NEW ZONING ISSUES THAT MAY AFFECT YOU—HEARINGS THURSDAY 10/24/19

 

October 20, 2019

Since you may not see that little sign that is usually falling over by the roadside near the property, this blog will give you information on the three (3) zoning issues that will be heard Thursday, 10/24/19 at 6:00PM downstairs in the courthouse.

 

53 PENNINGTON ROAD—FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE HWY 142 BAR

This is a 1.5-acre track at the corner of Pennington Road and Hwy 142.  Presently, this property is zoned commercial (C2) and the owner, Elijah Jones, wants to rezone this property to residential (R1). 

 

600 EDWARDS ROAD—FROM AGRICULTURE TO MANUFACTURING

This property is plat 032-039A and is an 8.97-acre track zoned Agriculture.  The owner, Barry Wyatt, wants to divide this property into a 5.01 ac track with 235’ of road frontage and keep it Agriculture, and into a 3.96 ac track with 134.5’ of road frontage and have it zoned Manufacturing.

The documents do not state what type of Manufacturing is planned on this almost 4-ac track, which should be available to the public so an informed decision can be made.  The amount of road frontage should be verified and confirmed that it conforms to the zoning ordinance.

 

LANDERS WAY—67 ACRE DEVELOPMENT ON JACKSON LAKE—REQUEST FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTION

This property consists of 3 plats—013-B009, 013-C047, 013-C046A and is owned by Nick Platek & Jackson Lake Land Protection, LLC.  The request is to have a conventional subdivision instead of the required conservation subdivision. 

The plat shows 32 lots to be developed with 14.75 ac of “green space”, which appears to be property that can not be developed into lots.

Landers Way Development

Nine (9) of the lots are less than one (1) acre in size, and the rest are just over an acre.  The plat does not show the length of the waterfront on each lot that borders the lake.  Part of this property sits behind Frank’s Restaurant on Hwy 212 W. 

Every rezoning or special exception affects everyone in Jasper County because precedent is set.  Be wise, be informed, and attend this hearing so you know what might take place in your area in the future.

 

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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PARENTS TAKE STAND AGAINST REC BOARD DECISION

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE RECREATION BOARD?  AND WHY ARE THEY INVOLVED IN PERSONNEL ISSUES?

October 11, 2019

Isn’t it the role of the Recreation Board to oversee the welfare of the athletic fields, recreation facilities, and other public access areas to the benefit of all citizens?   The board should be advising the BOC on the current needs and long term issues that develop at the recreation facilities and help with fund raising projects.

Isn’t it the job of the Rec Director to oversee the day to day operations, to determine who should and should not coach, and to take care of the personnel issues?

Based on information we have received we submit the following report:

There has recently been an issue at the Rec Department with a “head coach” that coaches 7/8 year old football.  The parents of the team members, the opposing team’s parents, and even referees of the game were “hot” about the conduct of the coach at an out of town game in Greene County on October 1.  The parents did what was right; they stood up against this kind of behavior, and asked to have the coach removed.  The recreation director agreed, but this issue went to the Recreation Board.  The Recreation Board consists of nine (9) volunteers appointed by the BOC.

The Rec Board decided to keep the coach despite this complaint from parents and other coaches and, from what we have been told, at least two previous complaints.  (Many of the Rec Board members are newly appointed; however, the former Rec Director sits on this board and knows what has happened in the past.)  The team members refused to play as long as this head coach remained, and they forfeited a game this week.

At least three (3) Commissioners were “looking into” the situation, and the county manager was to meet with the Rec Director yesterday.  The Rec Board has now informed the other four (4) assistant coaches that the head coach had resigned, but “to be fair”, the Rec Board decided none of the other coaches could coach the team!  WHAT? How is this FAIR?  Why should the assistant coaches be punished for trying to protect the kids and bringing an issue to the forefront?

The 7/8 year old team has only two games left, but the practices have been cancelled and the team is in disarray because they now have two entirely different coaches.  Is the removal of all the assistant coaches in retaliation for the blow-back the Rec Board got on social media?

The people aware of this situation feel the Rec Board and the BOC has failed them and these children.  It is commendable that the parents took a stand and refused to let any child be harassed or bullied or even be put in danger on the field.  They got rid of a coach many felt should not have been coaching young children.

Problems like these should help us figure out how to do things better.  Will Jasper County learn from this or just continue to dig in and treat people differently depending on who they are or who they know?  People must continue to stand up and demand change if they want something better.

 

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, Recreation | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

JASPER COUNTY FINALLY HAS NEW BUILDING INSPECTOR    

October 9, 2019

Knowing he was being terminated and replaced, Keith Smith, now former building inspector, worked hard in July and August.  In July he was paid $3640 and did 91 inspections (at $40 each).  In August he was paid $4360 and did 109 inspections.  On some days he did as many as 9 or 10 inspections a day.

Records also show that Mr. Smith submitted the same five (5) inspections on both 8/1 and 8/15, and he was paid both times, receiving an extra $200.  This kind of “oversight” shows that no one in finance, nor the county manager is actually checking invoices, but just signing off and paying whatever is submitted.

The new building inspector started in September.  Our understanding is that the county hired a company named ICC Inspections, which is out of McDonough.  The owner of this company worked for Henry County as a building inspector for many years.  In September the new building inspector was paid $1705.

We are glad to see the BOC finally made a change and there will not be one builder inspecting another builder’s project and visa-versa.  There were way too many conflicts in the way things were being handled.

 

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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STOP WORK ORDER LIFTED FROM PENINSULA DEVELOPMENT—COUNTY WAITING FOR $$ TO POUR IN FROM DEVELOPMENT

October 1, 2019

 The county announced on their Facebook page today that the stop work order has been lifted from the Peninsula development on Jackson Lake.

The BOC has been drooling over the projected property tax revenues of this development and worked steadily at cleaning up the mess made by P&Z Director Shane Sealy, at the site so the building could begin.

According to our sources, an erosion control plan for the development was approved last week by Jasper County P&Z and the EPD.  Part of the plan includes the requirement that every property owner in the Peninsula development must apply for “a notice of intent” with the EPD before they can build on the property.  Who is going to make sure that happens?  The Jasper County P&Z director?  Let’s remember there would have never been a stop work order if Shane Sealy had been doing his job in the first place instead of letting the developers flaunt the laws.

Driving through the Peninsula just this past weekend, would not give anyone a good feeling about the erosion control enforcement.  No rain monitoring station was seen and the silt fence is still down and covered with silt in many places.  There are several areas where it is obvious the soil has not been stabilized.

District 3 Commissioner, Don Jernigan, has repeatedly mentioned “all the extra tax money” that the Peninsula development will bring into the county.  We are sure the BOC has plans to spend every single dime and more of any additional tax revenue.  (The BOC has also been talking for the last 7 years about what they were going to do with the money they receive from the Four County Development Authority/Stanton Springs/JDA, but that will be another blog.)

TWG brought it up previously, but again want to emphasize the disparity in property values for nearby properties and the 222.53 acre Peninsula development.  Think about the following facts:

  • The 222 acres was purchased for $3,580,000, yet the tax assessors valued this property at $883,100 for tax purposes in 2018 and again in 2019 despite roads, water lines, etc. having been added to the value of the property.
  • Taxes assessed on the Peninsula development were $12,314 in 2018 and $12,130 in 2019. There is no homestead exemption on this property.
  • A lot on Eagle Drive was purchased for $115,000 in 2016.  In 2018 the value of the lot increased to $143,000 after a house was built. 
  • On this same lot on Eagle Drive, the house, lot, and improvements were valued at $555,600 in 2018, 2019, and for 2020 according to the BOA website.  Taxes were assessed for $7601 in 2018 and $7490 in 2019.

How can a development have its property assessed at 25% of the purchase price, even when it is adding value all along, and be taxed on that much lower value, while a nearby homeowners are being taxed almost as much on a house and a lot? 

 

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, Planning & Zoning, Property taxes, Shane Sealy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

HOW A COUNTY ALLOWS ITS ANIMALS TO BE TREATED SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE COUNTY & ITS LEADERSHIP

September 26, 2019

The court date for the animal confiscation case is approaching.  On October 4th, the case concerning the USDA confiscation of 10+ horses and animal control’s confiscation of 18 dogs will be heard in Magistrate Court.  Court starts at 9:30AM.  We urge everyone that can, to attend this court hearing.

As outlined in our blog on 8/20/19 https://taxdogs.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/animals-in-distress-in-jasper-county/, the woman who had all these dogs and horses had already been prosecuted several years ago for criminal animal abuse and the death of a horse.  Unfortunately, a slap on the wrist with a $145 fine has not deterred her.  Other animals have been taken from this woman for inhuman treatment since she was found guilty in that court hearing.  Maybe a courtroom full of people will have the judge see it another way this time, even though those that care for animals and rescue groups have seen less than favorable treatment for the animals in several court rulings.

Since our post in August, other concerned citizens have sent us information and pictures of animals they are concerned about.  One place in particular seems to have those that pass by daily very concerned,  not only about the well being of the animals (cows), but about code enforcement issues too.

“This guy out here has 7 cows in a fenced-in front yard less than 1/4 acre. They live ankle deep in their own manure. They lay on manure piles shoved in corners. Mud up to their ankles when it rains. Nowhere to get out of elements. It’s really very sad.  They do have hay & water but that’s it.” 

People have reached out to TWG because they cannot get anyone to do anything and have gotten the run-around.  Animal control says they don’t handle livestock. Zoning says they think it is zoned agriculture so it’s ok to have the animals. County extension said it’s the Sheriff’s office that handles neglect, abuse, and mistreatment of animals. The Sheriff’s office is unsure if there is a law as to how many animals can be maintained in a certain area. So, this is the dilemma with everything concerning animals.  No one seems to care enough to see what can be done or if they can work together to get something done.

 Did you know that the Animal Control ordinance in Jasper County is actually named the “ANIMAL CONTROL AND CARE” Ordinance?  Sometimes we have to question how much care is involved when a known animal abuser is not checked on frequently or even once a year and allowed to continue to abuse animals by not giving them proper food and water or care.  Or when large farm animals are crammed into an area and live in their own filth day and night year in and year out.

Most people in this county would like to see more of the “care” (that is actually laid out in the animal control ordinance of this county) be enforced and implemented.  Then what happened on Cook Road, what is happening on County Line Rd., and what is happening in other areas of this county would stop.

Anyone that goes by this property located on County Line Road has seen these cows and has also seen all the junk piled up everywhere.

Maybe Code Enforcement can get the ball rolling and the animals will also be taken care of as well.

 

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 Animal Control, Code Enforcement, County, Sheriff | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR THE BOC TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT PUBLIC WORKS?

September 17, 2019

It’s not because Public Works needs equipment that they can not fix potholes; it appears to be more of a management problem.  Either the Public Works director does not supervise, or is incapable of supervision and ensuring his workers are not only doing the job, but also doing it well.

The following example is just the tip of a larger iceberg.  We are using this example because there are pictures from before and after the Public Works “fix”.  We are sure there are MUCH WORSE problems on other roads with the same poor results.

Seven Island Rd. off of Harvey Lane Road had loggers in the last part of 2018.  After the logging was complete, the road was riddled with potholes due to the log trucks, stopping, starting, and turning in and out of the property.

While the trucks lined up on the road to get their next load, the sides of the road were damaged.

The corner where the trucks turned in and out was also “messed up”.

After the logging, Seven Island Rd. had potholes all over it, such as these:

About two (2) months ago, a Public Works crew came out to fix the potholes, or something like that.  They fixed ONE pothole and ignored all the others on the road, including those next to and across from the one pothole they actually fixed.  These are the same potholes as shown in the picture directly above.

Public Works also ignored the corner that was torn up by the loggers while they were “fixing” the road.

Commissioners, just what does it take to get the Public Works to give a D### about our roads and if they are fixed or not.  This “non-work” issue has nothing to do with money or equipment; it has to do with no one doing their job properly because they know there are no consequences.

Isn’t it time to clean house at Public Works or at least get a director that is willing to supervise and make sure work is actually being done?  Or did the director just tell the men to “fix A pothole” and that is exactly what they did….fix one pothole while they could see numerous other areas that needed to be fixed.

THIS IS PATHETIC!!  People it is TIME we DEMANDED better use of all the tax money we are required to pay in this 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.

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Posted in County, Property taxes, Public Works | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

AUDITOR CHARGES $43,175 FOR AUDIT PRODUCED 6 MONTHS LATE

September 12, 2019

Monday night, September 9, 2019, the BOC voted to use the same auditor that has been doing the county audit for decades and agreed to pay “$28,000 – $35,000” for the audit year ended 6/30/19.  The fee will be based on “the condition of the accounting records.”  Since the auditor just finished the 6/30/18 audit a couple of months ago, and charged $43,175 for that audit, the records should be in good shape; however, there were major material findings in the audit.

When the 6/30/18 audit was presented to the BOC on July 1, 2019, the auditor noted that “the county received an unmodified report which is the best opinion that can be received.”  He also said the county received a “Certificate of Excellence in Finance and reporting” for the audit period even though there were five major findings and the report was six months late.

Finding #1Audit adjustments were needed to fairly state and classify expenditures and expenses, most notable being $127,315 adjustment to increase the 2012 SPLOST fund’s roads and bridges expenditure for the county’s local match that was improperly recorded.  Effect—“The County’s accounting records contained material errors, which were identified and adjusted during the audit process.”

 Finding #2Various revenue items were not recorded in the proper fiscal period for 2018.   Material audit adjustments were required, most notable being increase EMS revenue by $51,573; increase EMS allowance for doubtful accounts $59,590;  and increase EMS accounts receivable by $109,727.  Same effect as Finding #1.

Finding #3The interfund receivable and payable accounts were not monitored and appropriate settlement between funds were not made This involved over $440,000 between general fund and other funds.

Finding #4Capital assets were not recorded properly and detailed records showing location, department, cost, estimated useful life, depreciation, and other detailed supporting documentation contained material errors.  Most notable, almost $729,000 of capital asset additions during FY2018 were not recorded.

Finding #5E911 Authority did not maintain accurate accounting records and the records contained material errors(This has been a frequent finding and the E911 Authority appears to have done little if anything to correct it.)  As part of the finding, the auditor wrote, “The County did not provide accounting oversight for E911 Authority’s fiscal year 2018 financial records.” Several material adjustments were made by the auditor to the E911 accounting records.

**We have only included the most notable findings.  There were others under each finding.

 

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.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in County | Tagged , , | 5 Comments