BOC APPROVES SETTLEMENT-PAYMENTS TO KAREN DEGGES

It is always easier to give up, give in, and compromise, rather than stand and fight for what is right.

September 29, 2017

On 1/13/17, former County Manager, Karen Degges, filed a civil rights lawsuit in Federal court against Jasper County alleging her civil rights had been violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Court filings show she demanded a jury trial.  She originally filed the lawsuit in Jasper County Superior Court.  According to the lawsuit, Karen Degges says the BOC terminated “without any reason justifying her termination.”  The county contends that Karen Degges allowed Ms. Braley to resign when the GBI notified her of Ms. Braley’s involvement in the theft of funds.

The lawsuit further states:

The lawsuit goes through a long list of items that Ms. Degges (and her attorneys) allege she did NOT do, some of which are:

Karen Degges wants back pay, damages, and attorney fees because she says the BOC retaliated against her for “reporting Sherry Braley”:

On August 7, 2017 in Executive Session, the BOC agreed to settle the lawsuit rather than take it to trial.  After the Executive Session, the BOC approved a resolution outlining the settlement terms.

READ THE SETTLEMENT RESOLUTION  FOR YOURSELF HERE

Since the insurance company will pay the settlement, Jasper County agreed to settle, saying it would only cost the county $2500-the insurance deductible.

The BOC also agreed to purge Degges’ personnel file among other things:

There was also an issuance of a check to Degges for back wages:

The public is not allowed to know any details or other items agreed to by the BOC.

 

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, Open Government | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

WILL BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR EVER GO AWAY?

Tomorrow night at 5:30PM in the Newton County Courthouse there will be a Work Session on Bear Creek Reservoir.
As the above post states, this project should be DEAD for lack of need.  Newton County has sunk almost $25,000,000 in this project and is now giving land back that they paid millions for.  For some reason, this project still has supporters.

TWG

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Monticello Mayor Brian Standifer says, “We want to be truly transparent.”  If so, what about…..

September 22, 2017

Mr. Mayor, you say you want to be truly transparent to everyone.  Please answer a few questions for us.  We will be happy to give you space on the blog for your answers.

  1. What about the USDA grant/loan for the Megasite purchase? What was the amount the City applied for?  Have you gotten the loan yet?  What will the terms be—interest rate, length of loan, amount of monthly payments?
  2. Why can’t the City start the Municipal Court again?  When you had a Municipal Court, the City brought in a fair amount of money—the fees received were mostly “profit.”
  3. Why can’t the City hire its own employee to do Code Enforcement instead of writing the County a check to do so?  Why not have city supervision over this employee?  The City would then be liable for the benefits, pay increases, health insurance, etc., especially when this job becomes full time.
  4. Why does the City Council want to continue to pass off City services to the County?  Is this a way to try to consolidate the City and County, incrementally, without a vote of the public?

TRANSPARENCY?  BUT COUNCILMAN STONE WORKMAN SAID THIS HAD BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR THE PAST 19 MONTHS

Mayor Brian Standifer pushed the BOC for 25 minutes on Monday night to agree to “joint” code enforcement.  Comm. Pennamon told him that the BOC must set their own priorities and he would not be pushed to commit to anything without a full board discussion. During the discussion, the Mayor said they (the City) wanted to be truly transparent (start at 1:48 on the video)

 

CITIZENS HAVE DIFFERING OPINIONS

Adam McGinnis, local realtor is not only for combining the City and County code enforcement, but all government services.  Comm. Pennamon told Adam McGinnis that maybe the City should just give up its charter if it wants the County to take over.  Watch–

This is a long video because Mr. McGinnis also had to praise the “great work” Shane Sealy was doing at P&Z and Code Enforcement.

 Charles Forsythe lives in the City and tells the BOC it would be great for the county to take over code enforcement in the City because he would then pay less tax!  He also questions the “low ball numbers” provided by Shane Sealy for the actual cost to the county.

Mary Patrick lives in the County and tells the BOC it would be totally unfair to the residents of the County to pay for something they get NO BENEFIT from.  She also emphasized that until the county can clean up Rollingwood Cove, Alcovy Shores, and Turtle Cove, they should not be considering doing the city’s work.

What is YOUR opinion?  The BOC will meet again October 2 at 6:00PM to discuss joint code enforcement.  Please let the BOC know your views before then.

 

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 , , , , , , | 2 Comments

HELP ME! PLEASE! I’M STARVING AND NO ONE WILL HELP!

September 21, 2017

Dear Watchdogs,

Even though my owner’s neighbor has called animal control, the county commissioner for my area, and the county manager, everyone either ignores the pleas for help or passes the buck.  My neighbor has been calling and emailing since August 9th.

Animal control says they are out of cat traps and has done nothing to help me.  The county commissioner ignores my friend’s calls.  I am being starved to death along with 10 other cats.  Can you get me help up here on County Line Road?  I won’t last much longer.

Signed,

Starving Gray Cat

TWG received a plea for help from a county citizen after they had gone through all the government channels.  We are posting this to bring awareness to the situation.

Folks, Jasper County BOC seems to have plenty of money for any little thing that comes up and most big things, but can’t buy cat traps or much of anything else for Animal Control.  They are always in need of food, hoses, blankets, etc.  Animals are going to continue to be abused, starved, and mistreated in our county as long as the BOC does not adequately fund what is needed to do the job at Animal Control. 

Let your commissioner know your thoughts about this situation.

TWG

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Posted in Animal Control | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

COUNTY CAN NOT PROVIDE SATISFACTORY CODE ENFORCEMENT BUT MEETING TO CONSIDER DOING CITY ENFORCEMENT ANYWAY

September 19, 2017

Last night’s BOC meeting proved one thing—the City is pushing the County to do code enforcement for them even though the City has the money to provide it themselves.

Only 3 BOC members were present last night, so no decision was made; however, there was plenty of discussion, a request for a joint meeting of the City and County, and Councilman Stone Workman finally saying, “We will just do it our own damn selves.”  (County residents should hope they do so!)

Mayor Brian Standifer addressed the BOC, saying, “joint code enforcement is a good thing for them to do together.”  He also said the city has budgeted money and just needs to know how much the county wants so the city can write them a check.

Mr. Mayor, why is it if you have the money and have it budgeted that the city doesn’t do its own code enforcement?  Additionally, how is it good for county taxpayers to increase their tax burden to provide city residents with services?

Comm. Pennamon repeatedly said there were lots of details that had to be worked out before they could do anything.  Does this mean the county is willing to take over code enforcement in the city despite the fact that the county either does no code enforcement or has a tremendous backlog in the county?

The Mayor seemed to think that an IGA (intergovernmental agreement) could make an “end run” around some of the legalities, but the county attorney had a different opinion.

Comm. Pennamon also brought up the fact that it has been 10-15 years since the City had code enforcement.  He questioned just how large the backlog would be.  Mayor Standifer assured him they had lots of activity in the last 2 years.  The real problem is that the City did away with its municipal court when it did away with their Police Department (and put the tax burden of the Sheriff providing the policing of the City on the county and county taxpayers).  Now the City doesn’t have a court to take their cases to, and the City wants the Magistrate to handle the cases.

It appeared from the conversation that either there needs to be a municipal court again or the city needs to pay for Magistrate services.  Why is the only solution the City presents is  having the county buy a truck, hire another employee, pay health insurance, retirement, workers compensation, etc., etc.?  The City has employees, and they could hire another one to do code enforcement; the city also has vehicles and could use one of their own for code enforcement.

This issue will be on the agenda again on October 2, 2017 at 6:00PM.  Before that date, the City Council and BOC may have a joint meeting to discuss it.  Chairman Pennamon and Mayor Standifer had a conversation about the upcoming meeting:

County taxpayers already pay taxes to cover $500,000 a year or more so the Sheriff can provide 24/7 patrols to the 2 square mile area of the City of Monticello.  No area in the county gets that kind of coverage for their tax dollarsBy providing code enforcement for the City, county taxpayers will again be paying for the city residents to get better service and more service than county residents.  

Look at the lake area of the county—Turtle Cove, Alcovy Shores, and Rollingwood Cove—the code enforcement has been non-existent for 15-20 years—and pleas for something to be done fall on deaf ears.  Shouldn’t the BOC take care of county FIRST?

 

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, Sheriff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BOC TO CONSIDER PROVIDING CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT AND BUYING 2 VANS AT ALMOST $50,000 APIECE

September 17, 2017

Monday night, September 18, at 6:00PM the BOC will meet to discuss a variety of items.  Tops on the list is providing Code Enforcement to the City of Monticello.  The current P&Z Director, Shane Sealy, who is over code enforcement, has come up with a proposal and a cost to the county for providing this service for the City. 

 

 

Here is Shane Sealy’s proposal:

First, it is really hard to believe that only 20 miles per week will be driven to do code enforcement in the City.  Second, why would the County consider buying another vehicle and maintaining it to do this ‘service’?  Third, why doesn’t the City just hire someone to do the job in the first place??

Two other items on the agenda have to do with buying new 2017 vans at a cost of almost $50,000 each.

4-H wants a new 2017 E350 van that will carry 14 passengers and 1 driver at a cost of right under $45,400.  Since 4-H involves the kids in the Jasper County Schools and takes place through the schools, why is the School System not paying for this van and maintaining it?

Senior Center wants a new 2017 E450 van with a wheelchair lift that will carry 14 passengers and 1 driver at a cost slightly over $50,000.  The Senior Center is also requesting a storage building, a greenhouse, and a walking trail.

We should also hear the County Manager giving an update on the landfill fire at the meeting. 

It always benefits the citizens to attend these meetings, but if you can not, call the commissioners and let them know your thoughts on the agenda items.

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 City, Code Enforcement, County, Landfill | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

STILL BURNING–LANDFILL FIRE BEING ‘MAINTAINED’

September 14, 2017

Today the landfill was still burning, with smoke spewing across the area.

Even though thousands of gallons of water were used on the fire, and the volunteer fire fighters and other personnel made a gallant effort to quench it, the fire has not been put out.  At present, it appears that keeping the fire from spreading is the main goal and is all that can be done.

If you have trash and/or junk to take to the landfill, call 706-468-4900 and find out if the landfill is open.

Note: Picture is of the smoke coming from the Jasper County landfill on 9/14/17.

TWG

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Posted in County, Landfill | Tagged , , | 1 Comment