Sunday, March 29, 2015

Uncertainty About Future Of Motor Fuels Tax Makes Estimate Of Revenue For Upcoming Oconee County Budget More Difficult

General Assembly Action Expected

The uncertainty regarding the future of Georgia’s fuels tax is having impact locally, as Oconee County officials try to estimate revenue available to balance next year’s budget.

The Georgia Senate and the House have passed differing versions of a Transportation Funding Act of 2015.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oconee County’s Quick and Williams Cast Opposing Votes On Plastic Bag Bill

Local Rule An Issue

Oconee County’s two members of the Georgia House of Representatives cast opposing votes again yesterday, this time on plastic bags.

Rep. Regina Quick voted with the House majority in turning down Senate Bill 139, which would have prohibited local communities from adopting ordinances to restrict use of plastic bags, boxes, foam cups and other related “one-time use” products.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Citizens A Central Part Of Athens-Clarke County SPLOST Programs, Oconee County Audience Told

Library Was Venue

Athens-Clarke County has opted to have extensive citizen involvement in its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program to take advantage of the resources of the community and make sure community values are incorporated in the projects funded.

That was the message both Don Martin, manager of the unified government’s SPLOST program, and former Athens-Clarke County Mayor Gwen O’Looney delivered last night at a meeting at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Georgia Department Of Transportation Told Oconee County Representative To Pay $100,000 In Advance For Documents

Open Records Request

The Georgia Department of Transportation has told Rep. Regina Quick that it will respond to her open records request for documents about the operation of the department, but only if she pays more than $100,000 in advance.

Matthew Cline, general counsel to GDOT, said Quick’s 51-item request, submitted on March 17, would take up to six months to complete, and the Department would not start work until she paid the search and copying costs, as allowed by the state's open records law.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GDOT Board Member Boswell Acknowledges Benefit To His Clients Of Daniells Bridge Road Flyover In Oconee County

Said Also Benefits 95 Percent Of County

Jamie Boswell, commercial real estate broker and area representative to the Georgia Transportation Board, readily admits that his clients will benefit from the proposed Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover of SR Loop 10.

“I would think it is accurate to say that it would make those properties more attractive for development,” he said. “I would think anybody would agree with that.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Seafood Restaurant Planned For Out Parcel of Epps Bridge Centre, Oconee County Documents Show

Eight Out Parcels Available

Bone Island Grillhouse Restaurants has submitted a preliminary site development plan to the Oconee County Planning Department for construction of a restaurant at the Epps Bridge Parkway entrance to the Epps Bridge Centre.

The new restaurant will occupy one of the 12 out parcels of the shopping center, bringing to four the number of out parcels with a tenant.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Oconee County Water And Sewer Rates To Increase By 3 Percent If Budget Request Is Approved

Debt Service Plays Role

Oconee County water and sewer customers will pay an additional 3 percent in rates starting on July 1 if the Board of Commissioners accepts the budget proposed by Public Utilities Director Chris Thomas.

Thomas told the commissioners at a budget hearing on Wednesday evening that he would like to keep the rate the same for those who use the minimum amount of water, but rates for everyone else would go up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Oconee County Planning Commission Delays Action On Presbyterian Homes Rezone Request

Review In April

The Oconee County Planning Commission tabled two controversial rezone requests last night, one without deliberation and the other following discussion lasting more than two and a half hours.

As expected, the Commission accepted the request of the developer of a proposed complex of office warehouses on Jimmy Daniell Road that the item be removed from the agenda.

Watkinsville Voters Approve Liquor-By-The-Drink Referendum In Special Election Today

Light Turnout

Watkinsville voters have overwhelmingly approved a referendum allowing for the sale of alcoholic drinks in addition to beer and wine in city restaurants.

By 4 to 1 ratios, voters in both the City Hall and Annex precincts authorized the Watkinsville Mayor and Council to pass an ordinance establishing liquor-by-the-drink licenses, bringing the city into line with the unincorporated parts of the county.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jimmy Daniell Road Rezone Likely To Be Removed From Oconee County Planning Commission Agenda For Tomorrow Night

PHG Main Remaining Item

The developer of a proposed complex of office warehouses on Jimmy Daniell Road on Friday requested that the project be withdrawn from the agenda of the Oconee County Planning Commission tomorrow night, simplifying what was to be a long and complex meeting.

Remaining on the agenda is a request by Presbyterian Homes of Georgia for a continuing care retirement center on 70 acres with frontage on U.S. 441 and Welbrook Road.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Oconee County’s Two State Representatives Cast Conflicting Votes on House Transportation Bill That Increases Taxes on Motor Fuel

Alters Local Taxes Too

Oconee County’s two representatives, both Republicans, cast conflicting votes on House Bill 170, which overhauls the state’s motor fuel tax, with Rep. Regina Quick joining the 43 Republicans in opposition and Rep. Chuck Williams voting as part of the 72 Republicans in favor.

The bill, approved on March 5, would have major impact on both local and state taxes on motor fuel if approved by the Senate in its present form.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Athens-Clarke Administrator To Talk About SPLOST Oversight On March 26 At Oconee County Library

Open To Public

While Oconee County has no history of citizen direct oversight of its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program, neighboring Athens-Clarke County has an active citizen committee monitoring how the unified government of the city and county spends its SPLOST revenues.

Such citizen oversight committees also exist or have existed elsewhere in the state, including in Cobb and DeKalb counties, in Savannah and in Atlanta.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Farmers Market Opens On April 4 In Front Of Oconee County Courthouse In Watkinsville

12th Season

Oconee Farmers Market will launch its 12th season on April 4.

Vendors will assemble at 8 a.m. in front of the Courthouse in Watkinsville, selling early season produce, eggs, meats, honey, jams, and farm-related handicrafts, such as woolen products.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Oconee County To Hold Three Sessions Closed To Public To Deal With Future Of Courthouse

Davis Announced

The next phase of discussion of the future of the Courthouse in Watkinsville and of the county’s need for additional space will take place behind closed doors.

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis announced at the beginning of the BOC meeting last night the schedule for three executive sessions, on March 9, March 19 and March 26.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Oconee County Planner Says Daniells Bridge Road Projects Are For Traffic Management, But Discussion Focused On Development

Davis Weighs In

Oconee County long-range planner Wayne Provost went out of his way last week to argue that the proposed widening of Daniells Bridge Road and construction of an extension of that road with a flyover of SR Loop 10 is to manage traffic, not to promote development.

Much of the discussion that followed, however, focused on development of a section of the county that currently is landlocked and that would be made more accessible if the flyover were built.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Board Turns Down Request From Contractor For Time Extension For Dam Completion

Discusses Additional Costs

The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board has turned down a request by its general contractor for a time extension for completion of the dam in southeastern Walton County.

Construction of the reservoir originally was to be completed by Jan. 20 of this year, and the Board already had given Layne Heavy Civil Inc. an extension of 71 days. The current official expected completion date is April 1.