Sunday, June 24, 2018

Russ Page Says His Oconee County Activism Sprang From His Farming

***Leaving For North Carolina***

Russ Page didn’t grow up on a farm, but he began working on one when he was 11.

It was the love of animals and of farming that brought Page to the University of Georgia in 1981 and to Oconee County.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Items Not On Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Agenda Can Dominate Those On Agenda

***Last Month An Example***

The official agenda for the regular meeting of Oconee County Industrial Authority on Monday is the standard one.

It includes adoption of the agenda and the financial report for the Authority as well as reports from individual members.”

But as Board Chair Rick Waller said at the beginning of the meeting last month, “We run a pretty casual meeting. We’re not going to get too formal with Roberts Rules of Orders or anything.”

Waller then added two items to the agenda, and the Authority subsequently approved unanimously the spending of up to $375,115 on a contract to beautify Mars Hill Road and preliminarily approved up to $115 million in bond funding to Presbyterian Homes for construction of is Oconee Campus.

Mars Hill Road

The beautification of Mars Hill Road will include the planting of 660 treas of different species along the roadway, beginning at Daniells Bridge Road and running through to Butler’s Crossing.

Beall With Presentation

Some of those trees will be planted in the median.

In addition, vines or even a mural will be used to cover the concrete slab at Hodges Mill Road.

Traffic is now running freely along the just completely roadway. Some final sod installation is still ongoing, County Administrator Justin Kirrouac told me last week.

State Route

To get state funding for construction of the roadway, the county had to turn it over to the state, which imposed state and federal standards.

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell told the IDA he expected the state to turn the road back to the county in the fall.

Funding for the beautification project is coming from money the county borrowed through bond sales when it built Parkway Boulevard as part of the expansion of Epps Bridge Centre.

Ken Beall and Associates was awarded the contract for the work Mars Hill beautification.

Presbyterian Homes

Jerry Peterson, representing Presybyterian Homes, told the IDA he was asking for preliminary approval for the Authority to issue up to $115 million in revenue bonds for the Presbyterian Village Athens to be located on U.S. 441 at Hog Mountain Road.

He said the bonds would be repaid through funds potential tenants pay as entrance fees, through a United State Department of Agricultural loan for heath centers, and bonds sold to institutional investors and banks.

Jim Woodward, who serves as a consultant to the county on bond sales, said the package proposed by Presbyterian Homes would have no impact on the county, though the Board of Commissioners would have to hold a public hearing before approving.

Alex Patterson from Presbyterian Homes said construction is scheduled for the fall.

Video

I was not able to attend the meeting of the Industrial Development Authority but Sarah Bell did attend and recorded the video below.

Beall began his presentation at 2:35 in the video.

Peterson began his presentation at 22:57.

OCO: IDA 5 14 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Superior Court Judge Quick Fails In Election Bid While Superior Court Judge Norris Turns Back Challenge

***Oconee Incumbents Get Primary Support***

Lisa Lott, formerly Chief Assistant Public Defender for Clarke and Oconee counties, ousted Regina Quick as Superior Court Judge in voting Tuesday in the Nonpartisan General Judicial Election held in conjunction with the Democratic and Republican State Primary elections.

Eric Norris, holder of another Superior Court Judgeship for Clarke and Oconee counties, held off a challenge from Allison Mauldin, chief assistant district attorney for the Ocmulgee District.

Incumbents On Oconee County Board Of Commissioners, Board Of Education Survive Primary Challenges

***Judicial Races Unsettled***

Oconee County Board of Commissioners member William “Bubber” Wilkes emerged victorious from the Republican Party Primary on Tuesday, with 71.9 percent of the vote to John Lasters' 28.1 percent.

Incumbent Board of Education Member Amy Parrish also won the Republian Party nomiation for her Board seat, getting 71.0 percent of the vote to 29.0 percent for Adam Spence.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Judicial Races Dominate Discussion At Oconee County Democratic Committee Meeting

Turnout Low In Early Voting

The nonpartisan race for two Superior Court judgeships dominated the Oconee County Democratic Committee meeting this past week, with both candidates Allison Mauldin and Eric Norris in attendance.

Mauldin and Norris are both seeking the judgeship held by Norris in the Western Judicial Circuit, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oconee County And Board Of Education Not In Agreement On How To Solve Road Problem At New Dove Creek Elementary School

***Gas Line At Issue***

Construction of the planned entranceway to the new Dove Creek Elementary School off Hog Mountain Road in the far west of Oconee County has hit a major snag.

The county has discovered that a gas pipeline owned by the City of Winder is along and possibly under Hog Mountain Road, making it impossible to build the entranceway as originally planned without relocating the pipeline.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Still Considering Apalachee River Intake In Morgan County

***Notes Morgan Negative Vote***

Despite objections from the Morgan County Board of Commissioners, the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board and the Walton County Water and Sewer Authority are still considering an intake facility on the Apalachee River in Morgan County.

Kevin Little, vice-chair of the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board, made that announcement Friday at the end of a called meeting of the Management Board and the Water Authority.