“HIDDEN PREDATOR ACT” in the State Legislature Now—HB 605

House Bill 605 would give child abuse survivors would be given more time to pursue justice.

February 22, 2018

No entity has worked harder to derail the Hidden Predator Act of 2018 than the Boy Scouts of America, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Spencer (180th).  This bill would reform the civil statute of limitations for child abuse giving survivors more time to pursue justice.

Lobbyists representing the Georgia Catholic Conference, the insurance industry and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce have also worked behind the scenes against the bill, the legislator added.  Those entities have worked in secrecy to thwart the bill, Spencer said, just as they did three years ago when a similar bill was watered down.

 

To read more click the link below.  Also, call your State Representative and ask him/her to vote FOR this bill. 

Updated: 6:49 a.m. Thursday, February 22, 2018 |  Posted: 6:22 p.m. Wednesday, February 21, 2018

https://www.myajc.com/news/local/torpy-large-lobbyists-win-hidden-predator-act-will-stay-hidden/PVTaji5trmsMkj2zA1S8rM/?utm_source=newspaper&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3937037

Torpy at Large: If lobbyists win, Hidden Predator Act
will stay hidden

It’s hard to come out — at least publicly — against measures meant to clamp down on child molesters.

A bill in the state House called the Hidden Predator Act would expand the age (to 38) that past victims of child sexual assault could sue for damages. More so, it would hold accountable organizations, businesses and even churches that were derelict in their duties and allowed kids to be abused.

So those entities have worked in secrecy to thwart the bill, Spencer said, just as they did three years ago when a similar bill was watered down.

The Boy Scouts of America are fighting to gut the bill, said Spencer. Also, he said lobbyists for the Georgia Catholic Conference, the insurance industry and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce are working quietly to bottle up the legislation in committee, never to see the light of day.

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The FINE PRINT must still be Negotiated by JDA– AFTER the $42 Billion in Bonds Were Approved

February 18, 2018

 

Who else, besides a government entity, would offer $42 BILLION in bonds, have them approved, and THEN negotiate the “fine print”???  Somehow, it is strange that governments do everything backwards and different from private businesses. 

 

According to an article in the Walton Tribune, the JDA has had the bonds approved and will now negotiate the “fine print.”  What surprises are in store for the taxpayers and citizens of the four counties—Jasper, Newton, Walton, and Morgan?

Morning Hornet clears hurdle

Court approves $42 billion in bonds for major development

http://www.waltontribune.com/news/article_661e544e-1359-11e8-89a6-53d272cc9779.html

Posted: Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:00 am | Cosby Woodruff | The Tribune 

 MADISON — Shane Short crossed a big item off his list of things to do before the Morning Hornet development is secure this week when Ocmulgee Circuit Superior Court Judge Amanda Petty approved plans for $42 billion in bonds.

Short, executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, said the fine print must be negotiated, but when Petty approved the bonds sought by the Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County, Newton County and Walton County, one of the final hurdles was removed.

 

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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WHAT SERVICES WILL THE COUNTY PAY FOR—SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY AGREEMENT

February 12, 2018

 As this is being written, the BOC is holding a meeting to discuss the “Service Delivery Strategy Agreements.”  This agreement shows what services the County,  City of Monticello, City of Shady Dale, and School Board will provide and/or pay for or share in paying for.

 You can see the old agreement in the agenda packet here.

 The current agreement states that the School Board will pay for half of the cost of the library.  They do not, and they have not for many years.  When the School Board and/or Superintendent come to the BOC with their hands out for a part of the projected JDA future “payouts”, the BOC needs to remind them of their debt to the County for the library funds they did not pay over the years.

 The current agreement states that the City of Monticello will pay for its own police force.  They do not, and they have not for the last 4 years.  The BOC/County has picked up all of these costs, and the Sheriff’s budget has risen 50% over those four (4) years and our property taxes have risen accordingly.

 Currently, the agreement states that the City of Monticello will have its own code enforcement (page 9), zoning regs and zoning board (page 22) , and courts (page 10).  The City has been pushing the County to take over their code enforcement.  Is this how it is going to be done? Through a new SDS Agreement?

 The agreement also states that the County and each City will provide its own Fire Protection (page 14).  On page 17 the agreement states the City of Monticello will help fund the Jail.  On page 21 it states the City of Monticello will help fund Recreation.  To our knowledge, none of this is being done by the City of Monticello.

 Review the document for yourself and you will see that the County has taken on the burden of providing many of the services the SDS Agreement states should be shared or funded by the City of Monticello. 

 Most people knew nothing about this meeting until it was too late to attend.  There is no doubt the document needs to be updated, but we can only hope the County Commissioners do not take on more of the costs of providing services for the City.

 

 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, County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

JDA SPOKESMEN SAY TO EXPECT MONEY TO POUR INTO JASPER COUNTY—SOMETIME AROUND 2027—BUT JDA BOARD WILL DECIDE WHAT COUNTIES GET

February 9, 2018

 Shane Short, Walton County Economic Development Director, gave a 20 minutes presentation about JDA (Stanton Springs) to the BOC and those in attendance at the February 5, 2018 meeting.  He said he was asked to take the lead on the development of Stanton Springs by the JDA Board sometime last year.

 According to Mr. Short, JDA still has businesses thinking about locating at Stanton Springs.  He then told about the recent plans to bring Morning Hornet LLC (reported to be a Facebook data center) there.  He said there would be a bond resolution of $48 BILLION to be approved at the Morgan County Courthouse on February 14, 2018 and that there was No way the counties or JDA would be responsible for one dime [of these bonds].”  The JDA always emphasizes this in every release to convince the public everything is fine even when dealing in billions of dollars.  (The legal ad states the bonds resolution will be for $42 BILLION.)

 Morning Hornet will pay JDA a fee for issuing the bond.  Mr. Short said it would be a “six figure dollar amount” to go to JDA, not the counties.  According to the Morgan Citizen, JDA will receive “$1.25 million for facilitating the bond process.”

Mr. Short also discussed PILOT –Payments in Lieu of Taxes.  He said the PILOT is “significant,” and would be $1M per year per building.  The plan is for four or five buildings, and according to Mr. Short, JDA would collect PILOT payments whether Morning Hornet builds the other buildings or not.  REMEMBER:  All income goes to JDA, not the counties. JDA then decides how much it will distribute to the counties after their expenses and various capital expenditures in Stanton Springs the JDA board approves.

A total of 416 acres will be sold with about 250 acres owned by JDA and the rest owned by TPA, which was purchased from JDA at a cost of approximately $13,500 per acre.  The selling price will be $62,500 per acre.  TPA will make approximately an $8,000,000 profit on their part.  (It has always been a mystery how TPA makes big profits off land sales but the taxpayers of the four counties have never seen any income.)  JDA will receive approximately $15,625,000 from the sale of land, plus additional money from the timber being cut off the land before the sale.   When asked what would be done with all this money, Mr. Short said JDA would immediately pay off all their debt of around $7.5M and use the other money (about $8M) to “extend the parkway” to bring in more businesses. 

When asked about jobs, Mr. Short said there would be 50 full time employees per building.  This mean there will be at least 50 employees and possibly no more since Morning Hornet is under no obligation to build more than one building.    Building #1 will cost approximately $750,000,000, which to our understanding of what Mr. Short said, includes the data server equipment in the building. 

After other questions from both the BOC and audience, Comm. Pennamon said that so far (over approximately 20 years) Jasper County has paid in $1.2M to JDA.  Since Jasper County has 10% participation, it means the taxpayers of the 4 counties (Jasper, Walton, Morgan, and Newton) have paid in $12M to Stanton Springs.

Steve Jordan then added that Shire would start paying taxes next year, and that their tax abatement is now over.  (Baxter/Shire’s tax abatement started in 2012 at the earliest, and it was for 10 years.) He also said Jasper County would start getting $1,000,000 per year in 2027, but then said something about receiving that amount in 18 years.  Shane Short then added that JDA would be putting more money into Stanton Springs now so they will get more money down the road.  Comm. Pennamon said it would be left up to the JDA board to decide the amount of money the counties get.  

That “down the road” keeps being extended.  First, in 2012 the counties were told that they would never have to put in any more money to JDA, yet Jasper County has still been putting in around $70,000 per year ($700,000 for all 4 counties together).  Second, we were told we would start getting money in 2018, which was extended to 2022 (JDA’s presentation to Morgan County BOC last December).  Now Jasper County is told they will get $1M per year starting in 2027, or maybe 18 years from now.  (Of course, this is if JDA doesn’t put in more parkways or find other ways to spend the money.)

The next big question, how much of the JDA income will this BOC give to the Jasper County Schools? The School Board has not contributed one dime to JDA over all these years. 

However, we think the REAL question is, when do you think Jasper County will get any money from JDA?  The Jasper County BOC has talked about it for the last 5 years, and what they will do with “all that money.” We are afraid that one of the things the BOC will NOT do with the money is reduce our property taxes, because they have plans to spend, spend, spend it.

 

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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THE PENINSULA AT JACKSON LAKE REQUESTS VARIANCES THAT NEUTER THE CURRENT SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE

FEBRUARY 7, 2018

SHANE SEALY TRIES TO BY-PASS THE P&Z BOARD ONCE AGAIN—ISN’T THIS THE THIRD TIME?

 A recent Advertisement for Variance Requests for Peninsula at Lake Jackson, LLC caught the attention of several people.  One because of the request for so many changes (variances) to the existing codes, and two because it was for a public hearing in front of the BOC instead of the P&Z Board. 

The Peninsula at Jackson Lake recently had their requests to not to follow the development ordinances approved by the P&Z and BOC. The current county ordinance requires such things as more greenspace and other considerations, which were waived.  The sale of the land was dependent on approval.

 This property sold for $3,580,000.  Before the sale, this land was valued by the Board of Assessors at $913,700; however, after the sale it is now valued by the BOA at only $883,100.  How does that work?

 The Peninsula wants variances such as 30’ road frontage instead of 60’,  wants to have flag lots, does not want to put in culverts, and only wants to have drain pipes for a 25 year storm event instead of a 100 year event.  Didn’t the buyers say this was going to be like a “state park” when you drove through?  How many lots were being planned when they presented the request vs. what is being planned with 30’ road frontage?  Has the number of lots increased?

 After the BOC realized that the P&Z Board should hear the variance requests first, they did not have the February 5th hearing and it was taken off the agenda.  We have learned that the applicants have now withdrawn their request for a variance hearing.

 The P&Z Board does a good job of asking questions and digging into the consequences of any request.  It is good for near-by property owners that any variance and zoning hearings  go through the P&Z board first because they listen to all sides, all ideas, and all questions presented.

 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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This was the advertisement in the local paper:


Advertisement for Variance Requests for Peninsula at Lake Jackson, LLC
Tax Map 025C Parcel 082

 

The Jasper County Board of Commissioners will hear a public hearing on the following item at their meeting on February 5, 2018 beginning at 6:00 pm in the Commissioners Meeting Room on the basement floor of courthouse (Suite 16).   Contact Jasper County Planning and Zoning with any questions. 706-468-4905

 

A public hearing will be held for variance requests as applied for on 2018 V – 001 by Peninsula at Lake Jackson, LLC. The requests are as follows:

  1. Current Ordinance: Maximum length to Cul-de-sac 1000 feet.  Requested: Need variance to allow up to 2400 feet to cul-de-sac or a “Y” and “T” turn-a-rounds.  “Y” and “T” are acceptable turn-a-rounds per the approved Fire Access code.
  2. Current Ordinance: Lot drive culverts must be installed with road.  Requested: Need variance to be installed by lot owner later.
  3. Current Ordinance: Lots on Cul-de-sac required frontage is 60 feet.  Requested: Need frontage to be minimum 30 feet.
  4. Current Ordinance: Double frontage lots are prohibited unless required by Planning Commission.  Requested:Need double frontage to be allowed in this private development.
  5. Current Ordinance: Flag lot minimum width is 60 feet wide and 500 maximum long. Requested: Need flag width to be minimum 30 feet wide.
  6. Current Ordinance: Cross drain pipe have to be designed for 100 year storm event.  Requested: Need private road cross pipes to be designed for 25 year storm event.
  7. Not in ordinance: Would like for the county to agree for 20 miles per hour speed limit for the private roads in the subdivision.

 

Posted in County, Planning & Zoning, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is the City Threatening the County?

 January 28, 2018

I read last week’s column by Mayor Pro Tem, Stone Workman, and his article seemed to include a threat to the County BOC and the taxpayers (property owners) in the county.  Mr. Workman gives three (3) options for City Code Enforcement, stating the first two (2) are not going to work and the 3rd being to just dump the problem on the County like the City did a few years ago with its police force.

The City put themselves in this predicament of not being able to enforce their codes by doing away with their City court.  Why was there legislation enacted to do that?  Obviously, that move was not well thought out and the consequences were not considered.

The BOC has increased the Sheriff’s budget (not including the jail) by 50% since Sheriff Pope took over City policing duties.  (FY14 budget for Sheriff was $1,449,100.  FY18 budget for Sheriff is $2,169,241)  This is not fair to the county taxpayers who get no benefit from the cost of extra patrols in the City, but yet pay for it.  It would be no different with the County taking over City Code Enforcement.

The County has spotty and very poor code enforcement now. I can tell you of problems that have existed for years and nothing has been done.  Many others in this county have complained, to no avail, of trash, illegal dumping, houses without electric or water being rented, illegal businesses, and on and on.  Surely, nothing would be done in the county if new duties in the City were included.

As Commissioner Pennamon said at a recent meeting, if the City wants the County to take over all these functions, then maybe they need to turn in their City charter. But wait, wouldn’t that mean that the County would be liable for all the City debt, including the new $5.5M USDA loan?  Or is that what all of this is about?  Slowly but surely, without the approval of the citizens, the County will take over the City and lay the debt burden on the backs of the county property owners?

Mary Patrick

TWG

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

JDA AGREES TO FLOAT $42 BILLION IN “PHANTOM BONDS” FOR FACEBOOK DEAL

January 25, 2018

Based on documents received through open records, here are a few items gleaned from scanning the 166 page Bond Resolution.  Facebook is referred to as Morning Hornet LLC in the documents.The bonds will be issued as “phantom bonds,” a process in which the authority issues the bonds, which will then be purchased by the company, Morning Hornet.  The bonds will mature 12/31/2043.  No performance audit or review will be required to be conducted. 

 The inducement also gives Facebook (Morning Hornet) 20 years of no property taxes.

The JDA will receive a fee of $1.5 million at closing, which is expected to take place by the end of April.  JDA will not have to share this money with the four counties, but instead will use it for their own budgeted items.  (The counties have yet to receive any funds from Stanton Springs to help their own budget needs.)

Phase 1 of the data center project is expected to be completed at a cost of $750 million by Dec. 31, 2023.  The agreement requires that at least 50 more persons be employed within two years of the Phase 1 completion.  We could find nothing that stated a minimum employment at start up; however, Shane Short of Walton Co EDA has been quoted by various news sources as saying there will be 100 employees to start with. 

  If the deal goes through, Facebook would supposedly be investing close to $42 billion in the area over 20 years. This deal comes just about a month after Facebook announced that it plans to build data centers in Los Lunas, N.M., and Prineville, Ore.   

No one benefits like Facebook–

The village of Los Lunas agreed to give up all property taxes for 30 years in exchange for annual payments from Facebook that start at $50,000 and top out at less than $500,000. The complex economic development agreement also involves tax breaks on billions of dollars in computer equipment over time.

According to the city of Prineville, Facebook recently signed an agreement for property tax exemptions for the new buildings. The company has benefitted from similar agreements in the past in Prineville, which have totaled savings of more than $70 million.

No wonder Facebook is worth Billions!  When you pay no taxes to poor, local counties for decades, it goes right to your bottom line and the owner becomes a Billionaire.

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, Economic Development, Open Government, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments