Officers bust several on drug charges
By Regina Reagan
A Friday night road check along highways in central Jefferson County resulted in 12 arrests and 17 charges.
The road check began at the intersection of Grange Road and Hwy 88 in the early evening hours and later progressed to its second location at Hwy 24 and 221 where officers stayed until early the next morning.
Approximately 16 units from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Richmond County K-9 Task Force, Wrens Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol were involved in the road checks.
Officers made 12 arrests during the night. Charges included four suspended licenses, five DUI's, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of dangerous drugs, child restraint violation, driving without a license and open container.
Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators said that one of the reasons for conducting the road checks includes various reports of intoxicated drivers.
"We're trying to make the highways safer and at the same time stop drug flow from getting into the county," said investigators.
A result of the road checks not immediately evident on the highways of Jefferson County was the arrest of two individuals at a residence in Treutlen County and the seizure of two pounds of marijuana and a small amount of suspected crack cocaine, according to investigators. The arrests and drug seizure came after a search warrant was issued at the residence based on evidence found in one of the vehicles at the road check.
Citizens views on land use requested
• County's final meeting on land use plan dealing with future of landfills and sludge will be Aug. 23
By Ben Nelms
A group of Jefferson County residents and Augusta Regional Development Center (RDC) staff held their second meeting Aug. 2 to continue development of the county's state-required Solid Waste Management Plan. The final plan will be discussed Aug. 23 at a public meeting at the courthouse in Louisville.
The two topics drawing the most support Aug. 2 was the opposition to landfills and sewage sludge. The plan will eliminate the possibility of establishing new landfills on nearly all land in Jefferson County.
Reiterating his comments from the group's first meeting on July 1, RDC Executive Director Andy Crosson said the plan must contain several key elements to be considered complete. Those include a waste disposal stream analysis, waste reduction, waste collection, waste disposal, education and public involvement, land limitation and an implementation strategy. Goals and objectives are being established for each of the key elements of the plan. Many include actions and processes already in place. Considerations being addressed include watersheds, aquifer recharge areas, water service areas and future growth areas of the county. The deadline for submitting the plan is Aug. 31.
The topic that drew the greatest amount of conversation at the meeting was the group's desire to prevent corporate interests from establishing new landfills in Jefferson County. The group's position was bolstered by the recognition that some Georgia landfills are currently being filled with trash shipped in by truck and rail from New York, New Jersey and other Northeast states. The language in the county's upcoming solid waste management plan is one way to make establishing a regional landfill much more difficult, said Crosson. Such restrictions built in to the plan can accomplish what a zoning ordinance could never do.
"If you want a landfill, you make a weak policy and if you don't want a landfill, you need a very stringent policy," said Crosson at the July 1 meeting. "The solid waste management plan is what is probably going to keep the (regional) landfill out of Taliaferro County. The zoning ordinance didn't keep it out but their 10-year solid waste management plan probably will."
The group approved numerous restricted areas throughout the county that make establishing another landfill nearly impossible. The restricted areas include wetlands, groundwater and aquifer recharge areas, flood zones, groundwater high susceptibility areas and buffer areas around rivers, major highways, scenic byways and historic markers. Once accounted for, the available land in the county where a landfill might be established was significantly less than 10 percent and could well be reduced further, Crosson said. The three small areas are located in the southern portion the county and are all in close proximity to wetlands areas.
Also included in the meeting was the agreement by the group to limit or prevent the use of sludge in areas of the county such as wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, flood prone areas and watersheds. Kay Heilig presented information that was included in the Solid Waste Management Plan. He cited state and federal laws stating that local governments can institute more stringent requirements on sludge being brought into a county provided that those regulations are not onerous. He suggested that each load of sludge could be required to be tested and monitored without the county bearing the expense. Heilig presented the same information to commissioners at the Aug. 10 regular session, requesting that commissioners adopt an ordinance to that effect. Following a recommendation from Commissioner Tommy New, Chairman Gardner Hobbs said he and a select group of individuals will look into the matter and report back to the commission "sometime in the future."
A joint public hearing between RDC, the cities and county will be held Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse in Louisville. The public is encouraged to provide comments and offer input on the plan. The solid waste plan is scheduled for submission to Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs on Aug. 31.
Wadley forms development authority for new business
• City council votes 3-2 to form authority; board awaits answers before they further organize
By Parish Howard
and Ben Nelms
Editor and Staff Writer
In response to a company's request, the city of Wadley voted twice in the last two weeks to form a development authority that could assist that company and others in setting up operations in the city.
On Aug. 9, the council voted 4-0 to establish such an authority after a presentation by Providence Machine, Inc. CEO Lurton Lipscomb, Jr., who had asked that the authority be established to assist his company in locating to Wadley and constructing facilities using $10 million in industrial revenue bonds he wanted to authority to issue.
The council met again Friday, Aug. 13 to consider a resolution to declare the need for such an authority and appoint a board of directors.
At the Aug. 9 meeting
After discussing the proposed resolution for around 40 minutes in closed session with the city's lawyer, the council voted 3-2 to adopt. Councilmen Albert Samples, Izell Mack and John "Tubby" Maye voted for and councilmen Edith Pundt and Randall Jones voted against.
"I want to say that I am not against any jobs coming into Wadley," Councilwoman Pundt said after the vote.
She went on to express concerns over the creation of such a board when the county already has a trained Development Authority that serves all of the cities in Jefferson County. Pundt said that in her experience, agencies are more apt to give money to county-wide or multi-district applicants. Councilman Jones said that he felt the whole thing was just being pushed "too fast and too hard."
After the meeting was adjourned, the newly appointed members of the authority refrenenced several "red flags" and decided to wait until they had more information from Lipsocomb before they would further organize.
Lipscomb told council members his company's facility in North Augusta was landlocked. He said their desire to locate in Wadley was due to the good qualities the city possessed and the number of family and friends in the area.
In the Aug. 13 meeting
Citing the proposal, Lipscomb told the council that Providence would like to build five, 15,250 square-foot manufacturing buildings and a 12,000 square-foot administrative building. Manufacturing for clients such as John Deere, Easy-Go, Bridgestone/Firestone and others would include metal fabrication, welding, machining, painting and all types of metal treatment. The plan calls for employing 100-150 employees over a two-year period. Lipscomb said the jobs would have a starting pay of approximately $10 per hour and a range of $18-20 per hour for welders and machinists after training and experience.
In his presentation, Lipscomb referred to a location in the vicinity of US Highway 1, though in the written proposal the company listed the proposed site as including 18 acres within city limits and fronting SR 56. State route 56 does not run through Jefferson County.
Lipscomb proposed the formation of the board, telling council member that such an authority could issue industrial revenue bonds and that his company had several lending institutions that would provide the capital. Responding to questions relating to the arrangement, Lipscomb said that neither the city nor the city development authority would hold liability relating to the issuing of industrial revenue bonds.
A number of related issues surfaced during a lengthy segment of questions and discussion between company representatives, council members and others attending the meeting. In one exchange, city attorney John Murphy responded to Lipscomb's apparent desire to have the new development authority's initial meeting immediately following the council meeting by telling him that such a move would not be advisable because not all new board members were present and would not have proper notice of the meeting.
In another exchange, perspective board member Wayne Battle cited his earlier conversation with Mayor Herman Baker, saying that he had the impression that the board would serve in an advisory capacity to work with the city council and not to function as a statutory body.
"I'm in the dark here. I think we're moving too fast with this," Battle said, addressing the council and then Lipscomb. "We need to know something about you (Providence) and you need to know about us."
In the resolution adopted by the council seven citizens were apointed to the authority. They were Farris M. Hudson, Ronny Y. Harmon, Dean Lamb, Ray Fann, Harold E. Moore Jr., J. Wayne Battle and James M. Hall.
The council suggested it would be adding Darlene Young's name to the board, as it was accidentally left off the resolution.
After the meeting the newly apointed members and several other local citizens informally discussed what would happen next.
"I would like to see this company come to Wadley," Battle said. However, he said, he did have a list of questions he felt needed to be answered before he felt the new board should consider proceeding.
The group agreed.