PLANNING AND ZONING DIRECTOR PUSHES SPECIAL EVENTS ORDINANCE

Are you ready for a Special Event near you?  Jasper County Citizens, what do YOU want?

November 20, 2017

Despite two requests to see a copy of the proposed Special Events ordinance, we have yet to receive a copy from the P&Z Director, Shane Sealy.  The ad ran in the paper this past week for a public hearing, but there was and has been no information available to the public.

There will be a public hearing before the P&Z Board for a Special Event Permit on 11/30/17 at 6:00PM.  There is NO Special Event ordinance in the Jasper County code of ordinances.  Why is this hearing being advertised and held while so many people are out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday?  Why is it at 6:00PM, when in the past P&Z hearings were always at 7:00PM so more people could attend?

Hoping that the P&Z Board members had information to share, TWG contacted one of the members.  There was no information from Shane Sealy to them either before the ad went in the paper;  they finally received a copy of the ordinance sometime this morning.  It appears the P&Z director and most likely, the county attorney developed this ordinance in the shadows.  Interestingly enough, the county website already shows a $500 fee for the Special Event permit.  How can that be when there is no permit or ordinance allowing Special Events????

The BOC has never requested that this ordinance be developed nor has one been discussed at any BOC meeting.  So why now?  

Could it be for Motocross racing? 

This past February people, farm animals, and wildlife that live on and near Millen Road (off Hwy 212 W) were about to get a rude awakening from a weekend of motorcycle racing.  This event was planned without warning or notice to the public and even encouraged by the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce.  If it were not for persistent questions as to the legality of this race in an AG district by citizens, it would have happened without a peep from our BOC.  This event would have involved keeping our ambulance(s), deputies, and other emergency personnel on site.

Since that time, the land off Hwy 212 W at Millen Rd. has been turned into a motocross track.  Were the proper permits obtained?  And is this activity allowed in an AG district?  Any “event” use is in violation of the Agriculture zoning.

The continued use of Bennett Cove as a venue has been repeatedly questioned.

Bennett Cove is still advertising on the internet as a get-away, a bed & breakfast, and a wedding venue.  Four or five full trash cans can be seen sitting on the road outside the gates after a weekend “event.”  Why would they need a permit, when they can and have been doing what they want without any type of permit or any consequences for violating the laws? 

The County Manager says that “there is nothing they (the county) can do because Bennett Cove says they are not charging.”  Even though Bennett Cove advertises on the internet on various sites, we are not so sure they have never charged a dime….

The public hearing for the Special Event Permit

The public hearing will be held the week after Thanksgiving, November 30 at 6PM.  This will give the public very little notice and time to find out what is being proposed, will be right after a holiday, and held at 6PM instead of the regular 7PM time that would allow more people to get home from work and attend.  

Jasper County Citizens, what do you want?

People have moved here and live here in Jasper County for peace and quiet; they will need to step up and voice their opinion on this proposal.  It is our opinion that people that have been living here and their quality of life is more important than special events that disrupt their peace and quiet and upset their animals to bring in a few “tourist dollars” for a weekend.

 Put yourself into these situations— a wild weekend party with loud music into the night next door to where you live.  An all weekend motocross race with the sound of 500 2-stroke engines whining all day long.  An all day concert.  Think about how these “events”  could affect you.  

ATTEND THE MEETING to make your concerns known.  The P&Z Board DOES LISTEN!

 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 , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

CITY OF MONTICELLO DECIDES TO DO THEIR OWN CODE ENFORCEMENT

November 18, 2017

Does this mean the County taxpayers are off the hook? 

The City of Monticello has been pushing the County to do code enforcement for them, even though the City has the money to provide it themselves.  At the 9/18/17 BOC meeting, after trying to persuade the BOC to agree to do City code enforcement with no satisfaction, Mayor Pro Tem Stone Workman said they would just do it their d*** selves.  It appears that is what will happen! 

The Monticello News reported this week on the City Council’s discussion of City Code Enforcement.

“Members of the Monticello City Council discussed in depth options for condemning blighted houses in the city as well as options for Code Enforcement fines and legal actions to be carried out.

There was much discussion as to an ordinance that had been put into place in surrounding cities such as Newborn and Eatonton that allow the city to implement procedures pertaining to unfit buildings in the city.

City attorney Joe Reitman sent over to the council a version of the ordinance that allows the council to be both judge and jury of blighted properties through several options – one being an increased tax (up to 500 percent) of those property owners that do not restore or tear down blighted properties. This determination would be made after inspection by a certified building inspector.

The council determined that Doug White, City Manager would move forward and discuss the ordinance with the city manager in Eatonton and bring his finding and Mr. Reitman’s recommendations back before the council.”

It is good to see the city taking an active interest in cleaning up blighted properties around town.  Does this mean the County taxpayers are off the hook?  Let us hope 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.

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Posted in City, Code Enforcement | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

CERTAIN COUNTY ROADS ARE NOW “NO THRU TRUCKS” ROADS

November 16, 2017

 

County Manager, Mike Benton, told the BOC last Monday night that certain county roads are now “No Thru Trucks” roads, and that the county and Sheriff’s department will work together to enforce the designation.

 

 

Jackson Lake Rd., Clay Rd., and Bethel Church Rd. have all been designated by the county and “No Thru Trucks” signs will be posted.  In the past, commissioners that tried to have Jackson Lake Rd. designated this way were told it could not be done because the county could  not get LARP/LMIG State money if roads were designated this way.  Maybe something has changed now.  Let’s hope so.

The big truck traffic on our county roads is causing the road to deteriorate at a much faster rate.  We can all hope there will be aggressive enforcement of this new policy.

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, Roads, Sheriff | Tagged , | 4 Comments

BOC DISCUSSES MOVING SPLOST MONEY FROM POST ROAD TO OTHER ROADS IN COUNTY

November 14, 2017

For months -many months-we’ve been hearing how 1 mile of road costs $500,000 or more.  At the last BOC meeting Comm. Luke said it only costs $275K for a mile of road, BUT he had a better plan– if they only do triple surface instead of asphalt, they can pave LOTS more roads because it would only cost $40,000-$50,000 per mile. 

“To better serve our citizens”

Comm. Luke wants to start thinking outside box.  He said they [the county] don’t have funding sources to get roads done.  He wants the Contractor that did triple-surface paving (TSP) for them earlier to do this on residential roads because it can be done a lot cheaper than paving.  Comm. Luke wants quotes on TSP, and NOT have it done in house.  He said that this was a way “to better serve our citizens”.

Finishing Post Road is out?

Comm. Luke’s plan is to take the $546,000 of State LMIG money that was going to pave the next 2.5 miles of Post Rd. (from Bowden Rd. to Smith Brock Rd.) and use it, along with the county match of $164,000 to triple surface unnamed county roads

Comm. Pennamon pushed for the first 2 miles of Goolsby Rd.  Comm. Luke wants Dykes Road.  Comm. Jernigan wants Pintail done again.  As it was pointed out, Pintail had been done in 2012; in fact, it was done twice by Public Works who did worse than a poor job.  Comm. Jernigan said, “ I would be embarrassed to say I was on the work crew that did it.”  Note to Comm. Jernigan, many on that work crew are still at Public Works, “fixing” our county roads.  (The Public Works director lost his job in 2012 over that and other poor work done by Public Works.)

Policy on Road Paving—Just what is the Policy?

The commissioners have bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment for Public Works to do county roads.  But are they using it or is the BOC hiring out the work?  A citizen questions the BOC about the Plan for Public Works doing county roads.

Why not use Public Works labor since this BOC has bought all sorts of new equipment, including an asphalt tank?  Is the BOC implying that by contracting out the work they get better quality work?  If so, why not privatize Public Works, sell all the equipment, and save a whole lot of money—and pave more roads?

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, Public Works | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

BOC USES 70% of FY-2018 CONTINGENCY TO BUY VANS

November 10, 2017

 

At Monday night’s meeting, the BOC voted to spend over $106,000 and take it all out of “contingency” because it was not budgeted.  This will leave the county with less than $44,000 in contingency to last until June 30, 2018.

 

In three (3) unanimous votes, the BOC approved

  • Sr. Center Van for  $52,784.92
  • Extension-4H Shuttle Van for $49,892.92
  • Janitorial Services for the Sr. Center in the amount of  $3900

 $150,000 was budgeted and approved for Contingency to enable the BOC to meet emergencies from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. 

 

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 Budgets, County | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

SPLOST PASSES

November 7, 2017

 

SPLOST passes with 10.85% of registered voters voting.

FOR–567
AGAINST–328
Total voting 897

 

Now to see if “all those out of town people” come in and pay for it as  we have been told they will.   In fact, one big supporter says that we won’t even pay for the interest and we will get the money for free because out of town people will pay for that part of SPLOST! 

And we are sure our property taxes will NOT go up because those for SPLOST repeatedly said it would not affect our property taxes.

We will be watching…and reporting.

TWG

Posted in County, Elections/voting, SPLOST, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

SPLOST ELECTIONS ARE PLANNED SO NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THEM     

November 2, 2017

Have you ever noticed how so few people know about and vote in SPLOST elections?  It is planned that way, so that only the people that benefit from a yes vote know about it.

 As of Wednesday only 170 people had voted.  Where are the other 8000 registered voters?

 I wrote the following letter to the editor last Friday after early voting.  It was published in the Monticello News today—on page 5. 

 Dear Editor:

Last Friday when I went in to vote on the SPLOST question, I was surprised to find that only 108 people had voted.  Unfortunately, SPLOST is usually on the ballot when there is not a contested race and therefore, people do not seem to know about it or that there is even an election.

I noticed some ads in your paper last week and a long letter to the editor promoting SPLOST.  However, people need to know ALL the details before they vote.  The details for SPLOST are listed in the legal ads, which most people never read.

When voting on the SPLOST, you are actually being asked to vote to allow the BOC to borrow $3,500,000 at an interest rate not to exceed 4.5% for 6 years, and to impose a 1% sales tax to be levied over 6 years.  The proceeds of the debt will be used to pay for “the projects.”  The interest charged will be approximately $400,000. 

Additionally, the BOC has committed approximately $600,000 of fund balance to add to the cost of the proposed Sheriff’s admin offices for a total of $2,300,000.  This $600,000 is not on the ballot, and it has not been made public.

The BOC has not made any estimate of the additional property taxes it will take to maintain a new Sheriff’s office building and a new Recreation building, including insurance, repairs and maintenance, and additional staff.  How much will these expenses add to our property tax bills?

According to those that push the 1% sales tax called SPLOST, as much as 40% of the sales tax coming into Jasper County does not come from Jasper County citizens, but from out of town people.  I find this very hard to believe and have seen no verifiable proof of this statistic.

If only 200 people turn out to vote in this SPLOST election, it will mean less than 2.5% of the eligible voters will decide the issue.  Please get all the facts, and then vote.

Mary Patrick

TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 3 IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE EARLY.  REGULAR VOTING DAY IS NOVEMBER 7TH.  PLEASE TAKE TIME TO VOTE!

 

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

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Posted in County, Elections/voting, Property taxes, SPLOST | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment