Monday, February 24, 2020

Watkinsville Mayor And Council Find Little Agreement Across Wide Range Of Agenda Items

***Mayor Lacks Vote But Controls Flow Of Meeting***

Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith suggested delaying a decision on the development plan for the Wisteria Ridge apartment complex on 75 North Main Street at the Watkinsville Mayor and Council meeting last week.

The Mayor votes only in the case of a tie, and Council approved the plan in a 3 to 1 vote.

Mayor Smith strongly opposed the site development plan submitted by Oconee State Bank for its new headquarters at 41 North Main Street.

Council approved the plan 3 to 0, with Council Member Brian Brodrick recusing himself from the discussion and vote. (Council Member Christine Tucker was absent from the meeting.)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Bagley Not Seeking Reelection To Oconee County Board Of Eduation, Creating Open Seat

***Odom And Burgess To Qualify***

Oconee County Board of Education Chair Tom Odom and Board Member Tim Burgess announced on Friday that they plan to seek reelection and qualify for the May 19 Republican Party primary.

Board of Education Member Wayne Bagley announced that he will not seek reelection, creating an open seat on the five-person Board. The terms of School Board Member Kim Argo and School Board Member Amy Parrish do not expire until 2022.

Oconee County’s Farmland Preservation Committee Wants To Increase SPLOST Funding To Protect Rural Land From Development

***Preparing For November Ballot Initiative***

Oconee County’s Farmland Preservation Committee voted earlier this month to ask the Board of Commissioners to increase funding for protection of farmland in the county in the 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum planned for the November Ballot.

In both the 2009 and current 2015 SPLOST, $500,000 is set aside for the purchase of conservation easements on farmland in the county that protect the land from future development.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Hard Labor Creek Management Board Agrees To Install Flow Monitoring Station On Apalachee River In Response To Citizen Input

***Georgia EPD Set Requirement***

The Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board last week voted to approve the installation and maintenance of a flow monitoring station on the Apalachee River at Snows Mill Road, responding to a requirement of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

The new monitoring station will be a companion to the already existing station of the U.S. Geological Survey at Price Mill Road and will provided data on the impact of the water intake facility planned for the Apalachee River at High Shoals just upstream from the SR 186 bridge.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority In Discussion Again With Potential Gateway Business Park Tenant

***Also Told About New Bond Sale***

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority is in discussion with a potential purchaser or leaser of at least part of the eastern parcel of its Gateway Technology and Business Park on SR 316 on the southern edge of Bogart.

Following a 30 minute executive session last week, the Authority came back into open session to vote to transfer to the county an easement that would allow the county to extend sewer services to the parcel.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Oconee County School Board Sought Assurances On Report On Sales Tax Revenue Decline

***Concerns About Debt Service***

Oconee County Board of Education members sought assurances last week from Oconee County Schools Chief Financial Officer Saranna Charping once she completed her monthly financial update.

Charping had just told the Board that collections from the system’s one percent Education Local Option Sales were down slightly in calendar year 2019 compared with the year earlier.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Speakers At Oconee County Forum On Human Trafficking Told Audience Members They Have Power

***Asked To Learn, See, And Do***

Speakers told those gathered last week at the Human Trafficking Awareness Forum sponsored by the North Oconee Rotary Club that they have the power to combat the dual problems of labor trafficking and sex trafficking.

Deborah Richardson, executive director of the International Human Trafficking Institute of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, presented the group with a list of indicators so they can identify victims of sex trafficking.