Changes coming to Animal Control

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – A couple from the area of Woodland Acres spoke in August’s Commissioners’ meetings about an ongoing problem with dogs running loose in the area.

In the ensuing discussions, on August 8, 2019, Commission Chairman Charlie Paris promised citizens that changes would be coming to the Animal Control Ordinances of Gilmer County in efforts to address this and similar issues in the county.

The most vocal, Sto Goodwin and Debra Christian, live as neighbors in Woodland Acres and began discussing the issue on Wednesday, they tell FYN that several people in the area have had issues with dogs running free in the area. Christian named the breed Cane Corso as one that has specifically harassed her. She went on to say that the issue has not been handled properly as they have reported the issues, Animal Control has picked up the dogs on the loose, but the owner in question just get the dogs back. This owner, who was not named, has allegedly gone to court, promised to move, and made other promises that have not been kept.

Christian alleges that the owner refuses to enclose the dogs and actively trains them in “Predator Control.” She was supported in these allegations by both Goodwin and even Chairman Paris who said, “He has been very clear with us in the past that he expects his dogs to be able to run free, and that we’re welcome to fine him. He’ll pay the fine, but they will run free.”

Paris stated that the problem has existed for several years. Due to the increasing allegations and some citizens even saying they have video of the dogs killing cats and other animals as well as chasing after people in the area, responses are now increasing. While Paris said that they cannot just go and take the dogs by law, he did say that the county is already changing one thing right now. Animal Control’s policy for returning animals found off of owner’s property is going to step up plan.

Paris said, “Previously, if an animal was brought in that was found off the owner’s property, it was $150 fee to reclaim it. If it came in again, it was another $150. What we’ve done is we’ve lowered the first offense to $100, and if that person, who comes in, is willing to have us spay or neuter the particular animal, then we will lower it to $75. That’s the first time, and this is per owner, not per animal. The second time an animal from that owner comes in, it’s $300. And if they want to spay or neuter, we’ll back it up one level to $100. The third time it comes in, it’s going to be $600, then $900. And then it’ll be $1000.”

Paris went on to note that citations will also go along with that.

These new changes are just part of the major changes that could be coming to the ordinance. Paris promised those present that he would be looking into the ordinance to have something to present next month. Goodwin asked how many animals might die by the time this situation reaches those higher levels of fees.

Goodwin said that this issue has gone on for six years with nobody seeming to respond or even care as this one owner hides behind a law claiming exemption for dog attacks on other animals under certain circumstances. One of those exemptions involve Predator Control, being the training claimed for these animals. However, he also tells FYN that he has neighbors who have photos and even a video of one of the dogs with a mutilated cat in its mouth.

Additionally, with potential citations, court litigation, and other outcomes from additional issues arising, County Attorney David Clark warned those citizens that continued investigations would require continued support from citizens. He said they cannot back off from standing up for the issue as the county and court systems cannot pursue them through Animal Control without citizen support.

Goodwin stated that he did not want to harm the dogs as he blames the owner for their training and activities, but he warned that if they continued being aggressive and threatening others, someone was going to get hurt.

Paris also said he was worried about citizens attempting to protect themselves and potentially harming or killing the animals.

Moving into the the minimal 3-month process, changes are currently expected to be advertised in September, if approved the first reading will be in October, if approved there the second reading and final adoption will be in November.

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County certification in ethics recognized

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County has officially been certified and recognized as an “Organization of Ethics, or “County of Ethics,” by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA).

The recognition officially came during the recent GMA Convention on June 24, 2019. According to a news release from the Association, “The City of Ethics program began in 1999 and was developed by a panel of business and government leaders to encourage cities to adopt and adhere to a set of key ethical principles and adopt a local ethics ordinance. The ordinance must contain definitions, prohibited conduct and due process for officials accused of violations in areas such as financial disclosures, conflicts of interests and outside employment. The ordinance must also contain penalties for city officials who violate the ordinance.”

The county has been working towards this title for several months now through the appointment of a Board of Ethics to judge and discern complaints brought forth and adding ordinances in the County’s Code to address the issue. Although mostly formalities, designating the board and becoming a county of ethics is something Gilmer County Chairman Charlie Paris wanted mostly for the symbolism as he stated in a recent meeting that he hoped the Board of Ethics is appointed and never meets.

As a entity that would only meet if problems arise and a complaint or dispute is brought forth, the lack of issues would put these positions as a mere title and nothing more. Yet, the meaning behind that would represent an ethically strong government.

The GMA’s full release is as follows:

SAVANNAH – Gilmer County Board of Commissioners was recognized as the most recently certified Organization of Ethics at the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Annual Convention June 24. The City of Crawfordville also received the City of Ethics certification, while 36 additional cities received recertifications

The cities of Acworth, Barnesville, Brunswick, Buford, Centerville, Clarkston, Dawsonville, Donalsonville, Dublin, Dunwoody, Grantville, Helen, Hinesville, Hiram, Lakeland, Luthersville, Madison, Maysville, Meansville, Midway, Moultrie, Mount Airy, Mount Vernon, Newnan, Nicholson, Powder Springs, Reynolds, Sandersville, Savannah, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Swainsboro, Sylvester, Tifton, Trion and Vienna.

The City of Ethics program began in 1999 and was developed by a panel of business and government leaders to encourage cities to adopt and adhere to a set of key ethical principles and adopt a local ethics ordinance. The ordinance must contain definitions, prohibited conduct and due process for officials accused of violations in areas such as financial disclosures, conflicts of interests and outside employment. The ordinance must also contain penalties for city officials who violate the ordinance.

GMA requires members with the designation to recertify for the program, ensuring that ordinances maintain the standards of the program and officials are regularly reminded of their ethical obligations as individuals and as a governing body. Each city/organization is required to apply for recertification every four years.

A panel of attorneys reviewed the ordinances to determine if they comply with the criteria set by GMA. The new members received a plaque and are now authorized by GMA to use a “Certified City and Organization of Ethics” logo on stationery, road signs, vehicles and for other uses.

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 538 member cities.

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Office of Planning&Zoning Approves Six Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Richard Sanfilippo
Owner Name: Richard D., Samantha A., & Terry F. Sanfilippo
Owner Address: 219 Man O’ War Circle, Cantonment, FL 32533
Property Location: 657 Nexus Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3039A-095
Size of Property: 1.13 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: 11′ Variance to the 35′ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. One neighbor called with concerns with it being too close to the road. A present citizen voiced concerns over potential septic tank and trout stream contamination.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: America Dhamma Society, Inc.
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1975 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-007
Size of Property: 6.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely. One citizen concerned about potential traffic increase.

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: The Terrance Hwang Revocable Trust
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1971 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-005
Size of Property: 171.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely.

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mitchell Hensley
Owner Name: Vira Hensley
Owner Address: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3035-030
Size of Property: 0.33 acre portion
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine 0.21 and 0.12 acre Corners with Parcel 3035-029 to Cure Encroachments.

Passed, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-001
Size of Property: 1.72 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)

Passed, none oppose.

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-002
Size of Property: 2.16 acres.
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine with Parcel 3021-056

Passed, none oppose.

6. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mike Duke
Owner Name: West Ellijay Storage, LLC.
Owner Address: 88 Brooks Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Harold Pritchett Road. Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3065-123D
Size of Property: 2.0 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)
Proposed Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial) w/Conditional Use.
Proposed Use of Property: Mini-Warehouse Storage Units

Pass, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

7. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Samantha Walker
Owner Name: DF Walker Properties, LLC.
Owner Address: P.O. Box 2001, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 2218 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3081-171C
Size of Property: 2.18 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)

Proposed Land Use Classification: I-1 (Industrial)

Proposed Use of Property: Water Bottling Facility

Approved with condition it is to be used for bottling water only. The water will be brought in by truck, bottled, and then exported by truck. None oppose. No questions or concerns from neighbors.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – The Hammock – Preliminary – Water Song Phase 1 – Preliminary.

Passed, none oppose.
Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 5 pm for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Commissioner’s meeting room of the Gilmer County Courthouse, to the left of the Voter’s Registration Office.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

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City Council Nearly Drafts New Alcohol-Related Ordinance for Central Business District

City Council, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council Nearly Drafted an Ordinance to Expand the Area Within the Central Business District Exempted from Distance Requirements for On-Premise Alcohol Licenses during their meeting on Monday, July 15, 2019.

State law prohibits the sale of distilled spirits in or within 100 yards of any church building or within 200 yards of any school building, education building, school grounds, or college campus; Any wine or malt beverages within 100 yards of any school building, school ground, or college campus.

O.C.G.A. 3-3-21-B-3 gives local governing authorities ability to reduce this distance. This is what has been asked of the City Council.

The agenda question regarding this item was as follows: “Shall an Ordinance be Prepared For The Purpose of Expanding the Area Within the Central Business District Exempted From Distance Requirements From Church Structures, School Structures and School Grounds For On Premise Consumption Licenses For Beer, Wine and Distilled Spirits.”

The current Pastor of First Baptist Church was the first to address the council on the matter, stating “We’re greatly affected by the ordinances that we have. We would encourage you to keep the ordinance that we have in place. We have morning and evening activities at our church, we have a full children’s daycare program that runs year-round, and we just feel like there needs to be a buffer with our church and with the sale of alcohol. There are plenty of commercial properties in our city where business people can sell alcohol and we feel like if they choose to do that they need to find a location that is out of that buffer zone that the state law permits. We appreciate your consideration in lieu of 500 people being here tonight, I mentioned it very briefly yesterday, I have about 300 signatures that I could share with you, I could come up with probably 800 with the people that have shared with me if you all need to know our feeling about that issue.”

Mike Lancaster – “I don’t see how you can have establishments that are in the existing boundaries that can sell alcohol and distiled spirits and deny the Coffee Shop the same opportunity. It’s almost like government picking winners and losers.”

JoAnn of the Ellijay Coffee House, one of the business’ seeking the right to serve alcohol in their store, was the second to address the council stating “So thank you for clarifying that, that is is up to you guys to make that change, and certainly appreciate the churches opinion on that matter. I actually got out with a bit of a walking stick yesterday so I could get my head around the current law. 28 Main, which is where it goes to, there door, to there door, is 31 yards, just so you know. So, this buffer, I think the distance is arbitrary. […]We happen to be on the other side of the church. When I was here five years ago, three months, we played with this, maybe even four months. And then, you all said it just needed to be tabled, it just wasn’t a good time. Five years, you’ve given alot of licenses out. We can only conclude on our end it feels a bit discriminatory to us. I feel that it’s a bit capricious of the council to just be… I’m not even sure what’s going on, I don’t even know why we can’t get one, when everyone else seems to be able to get one. I don’t think there’s a sound basis for it, I think it feels very prejudicial to us. That’s all I can say. I hope you reconsider it. I think that, when we bought our building, for everyone to think we would know that, I’m not sure how you think we would know we couldn’t get one when I could have a drink two blocks up the street from our building, so, that to me is just a ridiculous statement that comes up that you should’ve known better well we didn’t, okay? And at the end of the day I don’t really understand why other people have better opportunities than we do and I just think the entire central business district, including the theater, needs to have the right that everyone on River Street at the square does. And I hope you’ll take this really seriously, I think we’ve waited long enough and I think we’ve proven, Rick and I as a business, that we have contributed to this town in every way we can. We love this town, we have incredible guests and I’m sorry the church feels that way, but that’s a church issue, and I’m not asking the church to believe in anything, I just feel like you need to look beyond that.”

Council Member Katie Lancey made a motion to vote on this measure, stating that “I was here when the City of Ellijay was completely dry. I was here when we had the first pouring alcohol ordinance, and we lost by nine votes. I was here for the second when it passed. And I was here, last Saturday night, walking around, enjoying downtown Ellijay. As a member of the City Council, I feel that we are charged and it is our responsibility to facilitate the success of our business’ downtown. This is not about the Coffee House, this is about all of Main Street. So I would like to make a motion, that we direct our City Attorney, to prepare and ordinance for the purpose of expanding the area within the Central Business District exempted from the distance requirements from churches, schools, for the on-premise consumption”, which was met with applause from the crowd.

With no other board members seconding, however, the motion has been laid to rest for the time being.

Any future developments regarding ordinances such as these will be reported on as they become known, so be sure to stay tuned!

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Office of Planning&Zoning Examines Eight Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Address: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3093P-009
Size of Property: 2.22 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Place an approx 16×25 Garage on Parcel
Variance Requested: 35 ‘Variance to the 40’ Rear Setback

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. There is already a level area for a garage on the property.

 

2. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Ricky Balanno
Owner Name: Pinnacle Home Builders
Owner Address: 4381 Yorkshire Court, Loganville, Ga. 30052
Map and Parcel Number: 3037E-018
Size of Property: 0.58 acres
Current Land Use of Property: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a 32×39 Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: -30 ‘Variance to the 35’ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. Was requested earlier this year. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

 

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: Sheila Miller
Owner Name: Kenneth Richards
Owner Address: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3054-011
Size of Property: 0.93 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residnetial Low Density) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Use RV for Guest Home

Intended for hardship purposes. Passed, none oppose, but once hardship goes, then temporary/conditional use expires. Applicant present but did not speak.

 

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Address: 280 Clear Creek Valley Dr. Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Mulkey Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3098-015B
Size of Property: 10.25 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Create subdivision for single family dwellings.

Already has approval from the Water Authority. Seven to eight houses to be added. Owner must install new water main.

 

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations: Event Hosting, and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Proposed for bike trails, weekend craft activities and farm animal education and interaction.

 

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Weddings & Events Venue

No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Limited on events size and units are planned for housing families. Tabled until other areas of the property are re-zoned.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – Hidden Lake Phase 8 – Minor subdivision Final

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

 

Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, July 18, 2019 for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Jury Assembly room of the Gilmer County Courthouse.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

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Maintenance and Land Use nearing decisions in BOC

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Final decisions may be coming soon as the county considers densities and more with recent changes in Land Use Ordinances.

Having been on the agenda for several months, this item was revisited during a first reading and gone through several public hearings and adjustments from the Building Association and local builders. This month finally saw the ordinance pass a first reader. The county will revisit it next month for a second reading and final adoption to put an end to the lengthy process.

However, few complaints are being heard on the time taken for this ordinance, instead, confirmations and thanks are forefront as the county did not vote to pass the reader months ago when asked by citizens and builders for more time to study and give input on changes for the ordinance.

Cleaning and maintenance for the Gilmer Courthouse is also still being debated as the Commissioners and Maintenance Director D.J. Spagnola look into options for cleaning the stained bricks on the courthouse. While pressure washing is too rough, causing damage to the stone, painting does not seem good enough to cover over the stains either. The stains come from a moss, not a mold, according to Spagnola.

Looking at proposals for cleaning, Spagnola is looking for lasting options instead of the temporary fixes the county has been using. He spoke of meeting with an architect to look at ways to seal the capstone in order to protect it from the water, moss, and stains that continue to damage the exterior.

The board officially approved Shane Bowman as a member to the Department of Family & Children’s Services Board.

The board also approved Tony Whitaker as a member to the Ellijay-Gilmer County Water & Sewerage Authority.

 

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Post Commissioner Raises pass First Reader

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Reaching all the way back to October of 2018, the proposal of wage increases for Post Commissioners finally reached the stage of First Reader this month.

This topic has been hotly debated, and even now, the public hearing saw more debate over the issue that has spanned five months and the changing of the Post 2 Commissioner. After a community push, successfully, to keep the issue in county instead of sending the topic to Atlanta for a vote, the discussion now moves to the actual topic of accepting or denying the proposed Post Commissioner salary raise from 10% to 18% of the Chairman’s Salary.

With only a couple people standing in the Public Hearing to speak, discussion centered on justifying the raise. Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson was asked about this, and replied with some statistics about her hours saying she has put in 134 hours since taking office at the new year. She calculated the pay versus hours and reported that she has received close to $7.74 /hr ($1,036.82 total pay over 134 hours).

Additionally, Dallas Miller was asked about his hours comparatively, if he has more or less than Ferguson, being a new commissioner and attending training. Miller admitted that the hours don’t go down as he said more people know who you are and will stop you to talk, email you, or call you.

Miller stated again, as he has in previous meetings, that he did feel it would have been better at a different time, and he ultimately voted no on the First Reader citing the same issues he noted in the public meeting about timing.

It wasn’t until another citizen, Brian Pritchard, spoke about his issues with the change. Among his own questions for justification, he eventually asked the Board to push the vote back to year end for citizens and commissioners to look at the raise.

Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris noted that pushing this back that far could create a perception of conflict with the Post 1 Commissioner position so close to qualifying and re-election in 2020. Paris said he did not believe that it was necessary, and the board could avoid the conflict altogether by not pushing the issue off to year-end.

Taking the issue now would be far separated from any decisions on running again according to Paris.

The first reader was officially approved with Karleen Ferguson giving the motion, Charlie Paris giving the second, and the final vote passing on 2-1.

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City Council to condemn two properties

News

Ellijay, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council held a first of two readings of the condemnation of two properties this month, at 47 Boardtown Rd and 292 Cox Creek Rd.

Councilman David Westmoreland noted that some of the issues have “been in disrepair for years.” With the first reading done, the process is underway and action will be taken in February.

The condemnation, according to the ordinances read, will require the property owners to demolish and remove the structures on the properties with sixty days if passed. If not adhered to, the city will remove the structures at the property owners expense.

The two ordinances for reading are below for both properties.

292 Cox Creek Rd

292 Cox Creek Rd

47 Boardtown Rd

47 Boardtown Rd

 

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