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9-1-05 Citizens Groups Are Vigilant and Informative on BOC Meetings

   OCONEE:  method of operation for the Board has been to "discuss" an item at the agenda meeting and then place it on the consent agenda for the regular meeting ….. to vote at the regular meeting with no further discussion.

   JASPER:  ….-Unfortunately, we continue to stalemate our County with 3/2 Commission voting. We see our Commissioners divided with personalities instead of united by issues. This greatly effects day to day operations (ex. a no vote to repair the County bulldozer)….

   PIKE:  … (Commissioner) Powers said, after I make a recommendation that we lift the moratorium. Avery said, I Second and (Chairman) Fry said, "We have a motion and a second to lift the moratorium. Any discussion." …... Fry said,……..with apologies to everyone that is present and the commissioners that took their time to be here you'll find under Robert's Rules of Order…… that this meeting is now adjourned because you do not have a quorum.

AVOC

 

August 31, 2005

 

Citizens Groups Are Vigilant and Informative

 

By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

 

A primary mission of AVOC is to provide the public information & comment that may not be reported by the media.  With the Internet, more and more folks are informing and alerting citizens to events in their counties.  AVOC is pleased to pass on information received from the citizens groups.

 

Pike County has zoning and growth issues and has had a subdivision moratorium in place for sometime.  The BOC failed to have a quorum at their meeting on 8-30-05.

 

In Oconee County, Citizens for Oconee’s Future, Inc. monitors meeting agendas, meetings and activities in Oconee County.  It alerts many citizens to upcoming agenda.  It alerted Oconee Citizens of important issues on the 8-30-05 Agenda of the BOC (Agenda Setting Meeting).  The notice cautioned citizens that many items are “handled” at the “Agenda Setting Meeting” and then “rubber-stamped” at the regular First Tuesday Meeting without discussion.

 

In Jasper County, several issues are high profile.  As with many smaller communities, the local hospital and funding of it presents a real challenge to the local government.  

 

Jasper County is advertising for a new County Manager.  The Interim County Manager is Leonard Myers of Oconee County (a retiree of Carl Vinson Institute of Government) who has acted as Interim Manager in Oconee and Jackson Counties.

 

Jasper County is considering budgeting $,000.00 for a Newsletter in an attempt to “get word out” to citizens.  TWG (Taxpayer Watchdog Group) questions whether the money could be better spent on a County Website.  In today’s age, a county website is a valuable resource of information and notices.

 

It is good that citizens take an interest in local government.   Many decisions can be made with little public discussion and participation.   However, the cost is borne by citizens and taxpayers.  Keeping citizens informed and alert is an important contribution to a free society.


8-31-05 Pike County Commissioners Did Not Have Quorum

 

PikeWatchdog

 

August 31, 2005

 

Pike County BOC Does Not Have Quorum

 

There were only three commissioners present for the Commission Board meeting of August 30, 2005. Present were Chairman Steve Fry and Commissioners Bill Avery and Tommy Powers. This is how the meeting ended.

 

Agenda item: Commissioner Tommy Powers discussing the Subdivision Moratorium

 

-  Powers wanted to know if the moratorium was put in place for the sole purpose of correcting the Subdivision Ordinance and asked Burnsed if the Subdivision Ordinance had been revised and adopted. He was informed that it had been. Attorney Rob Morton read the moratorium and it stated that other ordinances would be revised as well. The last paragraph stated that the moratorium was in place for all subdivisions that had not had preliminary plat approval. Avery referred to the final paragraph.

 

- Powers said, after I make a recommendation that we lift the moratorium. Avery said, I Second and Fry said, "We have a motion and a second to lift the moratorium. Any discussion." Avery and Powers had no comments. Fry said, Can I have some discussion on this. You know when we got into this meeting tonight we decided to pull the budget off the table because half the county was not represented by their commissioners not being here. A little while back we had an issue come before the board and I decided that since Commissioner Avery wasn't here it wasn't fair to the Second District to entertain that item because they were not represented. Therefore, with apologies to everyone that is present and the commissioners that took their time to be here you'll find under Robert's Rules of Order, Chapter 11, Section 40, that this meeting is now adjourned because you do not have a quorum. Thank you." 

 

Fry then left the building.

 

The remainder of the meeting will be covered later.

 

Pikewatchdog


8-30-05 Oconee Citizens Urged to Ask Questions About BOC Agenda

 

Citizens for Oconee’s Future, Inc.

P O Box 1301

Watkinsville, GA  30677

http://www.oconeesfuture.com/index.html

 

August 30, 2005

 

Oconee BOC Agenda Meeting – 8-30-05

By Charles Baugh, President


There are several items of long term importance on tonight's agenda.  Citizens who are concerned about quality of life issues and taxes should come out to see some of the things being done by the BOC to promote the development that are changing the way we live here in Oconee.

Important items include:
Report on the Economic Development Plan
Update form the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee
Proposal for the Comprehensive Plan Update
Discuss bids for New Park Site Development
Naming New Park
.

The method of operation for the Board has been to "discuss" an item at the agenda meeting and then place it on the consent agenda for the regular meeting which enables them to vote at the regular meeting with no further discussion.  All items placed on the consent agenda are voted on as a whole.


 

8-30-05 News From TWG and Jasper County

 

Taxpayers Watchdog Group, Inc.
August 30, 2005

$000 BUDGETED FOR NEWSLETTER
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It wasn't until the last BOC meeting when the budget was realigned that we found out that $000 has been put into the BOC budget for a newsletter.  What is your opinion about this use of your tax money?  What would you think about using this money for a County Website?  The Website could have the meeting agenda, the minutes for each meeting for the past year, contact numbers, important messages from the Commissioners, meeting dates, and even the financial statements each month.  It could also include meeting dates and minutes for the various boards and authorities in the County-Water, Economic Development, Hospital, 911, Library, Health, Four County Development, Planning & Zoning, etc.  This would be an easy way for the citizens to keep up with the County and what is going on.  In our opinion, it would be a much better way to keep people informed than with a newsletter.  Let your Commissioners know what you think about this use of money!
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CITY OF JACKSON HASN'T HAD A PROPERTY TAX IN 30 YEARS!
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Not all cities gouge their citizens like the City of Monticello does with high taxes and higher utility bills.  In fact, our neighbors in Jackson, GA haven't had a property tax in 30 years.  They have a surplus in the bank and they have reasonable utility prices.  They don't get grants every other month either.  Wonder how they do it.  Instead of trips to Washington DC, maybe the Mayor needs to visit Jackson, GA and find their secret.
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INTERIM COUNTY MANAGER'S JOB TO HIRE NEW COUNTY MANAGER
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Leonard Myers, interim county manager, has been hired at $0 per hour.
After asking further as to how he is paid, we find that he also gets paid $0 per day for travel, and is an employee of the county-meaning the County also picks up his FICA match.  He receives no benefits such as health insurance or pension.  Mr. Myers works approximately 40 hours per week ($150.00 per week) and will be with Jasper County approximately 3 months. (Estimated cost to the county for 3 months $9,939.) His "main job" is to hire a new, permanent county manager for Jasper County.  Hopefully, he will be successful in hiring someone beneficial to the county--someone that cares about the County and has its best interest at heart and maybe even has some previous management experience.  Jasper County hasn't had much luck with County Manager's previously.  We hope things will change for the better.



HOSPITAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ALREADY HAS RESIGNATIONS
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Even though the hospital oversight committee was just formed, two of the five members have already resigned.  Jerry Goldin and John Slate have already submitted their resignations.  We have heard their resignations have something to do with a deadline they were given.  Kathy Mudd of the Monticello News questioned the BOC about this at the meeting Tuesday night (8/23/05).
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IF YOU CALL THE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE.
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You will hear a friendly voice that is happy to try to help you!  It is so very nice to hear someone on the other end of the telephone with a pleasant voice and good telephone manners again.  This person also knows the County and knows just how to help you or find someone who can.  Who is it?  Betty Moon!  She's finally back in the BOC office-where she has belonged all along!

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EMINENT DOMAIN LAW ALREADY BEING USED IN GEORGIA
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The City of Stockbridge is planning on using the new Supreme Court ruling to "confiscate" 5 properties in Stockbridge.  According to the Daily Herald, 2 of the properties will be used for a new City Hall and park (public use); however the other 3 properties will be resold to developers for retail development. The strange thing about this move is that at least one of the properties being condemned and resold is a retail property.  The Stockbridge Florist has been in business for 22 years.  We guess the developers have "better plans" than the owners of a 22 year old business or so the city council believes.  This is a scary situation for all people that own property.  The TWG is developing a resolution to present to the BOC to prevent this type of thing from happening in Jasper County.  If you have any suggestions, please email us at taxpayerwatchdogs@yahoo.com.  Everyone says they are against this and it won't happen.  Let's see what happens in our State Legislature and in our own County.
===============================================================

TWG 


NOTE:
           
We continue to get emails from people who have submitted Letters to the Editor that the Monticello News will not print.  This is a problem in that everyone's views   should be put in the paper.  Following is an editorial that we've had for 3 weeks,   waiting to see if the Monticello News would eventually put it in.  Guess not.  TWG

Dear Editor,
 
The landfill has been in the news a lot lately. I thought that it might be good to investigate the facts, especially in light of the September election with Mr. McMichael and Mr. Pennamon:
 
-Since 1976, our County has been collecting fees at our landfill. At one time, the landfill reserve account was said by some to approach $50,000. That money is no longer there and no one seems to know where it went.
 
-The prior County Commission knew for many years that our landfill needed to be capped (closed). The November 18, 2002 minutes of the Commission state "we are fast loosing...disposal capacity" and "we should plan now that the existing landfill will be finished at the end of January".
 
-The landfill situation was discussed numerous times over the next 2 years, as documented in the minutes of the Commission. But, no positive action was ever taken to address the situation.
 
-Finally, in October of 2004, the State EPD came down on the County and demanded that the landfill be capped or the County would be fined in 2005. Still, the Commission did nothing. No funds were budgeted for 2005 and no contractor was identified to cap the landfill.
 
-To avoid additional fines, the new Commission has begun to address the issue,
although there was no money budgeted to do so. Therefore, the Commission has had to establish a line of credit to borrow $00,000 from the State for the landfill closure.
 
-Unfortunately, we continue to stalemate our County with 3/2 Commission voting. We see our Commissioners divided with personalities instead of united by issues. This greatly effects day to day operations (ex. a no vote to repair the County bulldozer).
 
-Growth is rapidly moving this way. Responsible planning and sound budgeting is a must. Remember this each time you cast your ballot.
 

Nita Oakes


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