pecan trees. Pecan trees take on average 10 years to fully mature for harvest upon being planted.

In the Seminole County case Ralston said that “generations of work have been set back”.

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The timber sector is another field that will face major setbacks.

“I want to commend Governor Deal for making this a priority sooner rather than later,” Ralston said of the urgency in aiding these areas.
Governor Nathan Deal has put out a figure of $270 million in relief efforts. Ralston stressed that this would just be a beginning and by no means a final number.

“It’s going to be way more than that,” Ralston addressed the overall cost. “The total damage is going to be multiple billions, more than any state can do. The federal government and us will partner on many of these programs.”

Currently local governments have been bearing the financial burden of debris removal and clean up. Ralston feels that the money being appropriated will go partially for reimbursement to these local agencies.

The state will focus mainly on fixing infrastructure in the area and help continue the debris removal. They will also look at repairing state assets.
“I’m not expecting that it would have an effect on the mid year budget,” Ralston said speaking of the financial impact on the state. “We’re doing well as a state so we don’t have to touch the rainy day fund.”

Ralston does expect some relief money to be worked into the 2020 Budget when the regualr General Session takes place.

Also being addressed at this special called session is Georgia’s Jet Fuel Tax break. This tax exemption was signed into executive order by Governor Deal after it caused much controversy in the house and senate.

“Under the law the suspension of the jet fuel tax has to be taken up because the suspension was reinstated by executive order,” Ralston explained why this matter would be discussed at the special session, “which means that it must be reviewed at the next regular or special session.”

As for whether this tax break will continue, it remains unknown. “Anytime that we do preferential tax treatment for any entity, then I think the burden is on that entity to make the case for why it is necessary, why it’s good for the overall economy in this state.”

Ralston added, “To be candid with you, I haven’t heard that case made yet.”

***All photos courtesy of www.house.ga.gov***

 

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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David Ralston shares his opinion on the 2018 Election

Election 2018

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston spoke to Fannin County residents at the monthly Republican Party meeting. Ralston gave citizens an update on happenings at the Georgia capital and didn’t shy away from sharing his opinion of the upcoming Republican runoff and the Nov. General Election.

“Ain’t nobody going to know who I voted for,” Ralston said expanding on his opinion over recent endorsements of the two Georgia gubernatorial Republican candidates, “because I want to help bring about…we’re going to need some healing as a party.”

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Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston updated residents of Fannin County about happenings in the state capital.

Ralston spoke of the the tough campaign that many in his party have faced and are still facing. He spoke specifically of the gubernatorial race between Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp: “It’s been kind of…actually kind of nasty.”

Georgia Republicans have a good message according to Ralston and need to refocus on getting out and sharing that message. He would like to see his party “stand together and stand united”.

“It is well funded. It is organized. It is energized. It is unified,” Ralston said of the Democratic Party that is being faced this year, adding, “It’s also more liberal than it was when it was in power last time.”

With redistricting expected to come after 2020, Ralston stressed the importance of coming together as a party in all upcoming elections.

Ralston spoke of his recent trip to Washington D.C. where he was invited to take part in President Donald J. Trump’s Infrastructure Advisory Council. The small group of state representatives spent time talking about issues in their state and met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson.

“This is a welcome relief that we now have an administration that really does want to hear from us,” Ralston said of his time in our nation’s capital, “and that believes that power comes from the bottom up. Rather than from the top down.”

As far as the work of the last General Assembly in Georgia, Ralston said, “I think that we have had a great session. It is one that I am very, very proud of.”

Among the accomplishments listed by Ralston, the general session achieved fully funding the QBE (Quality Basic Education) which will bring an additional $273,000 to Fannin County Public Schools. The Fannin County School System will also receive $44,000 to put towards added security of school campuses.

Taxes were cut from 6 percent to 5.75 percent with a trigger to drop to 5.5 percent in 2019. Ralston stated that this was the first time income taxes were cut since its institution in Georgia.

“We managed to do that while keeping our budget balanced and maintaining a AAA bond rating,” Ralston added of the recent financial amendments in the state.

Fannin County will also soon see a stand alone campus for the University of North Georgia (UNG). This comes with the state pledging $5.5 million for its construction.

Ralston notes this as a “game changer” for Fannin County. According to Ralston not only will this strengthen ties with UNG in our area but also provide educational opportunities including dual enrollment for local high school students.

Finally Ralston spoke of legislation passed that will allow for “micro hospitals”. These small-scale hospitals will offer acute-care and emergency services as well as short term inpatient care. Facilities such as these typically only house 8 – 15 beds and because of lower overhead are less expensive to operate.

“The first such facility in the state is located just down the road in Ellijay,” Ralston spoke of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Outpatient Center.
“I have to say, to receive 75 percent of the vote in the district was humbling and beyond our expectations,” Ralston acknowledged his own campaign and the outcome of the May Republican Primary. “It is a real honor to represent this county in the House of Representatives. More than that though I am blessed to call this place home.”

 

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

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County Schools to receive additional state funding

News, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County School System will see a boost in funding as state lawmakers have voted to fully fund Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act (QBE).

QBE was adopted unanimously by both houses of the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Joe Frank Harris in 1985. The purpose of the QBE earnings are to provide an equal and adequate education for all public schools in the state of Georgia.

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Ralston spoke with BKP about the now fully funded QBE in Georgia.

QBE works by providing additional funding to public schools in counties that do not have the a large income from property taxes.

State Funding Made Simple describes the process as “Because all counties are not created equal in terms of property tax wealth, they cannot raise the same amounts of money from local property taxes. The state provides additional funding to these counties according to a formula that compares the relative property tax wealth of all counties in the state. Systems at or below the 75% level can receive equalization funding in proportion to the amount of mills they levy beyond 5 mills.”

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston spoke with BKP (Brian K. Pritchard) on his morning show Anything Goes about the accomplishments made in the past legislative session.

“For the first time in 16 years at least, we have fully funded QBE,” Ralston explained, “Which means that all of the austerity cuts to local school systems that started back in the middle of the Perdue administration and have continued forward because of the economy and other reasons, they’re now over.”

Economy did play a major part in the original cuts, and Georgia’s strengthening economy is reason for this full funding.

According to Governor Nathan Deal next year’s projected state revenue has increased by $194 million. This increase brings the FY 2019 state revenue estimate to $26.2 billion.

Because of this increase Deal is allocating an additional $167 million to K-12 education.

“Georgia’s strong economic growth in recent years has allowed us to invest heavily in education, transportation, public safety and healthcare,” says Deal.

“It’s going to mean about $375,000 right off the bat to Gilmer County,” Ralston said explaining the benefits to our area. “It’s going to mean about $285,000 right off the bat to Fannin County schools.”

School systems are allowed to use this funding in a number of areas to help maintain a basic standard of education for all Georgia public school students.

 

 

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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Board of Elections and Registration prepare for General Election in 2018

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Board of Elections and Registration (BOEAR) planned ahead for upcoming elections in 2018 at their Dec. 4 meeting.

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Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston could seek re-election in 2018.

With many county and statewide elections scheduled to take place in the upcoming year, the BOEAR is already planning ahead for the busy year. BOEAR Chairman Sonia Smith began, “We are looking at a primary in May.”

“Locally, we have Post 2 Commissioner and two school board seats, Steve Stanley and Bobby Bearden,” BOEAR Vice Chairman Mary Ann Conner added.

One of the notable political figures that could choose to run for re-election in 2018 is Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

Ralston was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002 and represents House District 7, which includes Fannin County, Gilmer County and a portion of Dawson County. Ralston is the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he has held since 2010.

Another key race in Georgia will be the governor’s seat. Currently held by Governor Nathan Deal, this seat will be open without an incumbent.

Deal was first elected in 2010 and has served two consecutive four year terms. According to Georgia state law, this seat is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.

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Governor Nathan Deal will be ineligible for to seek a third term in 2018.

Governor Deal has met the term limit criteria and will be ineligible to seek a third term in 2018.

Locally, three seats within Fannin County will be in the General Election. Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 2 Commissioner, currently held by Larry Joe Sosebee, will appear on the ballot.

Along with the Post 2 Commissioner seat, two of the five seats on the Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) will also be voted on in the 2018 elections. These seats, with the BOE, are currently held by board member Steve Stanley and BOE Chairman Bobby Bearden.

The General Primary is scheduled to be held on May 22, 2018, with a voter registration deadline of April 23.

Conner brought up another position that will appear in the 2018 General Election: “The Soil and Water Conservation seat, that will come up. The Soil and Water people and the state take care of all of that, and they just send us what they want on the ballot.”

The Blue Ridge Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District is represented by two district supervisors. One of the supervisors is appointed to a two-year term while the other is elected to the position and serves a four-year term.

Currently, Fannin County is only represented by one district supervisor, Damon Davenport. Richard Stanley, the elected official, passed away in late September of this year. The seat of the late Stanley will be open to candidates in the 2018 election.

A key issue in Fannin County that could make its way to the 2018 ballot is the Senior Homestead Tax Exemption. In a town hall meeting held on Nov. 16, hundreds gathered to address the possibility of eliminating the education portion of property taxes for seniors.

At this meeting, there was an overwhelming turnout opposed to this proposal. With no official word from state representatives as to whether there are plans to move forward with the passing of this exemption, Smith cautioned, “Let us not be lackadaisical, in assuming that that will not get dropped before they (state representatives) quit meeting. So let’s keep an eye on that.”

After General Primaries are held in May to narrow down candidate selection, a General Election will take place on Nov. 6, 2018. Voting registration for this election ends on Oct. 9.

 

 

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

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Brian Kemp makes stop in Fannin County to explain why he should be Georgia’s next governor

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp stopped in Fannin County Feb. 20 to introduce himself and to address citizen concerns.

Part of his Putting Georgians First Bus Stop tour, Kemp plans on visiting more than 50 counties in nine days to introduce his conservative 4 Point Plan and to let voters know of his platform as he makes his way in the Georgia governor’s race.

The governor’s seat in the state of Georgia is currently held by Nathan Deal. Deal was first elected in 2010 and has served two consecutive four-year terms. According to Georgia state law, this seat is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp explains his 4 Point Plan to Fannin County Residents.

Governor Deal has met the term limit criteria and will be ineligible to seek a third term in 2018.

Kemp who has held the position of Georgia Secretary of State since January 2010 spoke of what he feels sets him apart from others in the race: “I’ve learned a lot over the years, but I’m still the same guy when I first ran for legislature.”

Owning a small construction business in Athens, Georgia, Kemp first ran for a local office. “I really just became very frustrated with government, and I decided to do something about it,” Kemp said.

Wanting to bring a common sense, small business owner mentality to state government, Kemp pursued furthering his influence and stated that his main focus in government is “figuring out ways to do more with less.”

Kemp laid out his 4 Point Plan for residents of Fannin County with the first step being to make Georgia number one for small businesses.

Citing that Governor Deal has made great steps in achieving this, Kemp would like to continue to build on what Deal has accomplished.

“We need to continue to provide an environment and make it better,” Kemp stated about ways to attract and sustain small business growth. Kemp would like to see regulatory reform in this area, giving entrepreneurs more opportunity to expand and development in Georgia.

Kemp’s second step would involve spending reform. Georgia’s 2015 operating budget was set at $20.8 billion and the 2019 budget is proposed to be $26 billion, showing an increase of $5.2 billion in just five years.

Kemp would like to implement a spending cap, so that items will be more heavily scrutinized when considered for the budget. “When you’re in the good times, that’s when you need the spending cap,” Kemp explained.

Kemp said that if elected governor, he would question all spending: “How much is it going to cost? Who’s going to pay for it? And what are the long-term ramifications?”.

Ultimately, Kemp would like to start seeing a decrease in tax percentages for everyone in the state of Georgia but is also not opposed to a short-term solution of tax rebate for residents.

Step three is to move all of the state of Georgia forward focusing on both urban and rural areas. Strengthening rural Georgia would not only focus on economic development but also goods and services provided in these counties.

Kemp cited the need for quality healthcare providers and quality education. He would like to focus on agriculture as well and move toward finding more resources and creating a higher demand for Georgia’s exports.

Finally, Kemp would like to put Georgians first. He would like to see Georgia’s resources spent and utilized on Georgia residents. Putting a stop to sanctuary cities, cracking down on gang and drug-related crime, and deporting criminal illegal immigrants are few areas where Kemp feels our state could step up and save in resources that could otherwise be used for residents of Georgia.

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Kemp takes time to talk with audience members in Fannin County on his Bus Stop Tour.

Kemp took questions from the audience, and one such question that garnered everyone’s attention was a question relating to gun control and in particular the safety in our schools.

Kemp, a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, acknowledged that the current state of our country in regards to the mass shootings that take place every year is one that he never would have imagined growing up. He added that it saddens him to even think about.

When asked specifically about armed personnel in our schools, Kemp replied, “I support the abilities of local school boards and local schools to take care of their children.”

He stated that on a local level, if a school system felt the need for armed guards or further security measures, he would fully support their decision.

Kemp left the audience with a commitment he promised to uphold and one that he says has not changed during his terms as an elected official: “I was going to tell the people what I was going to do, and when I got in office, I was actually going to do that.”

Kemp assures everyone that if elected governor in the state of Georgia, that he will “deliver on those promises.”

 

 

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

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Blue Ridge Elementary teachers followed Governor Deal’s request

Blue Ridge Elem

Blue Ridge Elementary School teachers followed Governor Deal’s request and showed their support for our Dawgs!

MEDIA ADVISORY — “Released” Premier

State & National

Interview with Georgia Governor Candidate (R) Michael Williams

Election, State & National

27th District State Senator, Michael Williams did a phone interview with us this morning. Senator Williams is a Georgia Governor Candidate and came on to talk to us about why he wants to run for Governor. Senator Williams describes himself as a “fearless conservative”. He was the first elected official to endorse Trump and says he supports President Trump even more today. BKP talks to him about his stance on casinos in Georgia, taxes, the 2nd Amendment, and more. See/hear the full interview below.

 

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