BOC and BOE approve rollback millage rates

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – After the August meeting of both the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education, the commissioners reconvened for final approval for the collection of both millage rates in Gilmer County.

The Gilmer County Board of Education approved its Rollback Rate of 14.248 mills generating $16.8 million according to estimations by Gilmer County Financial Officer Sandi Holden. This rate was approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners for collection.

The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners approved its Rollback Rate of 6.898 mills generating about $9.7 million according to Holden. This rate was approved 2-1 by the board with Dallas Miller being the dissenting vote.

The Commissioners then approved the 1.5 mills bond rate for the county generating about $2 million according to Post Commissioner Dallas Miller.

The bond millage was called into question by local citizen Joene DePlancke who noted the county’s growth and bond refinancings that the county has done.

DePlancke said she wasn’t speaking in opposition to the 1 mill bond rate, but rather the extra half mill added later. She went on to say, “I think it is unfair to the citizens of this county to keep telling them you have to have [1.5 mill] for the bond payments when we collect more than enough from SPLOST to cover the refinanced bonds.”

Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris told DePlancke that the 2017 bond payment was significantly less due to the refinancing at the time. With that refinancing, that year’s payment was reduced, allowing the county to use the extra funds, but also having that payment show far less.

Paris went on to point out that the bond payments are continuing to increase as well. Both 2019 and 2020 will see increases. Holden said the 2020 payment is expected to total just over $4 million. The payments over the last few years could not be looked at, according to Paris, as a measure of what they will be going forward.

Paris also noted that the Commissioners had a discussion in their August meeting about reducing the half mill on the bond millage, but decided to keep it as the payments are increasing as well as facing major issues such as the leachate leakage at the county landfill. Paris said the commissioners ultimately decided to wait and revisit the idea of removing the half mill next year. Additionally, while the county could continue forward without the half mill and maintain the needs for bond payment and this landfill issue, they would have to abandon every plan and improvement planned for other areas like the road department.

DePlancke reiterated her concerns on the bond millage saying, “You’ll always have a reason to spend it… There are so many things that need to be done, but you put it on there for bond payment. I feel like that is not honest to the citizens. You’re using it for other things.”

Paris said he didn’t agree that they would never give the half mill back, but asked what DePlancke she would have the county do, if they dropped the half mill, for the capital needs for the road department?

DePlancke responded, “You’ve got all the numbers there. I can’t answer that off the top of my head, but I’d love to have a crack at it.”

As discussion continued, Miller spoke as well, defending the bond millage. He said, “Our facilities, our infrastructure in this county. We’ve made progress, we’ve done improvements, but they are getting very old relative to their life. The buildings, the roads, everything needs capital improvements to keep them in good operating and maintenance level. We are facing, in the future, a large amount of renovation, and maybe even replacement, of our facilities that will only come from the capital budget that we have. And that money that goes to the capital budget will only come from the SPLOST collections, in my mind.”

Miller went on to say that he estimated $10 million in needs for the county in the coming 10 years just to keep the buildings and facilities at their current level. He said he didn’t want to wind up in the situation again where the county needed to borrow money or sell bonds. He said the commissioners didn’t have a choice but to maintain the path of maintaining and improving the infrastructure.

The board approved keeping the 1.5 mills, without raising or lowering, through a unanimous vote.

Author

Gilmer County will hold Special Called Meeting

Opinion

Gilmer County is holding a Special Called Meeting at 10 AM Friday
morning 8/23/19 in the Chairman’s Conference Room to discuss the renewal
of the 1/2 mil bond payment on our property taxes.

We currently collect much more in SPLOST revenue and the 1 Mil already
on our tax bills to pay for the bond payments. The 1/2 mil should not
be renewed. If you want your tax bills lowered then attend the meeting
at 10 AM on Friday. See the summary of Revenue and Payments for the
General Obligation Bonds below:

SUMMARY OF GILMER COUNTY BOND PAYMENTS
AND ASSOCIATED COLLECTIONS TO COVER PAYMENTS
2017, 2018 AND 2019
2017 2018 2019
SPLOST COLLECTIONS 3,929,000 3,600,000 3,800,000
1.5 MIL BOND TAX* 1,731,000 1,700,000 1,869,000

TOTAL MONEY COLLECTED
FOR BOND PAYMENTS $5,660,000 $5,300,000 $5,669,000

BOND PAYMENTS $3,188,000 $3,188,000 $3,523,000

Excess Amount Collected $2,472,000 $2,112,000 $2,146,000

The citizens of this county did not vote to spend the $59 million plus interest that we spent on the courthouse, library, parking lot, etc. etc. The citizens voted to spend approximately $8 million for a new courthouse. They have paid that back in spades. Our current SPLOST collections are more than enough to pay the bond payments. The 1 mil that was added is sufficient for a cushion. When the ½ mil was added the Board agreed it was a temporary tax FOR ONE YEAR to be renewed each year only if needed. It is obvious it is no longer needed and needs to be removed.

*DALTON STATE COLLEGE REVENUE = APPROX. $91,404 PER YEAR. In the budget these payments are lumped with the 1.5 Mil from the tax bills for bond payments. For purposes of discussion and to avoid confusion I have subtracted the DSC revenue.

Author

Bond refunding options will save $15,000 a year

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners opted for a refunding savings option from the Series 2014 Bond this month.

Taking ‘Option A’ that was presented by Andrew Tritt, Managing Director at Stifel Financial Corp, will allow approximately $168,000 split between the remaining years. The savings would come to about $15,000 a year until the bonds are paid off.

While Option B ultimately realizes only $128,000, according to Tritt’s presentation, it would defer 2019’s payment in an opportunity to see nearly an extra million dollars in 2019.

However, County Chairman Charlie Paris pointed out that Option B would only defer that payment, meaning it takes that money from next year’s SPLOST. That million dollars is not extra and would put 2020’s SPLOST down a million dollars. Paris noted in the regular meeting that he didn’t think that moving the payment back was worth it. He said that even though the extra million would be great for 2019, it would hurt too much to lose those funds from 2020.

Ultimately, the other Board members agreed with Paris as the vote came unanimously for ‘Option A’ to advertise the movement forward.

Author

Incident Report Releases Details on Dog Attack

News

CHERRY LOG, GA – New details have arisen from the dog attack on Goose Island Road that resulted in the death of 61-year-old Kathy Sue Nichelson.

FYN has received the official incident report for both the response to the original dog attack and the arrest of Dante Holloway.

According to Sergeant Jason Newman, he arrived on scene at roughly 1:10 P.M. In his report, he states Nichelson was still breathing shallow and coherent. After Emergency Personnel arrived, Newman reports it was as he was watching out for the dog that they decided to contact the Coroner.

Later in the report, Newman states that Sergeant Blue Patterson was the officer forced to fire upon the dog as he came out from under the porch and began moving towards the him. Witness interviews confirmed in the report the dog had attacked a second victim, Morgan Fountain, who was bitten on the face.

When Dante Holloway was arrested during the investigations, an incident report from Deputy Austin McArthur stated he and another deputy, J. Holcombe, initiated a traffic stop with Holloway to issue warrants for his arrest. However, the report also states they found a bag with white residue which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Check more information in the official report:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Dog Owner Arrested in Investigation

News

ELLIJAY, GA – According to official releases from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, an arrest was made earlier today regarding the dog attack and death of 61-year-old Kathy Sue Nichelson in Cherry Log, Georgia.

During their continuing investigation, the Sheriff’s office arrested Dante Holloway, who is now in custody.

He is currently facing two charges, Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Conduct, and has a $50,000 bond for both charges. The charges stem from his responsibility as owner of the pit bull that attacked and killed Nichelson.

According to Gilmer Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, there is no information at this time to indicate Holloway has any other dogs that citizens need be concerned about. As for the pit bull who attacked Nichelson, as reported in “Details Reveal Victims of Dog Attack,” officers were forced to fire upon the dog at the scene.

Comments on Facebook and FetchYourNews allege other previous victims from the dogs, but no solid evidence has been found at this time.

The official release from the Sheriff’s Office stated:

Today, Detectives with the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office have taken Dante Holloway into custody. He has been booked into the Gilmer County jail and is charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Conduct. The arrest is a result of the investigation into the death of Ms. Kathy Nichelson by a Pit Bull owned by Mr. Holloway. His bond is $50,000 for both charges.

Author

Bonds and Bids at BOE Meeting

Featured Stories, News

At the June 11 meeting, the BOE approved several financial plans. (more…)

Author

BOE Budget Begins Anew

Featured Stories, News

As the 2015 Fiscal Year comes to a close, we come to one of the final financial reports for the fiscal year. (more…)

Author

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