LOGGING IN THE RAIN—A BIG PROBLEM FOR ROADS IN JASPER COUNTY

November 15, 2018

Logging in the rain has been a problem in Jasper County for a long time.  In 2009 an updated and revised logging ordinance was passed, which included a ban on logging when it was raining or when there was other bad weather.  The ordinance was passed to protect the county roads.

Log trucks, especially loaded log trucks, spread mud on the paved roads, and completely ruin the county dirt roads when they log during the rain. 

For the past couple of weeks we have had a lot of rain, but code enforcement has failed to stop the log trucks or make them clean up/fix the roads. Our paved roads are full of mud and the roadsides, where the trucks pull in and out and make turns, have deep ruts.

The morning of 11/2/18, this picture was taken on Calvin Rd. where it dead ends into Post Road:

As of yesterday, 11/14/18, Calvin Road still had mud all over it, despite assurances from Shane Sealy (Code Enforcement Director) stating in an email that he was  “going to get this taken care of.”  Obviously, he never followed through.

From: Shane Sealy [mailto:ssealy@jaspercountyga.org]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2018 8:54 AM
To: mbenton@jaspercountyga.org
Subject: RE: Calvin Road at Post Rd–We need Code Enforcement for enforcement

I have spoken to the project manager with the logging company and he is going to get this taken care of. I am going out there now.

Shane

Just this week, logging was being done in the rain elsewhere in the county.  Despite Commissioner Salmon and Sealy both knowing about it, it took several complaints before anything was grudgingly done. 

 

It seems that Sealy refuses to issue fines or stop orders while the roads are being torn up and public works, not the logging company, ends up fixing them and taxpayers pay for it.

**We appreciate citizens sending us these pictures.  If you have any to share, please send them to taxpayerwatchdogs@yahoo.com.

 

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 Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning, Public Works, Shane Sealy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHILE YOU WERE VOTING, SALMON WAS MOVING

November 12, 2018

TWG has received verbal reports and emails since this past summer about Craig Salmon moving.  Even so, he still ran for office without telling anyone he was intending to move.

While District 4 was busy early voting, with Salmon the only name on the ballot for District 4, Craig Salmon was busy moving.  His house is on the market, and photos that were taken about 3 weeks ago (or more) show that the house is nearly empty.  Here is the real estate listing with photos.

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/699-Seven-Island-Rd_Monticello_GA_31064_M62792-78884

So where does Comm. Salmon live now? Why did he run for office if he knew he was moving?  Is he living in District 4 as the county charter requires him to do? 

Article I, Sec. 16. – Vacancies

(a)  In the event of a vacancy by death, resignation, permanent change of the residence of a commissioner from the district from which said commissioner was elected, or otherwise, such vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the term by appointment of a resident of the vacated commissioner district by a majority vote of the remaining members of the board, provided the remaining term of office is less than 12 months, or by special election if the remaining term of office exceeds 12 months. Said election of the legal and qualified voters of the commissioner district shall be governed by the law, rules and regulations governing general elections. And the persons receiving the largest number of votes shall serve the remainder of the term thus rendered vacant.

Does Salmon think he can live elsewhere and still be a commissioner by attending the meetings?

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, Elections/voting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

BOOM!  MORE BLASTING ON EAGLE DRIVE

November 9, 2018

Shane Sealy is finding more ways to get around the people living on Eagle Dr. This week the developers blasted with no real notice to the residents living near the blast site.

We have obtained an email sent by Sealy to some residents on Eagle Dr. at 8:30AM this Wednesday (11/7/18).  This email was to let them know that sometime between 2PM and 3PM there would be more blasting at the new development (The Peninsula at Jackson Lake). 

There were NO signs notifying residents the day before, and there were no signs at 9:00AM on the day of the blasting.  No one is exactly sure when the signs were put up, because few people saw them.  Most people had left for the day and did not read the email “notifying” them of the blasting; therefore, the blast came as a surprise to most residents.

Sealy says in his email that he notified Bob Sargent of DNR.  Sargent came and “checked” on the eagles before the blasting last time, and told Sealy there could be no more blasting after November 8th.  We do not have a status on the eagles.

A map of the blast area was attached to an email Sealy sent out later the same day at 12:11PM.  Those who heard the blast and felt their house shake were not sure of the accuracy of the map, once they saw the email and map later that evening.

What is the requirement to notify people of blasting?  No requirement? Twenty-four (24) hours? An email right before it happens?  It seems in Jasper County it is just whatever you decide that day. 

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 Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

EARLY VOTING SMASHES RECORDS—ELECTION DAY TOMORROW 11/6/18

November 5, 2018

Jasper County voters have turned out in big numbers to vote early.  Voters all over the USA have done the same.  This election will determine the future direction of both our State and the nation.

In Jasper County, 2982 voters turned out in person to vote early, and there were 468 absentee ballots submitted as of 8:00am this morning3,450 voters or 39% of the registered voters in Jasper County have already voted.

If you have not voted, then tomorrow, Tuesday 11/6/18 is the day to do so. Go vote and take someone with you who has not voted already. 

 

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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COMMISSIONERS HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON ITEMS PUBLIC IS CLUELESS ABOUT

October 31, 2018

There was an ad this past week in the paper for a public hearing on the “Capital Improvements Element (CIE) of the Development Impact Fee Program—whatever that is—to take place 11/5/18 at 6:00PM.   The following letter below was put in the paper as a letter to the editor. 

The day after the letter was published, the BOC posted this on their Facebook page:

Unfortunately, the link on the BOC website does NOT post any documents showing what this public hearing is all about.All they did was post the same ad that was in the paper.  How is that for “keeping people informed?”

 

Dear Editor:

I noticed an ad this past week in the paper for a public hearing on the “Capital Improvements Element (CIE) of the Development Impact Fee Program—whatever that is—to take place 11/5/18.

The BOC has not discussed this item at any recent meeting, and there is nothing on their website for the public to know what this means or what is involved.  How do you speak at a public hearing about something you know nothing about and there is NO readily available information to review or study?

The notice says you can go by the BOC office to VIEW it.  Many people in this county would have to drive 20 minutes to get to the courthouse to “view” something that should be on the county website and available under a PUBLIC HEARINGS tab.  The ad also says you can email Mike Benton to get a copy; that is if he gets around to sending you a copy within three days or so.  If not, you will have to email him again to remind him.

The only reason we have public hearings is because they are required by law.  You would also think the requirement would also mean that the BOC should (or would want to) put an article in the paper to let everyone know “what it is all about” and why it is important.  There are so many things that the BOC (and City Council) does that affects our future, but we are kept in the dark and uninformed until they have voted and approved these things.  Recent examples include the Comprehensive Plan with the future land use map and the Service Delivery agreement, which no one knows exactly what the County and City agreed to.

It should not be the job of citizens to DIG for information to find out what is going on.  Instead it should be the job the elected officials to INFORM us of what they are doing and how it will affect us so we can decide how we feel about an issued and then voice our opinions. 

Mary Patrick

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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JASPER COUNTY TAXPAYERS PAY OVER $7,000 FOR BIG SPREAD AT EMPLOYEE PARTY

October 26, 2018

Anyone can have a Christmas party, but it should not be at taxpayers’ expense.  In 2016, the checks paying for the employee Christmas party totaled more than $2500.  In 2017, the county employees were each given a Christmas turkey as well as the party pictured below.

Commissioner Pennamon’s wife, Valerie Pennamon, provided the food for a cost of $2,500.00.  This seems like a lot of money, and a huge conflict of interest. 

The party was held at Thomas Persons Hall at a cost of $644.00.  Even though the BOC administers grants for Thomas Persons Hall at no cost, that favor was not returned.

There were costs for decorations, but we did not obtain invoices for those costs.

In addition to this fancy party, Comm. Pennamon announced at a BOC meeting last November that all employees would be given a turkey for Christmas. This gift cost the taxpayers $3,978.30.

The total cost of last year’s employee Christmas party was at least $7,122. Does this remind you of the Christmas party Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed threw for employees?  According to an email from Mike Benton in response to an open records request, “Employees do not pay anything to attend the Employee Christmas Dinner.”

The Jasper County taxpayers paid for all this, the legality of which is questionable, based on the State Constitution’s gratuities clause and AJC reports covering the City of Atlanta’s employee Christmas party.

Government employees —state and local—have had to pay for their own parties in the past. That is until this Board of Commissioners decided they could do anything and spend anything they wanted, including paying the Chairman’s wife.  When did the BOC decide that was not a conflict of interest? 

This type of spending prompted Cobb DA Vic Reynolds to call for legislation to make violations of the gratuities clause an enforceable crime.  He wants the Georgia Legislature to put some teeth in a provision of the state Constitution that prohibits government from giving gifts to individuals without a benefit to taxpayers in return. 

https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/make-government-gratuities-crime-cobb-says/kE9UzGPnJYr9R4j9vl5qCI/

What benefit did the Jasper County taxpayers get from the BOC spending over $7,000 on a Christmas Party?  Heck, we paid for it and were not even invited!

Any guesses how much the party will cost this year?  You know it is already in the planning stages!

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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DO NOT BELIEVE THE POLLS—YOU MUST VOTE IF YOU WANT YOUR CANDIDATE TO WIN!

October 23, 2018

Do not believe the race is tight.  Do not believe your candidate is ahead.  If you want your candidate to win, you must vote! 

But what happens when you go to vote, and there is only one person on the ballot, and you don’t think they are doing a good job?  Do you go ahead and vote for them anyway?

There are several unopposed candidates on the ballot.  Sometimes that is good, because these candidates are doing a good job.  Sometimes it is bad, because the candidates are not representing you, but no one else is willing to run for the office. 

Here is a list of those running unopposed on the Jasper County ballot in the order you will see them:

  • Burt Jones (State Senator)
  • Susan Holmes (State Representative)
  • Craig Salmon –if you are in District 4
  • Bruce Henry—if you are in District 2

If you like what these candidates have done for Jasper County or for your district, vote for them.  If not, write in a name—your own name, Mickey Mouse, your dog’s name, whatever.  Why vote for a candidate and let them think everyone, and especially you, approves of what they are doing?

Last Friday morning about 9:30am, 600 people had already voted.  That means by tomorrow, around 1000 people will have already voted.  The turnout is heavy, so if you want your candidate to win—you must VOTE!!

Early voting began October 15th and Election Day is November 6th.

Please VOTE, and exercise your freedom to do so!

 

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

 

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