Friday, November 29, 2019

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Economic Development Strategy For Implementation By Chamber Of Commerce

***Also Take Stance On Local Control***

Oconee County commissioners on Tuesday night gave informal approval to an economic development strategy outlined to them by Courtney Bernardi, president of the Oconee Chamber of Commerce, who now heads up economic development efforts for the county.

The strategy, according to Bernardi’s report to the Commission, includes supporting, nurturing, and investing in existing businesses, targeting professional and technology jobs, and leveraging the proximity to and relationships with the University of Georgia.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Oconee County Transportation Task Force Asked For Comment On Long Range Transportation Plan

***Offers Little Feedback***

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell and Public Works Director Jody Woodall got little input last week from the Task Force the Board of Commissioners appointed to help the county prioritize projects identified in the recently completed transportation study.

Woodall went through the list of 18 projects listed as Corridor Capacity Improvements in the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan and asked Task Force members for their comments on the proposals.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Oconee County Board Of Education Reassured About ELOST Collections And Bond Payments

***Revenues Suggest Surplus Likely***

Oconee County Schools and the Board of Education have shifted their attention from spending money from the current Education Local Option Sales Tax to making sure that the revenue the tax produces in its remaining months will be sufficient to pay back the bonds sold against that revenue.

At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Monday, Saranna Charping, chief financial officer for Oconee County Schools, told the Board that spending on the budgeted projects for the current Education Local Option Sales Tax, or ELOST V, is nearly complete.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Gets Update On County's New Economic Development Plans

***Lesser Role For Authority***

Oconee County plans to target information technology, healthcare and professional services as sectors for its future economic development.

By contracting with the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce for economic development, the county will save about $40,000 from last year when it tried to promote economic development on its own.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends Approval Of Life Church Of Athens Plans To Move To Oconee County

***Concerned Citizens Packed Public Hearing***

The Oconee County Planning Commission Monday night voted 9 to 1 to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that it grant a special use permit to allow Life Church of Athens to build a community-scale church on just under nine acres at the corner of Summit Oaks Drive and Summit Grove Drive north of Watkinsville.

The Planning Commission took the action after a public hearing before an overflow crowd in the Board of Commissioners Chamber at the Courthouse during which neighbors complained about traffic problems and disruption of the neighborhood that the church would create.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Oconee County Expects To Spend $1 Million In Old SPLOST Money On Courthouse Expansion Now Underway

***Money For Historic And Scenic Facilities Not Committed***

Oconee County soon will have spent the remaining monies from the 2004 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax as it completes work on the $2.5 million expansion of the Courthouse, Wes Geddings, county finance director, told the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Geddings, in his financial update for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2020, said a little more than $1 million in unspent funds remains in 2004 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) account at present.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Corps Of Engineers Extends Deadline For Comment On Permit Request For Publix Shopping Center

***Roadway Design Also Clarified***

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended its deadline for public comment on the request by Publix Supermarkets Inc. to dredge and fill a tributary of Barber Creek so it can build a shopping center on the Oconee Connector between SR 316 and Mars Hill Road.

The Corps made its decision to extend the deadline from today (Thursday) until Nov. 21 after Vicki Soutar, chair of Oconeewaters, contacted Project Manager Stacy Marshall and indicated that Marshall had been inaccessible during a move of the Corps’ Office.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Oconee County School Board Receives Four-Year Facility Plan That Includes A New Middle School

***Board Action Scheduled For Monday***

The Oconee County Board of Education on Monday is expected to take another step toward construction of a third middle school for the county.

Jake Grant, director of Facilities for Oconee County Schools, presented to the Board at its work session this past Monday a facilities plan for July 1, 2020, through, June 30, 2024, that includes as its top and most expensive item $6.9 million as partial funding for a new middle school.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Smith Defeats Incumbent Shearon By Two Votes In Watkinsville Mayoral Race

***Massey Wins Reelection To Council***

Former state Representative Bob Smith defeated incumbent Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon by two votes on Tuesday in an election that brought out 39.6 percent of the active registered voters in the city.

Incumbent Council Member Connie Massey defeated Jonathan Kirkpatrick, with Massey receiving 52.8 percent of the vote.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Oconee County To Reapply For Funding Of Expansion Of Senior Center

***Agreement On Tuesday Agenda***

After failing in its first attempt, Oconee County is going to try again to get a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for expansion of the Senior Center, located in Oconee Veterans Park.

Commissioners gave tentative approval at their agenda setting meeting last week to an agreement with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission for assistance in making the grant application and, if the county is successful, in administering the grant.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Oconee County Commissioners Soon To Consider Doubling Capacity Of Calls Creek Wastewater Plant, Chair Told County Republicans

***Expansion Will Not Provide Residential Sewer***

Oconee County commissioners are likely to consider before the end of the year doubling the treatment capacity of the Calls Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility on the northeast of Watkinsville.

Even with that expansion, the county will not be able to offer residential sewer because of over commitment of residential sewer in the past.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Publix Planning Large Shopping Center On Oconee Connector Between SR 316 And Mars Hill Road

***Seeking Corps Of Engineers Permit***

Publix Supermarkets Inc. is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and fill a tributary of Barber Creek so it can build a shopping center on roughly 45 acres at the intersection of Mars Hill Road and the Oconee Connector.

The shopping center, across from the QuikTrip convenience store and gas station, is to include a Publix Super Market and additional retailers, hotels, restaurants and service providers, according to the permit application.