Monday, August 31, 2015

Volunteer Group To Sample Water From Barber Creek Near Sewage Spill In Oconee County

Sign At Creek: Keep Out

Volunteers from the Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN) plan to do sampling from Barber Creek tomorrow morning upstream and downstream from the sewage spill on Aug. 21.

Vicki Soutar, a retired Oconee County science teacher and UOWN volunteer, will lead the group. The goal is to determine if the spill had lasting impact on the water quality of the creek.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Public Hearings Set On Tax Increases For Oconee County Government and Schools

Required By Law

Oconee County citizens will have a series of opportunities this week to express their views on what amounts to tax increases both for county government and for the county’s schools.

While the Board of Commissioners has held the tax rate constant from last year, the increase in property value translates to tax increases of 3.45 percent for the unincorporated parts of the county and 2.95 percent for the incorporated parts of the county.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oconee County Commissioners Postpone Decision On Old Mars Hill Road Pending Input From Public

Luke Most Outspoken

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners last night turned back Chairman Melvin Davis’ attempt to get funding for the reconnection of Old Mars Hill Road to Mars Hill Road itself, but it agreed to revisit the question in a month.

The Board also learned that the actual cost of the project will be $140,000 or more, not the $115,000 originally listed.

Oconee County Reporting A Sewer Spill Into Barber Creek Due To Mars Hill Widening Project

Upstream From Subdivisions

The Oconee County Utility Department is reporting a spill of 5,500 gallons of sewage into a tributary of Barber Creek as a result of the widening of Mars Hill Road.

The spill occurred at 11 a.m. on Friday when the contractor for the Mars Hill Road construction project hit the force main at the corner of Mars Hill and Daniells Bridge roads, causing a break in the line, according to the county.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Oconee County Commission Chairman Asking County To Spend $115,000 For Mars Hill Road Modification

On Tuesday Agenda

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis is asking his fellow Board members on Tuesday night to spend up to $115,000 to create a connection between Old Mars Hill Road and the new Mars Hill Road now under reconstruction.

The change will benefit a landowner who asked Davis to alter the road design, according to email messages among county officials.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oconee County Animal Shelter Holding Petfest On Saturday To Raise Money For Adoption Program

Free To Public

The Oconee County Animal Shelter is holding a petfest on Saturday at Heritage Park in the south of the county to raise money to support the Shelter’s adoption program.

The event will include pony rides and face painting for children, food and crafts for the adults, and low cost rabies vaccines and microchipping for the pets.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Audience At Oconee County Meeting On Mars Hill Road Land Use Voiced No Support For Project

Given Little Time To Complain

About 40 people showed up last Thursday night at a meeting in Veterans Park to learn about county plans for development of Oconee County’s Mars Hill Road corridor, and none gave evidence of being there because of happiness with how things are going as the two-lane road is widened to four lanes.

Bill Ross, hired by the county as a consultant, told the residents as the meeting got underway that he wanted to hear from them, but he also said the meeting would last only an hour.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Oconee County Holding Meeting On Future Land Use Along Widened Mars Hill Road

Second Of Three

Oconee County is scheduled to hold a meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow night to allow the public to react to preliminary findings regarding a possible overlay district for the Mars Hill Road corridor.

The meeting, to be held at the Community Center in Veterans Park on Hog Mountain Road, is a sequel to a session held on July 23, where about 20 attendees got an introduction to the process for creation of a district.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Leader Relaunching As Free Paper Delivered To Driveways In Oconee County

Owned By Athens Paper

The Oconee Leader, which ceased publication on May 15, is relaunching, with the first edition to be delivered to driveways and distribution stands around the county on Thursday.

The paper will be owned by the Athens Banner-Herald, according to an Aug. 2 post on Facebook by former Leader owner Rob Peecher.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oconee County Paid Hauler To Dispose Of Solid Waste From Sewer Plant After The Plant Stopped Producing Solid Waste

Financial Records Show Discrepancy

Even though the Oconee County Calls Creek wastewater plant stopped producing solids at least a year ago, the county continued to pay a company for hauling those solids to a landfill through at least the end of April of this year, according to financial records of the county’s Utility Department.

Solids, also referred to as sludge, are removed from the raw sewage in a wastewater plant as part of the treatment process and then disposed of, generally at a landfill.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Oconee County Administrative Officer Asked About Build Up Of Solids At Calls Creek Plant Before Citizen Complaint Brought Issue To Fore

Told Plant Functioning Correctly

Oconee County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko raised concerns about the build up of solids at the county’s Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant at least five days before problems at the plant were exposed by a citizen and nearly four weeks before consultant Bob Sheldon said solids at the plant had reached a critical stage.

Utility Department Director Chris Thomas reassured Benko that “I think everything is ok as far as sludge goes” at the plant.