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Top Stories
June 17, 2004 Issue

Glascock County senior citizens meet with architect, local officials and representatives from the Rural Development Council to break ground for their new Senior Citizens' Center at Brassell Park.

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Seniors break ground for new center














Other Top Stories
School board's 2004 budget down $300,000
County prepares to adopt its first $10 million budget

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Seniors break ground for new center

Center will double capacity of former facility, open door to more programs

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A group of Glascock County residents and visitors gathered June 7 at Brassell Park in Gibson for a long awaited groundbreaking destined to benefit the county's senior citizens. When completed in early 2005, Glascock County seniors will have a new facility to call their own. A $500,000 state grant will be used to construct the 4,800 square-foot center at Brassell Park in Gibson.

Commission Chairman Thomas Chalker told the assembled group that the county's opportunity to get state funding to cover all but a fraction of the cost was a benefit to the county, one that would provide a growing benefit to Glascock County's current and future senior citizens. Glascock County currently has more than 460 residents over age 65, amounting to more than 13 percent of the county's population.

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Funding for the project came from a $500,000 Georgia Department of Community Affairs Community Development Block Grant applied for in 2002. The county agreed to contribute $10,000 for construction and $5,000 for furnishings.

The new facility will be a marked improvement over the current one-room center that can comfortably accommodate a maximum of about 25 participants, said Director of the CSRA Agency of Aging Jeanette Cummings, who attended the groundbreaking. The new center will include a large dining/assembly room, kitchen, multipurpose room, crafts room, classroom, computer and televisions room and an office.

"It's been a long time coming and I'm excited to see this happen," she said. "We're looking forward to continuing to support the new center."

The new center is designed to accommodate 60 residents. Anticipated activities at the center include exercise and dance classes, aerobics, wellness and other recreational activities and computer classes.

Also attending the ceremony, CSRA Regional Development Center's Local Government Services Director Ann Floyd complimented the audience for their participation in the county's efforts for seniors and its acquisition of the grant funding.

The Senior Center is expected to be completed by early 2005.





School board's 2004 budget down $300,000

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The Jefferson County School Board adopted its FY 2004-2005 budget at the June 10 meeting, with a resulting decrease of $300,000 over last year. Unknown at this time is where the millage rate will be set, given further cuts anticipated by the General Assembly later this summer.

The board adopted a budget totaling $18.7 million, nearly $300,000 less than the $19 million budget that will end June 30. The cuts, targeted in recent months due to state funding decreases, came largely in the form of reductions in teaching positions, maintenance staff, transportation staff, coaching staff, central office staff and other items such as the GSAMS and GCIS programs, said Superintendent Carl Bethune.

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The board will face a decision about the millage rate in the coming weeks. The $4.65 million estimated property tax included in the FY 2004-2005 budget is nearly equal to the $4.6 million in the budget ending June 30. In setting the millage rate, Bethune said the board's consideration must take into account another anticipated two and one-half percent cut later this summer, mandated by the General Assembly. The school system has experienced state-mandated cuts of approximately $1.5 million over the past three years and expects another soon, Bethune said. If that scenario becomes reality the board will be faced with either making up the difference by using reserve money or by increasing the millage rate, he said.

Jefferson County schools are part of a statewide consortium of more than 50 school systems that are in process of suing the state over its withholding of education funds. That litigation is expected to begin in August.





County prepares to adopt its first $10 million budget

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Jefferson County commissioners held budget meetings June 7 and 14 in preparation for the June 24 adoption of the FY 2004-2005 budget. The proposed budget stands at $10,010,816, an increase of $647,693 over last year.

Commissioners said the increase in expenditures stems largely from several sources, including an additional $120,000 for mitigation at the old landfill on Clarks Mill Road, $378,000 for 17 new positions and three vehicles at the new county jail and $176,000 for the county's portion of infrastructure improvements at the Louisville Airport Industrial Park. Those and other factors make a millage rate increase likely, though the percentage increase cannot be established at this time, commissioners said. Board members pointed out that the millage rate has not increased in the past three years.

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Some line items in the budget decreased, some increased while others remained at last year's rate. A sampling of budget decreases included a reduction of nearly $44,000 to the court system, more than $126,000 in the Roads Department and $199,000 at the new landfill. Other increases over last year included items such as $26,000 for two vans for the Transit Department, nearly $39,000 for employee group insurance, representing a 12 percent increase, and $75,000 for anticipated price hikes on gasoline.

County administrator Paul Bryan told commissioners that several factors should be taken into consideration relating to the increase for the jail portion of the law enforcement center, expected to be operational in early September. Being conservative with the figures, Bryan said he accounted for only 10 federal inmates arriving in January and 10 additional inmates each month for the succeeding months rather than assuming that the total number of inmates would arrive in January. He also indicated that he used a $40 per day price from the U.S. Marshal's Service even though the federal government may agree to a higher price once the final negotiations have ended. Consequently, the $378,000 projected shortfall might prove to be an overestimation by the end of the fiscal year next June 30, said Bryan. Commissioners expected that jail revenues and expenditures should be close to a wash in its second year of operation.

Adding to the expenses of operating the jail was the necessity of hiring 17 new jailers rather than the 12 anticipated in the past. The five additional positions are a result of federal requirements for providing two control centers in the facility rather than the single control room that commissioners had preferred.

Another significant budgetary item was the $120,000 associated with the continued mitigation of the toxic plume of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) migrating from the old landfill on Clarks Mill Road. Residents and state Environmental Protection Division officials long called for action from commissioners in addressing the problem. Commissioners responded last year and have said they will continue to work to have the problem resolved.

The new budget line item expending $176,000 to help supply infrastructure at the airport industrial park originated with a request earlier in 2004 from economic developer Brad Day. Commissioners said they could not take action at the time but would attempt to fund a portion of the project in the 2004-2005 budget. The City of Louisville is also contributing to the project.

The final reading will be held at the commission office on Broad Street in Louisville on June 24 at 9 a.m. The budget will be adopted immediately following that meeting.


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