Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Delay In SPLOST 2015 Seems Likely Following Oconee County Commission Meeting

Courthouse Proposal Revised

The date for the referendum on the Oconee County 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax now seems more likely to be in November than May, as originally planned.

Three of the four voting members of the Board of Commissioners tonight said they were not ready to decide on what projects should be listed on the ballot, making it unlikely there will be a majority next week to vote to go forward with the referendum on May 20.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oconee County Commissioners To Discuss SPLOST Funding Priorities Tomorrow Night

Tennis Vs. Roads, Sewers, Water

Oconee County Commissioners tomorrow night are to begin the public whittling down of the $100 million in requests for the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

If they stay on schedule–and Commissioner Margaret Hale has asked that they not–they will vote at their meeting on March 4 to put the referendum for the 1 percent sales tax on the May 20 ballot.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oconee County Farmers Market To Launch 11th Season On Saturday, April 5, At Courthouse

Tuesday Launch May 13

Oconee Farmers Market will launch its 11th season with the opening of the Saturday market on April 5 and the Tuesday evening market on May 13.

The Saturday market will once again be in front of the courthouse in downtown Watkinsville.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Oconee County Representatives Joined House Majority In Vote For Omnibus Gun Bill

Safe Carry Protection Act

Oconee County’s two members of the Georgia House of Representatives voted with the Republican majority on Tuesday to pass an omnibus gun bill that would allow, among other things, licensed holders of guns to enter county government buildings that do not have security restrictions in place.

The bill is wide ranging, dealing with the rights of persons to carry guns in a variety of settings.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Clear Cutting To Start Monday For Hard Labor Creek Reservoir in Walton County

Log Trucks On Roadways

Residents of southeastern Walton County as well as others traveling through the area will soon get a clearer sense of the scope of the 1,400 acre Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir project.

Construction crews on Monday will begin clear cutting the area that will be filled by the lake, Project Manager Jimmy Parker told the Reservoir Management Board at its regular meeting yesterday afternoon at the Walton County Government Building in Monroe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oconee County Commissioner Hale Asks For Delay In SPLOST Vote

No Evidence Of Support

Oconee County Commissioner Margaret Hale tonight asked her fellow Commissioners to delay the vote on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum from May to November, but none of them expressed any support for her request.

“I think the Board is rushing the projects to get them through,” Hale said during the section at the front of tonight’s agenda for comments from Commissioners. “I think we need to take more time and vet out these projects more.”

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rezone For Garden Center On Mars Hill Road Before Oconee County Planning Commission

At Oconee Preschool Academy

A request by Flo Wilkes to rezone property she owns on Mars Hill Road so she can build a nursery and garden center will be before the Oconee County Planning Commission tomorrow night for a first public hearing.

Wilkes, in partnership with Chad Forehand, is asking to change the zoning of the nearly eight acre tract from agriculture and residential to business so they can build the garden center and nursery.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Oconee County Residential And Commercial Building Permits In 2013 Above Pre-Crash Levels

Thanks To Athens Ridge

The Oconee County Code Enforcement Office issued 502 single family and town home permits in 2013, exceeding the number issued for residential construction in 2006--before the housing collapse of a year later.

The county also issued 105 commercial permits in 2013, again exceeding the number in 2006.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oconee County Made Its Final Payment To Williams And Associates for Caterpillar Work, Development Authority Told

Less That Budgeted

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority has made its last payment to Williams and Associates, an engineering and land planning company, under that firm’s contracts for the Caterpillar project, county Finance Director Wes Geddings reported on Monday afternoon.

Geddings told those attending the regular meeting of the county IDA that actual payments to Williams and Associates by the Oconee County and Athens-Clarke County industrial development authorities was $146,808 less than the $870,079 budgeted to cover the firm’s services.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Speakers Support Farmland Protection, Recreation Projects, Libraries And Historic Preservation In Oconee County Forum On Tax Referendum

Tennis Courts Popular

Twenty-two speakers last night made their pitches to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, arguing that the projects they favored should be funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax scheduled to be on the May 20 ballot.

Many of those who spoke advocated for more than one project, with 11 speaking up for farmland protection, seven for funding for recreation projects, and five each for monies for the libraries and for historic preservation.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Swim And Race Event Request Removed From Oconee County Board Of Commissioners’ Agenda

Venue To Change

Summer Hill Recreation Club has withdrawn its request for Oconee County to grant it a permit to hold a Splash and Dash swim and race event on May 3 at its facility at the corner of Chestnut Hill Road and Daniells Bridge Road.

County Clerk Jane Greathouse late Friday afternoon removed the item from the agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting, which is to start at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Watkinsville.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Industrial Development Authorities Of Oconee And Clarke Counties Signed No-Bid Contracts For Nearly $900,000 For Caterpillar Project

Documents Hard To Obtain

The industrial development authorities of Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties in early 2012 granted two no-bid contracts totaling $870,079 to Williams and Associates land planners of Oconee County for engineering services for the Caterpillar project.

Georgia law requires bidding for construction projects, but not for the professional services provided by Williams and Associates, according to Oconee County Attorney Daniel Haygood.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Requests For $25 Million And $55,000 Bracket SPLOST 2015 Project List Now Totaling $100 Million Plus

Judge And Coroner

Chief Superior Court Judge David Sweat wants a $25 million judicial facility added to the list of projects to be funded by Oconee County’s 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Oconee County Coroner Ed Carson wants $55,000 for a transport van.

These two requests bracket $100.2 million in requests that will be summarized in a public hearing with the Oconee County Board of Commissioners that will start at 6 p.m. on Monday at the Civic Center on Hog Mountain Road.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Caterpillar Created 364 Full-Time Jobs At Its New Plant, Report Filed By Oconee County Official States

Agreement Required Only 100

During 2013, Caterpillar created 364 of the 1,400 full-time jobs it has said it eventually will have at its newly-opened manufacturing plant on the Oconee County and Clarke County border just east of Bogart.

That figure comes from a report Rick Waller, chairman of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority, filed on Jan. 30 with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs OneGeorgia Authority.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Oconee County Judge Sweat Congratulated Architect For Watkinsville Plan

Crowd Enthusiastic

Architect Robert Smith got a warm reception Sunday afternoon from the 35 people who turned out for his second presentation of his plan for a revitalized downtown Watkinsville centered around the existing courthouse and a new, nearby government building.

The crowd twice applauded enthusiastically and thanked Smith for coming forward with his vision for the county seat.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Oconee County Land Use Committee Told Mars Hill Road Widening Will Take 3 Years To Complete

Will Put More Water Into Barber Creek

The first phase of the Mars Hill Road widening project will take three years to complete, significantly disrupt traffic in the process, cost the county up to $4 million on top of state costs, and increase the volume of water in Barber Creek and its tributaries.

This is what Emil Beshara, director of the Oconee County Public Works Department, told the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning last month.