Addressing disconnects following Light Up Ellijay

News
Crowds flood Downtown Ellijay for Light Up event

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The downtown area of Ellijay was rocked by an historic crowd for its Light Up Ellijay festivities, which echoed throughout the county.

Citizens have responded in various ways and have voiced opinions as to the success or detriment of the Return to Whoville themed event. However, they are not the only ones responding to what some merchants called “Who-mageddon,” a jovial moniker made possible by a lack of major incidents during the event. Indeed, with additional responses from not just Ellijay’s police force, but county fire and rescue personnel as well, the event had only one reported incident, which involved a missing child. According to officials, the child was found within 15 minutes of searching.

This was an outcome Ellijay City Police Chief Edward Lacey said the town was very lucky to have accomplished. While acknowledging the unanticipated crowd, Lacey said his officers performed “admirably,” going so far as to say they gave “150 percent.” Lacey also confirmed with FYN that despite their efforts, the event would have been a lot worse had they not received backup from firefighters helping out with crowd control.

According to the permit issued by the city of Ellijay to the Downtown Ellijay Business and Community Association (DEBACA), the organization expected a maximum of 5,000 people at the event. While no one could confirm details, reports have varied as to the cause of the dramatic increase.

From a few viral videos to a radio station picking up the story in Florida, rumors continue to swirl with no real specific answers. However, DEBACA reported they noticed over 70,000 clicks for Light Up Ellijay in the week leading to the event. After the night was done, license plates were seen from over nine states, according to officials on scene.

Ellijay Mayor Al Hoyle declined to comment about the meetings and processes involved since Light Up Ellijay, but he did speak about the people who attended saying, “That paints a very positive picture of Ellijay. The name ‘Ellijay’ is known, obviously, and it drew that big of a crowd, and that’s great.” He went on to comment that with the quality, he sees future events growing as well.

People already began spilling into the street as earlier as 4:30 p.m. an hour before the tree lighting.

People already began spilling into the street as earlier as 4:30 p.m. an hour before the tree lighting.

Speaking with DEBACA Chairman Steve Cortes, he echoed the sentiment that attracting the crowd was a success on its own. This is the first time the association has hosted the event after transferring the event from the Downtown Development Authority.

Stepping beyond the event itself to identifying the effects a week later, Lacey stated about back-up received, “I think it showed that we were able to admit that we were overwhelmed … A lot of times, agencies that are not willing to ask for help are the ones that get in a lot of trouble … We were able to admit that we needed help and actually request it.”

In fact, not only did the Ellijay Police receive help during the event but also invited members from the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office, Gilmer Fire and Rescue, the Gilmer Chamber, DEBACA, East Ellijay Police, Ellijay Fire, and others to an after action meeting that is usually only held with Public Safety. Lasting more than three hours, the meeting saw members from each entity delving into the event separating out things that did happen versus things that should have happened during the event. Specifying the disconnection between those two ideas led to discussion and thoughts on future events.

A few specific issues came to light in the meeting regarding logistics for things like the addition of vendors for the event, the opening of bathrooms for the event and parking and traffic due to the crowd. Chief Lacey told FYN that the meeting and input from all involved will be considered as he creates his report and in moving towards future events.

Cortes also commented with FYN saying another issue with the crowd comes with future events. Not knowing if they should prepare for a similar crowd to this year or preparing for something lower is part of the stresses of planning. Cortes suggested they would be looking at the upcoming events throughout the year, such as St. PETrick’s Day and Independence Day, to gauge the response they might see at Light Up Ellijay.

One of the bigger points in the meeting  addressed a lack of communication and response from parties involved. Addressing understandings of the permit process and amending it paired with controlling and coordinating the multiple entities became a larger focus. Suggestions on dealing with these issues led towards future events seeing use of Instant Command Structures (ICS) and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

EOC is a fusion center of resources that officials say are used to manage and communicate across the different entities of public safety. Fully activated EOC’s could also include members from all sorts of other entities; in Ellijay, this could include mayors, council members, DEBACA members, or more. As explained in the meeting, this would allow instant access to cross-force resources.

The EOC concept also answered issues with traffic. A crowd of the size seen downtown not only gridlocked traffic after 5 p.m., but also clogged emergency access through the area. One hypothetical example of the EOC given at the meeting suggested an issue arising on Hwy. 282. The EOC could coordinate a nearby sheriff’s deputy to the location faster than any other. A more immediate response from a sheriff’s deputy in the area means far lower response times in the face of gridlocked traffic for citizens.

Somebody tracking and directing all requests would streamline services and resources in that instance to better control and guide arising issues, whether they be safety-focused or logistically focused through those involved.

In addition to the EOC, pre-made ICS would be available to handle situations where pre-planned events escalate to any sort of emergency, for example if a driver had grown so frustrated with the crowd that he or she ran people down.

Crowd size sends one child up the clock downtown in an attempt to see the nights events.

Crowd size sends one child up the clock downtown in an attempt to see the nights events.

While this may seem extreme, Lacey told FYN  these are the issues that police deal with everyday. They must prepare for the potential issues that could grow out of events with crowds like we witnessed this year. An approach that imitates an old saying, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst,” is one that the city police face daily in protecting and preparing for situations despite a common thought that such instances would not happen in our town.

In fact, part of Lacey’s research into parades garnered 56 total headlines in newspapers, with 55 of those occurring since July 2001, involving parade incidents and injuries. Crowds like the one at this year’s Light Up Ellijay further intensify the possibility of incidents.

While the entire week was spent identifying issues and areas for improvement, Chief Lacey declined to comment further on the entities involved saying, “It’s enough to say that there was a disconnect, and that we’re going to fix that.”

Cortes echoed approval of the cooperation and coordination found through the meetings held in the week after the event. Noting an increase in involvement as DEBACA continues to grow, Cortes tells FYN that he would love to see representatives from the Chamber, the cities and police forces at their meetings and events. He went on to comment on the meeting saying it answered questions: “What can we do if a big event comes to Ellijay? How can we handle that?” He went on to say, “There’s no finger pointing, everybody knows that a lot could have been done better, and a lot needs to be done if we’re going to work together in the future.”

Though Light Up Ellijay is firmly in the city’s rear view, progress and meetings continue as the response and preparation for next year continue. Continuing in growth and popularity, citizens and officials alike will be closely watching downtown over the coming year in anticipation of another night like Nov. 24.

Author

Gilmer BOC Meeting Agendas for September

Police & Government

GILMER COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
WORK SESSION WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
TIME:  9:00 AM
LOCATION:  BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS CONFERENCE ROOM
1 Broad Street
Ellijay, GA 30540
AGENDA

I. CALL TO ORDER Charlie Paris, Chairman
II. AGENDA APPROVAL
III. UNFINISHED BUSINESS:
Update from the Cherry Log Fire Station Project (Shawn Williams)
A. DISCUSSION ITEMS: 1. Update from Parks and Recreation (Kevan White)
2. Update from Whitepath Golf Course (Mike Brumby)
3. Update from the Airport and Public Works (Jim Smith)
4. Update on the Swimming Pool Operations (David Clark/Charlie Paris)
B. ACTION ITEMS
NONE
IV. NEW BUSINESS:
A. DISCUSSION ITEMS
1. Other General Discussion B. ACTION ITEMS:

  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Resolution on bids for the following:  Asphalt, Concrete, Emulsion, Propane and Stone
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Final Adoption to approve a New Chapter of Ordinances of Disorderly Conduct
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Review and Pending Action on the Public Defender Agreement
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission
  • Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Earl W. Payne, Tax Map 3056, Parcel No. 015  R-1 (Residential Low Density),  A-1 (Agricultural)
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Sam Murphy, Tax Map 3046,  Parcel No. 045B  A-1 (Agricultural), R-1 (Residential Low Density)
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Celletta Berger, Tax Map 3093N,  Parcel No. 001B ,  R-1 (Residential Low Density), R-1 (With Conditional Use)
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Resolution on a Bid for the Cherry Log Fire Station and also a Budget Amendment
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Appointment of a Board Member for the Parks & Rec Advisory Board
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Approval of the Application of Raffeeq Iqbal at  Red Rabbit Enterprises, Inc. (Crossroads Grocery) for an Alcoholic Beverage License
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Adoption of the Annual Update of the Community Work Program & Capital Improvements Element within the Joint Comprehensive Plan Document
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of the 2018 Transit M.A.T.S. Program
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Discussion of Contract Terms for the Swimming Pool
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of advertising a Bid for Fuel Services
  • Review Pending Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of changes to the Fire Department’s Capital Budget

    V. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK
    VI. ADJOURNMENT
    Individuals with disabilities who require certain accommodations in order to allow them to observe and/or participate in this meeting, or who have questions regarding the accessibility of the meeting or the facilities are required to contact the ADA Coordinator, Edwina Daman at 706-635-4361 promptly to allow the County to make reasonable accommodations for these persons.

 

 

GILMER COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
REGULAR MEETING
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
TIME: 6:00 PM
LOCATION:  GILMER COUNTY JURY ASSEMBLY ROOM
1 Broad Street
Ellijay, GA 30540

AGENDA

I. CALL TO ORDER: Charlie Paris, Chairman

II. INVOCATION AND PLEDGE:

III. AGENDA APPROVAL:

IV. MINUTES: 8-6-17 Work Session Minutes 8-10-17 Executive Session Minutes 8-10-17 Public Comment Minutes – Disorderly Conduct 8-10-17 Public Comment Minutes – Millage Rate 8-10-17 Regular Meeting Minutes 8-17-17 Public Comment Minutes – Millage Rate 8-17-17 Public Comment Minutes – Millage Rate 8-17-17 Special Called Meeting Minutes 8-30-17 Special Called Meeting Minutes

V. FINANCIAL STATEMENT VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
None

VII. NEW BUSINESS:

  • Action on Resolution – Resolution on bids for the following:  Asphalt, Concrete, Emulsion, Propane and Stone
  • Action on Resolution – Final Adoption to approve a New Chapter of Ordinances of Disorderly Conduct
  • Action on Resolution – Review and Pending Action on the Public Defender Agreement
  • Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Earl W. Payne, Tax Map 3056,  Parcel No. 015  R-1 (Residential Low Density),  A-1 (Agricultural)
  • Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Sam Murphy, Tax Map 3046, Parcel No. 045B  A-1 (Agricultural), R-1 (Residential Low Density)
  • Action on Resolution – Final Decision of Approval by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners of the Recommendation by the Gilmer County Planning Commission Approving the Application for Amendment to Gilmer County Land Use (Zoning) District Map,Celletta Berger, Tax Map 3093N,  Parcel No. 001B ,  R-1 (Residential Low Density), R-1 (With Conditional Use)
  • Action on Resolution – Resolution on a Bid for the Cherry Log Fire Station
  • Action on Resolution – Appointment of a Board Member for the Parks & Rec Advisory Board
  • Action on Resolution – Approval of the Application of Raffeeq Iqbal at  Red Rabbit Enterprises, Inc. (Crossroads Grocery) for an Alcoholic Beverage License
  • Action on Resolution – Adoption of the Annual Update of the Community Work Program & Capital Improvements Element within the Joint Comprehensive Plan Document
  • Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of the 2018 Transit M.A.T.S. Program
  • Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of advertising a Bid for Fuel Services
  • Action on Resolution – Discussion and possible action of changes to the Fire Department’s Capital Budget

 

VIII. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK

IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION: Consultation with the county attorney or other legal counsel to discuss pending or potential litigation, settlement, claims, administrative proceedings, or other judicial actions brought or to be brought by or against the county or any officer or employee in which the county or any officer or employee may be directly involved as provided in O.C.G.A. 50-14-2(1); consultation with the county attorney or other legal counsel to discuss negotiations to purchase, dispose of, or lease property as provided in O.C.G.A. 50-14-3(b) and discussion or deliberation on  the appointment, employment, compensation, hiring, disciplinary action or dismissal, or periodic evaluation or rating of a county officer or employee as provided by O.C.G.A. 50-14-3(6).

X. ADJOURNMENT
Individuals with disabilities who require certain accommodations in order to allow them to observe and/or participate in this meeting, or who have questions regarding the accessibility of the meeting or the facilities are required to contact the ADA Coordinator, Edwina Daman at 706-635-4361 promptly to allow the County to make reasonable accommodations for these persons.

Author

Gilmer County Advertises Property Taxes Increase

News

ELLIJAY, GA – Coinciding with the “Commissioner’s Discussion of the Millage Rate After Recalculation“, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners have released the following documents informing citizens of the Millage Rate and their opportunity to speak at public meetings about it. Also, be sure to check out the Current 2017 Tax Digest and Five Year History of the Levy for more information on the Millage Rate and the Agenda for the Special Called Meeting on August 17 to see the final meeting planned for adopting the Millage Rate.

 

PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING A PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASE

Each year, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trends of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the Board of Tax Assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment. This is called a reassessment.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.

Gilmer County Board of Commissioners has made the decision to keep the 2017 Maintenance and Operation (M& O) millage rate at 6.983 mills which is the same as the 2016 millage rate. However since this millage rate exceeds the calculated rollback millage rate it is deemed a tax increase for 2017. Before the Board can set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.

All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the Gilmer County Jury Assembly Room located on the 2nd floor of the Gilmer County Courthouse, 1 Broad Street, Ellijay, Georgia on August 10, 2017 at 5:00pm and August 17, 2017 at 9:00am and 6:30pm.

Notice of Property Tax Increase

The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners has tentatively adopted a Maintenance and Operation (M&O) millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 1.94 percent.

All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax increase to be held at the Gilmer County Courthouse Jury Assembly Room on August 10, 2017 at 5:00pm.

Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase are at the Gilmer County Courthouse Jury Assembly Room on August 17, 2017 at 9:00am and 6:30pm.

This tentative increase will result in a Maintenance and Operation (M&O) millage rate of 6.983 mills, an increase of .133 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 6.850 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $7.71 and the proposed tax increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $75,000 is approximately $3.99.

 

 

Author

Sen. David Lucas to Host Second Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

State & National

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Ines Owens, Director
Elisabeth Fletcher, Communications Specialist
Elisabeth.fletcher@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Sen. David Lucas to Host Second Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

ATLANTA (August 7, 2017) | Sen. David Lucas (D – Macon) will hold a two-day Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting to discuss broadband, healthcare, telecommunications and developing tourism TOMORROW from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and WEDNESDAY from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. The meeting will be held at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.

WHO: Sen. David Lucas and Rural Georgia Study Committee Members

WHAT: Two-day Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, August 8, 2017
               9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
               Wednesday, August 9, 2017
               9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WHERE: University of North Georgia
Continuing Education Center in Dahlonega
25 Schultz Avenue
Dahlonega, GA 30597

 

Sen. David Lucas, Sr. represents the 26th Senate District, which includes portions of Bibb, Houston and Jones Counties and all of Hancock, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson Counties. He may be reached at 404.656.5035 or by email atDavid.Lucas@senate.ga.gov.

Ellijay Management Changes Through City Council and Special DDA Meetings

News

ELLIJAY, GA – The Ellijay City Council is moving forward to swap out pumper’s for its Fire services.

After numerous problems with its current 2002 Lavern Class A Pumper, the City Council have voted to accept bids on the fire truck. Through their work session, discussion came that a minimum price be set for $85,000. The Council did approve the minimum price on the bids, but can also refuse bids at a later date. The revenue from the sale will offset the cost of the city purchasing a 1996 Smeal Class A Pumper for $60,000.

A First Reader also came at the Council’s July meeting for an “Ordinance For The Demolition and Removal Of A Dwelling Unfit For Human Habitation Located At 19 Hancock Drive.” Designated as parcel 1065. Although this is a First Reader, the demolition could move forward in 30 days if no change occurs in the situation.

Citizens also took time to speak at the meeting with one questioning the Come Play in Ellijay Golf Tournament and the DDA (Downtown Development Authority). Her question was to locate funds raised from last year’s event to support current and future events. The same day as the Council Meeting, the DDA held a special called meeting in which they discussed the Golf Tournament.

During the DDA’s meeting, the Authority officially turned over the Golf Tournament Event to the newly formed Ellijay Merchant’s Association. The Golf Tournament is the latest event to be turned over as the DDA has already relinquished the July 4th event, Light Up Ellijay, St. Petrick’s Day, and the Halloween Festivities.

While turning the events over, the DDA will be giving up the promotions and events committee’s in favor of the Merchant’s Association who have become their own 501c3 organization.

The second action from the DDA’s special called meeting returned the Management of the Welcome Center/Restroom downtown to the City.

Author

Citizen’s Speak to Sanctuary County

News

During the Commissioner’s Meeting for July, several citizens stepped forward to speak about an item on the agenda that one citizen requested be put on.

John Williamson spoke first saying his motivation for the topic was his belief in the country and rule of law. With the recent national attention to Sanctuary Cities and Counties, Williamson says he began wondering if Gilmer has become a “de facto Sanctuary County.” Though no resolution has passed to make Gilmer County such, Williamson began questioning if we are not sufficiently enforcing immigration laws.

Citing the 2014 resolution from the County Commissioners instructing law enforcement to enforce immigration laws, Williamson asked those in attendance if they believed there were no illegal immigrants in the county? With no comments, he pointed that question to the county is not whether we want to enforce laws, but that it is necessary to enforce them in following the constitution.

Williamson also noted effects he’s seen on the County including the Board of Education’s addition of two new ESL teachers due to increases in children requiring the service.

Jason Williamson speaks with Gilmer Commissioner during the Sanctuary County topic of the July BOC Meeting.

Jason Williamson speaks with Gilmer Commissioner during the Sanctuary County topic of the July BOC Meeting.

Others spoke at the meeting as well including one citizen who brought up a death on 515, saying the case is still unsolved. He did state his support for anyone from any country moving to our county through the proper paperwork and processes. Offering newspaper cutouts to the Commissioners with Sheriff Reports and notes regarding numerous crime reports involving illegal immigrants, he went on to say that our law enforcement and government services are being added stress through these situations. It is the taxpayers who foot the bill for illegals through these services and crimes involving them.

Still more citizens echoed the sentiments, stating a moral obligation to deal with these situations.

Post Commissioner Dallas Miller commented on the subject reading parts of the resolution he was a part of in 2014. Miller stated the Commissioners have dealt with the issue through that resolution along with the county’s denial to the Federal Government to house illegal immigrants in the county. Chairman Charlie Paris answered citizens questioning the Sheriff’s role saying they should be speaking with him about the level of enforcement and other questions.

Jason Williamson asked the Commissioners if the Commissioner’s Meeting could be used as a venue to speak with Sheriff Stacy Nicholson about the topic. While Paris suggested they make the request of Sheriff Nicholson himself, he did say the Commissioners Meeting would be available as a venue stating, “We would certainly make him feel welcome.”

Author

Lt. Governor Cagle to Host Health Care Reform Task Force Meeting

State & National

ATLANTA, June 30, 2017 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with Sens. Renee Unterman, Dean Burke, Chuck Hufstetler, Ben Watson, Kay Kirkpatrick, Jack Hill and Doc Rhett, will hold a meeting of Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force at Tift Regional Medical Center on MONDAY, July 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Members will discuss innovative reforms to advance Georgia as a national leader in delivering patient-centered health care.

The Task Force will be hear presentations from representatives of Tift Regional Medical Center, Emory University, and Dr. Keith J. Mueller, Interim Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.

Who:                     Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

What:                    Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force Meeting

When:                  Monday, July 10th at 10:00 a.m.

Where:                Tift Regional Medical Center
901 18th St. Tifton, GA 31794

 

Gilmer County Board of Tax Assessors- June 30, 2017 @ 10 am

Legal Notice

AGENDA
GILMER COUNTY BOARD OF TAX ASSESSORS
SPECIAL CALLED MEETING
JUNE 30, 2017
MEETING TIME 10:00 A.M.
ASSESSOR’S OFFICE
GILMER COUNTY COURTHOUSE
1 BROAD STREET, SUITE 104, ELLIJAY, GA 

  1. CALL TO ORDER
  2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF JUNE 16, 2017
  3. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
  4. NEW BUSINESS: Expenditure Budget Report – May 2017
  5. CONSERVATION USE: New/Renew/Continuation/Release/Change of Use
  6. HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
  7. MANUFACTURED HOME CHANGES: E&R’s
  8. PERSONAL PROPERTY CHANGES:
    1. 2017 Suppressed Notices
    2. Freeport Applications
  9. 2017 DIGEST APPROVAL
  10. PUBLIC COMMENTS
  11. CHIEF APPRAISER’S COMMENTS
  12. CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS
  13. ADJOURNMENT

 

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top