Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Shoot Up In Oconee County And Elsewhere Around The State

***State Says Testing Part Of Explanation***

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported the largest single increase ever in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its noon Daily Status Report today, attributing the increase in part to new testing.

Oconee County added three new cases, and Clarke County added nine.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Clarke County Reports 3 Additional Deaths From COVID-19 In Last 24 Hours, Barrow Reports 1; Oconee Confirmed Cases Steady At 11

***Testing Stalled***

The Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status report for noon today lists seven new deaths in the state attributable to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, with three of those in Clarke County and 1 in Barrow County.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Georgia now stands at 87, with the total in Clarke County at five and in Barrow at two.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Oconee County Commission Chair Explains Decision On Emergency Order, Decision to Live Stream Tuesday Commission Meeting

***In Zoom Interview***

Citizens will not be allowed to attend the agenda-setting meeting of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, but they will be able to watch via a live stream on YouTube.

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell announced that decision to hold the agenda-setting meeting as usual, but minus an audience, in an interview of just more than 30 minutes length via Zoom on Sunday morning.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Clarke And Barrow Counties Report Deaths From COVID-19; Confirmed Cases In Oconee And Surrounding Counties Stable

***Number Of Cases In State Increased By 80 Since Noon***

Update 7 p.m. 3/29/2020: The number of COVID-19 Confirmed Cases in the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report for both Barrow and Walton counties was reduced by 1 from the noon report. The figures for Oconee, Clarke, and the other surrounding counties remained unchanged. The state added only 32 cases from the noon report, bringing the total to 2,683, and three deaths, bringing the total to 83.

Georgia reported 79 deaths due to COVID-19 in the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report today (Saturday), up from 69 in today’s noon report. The rate of death to confirmed cases now stands at 3.2 percent.

The 7 p.m. Daily Status Report included rudimentary data on the death in Clarke County and the death in Barrow County first included in the noon status report.

Clarke County Reports Second COVID-19 Death, Barrow Reports First; Oconee County Confirmed Cases Stable At 10

***State Reports 365 New Cases***

Clarke County has recorded its second death attributable to COVID-19, and Barrow County has recorded its first death, according to the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for noon today.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clarke County increased by three since noon of yesterday to 35.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Oconee County Added 3 New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Last 24 Hours; Clarke County Added 8; State Of Georgia Added 476

***State Now Has 64 Deaths***

As of noon today, Clarke County had 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Oconee County had 10, and Barrow County had 6. The numbers for other surrounding counties are shown in the chart below.

The state, based on the noon Daily Status Report from the Georgia Department of Health, now has 2,001 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up from 1,525 at noon on Thursday.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Has Altered Already Unusual Political Campaign Scene In Oconee County

***Campaigns Become Virtual***

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Georgia and Oconee County has added another dimension to an already complex election year in the county.

On Feb. 5, District Attorney Ken Mauldin suddenly announced he would retire, resulting in cancellation of the expected May 19 primary contest and calling into question whether an election would be held at all, even though two announced candidates had been campaigning for months for the spot.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Clarke County Reports First Area Death Due To COVID-19; Oconee’s Seven Confirmed Cases Second Highest In 10-County Region

***County Says Shelter-In-Place Order Not Needed***

Update 7 p.m. 3/26/2020: Clarke County now has 29 cases and Oconee County has 7. The numbers for the other counties surrounding Oconee are: Barrow (5), Walton (0), Morgan (1), Greene (1), Oglethorpe (0), Jackson (2) and Madison (3). The state now has 1,643 total confirmed cases, 509 hospitalized patients, and 56 deaths. The line chart below reflect the numbers as of noon today. The box above the lines includes the 7 p.m. figures. The increase in the number of cases in the state in the last 24 hours was 18.5 percent.

The Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Health has confirmed the first death in the district from COVID-19 with the passing of a 67-year-old Athens male at one of the area’s two hospitals.

The Northeast Health District consists of 10 counties, and, as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, had 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with Clarke’s 17 and Oconee’s 5 dominating.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Oconee County Now Has 5 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Clarke Has 16; Medical Professionals Urge County To Issue Shelter-In-Place Order

***Commission Chair Said Considering Citizen Input***

UPDATE: Oconee County added two new cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, as did Clarke County. The number of cases in Oconee is now 5, and it is 16 in Clarke. Barrow County still only the one confirmed case. Walton, Morgan and Greene counties now also are reporting a single case, as is Madison County. The number of cases in the state has increased 32.9 percent in the last 24 hours and now stands at 1,026. The chart below summarizes those data. I will update it again after the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report today.

Click To Enlarge

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Stable In Oconee County, Barrow County, Clarke County; New Testing Options Announced

***Area Government Leaders Expect Increases In Future***

Update 12:14 p.m. 3/23/20 Oconee now has its third confirmed case of COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases in Clarke is now 14. Barrow still has a single confirmed case. The number of confirmed cases in the state now is 772.

Click To Enlarge

The original post follows.

While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased dramatically in the state in the last two days, the number of confirmed cases in Oconee, Clarke and Barrow counties has remained stable, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Oconee and Barrow counties are each reporting a single case, and the Department of Public Health has decreased the count of the number of cases in Clarke County from 10 to nine.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Clarke County Now At 10; Piedmont Oconee County Campus Offers Testing

***Potential Exposure At Oconee County Landfill***

UPDATE 3/21/2020 noon: Numbers for Oconee, Clarke and Barrow counties remain unchanged from a day earlier.

UPDATE: Oconee county has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, based on the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for 7 p.m. on 3/20/2020. Clarke now has 10 cases. Barrow has one case.

This original post was based on data from Thursday and has been updated based on the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for 7 p.m. of 3/20/20.

The Georgia Department of Health reported Thursday that Clarke County has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from five on Wednesday. Barrow County has a single case, first reported on Tuesday. (Clarke now has 10 cases, as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20)

According to the Department of Health report for Thursday, Oconee County still has no confirmed cases, but the Oconee County web site reports a potential exposure of an employee at the County landfill off U.S. 441 in the far south of the county. (Oconee now has one case as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Last Week’s Retreat And Called Meeting Of Watkinsville Mayor And Council Show Differences In Perspectives

***No Support On Council For Mayor’s New City Charter***

After an eight-hour retreat of the Watkinsville Mayor and Council on Monday of last week, Brian Brodrick, mayor pro tem and the longest serving member of the Council, praised his colleagues, including new Mayor Bob Smith, for their team play.

Brodrick made the comment even though Smith had surprised the Council at the retreat with a proposed revision of the City Charter that would that would reverse the action by the Council at the end last year–just before Smith took office–delegating to the city manager some of the duties of the mayor.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Democratic Ballots Dominated Early Presidential Primary Voting In Oconee County Before Election Postponed

***Republican Ballots Greatly Down From 2016***

Just less than 5 percent of Oconee County’s registered voters had cast a ballot before voting for the March 24 Presidential Primary was suspended by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger at the end of early voting today.

The Presidential Primary now will coincide with the already scheduled May 19 party primaries and nonpartisan judicial elections.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Oconee County Gun Coalition Meeting Inserts Gun Rights Into County Elections

***Commission And Sheriff Race Targeted***

Oconee County’s approach to guns became solidly embedded last Saturday in the upcoming elections for the Board of Commissioners and for Sheriff.

Carol Bennett and Johnny Pritchett, both seeking the Republican nomination for Chair of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, attended the meeting of the Oconee County Gun Coalition at the Oconee County Library and endorsed that group’s desire to declare the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Oconee County Board Of Education Tables Action On Joint Use Agreement With County For Sports Facilities

***Charging Of Fees Put On Hold***

The Oconee County Board of Education Monday evening tabled a proposal from school administrators that Oconee County Schools begin charging the county Parks and Recreation Department for use of school athletic fields.

Dallas LeDuff, director of student services for Oconee County Schools, presented the School Board with a revision of his proposal from a week earlier that phased in the usage fees across the three years of a new joint use agreement with the county.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Acting District Attorney For Oconee And Clarke Counties Outlines Activities He Has Planned For Office

***Governor’s Decision On Appointment Not Known***

Brian Patterson, acting District Attorney for Oconee and Clarke counties, told Oconee County Democrats last month that, if he becomes District Attorney on a permanent basis, he will resurrect a number of unsolved murder cases in the two counties.

He also said he will increase the investigation of organized criminal activity and gang activity, continue to prioritize crimes against women and children, and promote alternative court programs to keep people from having a criminal records for lesser offenses.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Three Democrats Qualify For Oconee County Offices In Final Day Of Filing

***Commission Chair And School Board Posts***

Democrats qualified for three Oconee County offices on Friday, setting up competitive races in November for the Board of Commissioners Chair and two Board of Education posts.

Eric Gisler, co-chair of the Oconee County Democratic Party, qualified for the Chair of the Board of Commissioners, Laura Williams Ormes qualified for Post 4 on the Board of Education, and Joan Parker qualified for Post 5 on the Board of Education.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Oconee County Gun Coalition Asks Board Of Commissioners To Declare County Second Amendment Sanctuary

***Tackle Football Fee Not Increased***

Ryan Anglin, founder of the Oconee County Gun Coalition, appeared before the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night and asked that body to adopt a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

Anglin spoke during the citizen comment section of the Board of Commissioners meeting and followed five speakers, including Marisue Hilliard, a volunteer with the Georgia Chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America, who anticipated Anglin’s request and spoke against it.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Four More Candidates Qualify For Oconee County Offices; No Democrats Have Filed, With One Half-Day Left For Qualifying

***More Democratic Than Republican Ballots Cast In Presidential Primary***

Four more candidates qualified for Oconee County offices Wednesday and Thursday, providing a second candidate in the race for Sheriff, a third candidate for Board of Commissioners Chair, a second candidate for Post 1 on the Board of Commissioners–all in the Republican Primary--and a third candidate for the nonpartisan Probate Court Judge race.

James Hale joined Jimmy Williamson in the race to replace retiring Sheriff Scott Berry. Both filings were expected, as the two have been campaigning for months for the May 19 primary and yard signs are already spread around the county.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Four More Candidates Qualify For May 19 Elections; 149 Cast Ballots On Second Day Of Presidential Primary Voting

***Competition For School Board Nomination***

Four candidates qualified for Oconee County offices on Tuesday, the second day of filing, setting up the expected competitive races for Republican nomination for Board of Commissioners chair and for the nonpartisan election of Judge of Probate Court.

Adam Spence qualified as a Republican for the open Post 5 on the Board of Education, making that race also competitive, as Michael Ransom had qualified as a Republican on Monday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Oconee County Board Of Education Wants Phase-In Of Any Fees Charged To County For Use Of School Athletic Facilities

***Suggests A Three-Year Contract***

The Oconee County Board of Education pushed back at least slightly last evening on a proposal by school administrators to begin charging the county Parks and Recreation Department fees for use of school athletic facilities on July 1.

School Superintendent Jason Branch, as part of a discussion of a new Joint Use Agreement between the county and Oconee County Schools, said he was seeking Board input on the length of a new agreement and on whether the Board wants to begin charging the county a fee for use of school athletic facilities.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Nearly Equal Numbers Of First Day Oconee County Presidential Primary Voters Use Democratic And Republic Ballots

***11 Candidates Qualify***

A total of 110 voters cast a ballot today in the first day of early voting for the March 24 Presidential Primary, with 54 of them using the Democratic ballot and 56 using the Republican ballot.

Eleven candidates filed their paperwork today to qualify for county offices, all but one of them as a Republican. Today was the first day to qualify for local and state offices.

Life Church Of Athens Going Before Oconee County Board Of Commissioners After Positive Vote From Planning Commission

***Scaled Back Proposal For New Church***

Life Church of Athens, confronting vocal opposition from potential future neighbors in Summit Oaks and Summit Grove subdivisions, scaled back its plans for a community-scale church to a neighborhood-scale church.

At the Planning Commission meeting last month, many neighbors continued to object to the plans, focusing largely on traffic that even the smaller church will put onto Summit Grove Drive as it intersects with SR 15 (North Main Street) just north of Watkinsville.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Oconee County Parks And Recreation Department To Pay $60,000 More For Use Of Athletic Facilities At Oconee County Schools

***Cost Of Tackle Football Fee To Increase By $20***

Oconee County Schools is initiating a new fee schedule on July 1 for use of its athletic facilities by the Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department that, according to the county, will increase the costs to the county by about $60,000.

Supt. Jason Branch informed the county in a letter dated June 26, 2019, that the School system plans to terminate a 2010 agreement with the county that covers the use by the county and the school system of county and school system facilities.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Presbyterian Village Athens Plans To Open Campus For Residents In December

***Working With GDOT On U.S. 441 Plans***

Presbyterian Village Athens, the large complex under construction between Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441, plans to open its gate in December for a phased move-in of residents.

The continuing care retirement community has contracts on 94 percent of the units, according to Alex Patterson, president and CEO of Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, and residents will move into those units over several months, beginning with the December start.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Oconee County Gun Coalition Plans To Ask Board Of Commissioners To Declare County A Second Amendment Sanctuary

***Speaker Tells Republican Party Members***

The Oconee County Gun Coalition is making plans to ask the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to pass a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.

If the Board of Commissioners were to approve the resolution, the county would join at least 21 other counties in the state in supporting decisions by the Sheriff “to not enforce any unconstitutional firearm restrictions.”

The resolution also calls on the commissioners to agree not to use government funds or resources to enforce any law “that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Governor Has Set Feb. 20 Deadline For Applications For District Attorney For Oconee And Clarke Counties

***Patterson To Apply; Gonzalez Says No***

Gov. Brian Kemp has set a Feb. 20 deadline–a week from today–for applications for the position of district attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit consisting of Clarke and Oconee counties.

Brian Patterson, currently chief assistant district attorney, has said he will apply for the appointment.

Deborah Gonzalez, former House District 117 representative, has said she will not submit her application.

Georgia Secretary Of State Told Oconee County Republicans He Wants Voting With New Machines To Be Easy And Enjoyable

***Explained New Voting Equipment***

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Oconee County Republicans last month that he wants the experience of voting with the newly rolled-out equipment at the presidential primary on March 24 to be equivalent to a positive experience at a fast food restaurant.

“We want it to be a great experience, just like when you go to Chick-fil-A,” Raffensperger said. “Who’s ever had a bad experience there? It’s like one in a billion. That’s the kind of experience we want voters in Georgia to have.”

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Oconee/Clarke County District Attorney’s Resignation Has Changed Landscape For Election Of Replacement

***Election Can Be Postponed***

District Attorney Ken Mauldin’s announcement last week that he would resign on Feb. 29 rather than retire at the end of his current term in December has scrambled plans for the election of a successor and given Gov. Brian Kemp control over the outcome.

Before that announcement, Deborah Gonzalez and Brian Patterson were contending for the Democratic nomination for district attorney in the May 19 Democratic primary. No one has declared for the Republican Party nomination.

Oconee County Commissioners Told Sales Tax Collections Lagging Behind Those Of A Year Ago

***Finance Director Said He Expects Collections To Rebound***

Oconee County’s expenditures and revenue for the first half of the 2020 Fiscal Year were on target with one exception, county Finance Director Wes Geddings said Tuesday in making his quarterly financial report to the Board of Commissioners.

The exception is sales tax collections, which were lower in November and December of 2019 than they were a year earlier, Geddings said.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Oconee County No Longer Planning Roundabout At Parent Entrance To Malcom Bridge Middle School

***Announced At Board Of Education Meeting***

Oconee County has abandoned plans to build a roundabout at the parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School, cutting in half the number of planned or constructed roundabouts on Malcom Bridge Road between Mars Hill Road and Lenru Road.

Construction of the roundabout at the bus and staff entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School and Malcom Bridge Elementary School will begin in spring and be completed before school starts in August, according to Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Two Candidates In May Primary Introduce Themselves And Discuss Issues At Oconee County Democratic Party Meeting

***Gonzalez And Ferguson Guest Speakers***

Deborah Gonzalez and Andrew Ferguson used the opportunity of the meeting of the Oconee County Democratic Party last month to introduce themselves to those in attendance.

For Gonzalez, it was a matter of a re-introduction, and she said she was going to respond to the “first question most people ask me.”

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Oconee County Committee Reviewing Plans For Burger King And Convenience Store At U.S. 78 And Mars Hill Road

***Latest Documents Stamped Jan. 7***

The Oconee County Development Review Committee is in the process of evaluating plans submitted by Jones Petroleum of Jackson for a combination Burger King and a convenience store with 10 fuel dispensers at the northwest corner of Mars Hill Road and U.S. 78.

William B. Jones submitted to the county a preliminary plat and preliminary site plan on Jan. 7 for what is described as Phase 1 of the project, which ultimately could involve 32 acres owned by Jones and rezoned for commercial development by the Board of Commissioners in May of last year.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Oconee County Commissioners Give Initial Approval To Allocation Of Sewer Capacity To City Of Watkinsville

***Possibly For Wire Park Residential Use***

Oconee County commissioners on Tuesday night tentatively approved an agreement that will allocate to the city of Watkinsville 100,000 gallons per day of sewage treatment capacity from the county’s Calls Creek Water Reclamation Facility and provide another 100,000 gallons per day when that plant is expanded.

Watkinsville can use that allocated sewage treatment capacity as it sees fit, including for residential use at the proposed multi-use Wire Park development on Barnett Shoals Road.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends Approval Of New Up-Scale Retirement Community Near Epps Bridge Parkway

***Developer Says County Underbuilt***

The Oconee County Planning Commission has recommended that the Board of Commissioners approve the rezone request for just under 62 acres between Old Epps Bridge Road and SR Loop 10 for a large retirement community with 398 residential units.

The project, called Celebration Village Athens–Oconee Campus, will include in Phase 1 two three-story “concierge living” buildings, a three-story assisted living and memory care building, two four-story independent living buildings, and 32 independent living cottages.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Participants In The New Friends For The New Year Session Organized By Oconee Progressives Were Told Not To Talk About Politics

***Speed Dating Format Used***

They talked about hobbies, about their favorite conversational topics, about the American dream, about their personality traits, about admired historical figures, and about family traditions.

According to the instructions, the 10 pairs of citizens gathered at the Oconee County Library on Saturday morning, and the others who joined the conversations during the following hour, were not to talk about politics.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Watkinsville Gives Up Seat On Oconee County Planning Commission On Initiative Of Former Mayor

***New Mayor May Reverse Action***

Watkinsville’s appointee to the Oconee County Planning Commission has informed the county that he will no longer be attending Planning Commission meetings after being told by former Mayor Dave Shearon that the city no longer wants a member on the Commission.

Shearon sent George Rodrigues, the city’s representative to the Planning Commission going back four mayors, a letter on Jan. 6 saying that the city has been handling its own zoning since 2008 and no longer benefits from representation on the county’s Planning Commission.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Oconee County Citizen Committees Begin Discussing Projects For 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Referendum

***For November Ballot***

Preparation for a vote this November on renewal of Oconee County’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is underway.

County Administrator Justin Kirouac said he has asked county departments to develop projects lists and cost estimates and that the Board of Commissioners will discuss in February the schedule for creating the projects to be put before the voters in the fall.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Concerns About Election Security Dominate Oconee County Board Of Commissioners Town Hall Meeting

***New Voting Equipment Demonstrated***

The citizens who turned out for the Oconee County Board of Commissioners Town Hall meeting last Tuesday had a few questions for members of the Commission.

They wanted to know about the widening of Experiment Station Road, about plans for the new Watkinsville Library, about the planned detour route for construction of the multi-grade intersection of the Oconee Connector and SR 316, and about plans for broadband improvements in the county.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Watkinsville Council Agrees To Move Forward With Discussion Of Rezone For Former Southwire Property

***Plans Presented For Mixed-Use Wire Park***

The Watkinsville City Council on Wednesday authorized City Manager Sharyn Dickerson to move forward with creation of a development agreement for the former 66.6 acre Southwire property on Barnett Shoals Road.

The Council took the action following a presentation by developer Duke Gibbs and planner Bob Smith for what they are calling Wire Park.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

First Meeting Of New Mayor And Watkinsville Council Shows Efforts At Collaboration

***New Mayor Thanked Former Mayor For Service***

The first meeting of the Watkinsville Mayor and City Council last week got off to a very smooth start, and the good mood continued through the 13-minute-long session.

“I think congratulations are in order for Mayor Smith,” Council Member Brian Brodrick said at the beginning of the meeting, referring to newly elected Mayor Bob Smith, seated to his right.

Wallace Announces Campaign For House District 119 Seat; Johnson Schedules Campaign Launch For 117th House District

***Incumbents In Atlanta For Session***

Democrat Jonathan Wallace announced Monday that he will seek to regain his seat as the District 119 Representative to the Georgia House.

Incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower defeated Wallace in the 119th in 2018 after Wallace defeated Wiedower and two other Republican candidates in a special election for the 119th seat in 2017.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Oconee County Voters Can See New Voting Equipment At Tuesday’s Town Hall Meeting

Announcement Made At Commission Meeting

Oconee County voters will get a chance on Tuesday to see a demonstration of the new voting machines that the county will use for the presidential primary on March 24.

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell announced at the Commission meeting last Tuesday that the county will hold its January Town Hall meeting at 6 p.m. on this Tuesday at Oconee Veterans Park.