Sharla Davis announces campaign for Tax Commissioner

Election
Sharla Davis

My name is Sharla Davis and I am campaigning for position of Tax Commissioner for Gilmer County.

Sharla DavisI have lived in Georgia for 45 of my 48 years. Five of those years have been here in Gilmer County. My husband and I consider our move here to be one of the best decisions we’ve made….besides marrying each other, of course. (haha) The area is beautiful and the people are exactly what we were looking for when we moved here…..friendly, giving, courteous, welcoming, just all-around wonderful people and neighbors. We’ve made some great friends and look forward to many more years here and more friendships made.

I have 30 years experience of Accounting, Management and Customer Service in the Automotive Industry working for 4 of the top 10 Automotive Groups in the Nation. Receiving, processing, balancing and reporting millions of dollars. I also have experience working in the Tax Commissioner’s office when I was employed, here in Gilmer County, as the accountant for your current Tax Commissioner. I am confident that my experience will facilitate a smooth transition into the Public Service position as your next Tax Commissioner.

Please vote Sharla Davis for Gilmer County Tax Commissioner!!

Norman Gibbs III announces his candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer

Election
Norman Gibbs III

Hi everyone, My name is Norman Gibbs III. I would like to let everyone know that I am running for Chief Magistrate Judge of Gilmer County. I am married to Ginger Logan Gibbs. We have two sons, two daughter-in-laws and 5 grandchildren. I have lived in Gilmer County for over 45 years. My wife has lived here all of her life. We are proud and very thankful to live in this wonderful county.

Over the years this nation has significantly changed, but Gilmer County has continued to be a great place to raise a family. I have decided to run for Chief Magistrate because I enjoy making decisions based on the facts using the law and because it gives me an opportunity to use my experience for the good of our county. I want Gilmer County to maintain that safe hometown feel that will allow my grandchildren and future generations to enjoy it.

I worked in Ellijay at Blue Ridge Carpet Mills for 31 years. The last 20 years I served as Vice-President of Operations and Vice President of Logistics. My responsibilities included complete control of the manufacturing operation as well as inventory control, customer service, production planning and scheduling. There were over 100 employees involved in the operation. Important decisions had to be made on a daily basis. I also learned throughout my career the importance of dealing with all situations in the correct manner. This gives me the experience needed to carry out the responsibilities of this office.

As an ordained Baptist minister for 29 years I know the importance of having integrity, honesty and treating all people equally. All people are special and should be treated as such (for we all have a soul).

I sincerely ask for you to vote for me in the upcoming Primary on May 19, 2020. Your vote will be greatly appreciated! Thank you and may God bless the United States of America!!

Michael Parham Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County

Election
Michael Parham

Michael Parham, Former Circuit Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

Michael and Margaret have lived in Gilmer County since 1984. After graduating from law school while serving as an assistant minister at an Atlanta area church, Michael was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1979. Since that time, he has alternated between those roles; serving as a pastor for over 20 years and actively practicing law for more than 20 years. During the early years of his law practice, Michael practiced primarily in federal courts and among other matters, was sole or lead counsel in criminal jury trials in federal district courts including Atlanta, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Birmingham, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Ft. Worth. Michael has been admitted to the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Appeals for seven of the 12 regional circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the years devoted primarily to ministry, in addition to serving as a pastor Michael was actively involved in foreign missions. Sometimes teaching mission and ministry staff and at other times leading teams of young people, he has ministered in over 2 dozen countries and currently serves on the board of 2 mission-related 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Locally, Michael was a founding participant in Covenant Community of Ellijay.

Returning to the practice of law locally in 2002, Michael was the Circuit (Chief) Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit from July 2004 until August 2018, leading a diverse staff of 15 with offices in each of the 3 counties of the circuit (Gilmer, Pickens, and Fannin counties) representing the indigent criminally accused. That office routinely handles well over 80% of all adult criminal cases in the circuit as well as a majority of juvenile delinquency matters. As chief public defender, Michael was part of the Accountability Court Team and was directly responsible for the representation of participants in the Accountability Courts (Veterans Court, Drug Court, HELP Court). Michael Parham’s wide range of legal experience with many aspects of criminal and civil law combined with his ministry experience will allow him to make educated, compassionate and unbiased decisions that best serve the great residents of our local community.

Michael is the Charter President of the Gilmer County Optimist Club. He and Margaret have two adult sons, 4 adult grandchildren, and 2 (very young) wonderful great-granddaughters.

See mgparham.com or email parhamformagistrate@mgparham.com for updates or more information.

Gilmer’s pool design debate

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – With the bid for demolition awarded and proceeding, the county is starting to look closer at the projects designs and details as they prepare to take the next step towards construction of the pool design in the coming months with bids for construction.

However, a Special Called Meeting this week saw the BOC revisiting the design aspect of the pool. Many things have changed since the plans for the pool were presented to the county. While the county approved a proposal in June 2019 to have Premier Pools & Spas be the pools designed and a design was presented, County Attorney David Clark has recently informed the Commissioner that no actual approval or adoption of the design was given.

So, in preparation of bidding out a design for engineering and construction, the Commissioners set to discussing that design this week. The largest topic debated this week became the depth of the deeper end of the smaller “splash” pool. While plans originally had the deepest section of this at 2.6 feet, according to County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, aerobics and therapy classes need this to be 4 feet deep.

The county went through discussions on several design changes and ideas, debating pros and cons of each. Some of these included combining the two pools, making part of the lap pool more shallow for this, creating to “L”s on the pool similar to the county’s old pool, and simply altering to splash pool. The discussion also grew to include general changes to the aquatic center idea for the county including covering both pools and heating both pools for year round access.

The project has also seen other changes, Paris confirmed after the meeting that placing the pool in the same location as the old one would obviously not allow for the full recreation center originally planned and designed. However, he did say this hasn’t killed that idea, but rather forced it further down the line to possibly placed elsewhere. Regardless, the county is focusing on the pools design at this time.

pool design Kevan White Parks Recreation Gilmer CountyConsidering all of these changes, the options will be sent to Premier to redo the pool design, through the numerous discussions, the Board will be sending the changes and are expected to be ready for the March meetings. Current understanding is that while the pools will still be separate, the “Rec Pool” and the “Zero-Entry Pool,” as the county decide to call the main pool with lanes and the smaller, shallower pools respectively, will see other changes.

The Rec Pool will be 5 feet deep instead of previous reports of four feet and, at one time, four feet in the middle and five feet on the ends.

The Zero-Entry Pool will slope down for nearly half of the pool and have a four feet deep area for aerobics and activities. It will also be squared off instead of the rounder shape in previous designs.

While these changes are the understanding from this special called meeting, nothing is finalized until the design is brought back before the county in March and approved.

Congressional Candidates visit Poole’s Bar-B-Q on campaign trail

Election, News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Candidates Marjorie Greene, 14th District, and Rich McCormick, 7th District, visited Ellijay to speak about their campaigns for election at the famous Poole’s Bar-B-Q.

Each candidate met with citizens in Gilmer and offered a few words on campaigning and their support for Trump in the coming elections.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia's 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia’s 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr. Rich McCormick spoke about opportunities for the people and the need for a leg up. He said, “This is about an American dream and selling something that’s good for everybody. I think that’s one of the things we’ve been lacking. We’re so busy trying to prove people wrong and trying to demonize people, that we forget that what really brings home a message, and you talk about Christianity, If you study the Bible with anybody and you ever try to convert anybody, it’s not by proving them wrong that you convert them. It’s by loving them.”

McCormick went on to say that people want in to this country because of the American Dream. He spoke about when he was young and picking berries then moved on to a paper route. The opportunities continued as he said he joined the Marine Corps for 16 years as a pilot. Then he went to Morehouse School of Medicine where he became student body president.

Achieving that was not because of pretending to be somebody according to McCormick. But it is about relationships and about believing in people, putting in the real work, and accomplishing things for the people. He pointed out that the United States hasn’t passed a budget in over decade.

Being a doctor today and having served as a doctor in the Navy after Morehouse, he says he got into politics because he realized the bad politicians and the dirty politics he saw. Waste and abuse of the system is rampant, he pointed out the medical system saying, “If you’ve had to deal with the medical system the way it is, you’re probably already frustrated… 18 percent of your tax dollars, every year, is consumed by medical costs for taxation. That doesn’t include your premiums. That doesn’t include your deductions. That’s just what the government takes to pay for medicine.”

He went on to add that a single payer systems, the budget would be increased by $30 trillion in national debt, from $23 trillion to $53 trillion. He called it the single biggest step the United States could take towards Socialism.

McCormick said he wants to go to Washington with “real solutions” and to reach across the aisle with a message of hope, love, and the american dream to steer the nation back to a better place.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia's 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia’s 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene spoke about her skills in management, problem solving, and budgeting along with her success as a business owner over the last two decades since she bought her parents business in 2002. She said she wants to take these skills to Washington.

Greene said her worry is about a particular group in Congress tearing apart the subverting the Constitution and citizens rights. She pointed out what she calls embarrassments in Congress like Pelosi ripping apart Trump’s speech saying, “This is something that I, very much in particular, want to take with me.  I am a strong, unapologetic, conservative woman. Republican. I’m a Chirstian. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. Now, I want to go to Congress. I’m working very hard to get elected, but once I go there, I want to stand firmly in the face of these women that I see are radical, Anti-American, women…”

Greene listed several of the plans she felt are a part of that radical ideals including abortion up until birth, abolishing Second Amendment Rights, the Green New Deal at $93 Trillion, and medicare for all, among others. She said the nation could not survive medicare for all.

Greene said another reason she wants to go to Congress is to fight these policies as her kids enter the workforce, to “save” America for her family.

FYN caught up with the candidates after the event to ask their thoughts on another major race as each candidate mentioned Trump and their thoughts on his presidency. Closer to home, we asked these candidates their thoughts on Doug Collins running against Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate. While Greene said she wanted to just focus on her race and hasn’t thought much about other races, McCormick offered a comment saying, “I hope it doesn’t become a divisive topic with the Republicans because right now, we’re in a good position.” He went on to add a secondary thought saying he hoped that Trump could possibly step in with a great solution “because he’s a problem solver and because he’s a leader.” Yet, the fear of division remained forefront.

Additionally, Richie Stone, Chairman of the Gilmer Republican Party, offered a few comments as well saying that even though he cannot endorse any candidate over another, he was interested in seeing the race and hoped that it would drive turnout in the elections to support them and others on the ballot including both U.S. and State races.

Current Magistrate Judge Ken Roberts Announces Candidacy for Gilmer County Chief Magistrate

News
Current Magistrate Judge Ken Roberts Announces Candidacy for Gilmer County Chief Magistrate

Ken and his wife, Karen, have called the Coosawattee neighborhood home for thirteen years and describe Gilmer County in one sentence: “Friendship with a sense of community.”

Ken’s public service career began with a five-year tour in the United States Air Force, followed by a fire service career in Central Florida, where he retired as Assistant Fire Chief after 25 years.

His public service career continued with the Seminole County Department of Public Safety, serving first as the Public Information Officer, then as County Emergency Management Director, and retiring as the Director of Public Safety. All of these positions involved coordination with county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the navigation of county-level government operations.

Ken currently serve as a Magistrate Judge for Gilmer County. He has served the Magistrate Court – which is often referred to as “the People’s Court” – with one simple philosophy: Do the right thing, always. This approach has served Gilmer County well, earned him the respect of the local law-enforcement community, and proven to be especially valuable when dealing with citizens coming to court for the first time.

Ken is running for Chief Magistrate in order to continue applying his philosophy of fairness, respect, and always doing the right thing; and would appreciate your vote.

For more information, visit electkenroberts.com

Reagan Griggs Pritchett announces candidacy for Magistrate Judge of Gilmer County

News
Reagan Griggs Pritchett

To the citizens of Gilmer County:

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Reagan Griggs Pritchett and I am running for Chief Magistrate. A multigeneration citizen and native of Gilmer County, I am the daughter of Maynard and Denise Griggs. I am married to Kevin Pritchett. The son of Doug and Lynne Pritchett, he is also a lifelong resident and now a member of the Ellijay City Council. A member since childhood, we attend the First United Methodist Church of Ellijay.

I am an honor graduate of Gilmer High School. I also graduated with honors from the University of North Georgia. I went on to get a Masters in Political Science from Georgia State University. I am currently a PhD candidate at Georgia State. My PhD is in political science with a concentration in public law. I also currently teach American Government undergraduate courses at Georgia State University. Government and the law are both my knowledge and my passion.

I am choosing to run for Magistrate because I want to help make a difference in the county that helped raise and mold me into the person I am today. My father is a retired Post Commander of the Georgia State Patrol. Before pursuing a passion for teaching, my mother was a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Being the daughter of both a law enforcement officer and a teacher taught me the importance of the intersectionality of toughness, fairness, and compassion. I want to build on the legacy and foundation left by those who have held the office previously. I believe that I have the honesty, integrity, and solid work ethic that will be required by this position. As a lifelong native, I am fully invested in Gilmer County. This is my home and my community and I wish to be an active member of its future as your future Magistrate. I humbly ask for your prayers, support, and your vote in the Republican Primary on May 19, 2020. If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email at: reagangpritchettformagistrate@gmail.com.

You can also find more information on www.facebook.com/reagangpritchett

Thank you and God Bless our great county,
Reagan Griggs Pritchett

Kevin Johnson Announces His Candidacy for the 2020 Gilmer County Chief Magistrate Elections

Election

Kevin Johnson proudly announces his candidacy for the 2020 elections for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

As a veteran of the Marine Corps and with over 30 years of law enforcement experience, his dedication to service continues on as he humbly asks for support in his campaign to further his community that he cares so much for.

As a former Georgia State Patrol Trooper, he has received annual training in courtroom demeanor, case law, affidavits, arrest warrants, search warrants, and courtroom testimony. He is very experienced in courtroom demeanor and procedures as it relates to trial law. During his career, he has often been called upon to give expert testimony in both criminal and civil court cases.

His background establishes a solid foundation to serve as your Chief Magistrate. He has the experience that makes him the right choice to serve our community in this role.

Election day is Friday, May 19, 2020. The elections will be held concurrently with the statewide primary election.

Learn more about Kevin Johnson and his campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/badgetobench

Contact info:

Name: Kevin Johnson

Organization: Kevin Johnson for Chief Magistrate

Email: badgetobench@gmail.com

County Approves Second Amendment Sanctuary

News

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Officially, Gilmer County has declared itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary. With the urging of citizens and submitted petitions to the county, the vote came unanimously in support of a resolution declaring the official adoption of this moniker of Second Amendment Sanctuary.

County Commissioner Charlie Paris stated during the meeting, “This is, essentially, the very same resolution that was presented to us initially. We’ve just had two or three very minor, one-word type changes.”

Jason Williamson speaks to to the Board of Commissioners about the Second Amendment Sanctuary at Thursday Night's, February 13. 2020, meeting.

Jason Williamson speaks to to the Board of Commissioners about the Second Amendment Sanctuary at Thursday Night’s, February 13. 2020, meeting.

The minor changes were not unexpected as even Jason Williams, one of the initiators of the agenda item and the one who submitted the collected petition signatures to the county, told FYN last week that he expected the County Attorney, David Clark, to have a few such changes for legal wordings or clarifications.

Applause came from the crowd as the motion and second came and was finalized by a yes vote from all three commissioners for the resolution to support the second amendment in Gilmer County.

The county has approved a resolution at this time, but said they would look an actual ordinance change in time. Williamson previously said that an ordinance change is what specifically he wanted as it is harder to take out or change than a resolution.

Stay with FYN as we delve into the citizens comments and responses to the approval along with the actual resolution wording over the next few days.

County approves Intergovernmental Agreement

News
Gilmer County BOC, Intergovernmental Agreement

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Now that both cities of Ellijay and East Ellijay have approved their sides of the Intergovernmental Agreement for the TSPLOST, the Gilmer Board of Commissioners have followed suit by also approving approving the agreement.

The resolution approving the agreement establishes an estimated collection of up to $25 million from a one percent TSPLOST tax. As reported from the joint meeting between the cities and the county, the resolution also states the split of the proceeds between the three entities, “92.35% to the County, 5.72% to Ellijay and 1.93% to East Ellijay.”

While there are still more steps to complete after this Intergovernmental Agreement, such as preparing the ballot question and each entity fully describing the projects anticipated to be accomplished by these proceeds, the TSPLOST tax is well on its way to the spring voting ballot for citizens to offer their final word on the subject.

In a previous meeting, County Attorney David Clark urged the board set project and details before the county puts the option on the ballot for public vote as the public needs to know everything possible and everything being considered in the TSPLOST.

Following the newly approved Intergovernmental Agreement, the county and both cities have individually approved the following list under “Transportation Purpose” as items to be accomplished by the TSPLOST:

Road, street, and bridge purposes, including but not limited to: (i) acquisition of rights of way for roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (ii)  construction of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (iii) renovation and improvement of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths, including resurfacing; (iv) relocation of utilities for roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (v) improvement of surface-water drainage from roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (vi) patching, leveling, milling, widening, shoulder preparation, culvert repair, and other repairs necessary for the preservation of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (vii) roadside mowing; (viii) intersection improvements; (ix) road striping; (x) road signage; (xi) borrow pit materials used for constructing and maintaining roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (xii) a capital outlay project or projects consisting of any of the foregoing to be owned, operated, or administered by the sate and located, in whole or in part, in Gilmer County; (xiii) equipment used for constructing and maintaining roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; and (xiv) all accompanying infrastructure and services necessary to provide access to roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths.

Furthermore, in that same meeting, County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris mentioned wanting more town halls on the TSPLOST for specific regions of the county to ‘go to the people.’ He explained that he wanted to make it far easier for those in the local area to attend and discuss the topic, holding four different meetings in four different sections of Gilmer.

Despite this, several work sessions, regular meetings, and special called meetings have been held along the process offering citizens information on the subject. Additionally, the county has more meetings upcoming to speak with Commissioners such as this weeks Wednesday, February 12, Work Session at 9:00 a.m. and Thursday, February 13, Regular Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Will Gilmer become a Second Amendment Sanctuary?

News
Second Amendment Sanctuary

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Debate has risen among some in the county after the Gilmer Board of Commissioners published the agenda for their February meetings as people are noticing an agenda item to discuss becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

The official discussion with the BOC will occur during their work session this Wednesday, February 12. 2020, at 9:00 a.m and continue during the Regular Meeting with a final vote on Thursday, February 13, 2020, at 6:00 p.m.

Gilmer County's Board of Commissioners at a previous meeting. From left to right, City Clerk Edwina Daman, Post 1 Commissioner Hubert Parker, Chairman Charlie Paris, Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, and County Attorney David Clark.

Gilmer County’s Board of Commissioners at a previous meeting. From left to right, City Clerk Edwina Daman, Post 1 Commissioner Hubert Parker, Chairman Charlie Paris, Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, and County Attorney David Clark.

The item, listed as “Discussion and possible action of Gilmer County becoming a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary,” would declare Gilmer County as an official protection for the second amendment. It would be public statement against the Federal Government that if they should ever pass a law we consider to hinder or damage the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

One of the people leading this charge, Jason Williamson, spoke with FYN about the Resolution. He said he has seen many other counties passing similar resolutions. Williamson said he and another submitted the resolution alongside petitions to show the communities desire for support. Williamson said the petitions are key in showing “a presence of support.” While he hasn’t completed the petitions and doesn’t know exactly how many supporters have signed so far, he will be turning these petitions in as part of preparation for Wednesday.

With the meeting only days away, the Gilmer Sheriff, Stacy Nicholson, has also shown support for the resolution. Williamson said he is glad to have his support saying he felt confident going into the meeting.

Williamson said, “I am very big on the Second Amendment. I realized, and most people do, that the Second Amendment is the only protection we have from tyranny. When I started seeing what the state leadership of Virginia was doing, and hearing some of the other things from friends of mine that live there, we, the people, need to speak out.”

He went on to say that while Georgia hasn’t officially passed anything that he sees directly threatening yet, this is a message to other counties and other states that we support this and to also push the point to expose our leadership’s views on the subject in Georgia and in our counties.

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Part of that leadership, Sheriff Nicholson told FYN that he was fully in support saying, “I support, wholeheartedly, these resolutions being passed by counties in Georgia… I think it sends a good message to our legislatures in Washington and to those in Atlanta.”

Nicholson offered that while he hasn’t read the specific resolution being put forward in Gilmer, yet, he is very pro second amendment.

FYN questioned exactly what kind of power or pushback this resolution would legally give in the event of State Legislation. To which, Nicholson replied, “I think it’s more about sending a message to the entire nation where we stand on protecting our citizens’ constitutional rights.”

It was a sentiment separately repeated by Williamson who agreed the resolution was a preemptive move to put Gilmer in the position of being proactive rather than reactive to any such legislation.

Additionally, he went on to say the topic also “to make sure that our Sheriffs understand that they’ve got our support just as much we ask for their support as they are the supreme authority as the constable of the county.”

Williamson said he wants everyone who can attend to show support for the resolution to be present at this weeks meetings. Some have already offered counter points to the resolution saying that as a sanctuary nation by right due to the second amendment being a part of the constitution. Williamson said he has had some calling the resolution a “waste of time” because of this. But his response comes as he points to both the state and federal governments offering “interpretations” of the law and constitution. He said that much has been degraded through these people constantly picking apart these amendments to “what they think is reasonable.”

Instead, Williamson said, “I think this is just, hopefully, going to put that debate to bed.”

Gilmer shuts down under Flash Flood Warning

Featured Stories, News

Gilmer Flash Flood Warning 2/6/20ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer is one of several northern counties under a Flash Flood Warning today as the National Weather Service issued the warning just over an hour ago.

According to the National Weather Service, “Flash Flood Warnings for… Towns County in northeastern Georgia… Northwestern Lumpkin County in north central Georgia… Gilmer County in north central Georgia… Union County in north central Georgia… Fannin County in north central Georgia… Until 145 PM EST.”

Amid the warnings, Gilmer County School System issued a statement saying they would be closing schools early today in light of current conditions.

Gilmer Flash Flood Warning 2/6/20They said, “GCSS is working with local emergency management authorities to assess the current road conditions in our area. The Coosawattee and Cartecay Rivers have risen to the “Action” stage, the level before “Flood” stage, and rising rapidly. Streams in the area are expected to continue to rise after the rain stops this afternoon potentially further affecting road conditions. In the interest of student safety, GCSS will release 3 hours early today 2/6/2020. Please subtract 3 hours from the normal time you pick up your child from the school or bus stop.”

Additionally, Gilmer County officially released a statement saying they would also close at noon stating, “Due to flooding and road closures, for the safety of all Gilmer County Government employees, the courthouse and other county offices will close at 12:00 noon today, Thursday, February 6, 2020.”

Unconfirmed reports are already coming in of road closures happening on Highway 52 and other roads already being submerged. The Gilmer County Public Safety Department has issued statements for the following roads,

“Conasaga Rd at Shake Rag Rd has washed away and is impassable… Teague Road is washing away at the creek. Please avoid this area if possible… Portions of Owltown Farm Road are covered with rushing water. Please avoid this area, if possible, until further notice… Johns Way at Lake Paul Dr has become impassable. Do not travel through this area until further notice… Northlake Dr. on Walnut Mountain has rushing water across the pavement. Please avoid traveling that route until further notice… ”

Citizens can stay up to date with more road information during the Flood Warning posted to the Gilmer County Public Safety Facebook Page.

Gilmer County confirmed earlier today that Public Safety Director Kieth Kucera has already initiated preparations to open storm shelters and is monitoring conditions and staying in contact with the National Weather Service to enact emergency plans should the need arise.

Additionally, Public Safety has also stated, “The Coosawattee River is expected to crest at 8.8 feet early this afternoon – (Minor Flooding stage.) However, some roads along the river inside Coosawatee are already under water. DO NOT drive through these areas.”

However, the river, as seen in photos above, has already breached its banks and is continuing to flood areas alongside it. Citizens should avoid any areas already underwater and should keep a close eye on creeks and rivers near their homes.

As always, Citizens should avoid driving through any section of road that is underwater as it is unsafe and drivers cannot fully see if parts of the road have washed away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pool Demolition Bids approved at BOC

News
County 2020 budget, Pool Demolition

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Though short, the Gilmer Board of Commissioners’ Special Called Meeting saw a large step forward as demolition on the county’s old pool is set to start before February 1.

During the meeting, the Board announced Jacob Anderson Co. LLC. as the lowest bidder for the demolition project. Their bid was reported in the meeting at $76,000.

Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris said in the meeting that the county has had previous dealings with this company. They were awarded the demolition project of chicken houses on county property.

Additionally, Public Works Director Jim Smith also commented on the company saying even the few smaller problems that were raised with previous projects, he noted an example of mud on the road, were quickly dealt with as soon as he brought them up. Smith went on to say he had nothing but good things to say about the county’s experiences so far with the company.

Moving forward with this project, demolition beginning no later than February 1, 2020, the county will be inspecting the project closely as they look for issues and concerns to address before it starts bidding out the coming construction of the new pool.

Stop talking like it’s over in Gilmer

Opinion
Gilmer TSPLOST

Much debate has been put forth on the topic of the TSPLOST tax in Gilmer County. And, either fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective and opinion, there is still much to come. Yet, it seems much of the arguments swirling over the topic center on the idea that its already done, and that’s just not true.

The Board of Commissioners has voted and approved the TSPLOST to appear on the ballot. That does not mean that this tax is already a done deal. There is a vote, there is a chance, there are weeks of opportunity. If you have any opinion on whether or not there is to be an extra penny on your sales tax in this county, if you have any thoughts on this topic, then there is a chance to make your choice. Even if you have never voted in an election before, even if you think it doesn’t matter who sits in a seat on congress 65 miles away in Atlanta or 650 miles away in Washington D.C., this is the time to directly influence one tax that directly affects you.

There is no reason we should be treating this TSPLOST like its already passed. Even members of the board themselves have at least said they don’t care if it passes or not. The topic at hand is if you want to pay more now to accomplish something quicker. Sooner or Later?

There has been a mass of information offered on the subject from its official inception at a town hall meeting to debates on the efficacy to negotiations with the city to plans for the road department. While they continue to deliberate the deeper details defining this discretional tax, you as a citizen are the one who definitively determines the destiny of this decision. Do not take this as done deal.

There is time as the Commissioners finalize the ballot question and projects attached to it for citizens to continue speaking for or against the TSPLOST. There is time to consider the benefits of it as well as the costs. But this is coming to the ballot and being voted on. Not offering your vote is simply a statement that you do not care. You do not care about your money. And it’s not a statement to the government, it is not a statement to the Board of Commissioners that you don’t care. It is a statement to yourself, that you are passive. You are a sheep, and you will allow these people to impose anything they want on you.

If you support it and you want to see progress sooner and are willing to pay for it, then vote that way. If you are against it, and you see it as impatience of those unwilling to wait for it, then vote that way. More importantly, discuss it, talk with people. Share your thoughts and ideas. Debate and convince each other. Do not let anger overtake the debate, but instead understand and counterpoint. And stop talking like this topic is already closed.

Further details on the 2020 TSPLOST vote

News

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – With some citizens’ concerns rising over the coming vote for the 2020 TSPLOST, more details are emerging about the tax, what it will be used for, and what items will bear the tax.

According to the Single County TSPLOST Guide document posted by the ACCG (Association County Commissioners of Georgia), there are six items that are exempt from taxation on the law. (See O.C.G.A 48-8-269)

• The sale or use of any type of fuel used for off-road heavy-duty equipment, off-road farm or agricultural
equipment, or locomotives;
• The sale or use of jet fuel to or by a qualifying airline at a qualifying airport;
• The sale or use of fuel that is used for propulsion of motor vehicles on the public highways*;
• The sale or use of energy used in the manufacturing or processing of tangible goods primarily for resale;
• The sale or use of motor fuel for public mass transit; or
• The purchase or lease of any motor vehicle

As stated in their website, “ACCG is a nonprofit instrumentality of Georgia’s county governments. Formed in 1914 with 19 charter county members, today ACCG serves as the consensus building, training, and legislative organization for all 159 county governments in the state.”

So while vehicle purchases and most fuel purchases are exempt from the sales tax, it seems that all other purchases are included. It is our understanding that this does also include basic bills like groceries, water, propane fuel, electricity, and even cable and internet as they are not listed in the exemptions.

Furthermore, Gilmer Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris offered a few more insights as FYN received answers to a few questions after a Special Called Meeting in January.

Paris has noted across several meetings the progress the road department has made in recent years and the progress still needed to be in the shape he wants them to be. He has also stated that he doesn’t personally mind if the 2020 TSPLOST passes or not as he sees that progress continuing in that department. Rather, Paris has stated that he feels the TSPLOST is an answer to a rising issue as people are wanting to see more immediate results and progress. The TSPLOST, according to Paris, can accomplish in 5 years what will happen over the next 25 years.

This time, Paris offers a few more details as he says the county will be looking to pave gravel roads with the TSPLOST, thereby reducing the costs of maintaining these gravel roads. Paris said, “The end objective is, at the end of that 5 years, to have a road system that is in good enough shape and requires little enough maintenance that we can maintain it properly with the resources that we have.”

2020 TSPLOSTMany times he has noted how heavy rains devastate some of the gravel roads in the county which adversely affects the Road Department’s efforts and schedule to maintain all 500 miles of roads in the county.

The main focus of this TSPLOST is actually becoming clearer to transform the Road Department. Paris says that by paving the gravel roads, they would change from having motor-graders to pothole patchers, from attempting to do everything for roads to contracting asphalt paving and focusing the Road Department on tar and chip paving, and from one central road department to quadrant bases focused on their sections of the county.

On that last point, Paris said, “Ideally, what I would like to have, would be a base in all four quadrants of the county and have that base work exclusively within that quadrant… We can’t do that right now. We don’t have the resources to set up those bases. We don’t have the equipment to man four bases.”

Paris went on to say that an option with the 2020 TSPLOST could help set up those bases if they decide to take that direction. However, the idea is unfeasible currently as the county would need the workers and a lot more equipment to spread around the county than it currently possesses. Paris did call this option an ideal situation and something to work towards.

 

Frustrations in BOC over pool project

News
Gilmer County BOC, Intergovernmental Agreement

ELLIJAY, Ga. – County officials are looking deeper into the demolition of the county’s old pool and deciding what to salvage and what to dispose of as they look at placing the county’s new pool project there.

The county is also looking at the plumbing as Maintenance Director D.J. Spagnola said he wanted to be involved with the process as the dig down so that he could look at plumbing for the restrooms and pool project to determine needed fixes and replacements before they move forward with constructing the new pool.

Commission Chairman Charlie Paris said at the December meetings, “Originally, I really wanted to have this done by opening day. I don’t think we’re going to be able to make that… I’m getting really frustrated because it has been seven months now…”

Paris went on to say that most of the county’s time has been spent looking for a location when it started at Clear Creek and then on to River Park. The county began looking for property but came to the conclusion that they didn’t want the old location due to the costs of demolition, a project they could effectively delay until a later date. Now, considering the costs of buying property versus demolishing the old location for the new pool.

The county has almost completely decided on this location for the new pool. However, reservations are still being held as Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson has said in previous meetings that she wants to see what they find during the demolition before setting the location in stone. She did note that she is for the location, but is just wanting to hold a way out in case they find something big and to consider the price of the demolition.

As Paris said he still wanted to expedite the project to attempt to complete it before the season ends, Ferguson said, “I commend you for the work. We’ve tried different avenues. I think this is too important a project to speed through and rush it anyway… I think it’s better that we have taken the time and we have tried different options. We have considered all options that were possibilities.”

The county is focusing on this location, though, and are looking to get out and receive bids on the demolition as soon as possible.

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