September 28, 2016


As reported previously, several citizens spoke at the last public hearing about the updated noise ordinance.  Some of the concerns expressed have been incorporated into the update, copied below in its entirety.

There will be another public hearing on the county Noise Ordinance at the BOC meeting held Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 at 6:00PM in the small courtroom upstairs in the courthouse.

Take time to read this ordinance and attend the meeting to voice your approval or concerns, or email the BOC with your comments if you can not attend.

 Sec 18-20

Unlawful noises; exceptions

The following shall be deemed as unlawful acts.

  • For any person to make or cause to be made any noise, music, or mechanical sound that is considered excessive, unnecessary, or unusually loud, or any noise which annoys, disturbs,  injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others by any person that is at a distance of 100 feet or more, from the source, between the hours of 10:00PM and 7:00AM (or at other hours if plainly audible from a distance of 200 feet or more) within the unincorporated limits of the county.  This subsection shall not apply if the noise is being emitted from a location that is zoned as agricultural so long the noise being made is related to agriculture, such as agriculture machinery and animals.
  • For any person or entity to keep an animal or bird which by frequent or continuous noise, disturbs the residents of the area. This subsection shall only apply to a residential district and shall not apply to locations that are properly zoned and/or permitted for the keeping of animals or birds.
  • For any person or entity to create any noise adjacent to any hospital, school, court, or church while in use, which disturbs the patients, employees, students, occupants and/or members thereof, unless the person or entity possesses a permit issued by the county.
  • For the purpose of sound measurement, the measurement of the noise shall be made by the auditory senses and based on a straight line, from the source of the noise. Bass reverberations are included.
  • Any person violating this section shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine, by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by a combination of such punishments. Each violation of any provisions of this code or any such ordinance shall constitute a separate offense.

        The following uses and activities shall be exempt from these regulations:

  • Noises of safety signals and warning devices.
  • Noises from any authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call or situation.
  • Noises from emergency work that is necessary to restore safe public conditions.
  • Domestic power tools, lawn mowers, or agricultural, construction and industrial equipment, when used and operated with a muffler.
  • Firearms being discharged from an established firing range or from any property so long as they are being discharged in accordance with O.C.G.A. 16-11-103.





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September 27, 2016

Take Action

After waiting a week to get the information, County Manager Mike Benton finally sent a copy of the “Short Term Work Program.”  What this document does, is lay out how our BOC plans to spend money over the next 5 years and what they want Jasper County to look like.  WHO developed this document?  NOT the citizens of Jasper County, who are the “major stakeholders” in what goes on in the county.

Some examples of what is in the plan:

  1.  Construct a new Senior Center—cost $1,200,000.  Sources tell us between 20 and 30 people use the Senior Center.  Is this enough participation to need a new, costly, $1.2M building?

  2. Replace the recreation office with a new multi-purpose gym—cost $4,000,000 to $6,000,000.  Remember, the voters approved a SPLOST of $300,000 to have a multi-purpose (steel structure) building at the rec department.  The BOC needs to consult with Piedmont Academy that recently built a new gym for significantly less than $1,000,000.  (It makes a difference when it’s not “government” doing the spending.)

  3. Encourage denser residential development.  It appears people are moving to Jasper County to get away from denser residential development.

  4. Develop intergovernmental agreements for combined City/County services.  There seems to be a push toward combining the city and county.

  5. Invest $5,000,000 in water and sewer facilities.  Who is going to pay for this when JCWSA can barely make their current payments?

TWG is happy to be able to present these documents for you to see before the meeting.  See “plans” for Jasper County hereMake sure you take time to review this document and understand how this will affect you, your property taxes, and your county

There is a public hearing on this plan, this Thursday, 9/29/16 at 6:00PM.  However, the advertising for the hearing was not done according to correct procedure laid out in State Law (per OCGA 36-66-1).  The Dep’t of Community Affairs that oversees Short Term Work Programs and Comprehensive Plans has the correct procedure on their website and some helpful people to talk to. 

This BOC is always in such a rush that they can’t quite seem to follow the law.  You would think they would be especially diligent when it comes to public hearings where they are required to allow public input and comments.

TWG suggests that you contact all the commissioners with your comments, since there has been such short notice and NO AVAILABLE INFORMATION TO LOOK AT until now.  The BOC hasn’t even put the documents up on their website.

Commissioner Contact information—click link for email and telephone number:

District 1 – Carl Pennamon 
District 2 – Bruce Henry
District 3 – Gene Trammell
District 4 – Craig Salmon
District 5 – Doug Luke


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, Planning & Zoning, Recreation | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments


September 25, 2016


Does this happen because of a lack of supervision or it is that a blind eye is turned when suspicions are raised?  Or is it both?

The article below from the Newton Citizen, outlines how former Newton County fire chief Kevin O’Brien, according to District Attorney Layla Zon, unlawfully charged $16,991.70 in merchandise to the county.  (That’s called stealing!)

O’Brien faces a maximum sentence of 15 years on each count or a total of 60 years in prison. The charges against O’Brien are felonies because they involve a government employee.

We present this article to Jasper County readers because Sherry Braley, a government employee, “misappropriated” and/or “converted to personal use” over $15,000 in county funds.  (That’s also called stealing!)

It will be interesting to see what O’Brien’s sentence is and compare it to the sentence Sherry Braley receives in Jasper County.  Her hearing will be in November according to District Attorney Brent Cochran.

Former Newton County fire chief O’Brien pleads guilty to four felonies


By Alice Queen


Updated Sep 22, 2016

COVINGTON — Former Newton County fire chief Kevin O’Brien pleaded guilty to four felony counts of theft by taking Thursday in Newton County Superior Court.

O’Brien was accused of using the county’s purchasing card to buy items for his personal use over a period of four years, from 2012 through 2015. According to District Attorney Layla Zon, O’Brien unlawfully charged $16,991.70 in merchandise to the county.

Judge Horace Johnson postponed sentencing in the case until Oct. 6. O’Brien’s attorney, Steven M. Frey, said he expects to present witnesses at the sentencing hearing in an effort to mitigate O’Brien’s sentence. He also said he expects O’Brien to be able to make some restitution to the county at that time.

“We are circling the wagons to see if we can amass that amount of money,” said Frey.

O’Brien faces a maximum sentence of 15 years on each count or a total of 60 years in prison. The charges against O’Brien are felonies because they involve a government employee.

Zon said the case grew out of an anonymous tip received by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office in May 2014. She said an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office revealed that O’Brien had used the county P-card to purchase numerous items related to household upkeep and landscaping, including ceiling fans, door knobs, fencing, pool chemicals, outdoor lighting, tools and more. Many of the purchases were made on weekends at Home Depot.

In addition, Zon said O’Brien used the card to purchase camping equipment and two inflatable kayaks that he brought to the Fire Department only after the investigation was underway.

O’Brien entered a non-negotiated plea on Thursday, which means that the judge is not bound by any sentencing recommendation that the District Attorney’s Office may make. O’Brien also waived his right to withdraw the guilty plea and indicated in court that he did not wish to go to trial.

O’Brien answered questions from the judge and district attorney with a quiet “yes, ma’am,” or “yes, sir.” He declined to comment following the hearing.

O’Brien was named Newton County fire chief in December 2012 after having served as interim chief since of May of that year. He was placed on administrative leave without pay on Oct. 14, 2015, pending review of the allegations that he had misused the county P-card. O’Brien subsequently hired Atlanta civil rights attorney A. Lee Parks Jr. to represent him, which resulted in the county agreeing to pay O’Brien his full salary and benefits from Oct. 14 through Nov. 17, plus an additional 60 days of pay and benefits.

In exchange, O’Brien agreed to release the county and its current and former officers and employees and the Newton County Board of Commissioners from “any and all claims that were or might have been brought” against them related to O’Brien’s employment or his being placed on unpaid leave. O’Brien also agreed to voluntarily resign from his position, effective Jan. 17, 2016.

Likewise, under the agreement Newton County released O’Brien from any and all claims or causes of action related to his employment with the county, excluding any non-civil restitution that may be ordered.

O’Brien began his career in fire services in 1993 as a volunteer for the Salem Volunteer Fire Department. He came to the Newton County Fire Service in 2007 as a deputy chief of operations and training. He previously served as a battalion chief and director of training for the DeKalb County Fire Department.




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September 24, 2016

The BOC has advertised three (3) public hearings, but when asked for information to review before the public hearing, none was available.  So how does it work?  The citizens can comment at the public hearing, but have no idea what to comment on?


The “Comprehensive Plan” is required by the State (DCA).  It is a planning tool that emphasizes heavy community involvement.  The plan is developed to lay out how the county will look in the next 10-20 years.   About 12 years ago Jasper County citizens participated in the comprehensive plan and decided they wanted the county to stay mostly rural.  What do citizens want now? 


Public hearing, September 29, Thursday, at 6:00PM downstairs in the courthouse.

No documents available.  No documents released despite request for them early last week.  County Manager, Mike Benton says he’s been too busy.



noiseAfter taking numerous comments on the last proposed noise ordinance, the BOC will hold another hearing on an “updated version.”  However, upon request, the amendment was not ready and has not been released for public review. 

How do you comment at a public hearing when you can’t see the document?

Public hearing, October 3, Monday, at 6:00PM downstairs in the courthouse.



beer-wine-bottlesHaystack Wings N Thangz, LLC (Toyoir West), located on Hwy 142 at Pennington Rd., has requested another hearing for an alcohol license,  but this time only for beer and wine.  However, the problem at every “bar” that has opened on Hwy 142 in the past 10 years is the NOISE.

Ms. West stated at the hearing on 9/12/16 that this was not going to be “just a black bar.”  She said she wanted a place where adults, 25 and older, could go, gather, eat, and drink, without driving 50 miles.  She also said she knew the noise had to be controlled.

The problem has been that the Jasper County codes are not followed when granting an alcohol license, and then the laws are not enforced once one is granted.

For example, Cora’s Bar & Grill, was never a restaurant according to Jasper County code that says an on premises pouring license can only be granted to a duly licensed  restaurant.  A restaurant, according to the code, serves at least one meal a day, a minimum of 5 days a week.  Cora’s was only open on Friday and Saturday night, and usually only Saturday night.  The license should have been revoked long before illegal liquor was found there by GA ATF.

Public hearing, October 3, Monday, at 6:00PM downstairs in the courthouse.


If you don’t show up for these hearings, and things don’t turn out like you like,  just remember…





Posted in Code Enforcement, County, Open Government, Planning & Zoning | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments


September 21, 2016

The following is hidden on the Jasper County BOC website.  We thought we would give you a heads up.



Advanced Disposal will no longer be collecting trash containers that are not Advanced Disposal Containers.

  If only 1 container is being billed onto the property taxes, only 1 Advanced Disposal container will be collected on the day of your pick up. Any other’s will be taken at that time. 

Please place all trash inside of the containers for pickup. 

Additional containers can be added through the Jasper County Commissioner’s Office for an additional charge of $167.00 per year.




Posted in County, Property taxes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments


September 19, 2016


What is happening to our country and our county?  After the bombings and stabbings this week-end in NY, NJ, and MN, we need to realize unusual things are happening in our own county as well.  

EID al-ADHA is the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, and this year  it began in the evening of Sunday, September 11 and ended in the evening of Thursday, September 15, 2016.  The sacrifice involves the slitting of the throat of an animal, usually a goat, sheep, or cow, and letting it bleed to death, and not just one animal but many.

In Jasper County there are two known places where this occurs each year.  One on Pitts Chapel Rd. and the other on Wendy Hill Rd.  This has been done for at least the past 8 years on Pitts Chapel Rd. and for two years or more on Wendy Hill Rd. despite complaints to the GA Department of Agriculture.  In Jasper County the throats of goats are slit and left to bleed out and die. 

Waiting for the sacrifice

Reports tell us that 40-50 or more men showed up for this “ritual” at each site and 60-100 goats are sacrificed.  Last year, one witness said that goats were hung on the fence and left there for days even after they were dead. 

“Slaughtering animals in the US [and here in Jasper County] is now being tolerated as if it is another mainstream, wholesome American activity.”  —Pamela Geller

People have been concerned about the proposed mosque coming to Newton County (Hwy 162 at County Line Rd.).  There is fierce opposition by most people living in that area, and one reason why is because the values and laws of America don’t seem to matter when “religion” is used as the reason for any number of crimes and deeds.

For more information and details, including video from the Al-Farooq Mosque in Atlanta, Georgia see the following links. 

 WARNING: GRAPHIC videos and photos:




Animal cruelty laws provide a viable solution for preventing animal sacrifice.  Every state has enacted animal cruelty legislation that provides for criminal penalties.  Thus, even though a state cannot flatly prohibit animal sacrifices, the state can mandate that the practice occur in a humane manner and limit the number of animals sacrificed in one place.   Practitioners of animal sacrifice who do not adhere to the state requirements can be criminally prosecuted.


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 Animal Control, Code Enforcement, County | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments


September 19, 2016


The BOC has been talking about a revised, updated noise ordinance for almost year.  Supposedly, the county attorney, Capt. Mike Steele of the JCSO, and P&Z director Shane Sealy have been working on this updated noise ordinance.  After reading the “update” it appears that it took about 45 minutes to do and then delayed for almost a year. 

The JCSO has the responsibility to enforce the county noise ordinance; however, the Sheriff was not at the hearing to listen to the comments.

Read it here: 2016 Noise Ordinance

Before the First Reading of the Proposed Jasper County Noise Ordinance  Comm. Trammell said everything suggested would be taken into consideration “and may or may not be changed.”  He limited comments to 15 minutes. 

Here is what citizens that attended the BOC had to say about it.

  1. We still need someone to enforce it. With the “bar” 1 mile away, we can  hear noise inside Shiloh Baptist Church.

  2. Exemption #5, noise from bells or chimes emanating from a place of worship should be removed. We don’t have this happening now before 7AM or after 10PM.  There is no need for the exemption.

  3. This ordinance will not be enforceable because of term “common noise.” I know what common agricultural noises are, but since no common sense has been used to enforce current ordinance, no one will know what “common noise” is.  Lawyers will have a hay day with this.

  4. What does “direct line of sight” mean? Does behind closed doors or behind a fence block the direct line of sight so this can’t be enforced?

  5. The problem now is in AG district, and it is exempt in this ordinance. If the current ordinance can’t be enforced, how can this one be enforced?

  6. Yelling, tires screeching, loud music, come from the bar and we are awakened at 2-3AM. The bar is commercial.  We request you consider removing “common noises” in the ordinance.  With a restaurant and bar there should be clearly outlined decibel levels.  Limit the hours of operation in a residential area, like Chiles or Applebee’s does.

  1. 100′ length should be reviewed and changed.

When the hearing was closed, Comm. Trammell said this will come back next month for a hearing.  He said, “We want to get it right this time.”  If the ordinance is reworked, everything starts over again and there will be another public hearing.  

Don’t hesitate to read the proposed noise ordinance, and submit your suggestions to the BOC and/or Shane Sealy at ssealy@jaspercountyga.org




Posted in Code Enforcement, County, Sheriff | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments