Lumpkin County Board Of Education On Millage Rate

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LUMPKIN CO., GA

Lumpkin County Board of Education members voted to keep the current millage rate of 16.819 during the BOE meeting on Monday, August 13, instead of accepting a rollback millage rate of 16.321, which will result in a property tax increase for Lumpkin County.  

Before the board held the vote, Superintendent Dr. Robert Brown explained that the millage rate is based on anticipated revenue for 2019. By setting the millage rate at 16.819 instead of the rate of 16.321, Brown expects to raise an additional $400,000. He asserted that the additional anticipated funds would allow Lumpkin County teachers, as well as any other certified school employee, to receive what he described as a “much needed raise.” 

Brown also pointed out that Lumpkin County’s current property values are comparable to the 2013 values; the declining digest has stabilized, and even increased, over the past couple of years. Since the millage rate is relative to property values, property taxes will increase as well. He estimated that it will cost roughly $50 per every $100,000 of Fair Market Value of the whole, “the reason that your property taxes will be higher, is because your property has been assessed at a higher value. Property values go up, millage stays the same, that’s where the increase comes from.”

Allison Martin, a Lumpkin County resident, expressed her concern over the tax increase, and how it will impact residents who do not qualify for the senior tax exemption.

Lumpkin County Board of Education members from left to right: Craig Poore, Lynn Sylvester, Bobby Self, Dr. Rob Brown, and Jim McClure.

“Your decision to go above the rollback rate is another $65 for our family, just for the 4.98 mil, which does not include the shift for the [senior tax] exemption…those of us in the under 65 [age group] cannot continue to finance a failing tax system. Please do not raise our taxes.”  

Lumpkin County Commissioner Bobby Mayfield spoke in favor of the millage rate increase because, he said, the pay raise will help educators to “manage the cost of living.” He also explained that the pay raise will make Lumpkin Schools more competitive in comparison to surrounding counties when hiring and keeping educators.

Another Lumpkin County resident, who is a former special education teacher, questioned if the school board has explored alternative solutions to raise revenues for the schools, “I wonder why there’s never any idea of trying another way to raise revenue,” she asked. She went on to suggest a marketing campaign that would encourage residents who qualify to, “donate some of their tax exemption back to the school system”.

Board members present include: Craig Poore, Lynn Sylvester, Bobby Self, Dr. Brown, and Jim McClure.

 

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Grindle brings experience, name recognition, likability to campaign for Board of Commissioners

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FetchYourNews will post a series of profile articles on both Republican candidates in the July 26 runoff for the District 4 seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners. This is the second in that series. We will also feature the Democrat candidate before the November general election.

 

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Political consultants will tell you that a candidate’s experience, name recognition and likeability are key elements in a political campaign. Clarence Grindle, a lifelong resident of Lumpkin County, checks every one of those boxes.

Grindle, 76, defeated Jeff Moran by a paper-thin margin of 49 votes in the general primary election last month but failed to get enough votes to avoid a July runoff. Grindle received 1,005 votes to Moran’s 956.

Experience: Grindle served two terms on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners until being defeated by Bob Pullen in 2014. In a phone interview Monday, Grindle said the Board accomplished a good bit during his terms, including the completion of the courthouse and the addition of ball fields, fencing, restrooms and a conference center at Yahoola Creek Park.

“I’m hoping my experience in serving eight years on the Board will be a factor,” Grindle said.

Name recognition: It could be reasonably argued that Grindle, who has run Grindle’s Barber Shop for nearly half a century, is the most recognizable person in the county. Only the newest of newcomers (men, that is) have not sat in his barber’s chair.

Likeability: You don’t last 50 years as a small-town barber without being friendly and outgoing. Grindle is kind even when talking about his opponent. “I only met him two or three weeks ago,” he said. “He seems like a really nice fellow. I don’t have anything against him.”

If elected, Grindle will be 80 years old when his term in office ends, but he said he does not see that as a negative. “Not at all. I do everything now that I have done since I was 18 years old,” he added.

A graduate of Lumpkin County High School, he has lived in Lumpkin County his whole life and enjoys the small-town charm, but he understands that growth is inevitable. Still, his desire is to attract more industry without destroying the town’s character.

To that end, Grindle wants to address the problem of litter. He said he would like to propose a plan that would emphasize education, enforcement and prevention in an effort to keep the county clean.

 

 

 

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Commissioners will hire ‘community healthcare’ intern

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept an Association of County Commissioners Georgia (ACCG) grant to fund the hiring of an intern who will coordinate a “community healthcare” discussion, coordinate and co-lead groups and analyze and interpret data collected in surveys.

The grant will pay the intern, who will work under the direction of Commissioner David Miller, $10 per hour for up to 200 hours. The county’s total contribution to the grant will be $250. Miller, who brought the idea to the board, thanked board members for their support.

Commissioners also approved a request by the Lumpkin County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA) to deed the ground water well at Blackburn Park over to LCWSA for use as a water source for the Ga. 400 system with the caveat that if the Georgia Environmental Protection Division does not approve the well as a water source, ownership will revert back to the county.

Commissioners denied a request by the owner of Barefoot Hills Hotel to waive penalties, interest and non-payment fees accrued on rentals between March through October 2017.

The board unanimously approved:

  • A lease agreement for the Adult Learning Center;
  • A canoe launch sublease with Appalachian Outfitters (Comm. Stringer recused himself); and
  • A canoe launch sublease with Hall’s Mill Enterprises (Comm. Stringer recused himself).

Resolutions approved unanimously by the board include:

  • Dissolution of the Airport Committee;
  • Appointment of Airport Authority members Larry Odom, Gene Gawthrop, Archie Bowling, Jimmy Berrong and Chris Dockery;
  • Appointment of Lumpkin County Library Board of Trustees member Kaye Campagnoli;
  • Appointment of Hospital Authority members Leland Cox and Larry Charles;
  • Appointment of Public Building Authority members W. Franklin Youngblood and Daniel Harding; and
  • Appointment of Upper Etowah River Alliance member Dr. Robert Fuller.

 

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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ACCG intern grant would facilitate Lumpkin County healthcare discussion

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Commissioners are expected to vote on an Association of County Commissioners Georgia (ACCG) grant that would fund the hiring of an intern to coordinate a “Community Healthcare” discussion when the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners meets Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The grant would pay an intern $10 per hour for up to 200 hours to coordinate and co-lead “Community Healthcare Discussion” groups and analyze and interpret data collected from surveys. The county’s only financial contribution would be $250 and the intern would work under the direction of Commissioner David Miller, who suggested the study during a recent meeting.

Commissioners must also vote on a request by the Lumpkin County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA) to use the ground water well at Blackburn Park as a source of water for its Ga. 400 water system.

Several key contracts will also be on the agenda, including one with Atlanta-based Mauldin & Jenkins to provide the county audit at a cost of $41,000. Mauldin & Jenkins has provided that service for Lumpkin County since 2007.

Another contract to be considered is with Bachman & Associates for the schematic design phase of the Chestatee Regional Library System at a cost of $35,280.

Also up for a decision Tuesday is the 2018 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) work plan that was presented to commissioners at the annual retreat. The plan is a guide for the use of funds approved by commissioners based on the program as approved by the voters.

The program is designed to ensure programs stay within budget and provide time for staff to research and make sure all projects submitted are SPLOST eligible. All projects presented will fall within the guidelines of the original program approved by the voters.

Commissioners will vote on a request by the owner of Barefoot Hills Hotel to waive the penalties, interest and non-payment fees for March through October 2017 rentals.

Resolutions to be considered include:

  • Revisions to the county Animal Ordinance;
  • Revisions to the alcohol beverage catering fees and special event fees;
  • Revisions to the alcohol and drug testing policy;
  • Appointments to the Park and Recreation Advisory Board;
  • Appointments to the Department of Family and Children Services Board; and
  • Appointments to the Joint Development Authority of Lumpkin, Dawson and White counties.

 

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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Small-lodging, short-term rental property is the hot-topic issue at commissioners’ work session

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Commissioner David Miller

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – A discussion about the land use plan that applies to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property and variance requests dominated the discussion at the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners work session this week.

Planning Director Larry Reiter asked for clarification on the interpretation of regulations in the residential growth categories that pertain to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property due to ambiguous wording.

Reiter said current regulations require all “non-commercial” character areas to have a minimum of two acres in order to operate a small-lodging, short-term vacation rental business. However, there are three different definitions of “small lodging” in the code.

However, in 2012, the Board of Commissioners granted a variance to the two-acre requirement with the caveat that the business not be located next to a family with children. Since then, the Planning Commission has reviewed 20 variance requests to the two-acre minimum, most of which were approved without opposition.

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield

Recently, concerned property owners in two different subdivisions have expressed opposition to the variance and the Planning Commission will hear three such requests in February. Staff is in the process of revising the land use code and has asked for direction from commissioners.

Regarding the variance requests to be heard this month, Commissioner Bob Pullen recommended sticking with the two-acre minimum requirement until the board has had time to change it.

Commissioner David Miller said he believes the two-acre minimum is reasonable. “However, I believe there must be accommodations made for specific circumstances,” Miller said. “Rather than mandate the Planning Commission to some predetermined directions from commissioners, I think we should let you guys do your work. If members of the public disagree with your decision, then they do and should have the right to appeal.”

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield said, “The two-acre requirement should be a red flag. If it’s less than two acres, then (Planning Commission) needs to take a hard look at this. If you live out in the country somewhere and nobody lives near you, and nobody objects then I can see why the Planning Commission would have granted those variances. On the other hand, if you choose to live in a community surrounded by a whole bunch of people where all your actions impact those other folks, and they don’t think it’s a good idea, then the Planning Commission should take that into consideration when it grants or doesn’t grant the variance.”

The board will take Planning Department’s requests into consideration and vote on the issue in a future meeting.

 

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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Board of Commissioners will review land use plan for short-term vacation rentals at today’s meeting

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Planning Commission will ask commissioners for guidance in making proposed revisions to the county’s land use plan that regulates small-lodging, short-term vacation rentals when the Board of Commissioners holds its working session Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.

Planning Commission members say they have received an increasing number of requests for variances to the land use plan which requires a minimum of two acres to operate a small-lodging, short-term vacation rental business.

In three years, the commission has received 20 requests for variances on property less than two acres and all have been approved without opposition. However, planning staff reports that recently, residents of two subdivisions have voiced opposition to requests and another request is on the Planning Commission agenda in February in one of the subdivisions that has voiced opposition.

Commissioners will also consider a resolution to pay per diem to the chairman and members of the Lumpkin County Planning Commission in the amount of $100 and $75 per meeting. In presenting the resolution for consideration, staff queried other Georgia municipalities to determine the average amount of per diem paid. Dawson, White, Hall and Forsyth counties pay an average of $94 per meeting.

The board will consider a request to waive late penalties, interest and non-filing fees in the amount of $2,304.95 due for the months of March through October 2017 for the Barefoot Hill Hotel, formerly Barefoot Lodge and Hiker Hostel.

Commissioners will also discuss adoption of the 2018 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Work Plan, an annual guide for the use of funds approved by the board based on the program approved by voters.

Commissioners will also discuss the appointment of members to the library board, hospital authority, public building authority, development authority, joint development authority of Lumpkin, White and Dawson counties, Upper Etowah River Alliance and the audit committee.

County contracts to be discussed include the lease for the Adult Learning Center, disaster debris removal, Canoe Georgia, Inc., canoe launch with Chestatee River Adventures and probation management services for Magistrate, Probate and Superior Court.

 

 

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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City/County Officials Host GMRC at Camp Merrill

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City/county officials from all across north Georgia attended the GMRC meeting at Camp Frank D. Merrill last week.

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners and the City of Dahlonega hosted the monthly meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) Thursday in the dining facility at Camp Frank D. Merrill, the US Army Ranger facility.

The GMRC serves local governments of the Georgia mountains region by improving the quality of life through economic development, community planning, information technology, and workforce development to support and enhance the region’s prosperity.

Named for the famous Ranger General of World War II in the Burma Campaign, Camp Merrill is the home of the US Army’s 5th Ranger Training Battalion, where Ranger candidates receive mountain warfare training.

Lumpkin County staff and elected officials attend GMRC meeting.

Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery welcomed city and county officials from all across north Georgia. County Manager Stan Kelley, a former Army Ranger, Commissioners Bob Pullen, David Miller, Rhett Stringer and Bobby Mayfield attended along with Fire Chief David Wimpy and Public Works Director Larry Reiter.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Michael Hack briefed the audience on the rigorous training regimen ranger candidates undergo in order to accomplish their mission of providing logistical support, training, mobilization, deployment, supporting, sustaining and reconstituting forces.

Roseann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia, explained how the center provides students with a unique opportunity to discover the arts, history, music and nature of southern Appalachia through community engagement, service learning, undergraduate research and creative activities. The center is located on the Dahlonega campus across the street from Price Memorial Hall in the Historic Vickery House.

Lumpkin County Mayoral candidate Sam Norton (right) receives recognition during Small Business Week for his Picnic Cafe.

Dahlonega City Councilman Sam Norton, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election, was given special recognition by Congressman Doug Collins’ office for during Small Business Week for the small business he started in Dahlonega called Picnic Café.

The GMRC also held a Workforce Development Board Meeting in the second floor conference room of the Lumpkin County Administrative Building in Dahlonega.

 

 

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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Library Will Celebrate Centennial in November

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Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary in November. The library was opened by the Ladies of Lumpkin County Home and School Improvement (now the Woman’s Club) with the generous donation of a book collection by the Matthew F. Stephenson family.

In recognition of the date, Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough and Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery have proclaimed Nov. 4 as Lumpkin Library Centennial Day.

Commissioners passed a series of resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting, including one that authorized the sale of  several items, including a 2010 Ford E-350 van, 1995 Ford F-350 pickup truck, a 500-gallon water tank and a John Deere Model 350C as surplus items and provided for their sale on govdeals.com.

Other resolutions passed include:

  • An amendment to change the fees charged for various services, including administrative, buildings and building regulations, animals and foul, parks and recreation and ambulance. The new fees will become effective Jan. 1, 2018;
  • An amendments to the county sign ordinance;
  • Introduction of legislation in the 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly to create a Lumpkin County Airport Authority;
  • An amendment to the county alcohol ordinance that grants any person who has been issued a State license to manufacture and/or sell distilled spirits the right to manufacture and/or sell distilled spirits in the county until such time as it is determined the county has such authority.

Commissioners also approved the following:

  • An amendment to the contract with Legacy Link approved in May 2017 to include an allocation of funding to Lumpkin County of $8, 272 for operation of the Senior Center as well as congregate and home-served meals. No county match is required;
  • A contract with Parker Traffic Markings for an Off System Safety Project that includes striping and signage in the amount of $76,156. GDOT will provide 70 percent of the funding and the remainder ($22,846) would be funded out of SPLOST funds;
  • Renewal of a one-year contract with Mark Robinson Hauling to operate the transfer station for a fee of $16,200;
  • Renewal of a lease that allows Ninth District Opportunity to operate a Head Start Program at the J.B. Jones Pre-School, a county-owned facility. In exchange for providing the facility at no charge the county receives credit for an in-kind contribution valued at $152,900.

Lumpkin County Finance Director Allison Martin reported to commissioners that all Title III funds received under the federal Secure Rural Schools Act since 2009 ($126,131.80) have been spent.

The county decided that 15% of the funds received would be used for Firewise Community activities in and the remaining 85% would be used on road improvement projects. Martin reported the funds were spent on Firewise education classes and advertisements, Firewise educational materials, Firewise trailer, tent, computer, projector, display boards, search and rescue operations on National Forest Land, Neighborhood cleanup days and a county-wide fire survey.

 

 

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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