Bids and appointments prepare commissioners for 2018

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners entered the year’s end awarding last-minute bids for 2018 and appointing board members and positions for the county.

Awarding the 2018 Tax Anticipatory Note (TAN) produced four bids. The two lowest bids came from Southstate Bank with a variable rate currently at 1.696 percent and Regions Bank with a fixed rate at 1.93 percent. Though Southstate is currently lower, the commissioners noted the variable rate has already jumped from 1.53 percent in the first week of November.

Since the commissioners are not expecting to utilize the TAN until August or September of 2018, and noting upward pressure on rates, the motion came to approve Regions Bank’s fixed rate of 1.93 percent.

Along the same item, the banking services for 2018 was bid as well. Five banks offered bids with two bids being offered contingent on winning the TAN bid as well. The three left included United Community Bank with $50 monthly service charges and a 0.65 percent interest rate, Parks Sterling Bank with no monthly charges and a 0.15 percent interest rate, and Chase with its interest rate made to offset the service charges.

Currently, the county is using United Community Bank. As discussion went through their work session, the board began considering the costs of transferring accounts, including ordering new checks. Making the motion for approval, Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris stated, “Given the offer and also considering the expense of making a change, it would be my opinion that we should just continue with United Community Bank.” The motion was unanimously approved.

Another bid approved during December was the emulsion bids. Originally bid with other materials previously, Gilmer County Public Works Director Jim Smith stated the county only had one bid at the time and another vendor claimed it did not receive the notification for bid. Rebidding now, Ergon Asphault Emulsions, $2.30 per gallon for CRS2L and $1.85 per gallon for CRS2H, and Hudson Materials, $2.06 per gallon for CRS2L and $1.72 per gallon for CRS2H, made offerings.

As low bidder, Hudson Materials was approved for emulsion material beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

The county is moving forward with a lease agreement with the Gilmer Chamber to occupy the Watkins House located downtown. The agreement will allow for the Chamber to create a downtown welcome center and display space. Although other entities are interested in the space, such as Gilmer ARTS and the historical society, both looking to display items in the building, the county is set to main lease to the Chamber while allowing them to decide on sub-leasings for space and display.

The agreement is still in its early stages, but indications suggest the county will be maintaining the space while the Chamber pays for utilities. Rent would be negligible, one suggestion indicated a dollar per year. With the agreement beginning, Chairman Paris suggested the Chamber interest could see utilization of the space as early as spring.

As the agreement moves forward, citizens can expect to revisit the item in coming months for approvals by the board.

The other items for the meeting included several board and position appointments to new and open terms through the county:

Lex Rainey and Don Callihan were appointed to the Gilmer/Pickens Joint Development Authority;

Jim DuPont and Alan Davenport were reappointed to the Planning Commission Board;

Tony Pritchett was appointed as County Legislative Coordinator; and

Cathy Green was appointed to the Northwest Georgia Region 1 Emergency Medical Services Council.

Check out more on the commissioners’ December meeting with “December meetings continue commissioners’ budget conversation.”

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Gilmer BOC Sees Ordinance Change and TAN Update

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ELLIJAY, GA – The Gilmer County Commissioners saw possible progress for the Cherry Log Fire Station in the form of an Ordinance Change along with an update on this years Tax Anticipation Note (TAN).

The County accepted the First Reader and Public Commentary Meeting for a change to ordinances regarding Purchases of the Board of Commissioners. Attempting to deal with one of the issues delaying the Cherry Log Fire Station, this new change is set  The new change will allow the Commissioners to increase the spending limit with a single vendor in a year without bidding from $20,000 to $50,000 if the capital project is already in the County Budget. Additionally, the Commissioners added a new requirement that any purchases over $25,000 would require two separate signatures from the County Commissioners.

Although no citizens spoke at the Public Hearing, the Commissioners will have the Second Reading for the change at August’s Meetings if citizens still wish to speak on the subject.

The Commissioners also brought up the bid TAN for 2017. Although not yet utilized this year, Chairman Paris stated they expect to begin drawing upon it in Mid August.

Many will recall that the TAN has been needed later and later every year over the last few years. However, last year the TAN was also used in August. Paris addressed the meeting about this saying that while citizens may have originally expected to push the TAN back further this year, one major change to the budget changed that expectation. Beginning in 2017, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners separated close to $800,000 from the General Fund Budget received through LMIG Grants.

Though that Grant is usually left in the General Fund as a “buffer” according to Chairman Paris, the separation of these funds means there is less of a buffer for the year’s expenses. Paris stated during the movie that after losing the major amount of funds from the general fund and still going to mid-August before needing to utilize the TAN is a good sign for the county and its economy.

The general sense could mean that Gilmer still see the TAN used later next year, especially with Commissioner’s expectations for maintaining close to a four to four-and-a-half month contingency fund for the county. Citizens could even see Gilmer forgoing usage of the TAN in the coming years if the county continues financially as it currently is.

Additionally, July’s meeting saw the Commissioners appoint Bill Logan to the Board of Tax Assessors due to an recent resignation. Their appointment of Logan is to fulfill the remainder of that term. They also appointed Mary Ann Cook to the Keep Gilmer Beautiful Board.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Ordinances See Problems in December BOC

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The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners have officially approved the new changes to the County’s Land Use Ordinance.

The Ordinance changes received approval on their second reading at the County’s December 8th Meeting. Having already gone through a Public Hearing and first reading in addition to several work sessions and input sessions from citizens, this comes as final approval and official adoption of the changes.

However, another change has already been proposed to the Land Use Ordinance as the Post Commissioner Dallas Miller brought an oversight to attention involving locations of Tasting Rooms in relation to “Farm Wineries.”

To that end, the final adoption of Amendments to the Chapter titled “Farm Wineries” was also tabled until February giving the Commissioners a chance to fix the oversight through proper channels before fully adopting the new Amendments.

As the whole thing ties together, the Commissioners felt they could not wait to approve the Land Use Ordinance Amendments and moved forward with them.

The Farm Wineries were not the only discussion tabled as two more items received the same motion. The Awarding of the Tax Anticipation Note was pushed back as the Commissioners considered three responses. With one of the bids “not in the ballpark,” according to Chairman Charlie Paris, the Commissioners considered the lower two bids in their work session.

Though it seemed they had decided on United Community Bank’s bid in the Work Session, their bid was not the lowest bid received. Park Sterling offered their bid at a lower rate as opposed to United Community Banks’ bid.

The decision came at the contingency of Park Sterling’s bid. They stated their offer was “contingent upon moving accounts to their bank.” The Commissioners understanding in their work session was that the savings from the lower interest rate would have been irrelevant considering all the costs and fees of moving their accounts.

More information came up as a representative from Parks Sterling attended Thursday’s meeting to inform the Commissioners on a part of their bid that may not have been considered. Speaking on the TAN bids, the representative from Parks Sterling spoke with the Commissioners about Service Charges and the bank’s offer of what is called “Earnings Credit” to offset the County’s Service Charges for Accounts. This “Phantom Money” could be used in place of those charges and, as he said, “leaves more principle to earn interest on.”

Stating that the County has been drawing on their TAN later and later in the past few years, Chairman Paris stated the Board could table the discussion in order to learn more about the accounts and to find out how to handle the situation with competitive bidders now that the possibility of Accounts is being considered. As they continue researching this, the TAN is set to be reconsidered in January.

As the Commissioners tabled the discussion the bids were not released, but stay with FYN as more information becomes available during this process.

The other tabled item on the Commissioner’s agenda came after the Commissioner’s received an updated copy of their consideration for a “Resolution Approving the Advertising of a New Chapter of the Gilmer County Code of Ordinances Regulating Activities on the Unincorporated Rivers of the County.”

This item has been under consideration for quite some time as the County is continuing to search for ways to legally protect itself as well as regulate the river’s usage and deal with a piece of County owned property on Mulkey Road that is being used as an outtake for those on the river. Ultimately, the Commissioners felt they had received the new documents to late to have sufficient time to look over them before advertising.

These documents have also not been released due to being under review and not approved for advertising yet.

Moving through the rest of their meetings, the Commissioners have made several appointments and re-appointments to Boards and Authorities around the County.

Mary Fuller-Stanley has been appointed to the Board of Public Health.

Alan Davenport has been re-appointed to the Joint Development Authority as one of the County’s Representatives. He is the member whose term is ending and will continue serving uninterrupted.

Lamar Walker and Paul Mooney both have terms ending on the Planning Commission. Chairman Paris indicated both are willing to continue serving and have been re-appointed to their positions.

Scott Stephens has been re-appointed to his position serving on the Emergency Medical Services Council for Northwest Georgia. Stephens attended the County’s Work Session and said, though serving was far more difficult than he originally thought, he felt the County gained great benefits and information from having him on the Council and he was willing to continue his service.

Pamela Rhodes has been appointed for Gilmer County to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Advisory Council.

One final Appointment came to move the County Clerk position out of an interim clerk and the Board of Commissioners have approved Edwina Daman to the position. However, the County will await her officially taking the position until the 19th of December.

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