PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEES BUY LOTTERY TICKETS ON COUNTY TIME

Makes you wonder how often this happens….And you wonder why your road is never fixed properly?

The employees are too busy eating breakfast at Ingles, buying lottery tickets, or sleeping in their trucks to worry about working on your road.

April 24, 2017

 Even though we know of the problems, nothing is ever done about any of them.  Remember when Post Road was full of gravel and a motorcyclist was hurt and taken off in an ambulance?  Nothing was done about that.  No reprimands, no firings, no demotions.  In fact, everyone at Public Works got a nice raise, including the head honco that obviously supervises no one.

This morning at approximately 9:00am (2 hours after Public Works employees report for work), Jasper County Public Works Truck #1 pulled into a mini-mart in Newborn—NEWTON COUNTY  (Note: You can click on pictures to enlarge them.)

and parked beside the building

 

 Two employees (one in purple shirt) got out of the truck, went in, and bought lottery tickets

(the other one in navy work clothes and hat)

After going outside of the store and scratching off the tickets, they went back into the store to get more.  

They wasted a minimum of 20 minutes this morning doing this—remember, they are in NEWTON COUNTY. 

AND PLEASE, MIKE BENTON AND JASPER COUNTY BOC, QUIT MAKING EXCUSES FOR THIS CONTINUAL CRAP WE GET FROM PUBLIC WORKS

Oops and before they left, here comes a Jasper County deputy stopping in!

Who knows what these two Public Works employees did the rest of the day.  Probably something other than working.  STEALING TIME BY NOT WORKING AND GETTING PAID IS NO DIFFERENT THAN STEALING MONEY.

And DO NOT forget, the BOC wants you to approve a $4M SPLOST and a $7.5M bond so, among other things, they can buy Public Works more equipment and fix your road!

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, Public Works, Sheriff | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

DID YOU GET YOUR NEW PROPERTY VALUE INCREASE IN THE MAIL? HOW MUCH DID YOUR TAXES GO UP?

 

April 16, 2017

Three or four years of property value increases and corresponding property tax increases in Jasper County are putting some people out of a place to live.  For the past two weeks The Monticello News has had approximately 110 properties (3 and 1/2 pages) up for sale for failure to pay their property taxes.  As taxes continue to increase, more people will be unable to pay the bill.

Jasper County’s chief appraiser, Lynn Bentley, warned us in an article dated March 30, 2017 that she felt property values should be increased AGAIN this year, and the notices received in the mail Friday confirm they were raised.  (See that article at the end of this blog) 

The Jasper County BOC continues to promise that the millage rate is not going to increase.  They do not have to increase the millage when the values go up as significantly as they have.  The increasing values automatically give the BOC more tax money out of our pockets. 

 On Monday, April 17 the BOC will again discuss the $7.5 million bond/loan, a $4 million SPLOST, and the new FY 2018 budget.  They will never have enough money, but the property owners of this county have about been drained dry.

There are things you can do to fight these increasing values and corresponding tax increases.  Those things will be listed in an upcoming blog. 

 Tax Digest Will Change for 2017

By LYNN BENTLEY
Chief Appraiser

March 30, 2017
For 2017, we are continuing to see an improving market. The total number of sales is up again as well. From 2015 to 2016, the number of sales used increased 10 percent. For 2016 to 2017, it has increased 15 percent. 

There continues to be a decrease in bank sales also. These are no longer setting the market. We are using 217 sales this year and only 14 are bank sales. There are bargains out there, but there are fewer and fewer of them. 

We clearly have two types of property that were hot sellers for 2017. They were Turtle Cove Interior houses and houses on Northern Rural tracts, particularly on small tracts. These will see the largest increases for 2017. Interestingly, these are also the properties that saw the most dramatic changes during the downturn. 

Again this year, I did a comparison with the proposed new values and current listings on MLS. I compared 64 properties. Some have listing prices that are close to the new values. But, most are listed for $20k to $70k more than the new values.

And as a reminder, there were concerns about the changes that were implemented last year. Those increases were applied and now this year, there are many areas that are selling for more than those values. This is why it is so important to follow the market on a yearly basis. You can get behind on values very quickly if they are not evaluated each year. 

Residential

City of Monticello: No changes for any of the city neighborhoods. There were sales over the current values, but there were sales for less than the current values as well. This was the case within most neighborhoods. I feel we should hold off on any changes until there is a clearer trend in the city. 

5 acre “Farms”: There were sales in all eight of these neighborhoods. Land increases will be applied for Hawk’s Nest, Lake Ridge, North Jasper Farms, Deep Lake Farms, Barnes Mountain Farms and Liberty Drive. Also, structure increases will be applied in Rock Eagle Farms, Liberty Drive, and Lake Ridge.

County Line Subdivisions: Structure increases will be applied for Jones Estates. There were three sales in that neighborhood last year, all sold for almost 20% more than the current values. There will also be structure increases for Ashwood Meadows and Bobcat Estates based on this activity. 

Turtle Cove Interior: No change for lot values. Structure increases will be applied for all Interior houses. On improved lots, there were 35 sales last year and only six sold for less than the current value, two of which were bank sales. Most of the sales ranged anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent over current values. 
Lakefront Neighborhoods: 2016 saw quite a lot of activity with lakefront sales. There were sales in most neighborhoods. In some areas the sales were slightly over current values, others were as much as 20-30 percent over current values. Lot increases will be applied for the following: Waters Bridge/212, Alcovy Shores 2 (cove), Alcovy Bluffs (Dallas/Yancey), Landers, Pine Grove, Templeton Heights, and Fisherman’s Point (dam). Structure increases will be applied for Water’s Bridge/212, Alcovy Bluffs, Fisherman’s Point, Turtle Cove, and Alcovy North. There were also sales in Rollingwood Cove, Southern Pines, and Alcovy Shores (front) that sold for very close to current values. 

Rural

Improvement Changes:  
There were 33 improved sales on the North side, with most selling for 5-30 percent over the current values. There were 10 improved sales on the South side, with most selling for 5-15 percent over the current values. Structure increases will be applied for all rural tracts. 

Land Value Changes: Last year we only increased the large tracts (over 30 acres). The market seems to have cooled for large tracts. There were some sales over current values, but there were as many under current values. No changes for large tracts countywide. 

This year we are seeing a major change on small tracts in the North. During the downturn, the gap was narrowing for the values between the North and the South. But that may be changing. This year, every vacant sale on the North sold for more than current value. Increases will be applied for small tracts on the North. For the Southside small tract sales, there were some sales for more than current vales, but as many for less. No changes for small tracts on the South. 

Commercial

There were six usable commercial sales this year. Two of the sales were for more than the current value, two sold for very close to current values and two sold for less than the current value. No changes for commercial.


 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, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

“IT WON’T COST THE TAXPAYERS ANYTHING!”

April 12, 2016

 

 During the last SPLOST work session on April 10, those attending repeatedly heard about the new $7.5 million bond/debt the BOC is proposing and how it will not cost the property owners (taxpayers of this county) anything.

 

This group of Commissioners has consistently added more debt to the county over the last 4 years, and now have plans to heap on another $7.5 million on top, to be paid over the next 25 to 30 years (they haven’t decided on the term yet).  In addition, they are proposing a $3.9 million SPLOST. 

 The BOC can not say NO to all the WANTS submitted; so rather than make cuts, it seems to be easier to just add debt.  The BOC says this plan will solve lots of “problems”, but it appears to us that the biggest problem of all is indebting the county for 30 years.

 BUT all this debt for the next 25 years “won’t cost the taxpayers anything.”  How is that?

 

  They say all this new revenue is going to come gushing in from Stanton Springs (Joint Development Authority/ 4 County Dev Authority) starting in 2018, and by 2020 it will be at least $480,000 a year to pay for this debt.  They all swear the millage rate will not go up.  (Note: Comm. Henry did not attend this meeting.)

 

 

JASPER COUNTY BOC FAMOUS LAST WORDS TO REMEMBER—

 *Bear Creek Reservoir is a great thing.  It will bring us millions of dollars in water revenue.  (The reservoir has never existed and there are no plans for it to exist.  However, Newton County has been soaked for tens of millions of dollars in land deals and professional fees.)

 *Jasper County Water and Sewer won’t cost the taxpayers a dime.  (This BOC voted to pay JCWSA from county funds for 31 years.)

 

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YOU are going to be asked to vote to approve this debt in November.  Will you be alive 30 years from now to see it paid off, or will your children end up responsible for it? 

There are many more details to come—stay tuned….

 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 Budgets, County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—

April 7, 2017

Haystack Wings & Thangz was turned down for an alcohol licenses for the 4th time by a vote of 4-1 at the 4/3/17 BOC meeting.  Comm. Henry and Comm. Luke requested that citizen comments be moved to the beginning of the meeting so people could speak for or against the licensing since no public hearing was called.  The other commissioners agreed to allow it.  All that spoke, spoke against the alcohol license.

 

Sherry Braley was finally sentenced for “theft by taking” in her theft of $22,878.48 of county funds from 2013-2015, while she was over Planning & Zoning, Code Enforcement, and Animal Control.  Unfortunately, the $32,000 the taxpayers paid for the “forensic audit” did not even include the absconded funds from Animal Control.  Braley’s sentence includes confinement of 150-180 days in a detention center, 100 hours of community service, payment of a $2000 fine, and payment of restitution to the county.  She also will have 10 years of probation.  We are waiting to see how much if any of the money she stole will be paid back.  The taxpayers had almost $23,000 stolen from them, paid another $32,000 for an audit, had to pay for a public defender and court costs, and watched as the BOC allowed Braley to get raises and rarely come to work for a year while being paid.  Cost to the taxpayers, close to $100,000.

 

The now former Recreation Director, Erin Roper, resigned on March 17th.  There has been an ad in the local paper for a new director.  No one is talking about what happened.

 


After more than 4 months,  Shane Sealy presented a fine schedule to the BOC
for county code violations—like trash, noise, zoning, etc.  We can’t quite figure out why it took so long since the schedule was an entire 4 lines.  Well, really 5 lines, but the 4th and 5th were the same.  The fines are as follows:

 First Offense = $300;
Second Offense = $600;
Third Offense = $1000 plus probation;
Fourth Offense = $1000 and Jail Time (up to 180 days); Fifth Offense and beyond = $1000 and Jail Time (up to 180 days).

Now the key is ENFORCEMENT, which has been sorely lacking! 

 

Your comments are encouraged and appreciated.

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 Code Enforcement, County, Magistrate, Planning & Zoning, Recreation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

PUBLIC HEARING BUT NO DOCS AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC ON COUNTY WEBSITE

March 31, 2017

 Why do commissioners have public hearings?  It appears, only because they are required to have them by law because the public is not able to easily access any of the documents they are supposed to be able to read and comment on.

 

 Here’s the information on the public hearing Monday night—4/3/17 at 6:00PM

 Public Hearing for Health Department Issues and Planning and Zoning Issues

  The Jasper County Board of Commissioners will hear a public hearing on the following item at their regular scheduled meeting on April 3 2017 beginning at 6:00 pm in the Commissioners meeting room on the basement floor of courthouse. 

  1. A public hearing will be held for rules of the Department of Public Health, for Portable Sanitation Contractors. (Based on information from the last meeting, this will have rules for special events as well as others that use “porta-pottys”)

  2. A public hearing will be held for Rules and Regulations of Body Art for Jasper County Board of Health. (Based on information from the last meeting, this will regulate tattoo parlors and tattoo artists.)

  3. A public hearing will be held for Health Department Fee Schedule.

  4. A public hearing will be held for a fine schedule for Magistrate Court. (This will set fees for the noise ordinance and all other cases taken to Magistrate Court.)

Copies are available IF you have time to take off work and drive to the courthouse.  They are NOT available online.  It is easy to post a PDF, but does not seem to be a priority for the county staff.
The public is invited to attend and those with special needs related to handicapped accessibility, should contact the Planning and Zoning office at 706-468-4905.  Copies of the portable sanitation contractors rules and rules and body art regulations topics will be available at the Jasper County Planning and Zoning Office in the basement of the courthouse (Suite 17) and also at the Jasper County Health Department, located at 336 East Greene Street Monticello, Ga 31064

You can see the entire Monday night meeting agenda at this link:

http://jaspercountyga.org/departments/Board/boardAgenda.asp

 

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

IN THE LINE OF DUTY?

March 30, 2017

Dear Editor,

I have contemplated for over a year about writing this letter, and have talked myself out it several times.  However, the continued “incidents” I see need to be addressed before someone is injured or killed by the reckless and illegal driving habits of some of our local Sheriff Deputies.

Friday morning at approximately 10:52am, I waited at the stop light at the corner of W. Washington St.  I turned onto W. Washington St. from the square and traveled a short distance, only to have a deputy pull out from behind the 18-wheeler waiting at the stop light, pull directly into my lane, and then turn his blue lights on as if that made it ok for him to meet me head on.  Thankfully, I was not traveling at any rate of speed.  The deputy then traveled through the square with his lights flashing.

This is just one of many incidents I have personally observed and/or been involved in over the past two years.  I know I am not the only one, but most people are afraid to call the Sheriff’s office and let them know happened because they feel they might be targeted.

Approximately a year and a half ago my daughter was driving to come visit, and had my grandson in the car.  As she topped the hill on Hwy 212 W near Millen Rd., a Sheriff’s deputy was topping the hill in her lane, passing on hill with a double yellow line and going well over 80mph.  He had neither blue lights nor a siren on. She slammed on brakes and swerved, and the deputy swerved back into his lane and flew on by.  Thankfully, my daughter was only shaken up, but it could have easily been the end of her life, my grandson’s life, and the deputy’s life.  On another occasion, a deputy in a Jasper County Sheriff’s car went through the 4-way stop at Hwy 162 and passed my daughter at such a high rate of speed that her car shook while she was going 55-60mph.

The thoughts of what could have happened that day enter my mind every time I see the deputies fly by my house at a high rate of speed.

I continually watch deputies fly up behind cars and force them off the road with little area to negotiate next to a 10’ deep ditch, pull over into the wrong lane and meet cars head on that have to pull off into my yard to keep from being hit, and fly through a four way stop without a thought of seeing if another car is there. I have talked to others that have had a deputy follow right on their tail until he could pass, then zoom off, only to be parked at Larry’s 4 Way when they got there. 

Now some will read this with righteous indignation; how dare she write something about our officers!  Prior to writing this, I have talked to Sheriff Donnie Pope about these things on several occasionsAt least twice in BOC meetings, Commissioner Carl Pennamon has brought it up that a blue light only asks permission; it does not mean they have a right to do as they please and run people off the road or go through stop signs.

I do my best to obey the laws, and appreciate the deputies that also obey and enforce the laws.  However, for those that continue to travel at a high rate of speed, pull into the wrong lane and meet others head on, run people off the road, and run through stop signs, there will be consequences.  Someone—maybe you or your loved one—is going to be injured or killed.  It has already happened in other counties.  I cannot imagine the feelings of the parents of the girls who were killed by a GSP officer in Coweta County who ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed –not because he was on his way to a call, but because he felt entitled  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3453965/Georgia-State-Trooper-cleared-fatal-crash-killed-two-teenage-girls-dash-cam-footage-showing-officer-driving-excessive-speed-released.html

There are many other instances of speeding officers killing innocent drivers.  One recent example is when the wife of Jeff Porter, the Braves trainer, was killed by a speeding GSP trooper.  Ex-trooper handed 2-yr. sentence in crash that killed Braves trainer’s wife    When Jeff Porter testified in court he said, “The state of Georgia has laws and he broke them. Kathy paid with her life. ” 

Let’s help Sheriff Pope put a stop to this reckless driving before a tragedy occurs that will devastate our community.   Call him at 706-468-4912 or at 706-468-5276 (the anonymous tip line) to report officer violations. 

Mary Patrick

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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, Sheriff, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AGAIN? HAYSTACK WINGS & THANGZ REQUESTING ALCOHOL POURING LICENSE

March 28, 2017

The Jasper County BOC has a request for an alcohol pouring license on their agenda for Monday night, April 3 at 6:00PM from Haystack Wings & Thangz.  Is this the 4th or the 5th time that Haystack (Hwy 142 at Pennington Rd.) has requested an alcohol pouring license?   We question why this is not a public hearing because this is for a new license, not a renewal.

The legal ad does NOT comply with the laws–no owners name is listed.  The “restaurant” does not stay open 5 days a week as required.  They recently advertised a tattoo party at the restaurant, were told they could not have it, and then posted a foot being tattooed in the restaurant on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this license is approved, no matter what goes on or how much noise is made, we have learned from experience that nothing will be done about it.  We have seen no enforcement in the past with other owners at this location and at other venues (Bennett Cove).

Jasper County does not license bars or nightclubs.  It licenses restaurants that can serve alcohol.  Once Haystack gets an alcohol license, it will most likely become a nightclub, just like the previous businesses at this location have. 

Even though a local person has obtained the business license and is requesting the alcohol license, it seems to be common knowledge that a person from DeKalb County will be running the business.   Why would someone from Dekalb want to come to the “boondocks” of Jasper County to run a business?  Could it be because the laws are lax and not enforced?

You must contact the BOC to express your views on granting an alcohol license to Haystack, because you will not be allowed to speak at the meeting.

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

District 1 – Carl Pennamon 
District 2 – Bruce Henry
District 4 – Craig Salmon
District 5 – Doug Luke
District 3 –Don Jernigan—djernigan@jaspercountyga.org

Bad things happen when our laws are not enforced.  Following is an article about nightclubs in DeKalb County….similar circumstances to Hwy 142.  (Highlighting is TWG’s)  If you don’t have time to read the entire article, read the red sections.

 

Some DeKalb hookah nightclubs stay open without permission

http://www.myajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/some-dekalb-hookah-nightclubs-stay-open-without-permission/kpQRrkwGrfaqnE7c7UB2mM/

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, December 30, 2016

________________________________________

In hookah bars located at a busy DeKalb County corner, late-night crowds puff on flavored tobacco, dance to heavy beats and sip on mixed drinks.  Much to the chagrin of nearby residents, four such establishments are open near the corner of Clairmont and Briarcliff roads.

Residents complain about loud music, traffic and trash from the businesses. They also say some of the hookah bars are operating illegally and unsafely.

None has a permit to function as a nightclub with dancing and musical entertainment. Two of them — Food Therapy and Therapy Lounge — were denied permits to stay open past 12:30 a.m., and the owner is now fighting the county’s decision in court.

The others, neighbors say, are ignoring the rules and keeping their doors open into the wee hours.

LUV Lounge is still doing business long after midnight even though a building expansion invalidated its previous late-night permit, according to government documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request.

There are other problems as well. Mint Ultra Lounge failed a fire safety inspection in June but remains open, records show.  Representatives for Mint and LUV couldn’t be reached for comment.

“These places are not safe,” said Barbara Vargas, who lives about a mile from the intersection. “How do (DeKalb officials) not notice there are nightclubs going in … and they don’t have permits to be there?”

The county government has issued citations against some of the businesses for overcrowding, indoor pyrotechnics, unpermitted construction and outdated business permits.

Three other bars in the same shopping center – Arif Cafe, Aroma Lounge and Club Pure – shut down because the county concluded they had changed from restaurants to nightclubs without permission.

For a club to be allowed to stay open late, it has to pay a $400 fee, have public hearings and get approval from the County Commission.

Hookah bars, where patrons inhale flavored tobacco through a water basin and drink alcohol, have gained popularity as late-night hot spots.  Some bars were originally approved as restaurants, and they’re now using their previous business permits to operate as nightclubs.

They say they shouldn’t have to go through a more rigorous process enacted by the county in 2008 because they were already doing business before then. But that provision doesn’t apply if an establishment changes uses, such as from a restaurant to a nightclub, or if the business name changes.

If they’re in someone’s backyard who doesn’t want it there and it’s disruptive, that’s a problem,” said Dan Wright, a member of the DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals.

During one recent weekend, crowds of party-goers at Mint and LUV, mostly in their 20s and 30s, were still going strong at 3 a.m. after paying $10 or $20 for admission.

At one point, someone lit a sparkling hand-held firework called an ice fountain near Mint’s bar area, eliciting cheers from the crowd. Off-duty police paid by the clubs stood ready in their DeKalb County patrol cars in the parking lot in case anyone started trouble, though no one did.

Nadine Rivers-Johnson, a property manager and chairwoman of the DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals, said she understands residents’ concerns.“Your home is the biggest investment you make in your life, so quite naturally things that make it more or less valuable should be a concern,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to move into a neighborhood where there’s an establishment operating outside the ordinances of the county.”

About 225 residents signed an online petition to oppose Tamar Telahun’s application to extend operating hours at Food Therapy and Therapy Lounge. Residents said they feared an increase in noise, traffic, trash and crime. The businesses remain open while Telahun’s lawsuit opposing the county’s September decision to deny late-night permits is pending.

“If I had known they didn’t want me to be here, I wouldn’t have expanded,” said Telahun, the owner of the bars.Telahun said she worries that residents are targeting hookah businesses because club owners are often from Ethiopia and Eritrea.

“There’s some people that will say nothing good happens after midnight,” said Telehun, who is Eritrean. “Yes, if you’re 70. But if you’re in your 30s or in your 40s and you work all day, maybe going home, taking a shower and coming out to enjoy your lounge is what you (need).”

But DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader, whose district includes the Clairmont-Briarcliff area, said neighborhoods are deprived a voice in their communities when nightclubs don’t follow proper procedures.

“In many cases, these businesses are intrinsically incompatible with the neighborhoods they’re in, and that’s the source of the conflict,” he said.

Government officials could take stronger action against nightclubs that refuse to comply with the county’s rules, Rader said.  Their liquor licenses could be revoked, and fire marshals could order them closed for safety hazards.Code enforcement officers could issue more citations, Rader said.

“We’ve been trying hard to get them to be more rigorous in that enforcement,” he said. “These dangerous behaviors could ultimately end up in some horrible tragedy as a result of overcrowding and the misconfiguration of spaces.”

Don Broussard, a former DeKalb Planning Commission member, said the county isn’t enforcing its fire safety rules and building codes. “We’re going to have a repeat of what happened in Oakland somewhere in this county,” said Broussard, referring to a California fire in which 36 people died during a Dec. 2 party in a warehouse not permitted for residential or entertainment use.

Broussard filed a lawsuit that resulted in Club Pure closing in 2009.

Police are focusing on nightclubs — not just hookah bars — that pose the most serious public safety risks, said DeKalb Police Capt. Alex Mears. Officers want to work with businesses that are willing to come into compliance, he said.

“Once you start not following the rules, you start putting the public in jeopardy,” Mears said. “The good news is, most places want to (be compliant). They’re there to make money. They don’t want to lose money.”

The county shut down Ledet Restaurant, also known as Aroma Lounge, in April after a fire inspector found multiple fire code violations, including overcrowding, inadequate exits and indoor pyrotechnic use.  “This is a catastrophe waiting to happen,” wrote DeKalb Fire Inspector John Jewett in an email to the fire marshal. “Local ordinances and model building/fire codes are in place to prevent these types of issues.”

As a result of fire code violations and the club’s change of use to a nightclub, the DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals revoked Aroma Lounge’s certificate of occupancy Dec. 14.

The club’s attorneys and general manager argued that they should have been given a chance to make amends.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that our clients may have made mistakes in the operation of their business,” said DeWayne Martin, an attorney for Aroma, during his presentation to the board. “If, in fact, there isn’t an imminent threat or risk to public welfare, which there presently is not, there is no basis to reject the certificate of occupancy.”

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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 Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments