Fannin County School System aces SPLOST audit

Community, News, Rebel's Corner

Blue Ridge, Ga. – An audit of the Fannin County School System’s SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) collection and spending has shown that the district is being good stewards of these funds.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney explained the purposes of the independent audit were a requirement by the state when SPLOST collections exceed $5 million within a county.

SPLOST collections for 2017 totaled approximately $5.1 million and collections for 2018 topped that number bringing in $5.6 million.

Finance Director Susan Holloway explained that the Fannin County School calendar year ran from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, and that collections during this period was the first fiscal school year that the system met the amount requiring an audit.

Georgia code section O.C.G.A.20-2-491 requires public school systems to maintain continuing performance audits for expenditures of sales tax.
Mauldin and Jenkins was selected to carry out the audit for the school system.

“They audit 40 school systems, including more schools in Georgia than any other firm. They also audit 53 counties including more counties in Georgia than any other firm, and they audit 112 cities including more cities in Georgia than any other firm,” Holloway said explaining the reason for choosing Mauldin and Jenkins and added, “We felt they were solid.”

The audit’s purpose was to find out if the Fannin County School System was meeting 3 requirements:

  • 1. Provide a goal that ensures tax funds are spent efficiently and economically, so that the school district receives the maximum benefit from dollars collected.
  • 2. Provide reports not less than once annually to ensure that the terms laid out in item 1 are being met.
  • 3. Provide for periodic public recommendations not less than once annually for improvements in meeting the goal specified in item 1.

Mauldin and Jenkins tested approximately 60 claims. These claims accounted for $1,027,970 or 15.3 percent of total disbursements for the year.
Holloway announced the findings of the audit saying that Mauldin and Jenkins “concluded that the Fannin County School District’s SPLOST is operating in compliance with all laws and regulations, the referendum approved by the county citizens and industry best practices.”

Special recognition was given to Director of Maintenance and Facilities Danny Shinpaugh by the auditing firm for his role in providing the BOE with continuous and thorough updates regarding construction projects relating to school properties.

Having looked into the bidding and decision making processes involved, focusing on the recently constructed Agricultural Center, along with negotiations that had been made, Mauldin and Jenkins also recognized Shinpaugh’s outstanding management in overseeing construction projects.

“It was a very fair process,” Holloway said of the manner in which the audit was performed and gave special credit to her team in the finance department for the hard work and many hours they put in all year: “There’s a lot of times they’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave and they’re willing to dig in.”

“With the Superintendent and the Board’s support I have been able to hand pick these awesome ladies. I appreciate you for that,” Holloway said expressing thanks for all her fellow coworkers.

Dr. Gwatney shared his thoughts on the findings of the SPLOST audit: “It’s comforting to have the reassurance of an external audit to show that these funds that are being collected are being utilized legally, properly, ethically and in the manner that matches the referendum.”

The Fannin County School System is now hoping that the residents of Fannin County will continue the district’s success and provide the school system with a continuation of collections for SPLOST.

With the SPLOST IV referendum allowing the school system to collect but not exceed $27.5 million by March 2021, projections are indicating that this goal will be met before the ability to collect SPLOST funds expires.

It is the hopes of the BOE and fellow faculty with in the Fannin County School System that the public will allow for a continuation of this collection with the increased cap amount to be $34.5 million.

A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, March 19 for the approval of the SPLOST V referendum and Early Voting is taking place now. If passed the new referendum would allow FCSS to move the cap of SPLOST funds to $34.5 million.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County Schools will seek SPLOST continuation

Community, News, Rebel's Corner
Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Education, GEMA, FEMA, Michael Ruple, EMA Director Robert Graham, Lt. Darvin Couch

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) has voted in favor of the continuation of collections for SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and now they hope the public will do the same.

SPLOST has helped in the funding of several projects within the Fannin County School System (FCSS). Some of the more recent notable projects include the construction of the Agricultural Building located off of Windy Ridge Road and the technology upgrades seen throughout the FCSS campuses.

Blue Ridge, Board of Education, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Fannin County, Georgia, Terry Bramlett, Finance Director, Susan Holloway, Director of Planning, Policy, & Curriculum, Darren Danner, Lynn Doss,  Raymond James and Associates, Gray Pannell and Woodward LLP, Mary Ann Conner, Chuck Cook, Fannin County Elections and Registration, SPLOST IV, SPLOST V, Special Election, March 19, 2019

The new Agricultural Center located off of Windy Ridge Road is a direct result of Fannin County SPLOST collections.

“That’s where I feel like we are being good stewards of our taxpayer dollars,” FCSS Finance Director Susan Holloway addressed the BOE concerning SPLOST funds, “Because what we have is aged facilities, but we are doing, I think, an excellent job of maintaining and keeping them in top notch shape.”

The latest SPLOST update for Nov. 2018 in the amount of $500,946.90 shows that collections in the account are following an increasing trend.
With the SPLOST IV referendum allowing the school system to collect but not exceed $27.5 million by March 2021, projections are indicating that this goal will be met before the ability to collect SPLOST funds expires.

Holloway explains, “We’re in our SPLOST IV referendum and that referendum is for $27,500,000.00. The collections for this referendum began in April of 2016. It ends in March of 2021. A SPLOSTt referendum runs for 5 years. If we stay on this path that we are on we are probably going to cap out at that $27.5 million before we get to that date.”

It is the hopes of the BOE and fellow faculty with in the FCSS that the public will allow for a continuation of this collection with the increased cap amount to be $34.5 million.

The school system has worked closely with local council Lynn Doss, Raymond James and Associates, Gray Pannell and Woodward LLP, and Mary Ann Conner and Chuck Cook with the Fannin County Elections and Registration Office to have an SPLOST referendum added as a Special Election in 2019.

Based on projections from Gray Pannell and Woodward LLP, the FCSS is asking for the increased amount of $34.5 million. Holloway explains the number, “We should not cap out on this one. Hopefully in five years we’ll get the life out of this SPLOST.”

Along with the additional requested SPLOST collections, the BOE discussed preapproval of bonding $14 million for emergency purposes.
“The Board of Education utilizes bonding not to complete projects, but as emergency funding,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney clarified the discussion for the preapproval.

School Board Member Terry Bramlett expanded on the subject, “We’re simply reserving the right to do that (obtain a bond) should we have an emergency, because there would be interest related to a bonded portion of the money. All efforts would be exhausted not to do that.”

What will the Fannin County School System use SPLOST collections for? According the new referendum the purpose of these funds will be allocated in the following areas:

  • A) adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, equipping, and demolishing existing school buildings, school system facilities, parking lots and driveways, physical education/athletic facilities and fields;
  • B) updating and purchasing HVAC systems, system technology, electrical systems, nutritional equipment and electronic communications systems;
  • C) acquiring new computer hardware, technology equipment, safety and security equipment, and software;
  • D) acquiring miscellaneous new equipment, fixtures, and furnishings for the school district;
  • E) acquiring school buses and other vehicles, transportation and maintenance equipment and facilities;
  • F) acquiring, constructing and equipping new buildings and facilities useful and desirable, including but not limited to, a new          STEM/Science wing at Fannin County Middle School, a new Health and Wellness Multipurpose Facility; a new professional development facility;
  • G) acquiring and/or improving land for school system facilities;
  • H) purchasing traditional and electronic textbooks, purchase new and upgrades to print and electronic media collections

The new projected STEM/Science wing at Fannin County Middle School, along with the new projected Health and Wellness Multipurpose Facility at Fannin County High School were highlighted as projects of the SPLOST V referendum.

According to Bramlett SPLOST “allows people who visit our fair country to participate rather than having to rely solely on the property owners.”

Attorney Lynn Doss backed up this statement saying that statistically between 54 -70 percent of SPLOST collections in Fannin County comes from visitors.

Director of Planning, Policy, & Curriculum Darren Danner spoke of the SPLOST V referendum: “This is not an additional tax. This is a continuation of SPLOST IV. If we meet that threshold before March of 2021,” adding, “If Fannin County voters approve this it will kick in immediately.”

Gwatney summed up the feelings of the BOE with a simple statement: “Thankful for SPLOST.”

A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, March 19 for the approval of the SPLOST V referendum, allowing FCSS to move the cap of SPLOST funds to $34.5 million. This referendum is expected to be the only item on the ballot.

 

 

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

Will Charlie Dent Retire clearing the way for Republican Establishment Candidate Ryan Mackenzie?

Featured, Politics

Last week Pennsylvania 15th District Congressman Charlie Dent announced he would not seek an 8th term. One thing Dent did not say in his announcement is if he would complete his current term.

L-R  Mackenzie -Simmons

Just days before Dent’s announcement PA State Rep from the 131st District, Justin Simmons,  announced he would challenge Dent for the 15th District seat.

The day after Dent’s announcement PA State Rep from the 134th District,  Ryan Mackenzie,  threw his hat into the race. Sources tell FYN that Mackenzie was with Dent the night before Dent made his announcement.

Mackenzie is being called Dent’s hand picked candidate. In an interview with FYN  Simmons said Mackenzie is a part of the state establishment, the Republican establishment candidate. Simmons had the nerve to oppose Dent.  We can’t find any information which indicates Mackenzie was prepared to oppose Dent before Dent announced he would not run.    

Remember Dent did not say he would complete his term. Sources tell FYN Dent plans to retire. If he retires the voters won’t get a chance to pick the next 15th District Republican candidate through the primary process. The Governor will call for a special election. The voters will lose their voice.

Five counties make up the District; Lehigh County,  Berks County, Dauphin County , Lebanon County and Northampton County.

Pictured L-R Lehigh County Rep Chairman Jess Banotai, Berks County Rep Chairman Joe Rudderow, Dauphin County Rep Chairman Dave Feidt, Lebanon County Rep Chairman Casey Long, & Northampton County Rep Chairman Lee Snover.

The Republican County Chairman “Party Bosses” from each county will pick Delegates. These Delegates will then vote for their candidate to run against a Democrat candidate. The Democrats have the same process.

Sources tell FYN that the cards are stacked in favor for Mackenzie and if Dent retires he will most likely become the Republican Candidate.

Dent is a liberal Republican who has opposed President Trump at every turn. Dent finds every TV camera he can in order to say something negative about President Trump. Darlin’ Charlie Dent reminds many PA Republican of Darlin’ Arlen Specter. Dent is the Co-Chair of the liberal Republican Tuesday Group.

The PA Republican establishment must remember,  without the support of Senator Pat Toomey or Charlie Dent,  Donald Trump won Pennsylvania. So without votes from Trump supporters the 15th District could easily go to a Democrat.

Could Dent be preparing for a run for Governor?

We called Dent to ask him if he is retiring.

 

 

 

 

My interview with Justin Simmons

 

 

My next article “How the PA 15th resembles the GA 6th between (R) Karen Handel and (D)Jon Ossoff with different results

Catch our daily show 8 AM M-F on FYNTV.COM

#BKP’s opinion on local, state and national news and politics

Republicans Never Learn – (D) Jon Ossoff Almost Flipped the GA 6th District

Politics

Will (R) Karen Handel embrace or distance herself from President Donald Trump? Will Trump voters come out and vote for Karen Handel? How hard will Dan Moody, Judson Hill, and Bob Gray work to convince their voters to vote for Karen Handel? If Fulton County is the Republican stronghold of the district then why did Ossoff get 41,269 votes? Ossoff received almost as many votes in Fulton County as Gray, Handel and Moody combined. Donald Trump is President of the United States because he did not used the “Republican Playbook.” By using the playbook the Republicans almost lost the 6th district. When will Republicans learn to throw the playbook out the window – Trump style?

If Jon Ossoff Loses the Election, You Can’t Say the Media Didn’t Try to Help

Politics

A runoff seems to be certain in the GA 6th Congressionaldistrict special election to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price, taking place today. Democrat Jon Ossoff looks msnbcto be guaranteed one of the runoff spots; the second spot will be left open to Republican Dan Moody, Karen Handel, or Bob Gray. If you are tired of all of the commercials and think they will end tonight… Think again. There will be just as many commercials but now it will be narrowed down to just two candidates. So get ready ready for another two months of political campaign ads, because election day is June 20th.

 

If Ossoff wins at least 40 % of the vote tonight there is a good chance that he will be able to win the election in June to become the new Congressman of the GA 6th. A runoff election is generally won by the opponent that can get their voters back to the polls. Just like most sports; the team that has the momentum wins. It is going to be questionable as to whether the Republicans can coalesce and change the momentum of the game.Jason McCarter- 6th district Republican that voted for Jon Ossoff

 

If Democrats just take the voter role from tonight, with the amount of money they have coming in nation wide; they will be able to do anything necessary to get the voters back to the polls on June 20th. If the top Republican is only in the area of 20% of the vote tonight they have the challenge of getting that 20% back to the polls in addition to the margin needed to win from the Republicans they ran against. If Karen Handel is the front runner can you really see Bob Gray, Judson Hill, Dan Moody and the rest of the Republicans out begging their voters to return to the polls. BKP sees them half heartedly endorsing her, but not aggressively working for her campaign.

 

Ossoff has many media outlets to thank for their media coveratrump pollsge, not to mention this morning’s MSNBC’s 15 minute Ossoff infomercial. Morning Joe and Mika Brzezinski spent about 15 minutes talking about President Donald Trump’s poor polling numbers. BKP strongly believes the poor polling report was to lead the voters of the 6th district to believe the country is turning on President Donald Trump. They continued by telling their audience that in less than 100 days of his presidency the American people have tuned him out. That gave Mika a perfect segway into, “Up next: A special election that could spell trouble for the GOP.”

 

MSNBC’s Political Correspondent, Casey Hunt, proceeded with what we consider a Jon Ossoff infomercial. Hunt dedicated only about 15 seconds of her report to Republicans Bob Gray and Karen Handel. Hunt was even able to find, in her non-biased reporting, a Republican in the district that voted for Jon Ossoff. Republicans go into every election already behind one strike knowing the media is against them.

 

In today’s segment BKP reminds people of the late Andrew Breitbart’sOssoff, Lewis, and Johnson comments concerning Congressman John Lewis – “The orchestrated lie.” President Donald Trump had the nerve to call John Lewis a liar. Republicans never want to offend anybody, want to play the middle of the road, and know how to lose an election. BKP is concerned that Republicans attacking Ossoff’s youth and fondness for Star Wars, may have been non-beneficial. Did Republicans miss how Star Wars is to all age groups? Maybe Republicans don’t remember a college keg party? REALLY… Democrats are organized. If they win the 6th district, the next stop is winning The House, and the grand finale will be redistricting in 2021. A must watch segment. Republicans beware… This may be offensive… Because it’s the truth!

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