SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY RESOLUTION RESCINDED!!

May 4, 2015

Landfill Sign 2

 

More details coming—but here’s the nitty gritty from tonight’s meeting…

Comm. Luke made a motion to RESCIND the Solid Waste Authority Resolution!!! The BOC voted 4-1, with Craig Salmon against rescinding the resolution. Comm. Luke then made a motion to appoint all 7 people to a CITIZENS COMMITTEE!!!

The citizens have won this round!! We did not need an authority set up to research the landfill issues and give advice.

According to Comm. Luke, he got tons of calls! He said, “It was all about Public Perception–if it was the truth or not!” The problem is the truth was exposed and people reacted and let the BOC members know how they felt about regional waste and secret dealings.

Thank you to everyone who took time to talk to or email the commissioners!

Comm. Trammell said he was going to develop a mission statement for the committee. The committee will meet this Thursday evening at 5:15PM and will be given their “charge” by the Comm. Trammell and the BOC. Hopefully the BOC will allow this group to work independently to find the best answers for Jasper County and its citizens.

Look for more details in the next blog!

 TWG

 

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BOC TO APPOINT SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY MEMBERS MONDAY, MAY 4TH AT 6:00PM

AND ONE MEMBER MAY BE THE COUNTY MANAGER

May 2, 2015

 

Even though they voted to extend the time to make the board appointments for 60 days on April 6th, the BOC plans to appoint members to the SWA on May 4th (less than 30 days from the vote). The video below shows the discussion, the motion, and the vote.

While Luke made his motion, Trammell interrupted. Trammell wants to make sure only his ideas and his way is voted on. He controls when the motion is made, what the motion is, etc. The county attorney is also mumbling something, but what he says is not part of the motion. He and Karen Degges are not commissioners even though they act like #6 and #7 of the BOC.

It was brought up that representation from Shady Dale, BOC, and the City of Monticello could be the 3 elected officials; however, Comm. Trammell wants 3 commissioners to “make sure they didn’t get too far out in left field,” Doesn’t that tell us that they are going to control what happens, one way or another?

After contacting a commissioner and asking why they are going back on their word and appointing now, he informed me that the motion was to appoint WITHIN 60 days. Do you hear the word “within” in the motion? No! This sounds like another way to get around things thought up by the threesome—the county attorney, the County Manager, and Chairman Trammell.

How many times have we heard from this BOC that they “have no secrets?” That is until they want to do something the citizens are against, then everything is a secret—when appointments are made, when resolutions are drawn up and voted on, etc.

Here are some other interesting facts:

  1. Trammell says the landfill will cost $500,000 to close. Karen Degges says it will cost $350,000—this amount was already put in the budget and we got a 2 mil increase in taxes last year to pay for it. According to the financial figures, only $1800 of this has been spent through 2/28/15.
  2. The EPD consent order voted on in January and approved in April 2015 by EPD, gives the county FIVE YEARS to mitigate the “fiber problem.” $500,000 over 5 years is $100,000 per year. The amount of profit the county makes on curbside pickup; so this amount could easily be funded without a tax increase or by bringing in regional waste.
  3. Matthew Roper—employee, certified landfill operator, and “consultant”—has been missing from work since the March 16th Why? Will he be allowed to be the consultant or haul waste to the landfill after presenting the plan?

As sent to TWG in a post: Amazing stupidity exhibited in only having someone who would profit from running the dump provide a plan. Precisely! Have the commissioners even thought about bids or other plans? What do the current landfill engineers (not Matthew Roper/Roper Environmental Services) say about all this? Where is their report? Oh, the BOC says this is why they are setting up the Authority—to answer these questions. That is not what an authority is for. An authority is a mini-government, not a research board or fact finding committee. The BOC seems to be too lazy to get their own answers and do their own research. If Karen Degges doesn’t provide them their talking points, they seem to be lost.

Are there any bets that Karen Degges, County Manager, not the Commissioners and not the landfill engineers, thought up this “30 year deal” to lease the landfill out?

Here is a copy of the information for the commissioners to review before the meeting.

SWA Appoint Volunteers
These are the seven (7) people that have volunteered to serve. No one from District 2 or District 5 is listed.

We can’t wait to see if knowledgeable citizens are appointed and if the BOC is just crazy enough to appoint Karen Degges as one of the citizens, because she surely isn’t an elected official. Karen Degges lists in the information above that “The County Manager (by position) can serve in one board seat, at the discretion of the BOC.”   THERE IS NO WHERE IN THE LAW THAT SAYS THIS—read the Georgia Code/Law yourself: § 12-8-54 – Board of directors

This BOC has decided it will do whatever it pleases despite protests from the public. The meetings may be boring, but SWA Board appointments are first on the agenda, and you should be there.   Plan to be at the meeting May 4th at 6:00PM.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR EMAIL LIST.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, Landfill, Open Government | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ANOTHER WRECK TONIGHT AT BETHEL CHURCH RD & HWY 212 W

May 1, 2015

BOC HAS DONE LITTLE TO MAKE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS AT BETHEL CHURCH RD. & HWY 212 W

 The BOC has been too busy worrying about bringing in waste from all over the State to our landfill and backing bonds for an out of town business owner to worry about a dangerous intersection that their own citizens use.

Tonight at approximately 5:20PM there was a 2 vehicle accident at the same intersection where numerous other wrecks have occurred over the past 2 years.   There were 3 Sheriff cars, 2 Georgia State troopers, and 2 county ambulances that responded to the accident.

Based on a source at the wreck scene, no one was injured and the 2 ambulances did not have to take a journey to the hospital.

Here is a picture of the wreck after it had been moved out of the intersection and approximately one hour after the accident happened:

5/1/15 Wreck at Hwy 212 W & Bethel Church Rd.

5/1/15 Wreck at Hwy 212 W & Bethel Church Rd.

Here is a picture of the only safety improvement the BOC has made at this intersection. The State has installed 45mph signs on Hwy 212 before you get to Bethel Church Rd.

Cross Traffic 5.1.15

We continue to warn citizens that travel through this intersection, BE CAREFUL!! Do not expect anyone to stop or even slow down. You must protect yourself!

 TWG

 

Posted in County | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

BOC TRIES TO FOOL PUBLIC AGAIN

April 29, 2015

Meeting Notice

It comes as no surprise to anyone, that keeps up with what the current BOC does, to find them lying about their intentions.

On April 6, 2015, the BOC made a motion and voted to approve extending the time to appoint members to the Solid Waste Authority for 60 days. They also approved running an ad in the paper for 2 weeks for members to serve on the authority.

Guess what is on the May 4, 2015 BOC agenda? Yep! First item under new business:
Jasper County Solid Waste Authority – Board Appointments

Maybe these men think no cares, everyone has forgotten about it, or that they can and will do whatever they please despite what the citizens want. Whatever the reason, we find it shocking that all these men who profess how open they are and have no secrets continue to lie to the public about what they are doing and when they plan to do it.

PLEASE MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THE BOC MEETING MAY 4th AT 6:00PM. The SWA was set up without any notice to the public and is a blatant violation of open meetings law. It should not go into effect and there should be no appointments made to it.

County Manager Karen Degges will also being giving another Landfill Update.

Other items on the agenda include equipment purchases and lighting improvements at the Recreation Department. No bids were obtained on these items the last time they were on the agenda, and no bids have been advertised in the paper. However, as TWG has repeatedly brought out, County Manager Karen Degges does her best to get around any bidding process in any department.

Another large item for Recreation on the agenda-Architecture Services, Gym Design, Request to Prepare RFP –is also on the agenda. There is money in SPLOST ($300,000) for a multi-purpose building; however, information solicited by the N.E. Georgia Regional Commission projected $6,000,000 for a new gym. Where is Jasper County going to get this money? Oh, we know—borrow it like everything else that is being purchased. We can’t remember a previous Board of Jasper County Commissioners ever putting the county in as much debt as this one.

It is always in your best interest to attend the BOC meetings. Your taxes will soon be going up with the large increases in your property values, and Comm. Trammell, Comm. Luke, and Karen Degges in particular talk about spending money and borrowing money at almost every meeting.

Lie doesnt become truth majority TWG

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Posted in Bidding, County, Landfill, Open Government, Recreation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MATTHEW ROPER—LANDFILL EMPLOYEE, CONSULTANT, OR PARTNER?

MATTHEW ROPER—LANDFILL EMPLOYEE, CONSULTANT, OR PARTNER?

April 28, 2015

Matthew Roper

The sudden need by the Jasper County BOC to set up a Solid Waste Authority (SWA) led to some investigative digging by several citizens. Questions arose after seeing a letter laying out at the 4/6/15 BOC meeting. It was dated January 12, 2015 and signed by Matthew Roper.

This letter, titled Jasper County Landfill Proposed Corrective Action, had never been mentioned or discussed in an open BOC meeting. It was signed by Matthew Roper, President of Roper Environmental Services, LLC. Matthew Roper is also the certified landfill operator hired by Karen Degges.

Matthew Roper, as consultant, proposes in his letter to Comm. Trammell and County Manager Karen Degges, that Jasper County hire Waste Eliminator of Norcross, GA to operate the landfill for a minimum of 30 years. Waste Eliminator is owned by Wes Turner of Gainesville, GA.

Here is a copy of the letter.

Some interesting facts have been discovered about this proposal and Matthew Roper.

  • Matthew Roper was hired by Karen Degges on 8/7/14 as a certified landfill operator at $15 per hour, and agreed to pay him mileage back and forth to work to insure he was paid $300 per day. See his email here.
  • Roper Environmental Services, LLC filed for incorporation on 8/13/14. Less than a week after he was hired.
  • Matthew Roper also owns KBM Fleet Services, Inc. which filed for incorporation on 1/29/14.
  • Matthew Roper also owns Roper Holdings, LLC which has been in business since 2/19/13.
  • Waste Eliminators has been in business since their filing on 2/23/05. They operate from Jones Mill Rd. in Norcross/Peachtree Corners.
  • Waste Eliminators does not operate state-wide as Karen Degges mentions in the video below. Their website shows they operate in the Atlanta area. “We have the trucks and containers to provide exceptional service to contractors and demolition companies, as well as residential customers in Metro Atlantahttp://www.wasteeliminator.com/index.html

Some good questions were asked at the Q&A session with the BOC at their 4/6/15 meeting. Unfortunately, most all answers were from Karen Degges, not the commissioners. It appears the commissioners have NOT done any due diligence on their own, so they allowed the County Manager to make most all the comments.

Here is a puzzling question. Why wasn’t Matthew Roper, the landfill consultant and certified operator, at the meeting to answer questions? He is the one who should know how much room is left in the landfill. Remember, Comm. Trammell told citizens at the 4/2/15 meeting at the Fire Station that “the landfill was almost full.” Matthew Roper says there should be a 30 year or longer contract. So which is it? He should also know about the hazardous waste that is giving the county problems.

Karen Degges has proposed spending $750,000 to expand the landfill and lease it to an outside entity like Waste Eliminators. No one has ever told us just where this expansion is going to be or why we would want to expand our landfill. Why would it cost $750,000? Comm. Trammell and Comm. Pennamon say they want to close the landfill, so why expand it to bring in outside waste that Jasper County citizens will pay to monitor for 30 years AFTER the landfill closes? Why not just use this $750,000 to close the landfill?

Below is a good video of a citizen asking questions. First it was asked, “Did Waste Eliminators come to us and ask us?” Karen Degges says Waste Eliminators approached our consultant (meaning Matthew Roper).

Karen Degges also said that Waste Eliminators provides rolloffs at construction sites. She said they serve all over the state, and that Waste Eliminators is looking for a partner.

No doubt, the citizen speaking in the video wondered about the relationship between Matthew Roper and Waste Eliminators when she asked if Waste Eliminators “was the only people that did this.” Karen Degges answered no. “Then why not advertise and bid since they are not the only ones that do this?” Great question! And the answer is– “We don’t want to just partner with anybody,” said Karen Degges at the 2:40 mark.

The citizen hit the nail on the head when she said, “Is the man that is the consultant the same one that’s running the landfill now? Well, it’s better for his [Matthew Roper’s] pocket.” Karen Degges assured her that she didn’t think he benefits in any way.

How deep down the rabbit hole does this go?

Will Matthew Roper with his expertise in hauling operations be assisting Waste Eliminators as a hauler or a consultant after he helps them get a 30 year contract?

How well does Karen Degges who is from Gainesville know Wes and Julie Turner of Waste Eliminators who live in Gainesville?

Is Waste Eliminators looking to expand out of the Atlanta area? Will Jasper County be the only landfill they plan to “partner” with?

Why would a man, Matthew Roper, who has 3 businesses, drive over 100 miles to Jasper County to work 3 days a week at the county landfill?

Why hasn’t Matthew Roper shown up for work at the Jasper County Landfill since the 4/6/15 meeting when questions were asked? Sources tell us he has not been there and that Greg Robinson from Public Works has been working at the landfill (he is not a certified landfill operator).

Why do we need a Solid Waste Authority? To do “research” like Comm. Luke says in the video above? Research is not why authorities are set up.

There is much more to this deal than meets the eye. Comm. Trammell can keep telling us “there are no ulterior motives.” But all this just does not pass the smell test. Commissioners, RESCIND the vote on the Solid Waste Authority Resolution and start over with a citizens committee. Public confidence and trust in the Jasper County BOC and County Manager Karen Degges does not exist because of the secret way this has all been done and the non-answers to many questions.

 Your comments are welcome!

TWG

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Posted in County, Landfill, Open Government | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

AT&T CAN’T FUND JASPER COUNTY’S 8 CELL TOWERS BUT HAS SPENT $2.8B IN ATLANTA

April 23, 2015

Remember on March 2nd when AT&T came to the BOC meeting and told the BOC that the newly erected cell towers wouldn’t have service any time soon?

The BOC was taken aback at their last meeting when representatives from AT&T told them the plan for Jasper County has changed. David Walker with AT&T wireless said, “AT&T has not forgotten the plan, but will do things as capital becomes available.” https://taxdogs.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/att-will-not-equip-new-cell-towers-any-time-in-the-near-future/

Well it looks like AT&T really has plenty of capital, just not for Jasper County.

==========================================================

AT&T Invests Nearly $2.8B Over Three-Year Period to Enhance Local Network in Atlanta

http://metroatlantaceo.com/features/2015/04/t-invests-nearly-28b-over-three-year-period-enhance-local-network-atlanta/

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

AT&T has invested nearly $2.8 billion in its best-in-class wireless and wired networks in Atlanta between 2012 through 2014, driving a wide range of upgrades to enhance reliability, coverage, speed and performance for residents and business customers.

As part of its Project Velocity IP (VIP), an investment plan focused on network enhancement and expansion, AT&T in 2014 made 66 wireless network upgrades in the Atlanta area, including:

  • 37 new cell sites, 
  • 24 new wireless high-speed Internet connections
  • 5 capacity upgrades

Additionally, AT&T expanded the reach of its network, providing access to AT&T U-verse® High Speed Internet, AT&T U-verse video and AT&T U-verse voice services to nearly 36,000 new customer locations.

=========================================================

David Dyer is the county consultant for cell towers, and he encouraged the BOC to allow 8 cell towers to be placed in the county. Six of those towers are now built and stand as ugly reminders that we still have poor service in Jasper County because these towers aren’t equipped and won’t be equipped any time soon.

However, Mr. Dyer and his company, The Center for Municipal Solutions, received over $55,000 in consulting fees for these towers in July 2014.

Cell Tower DD Pay

Comm. Trammell told everyone at the citizens meeting on April 2, 2015 that the reason they have been going into Executive Session is because they might sue AT&T about the cell towers. Why would the Jasper County sue when Mr. Dyer and his company were the ones that promoted and received payment for these towers? The Center for Municipal Solutions should be responsible for getting something done about this breach of the agreement, not the taxpayers of Jasper County.

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

 

Posted in County, Economic Development | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

WHY SPEND $4500 TO REPAIR EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU CAN REPLACE IT FOR $235,000?

April 22, 2015

Does that sound crazy to you? It probably does, but it was what our County Manager, Karen Degges suggested doing for a new “Fireline Pumper Truck.”

Karen Degges told the BOC that there was a “demo unit” available, but as is her regular habit, there were no bids solicited. The county purchasing policy requires bids on a purchase of this size; however, with Ms. Degges that purchasing policy is something she frequently tries to get around.

Watch the video of Ms. Degges trying to convince the BOC to go ahead and buy the pumper without bids:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqw4OVU6_jo

At the :53 mark, Ms. Degges tells the BOC that “we have a pumper truck that we need to replace because it needs $4000-$5000 of repairs to be useable.” The cost of the demo pumper truck would be $217,000 plus $18,000 of equipment according to Fire Chief Jarret Slocumb.

The BOC had already approved the repairs at the previous BOC meeting. When asked by the Comm. Pennamon if the repairs had been made, Mr. Slocumb told the BOC they had not because the County Manager wanted him to wait until “this” meeting. Mr. Slocumb also said that the truck had only been out of service since the last meeting (2 weeks).

Despite knowing that the truck needed less than $5000 of repairs, the BOC voted to ask for bids on a new/demo pumper truck.

Would any hard working citizen in Jasper County consider spending their own money to buy a new piece of equipment for $235,000 vs. paying for a $5000 repair?

It makes it a lot easier to spend money when it is other people’s money or SPLOST money or grant money , and it doesn’t come out of your own pocket. It is something governments do well.

 Govt Waste

TWG

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Posted in Bidding, County, Fire | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments