New budget rises 10 percent
• Grants help Jefferson County
make needed repairs and
additions to the community
By Jessica Newberry
Jefferson County will see a 10.5
percent increase in the FY 2007-
2008 budget mainly due to revenue
produced by grants.
The $12.456 million budget was
adopted by Jefferson County commissioners
on Monday, June 25, who
allocating $1.382 million more to
county operations than in last year’s
budget of $11.273 million.
Significant expenses for the upcoming
year include $500,000 to
re-stripe county roads and $200,000
to repair the courthouse roof.
percent pay raise for all county employees
will total $187,000, and
$91,000 is allotted for construction
of the Sandersville Technical College
Health Science facility.
“The commission was successful
in developing this budget to maintain
the current millage rate and to utilize
a minimum amount in the growth of
the digest,” said county administrator
The county’s Highway Safety
grant plays a significant role in supplementing
taxpayers’ money as it
will provide $500,000 of the county’s
revenue this year. The funds will be
used to re-stripe county roads.
“The department of transportation’s
philosophy has changed from
building new roads to preserving
existing ones to maintain a safe
driving environment for citizens,”
Grant funds will also add an estimated
$91,000 to the budget for
continued work on the Sandersville
Tech Health Sciences facility at the
“The cost of construction was larger than the
grant, so we have contacted John Barrow and
other state legislators to assist with funding,”
Other budget categories have shown decreases
in revenue including that of the Jefferson
County Jail for housing inmates.
Although operation costs have increased
from $1.162 million to $1.258 million, estimated
revenue from housing federal inmates
has decreased by 50 percent from $492,750
“In accordance with a meeting with the
U.S. Marshal, we are to anticipate about half
the number of federal inmates we had last
year,” said Bryan, attributing this change to
other counties’ proximities to the federal court
Other changes for this year’s budget include
a 22 percent or $55,000 increase for the Tax
Commissioner’s office for one new employee
and a computer program that will allow citizens
to view and pay taxes online.
The Jefferson County Recreation Department
will also have the new position of administrative
director to assist the athletic director.
This will increase the recreation budget by
$97,000 or 50 percent and is in anticipation
of future growth of the department, according
Despite the increases over last year’s budget,
Bryan said that the commissioners continue to
look for alternative revenue sources to minimize
dependence on the ad valorem tax.
“We maintain payment for service so citizens
won’t be continually taxed for services
they don’t use,” he said.
“We try to find grants
and other sources of revenue outside of tax collection
to provide services to citizens.”
According to Jefferson County Tax Assessor
George Rachels, property assessment notices
were mailed Friday, June 29.
45 days or until Friday, Aug. 13, to appeal the
Man shot in
• Another person was left injured
after suspects went on spree
By Faye Ellison
Two area men were left in the
hospital after two individuals attempted
to rob them and several
others early Monday morning in
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Clark Hiebert
reported around noon on Monday
that two armed individuals approached
Hiebert said a log truck driver
was parked in the Jet Food Store
parking lot at the corner of U.S.
Highway 1 and state Highway 24
Monday morning when two men
approached the truck on both sides
in an attempt to rob Randall Pederson
“They tried to get the trucker out
of the truck to rob him,” Hiebert
said. “He wouldn’t get out so the
men left. He saw them and was able
to get a description.
“The logger saw them standing
by the Jet with pistols in their
hands. He cranked up to leave when
he saw them running and then he
backed back into the Jet.”
The suspects did not stop there. Jerome Carr of Louisville
was stopping at the parking lot to throw out trash, according
to Hiebert, when the duo stopped him.
“The logger saw Gerome drive up behind him,” Hiebert
explained. “He went to throw out trash and he turned around
and had two guns in his face. One of the suspects recognized
him and said they wouldn’t rob him because he knew him.”
The two suspects then left the Wrens Quarter area to head
to downtown Louisville near the Louisville Police Department
where they found their next victim.
“They went to the residence of Kenneth Heath by the police
station,” Hiebert said. “Kenneth was not there, but his brother
was. His brother ended up tussling with a suspect and two or
three shots went off. The brother was shot two times.”
After leaving the Heath residence, the suspects traveled to
the Isaac Thompson residence, according to Hiebert.
“He was not at home, but two girls and a younger boy
were,” Hiebert said. “They tried to rob them of their dope
and money. They pistol whipped the younger boy pretty bad
and put him in the hospital.”
Hiebert said investigators intend on making arrests in the
in ATV thefts
By Faye Ellison
A Gibson man and two others have
been linked to a string of ATV robberies
in the Glascock County area
Glascock County Sheriff Dean
Couch said Ashton Ralph Neal, 19,
of Gibson has been charged in two
thefts of four-wheelers in Gibson.
Neal was taken into custody June
25, after an investigation into two
reports filed at the Glascock County
Larry Ellis of Beechtree Acres
Road in Gibson reported his son’s,
Ronnie Ellis, red 2001 Honda fourwheeler
stolen on Friday, June 15.
According to the initial report, the
elder Ellis said his son’s four-wheeler
was located under the carport on the
west end of his home.
Ellis told officers the last time he saw
the four-wheeler was the previous day.
The report also indicates that a forced
entry to obtain the four-wheeler was
made after the suspect cut the fence in
the northeast corner of the yard.
Not even a week later, Chad Downs
of Old Mitchell Road in Gibson reported
the theft of his yellow 2000 Honda
four-wheeler on Wednesday, June 20.
Downs told the responding officer that
his four-wheeler was sitting by the back
porch hooked to a utility trailer the night
“When he woke up on Wednesday
morning, the trailer had been unhooked
and the ATV was gone,” Department of
Natural Resources Ranger Brian Adams
said in the report.
“The footprints indicated
that two subjects entered the yard and
pushed the ATV out of the yard, through
the ditch onto Friendship Road, across
Old Mitchell Road and down Friendship
Road another 300 feet. You could see
where a truck was sitting in the road and
the ATV was loaded onto it.”
After investigating the thefts, Neal was
arrested along with two other individuals.
Meagan Ryan Sanders, 17, of Bartow has
been charged with theft by taking. Couch
said Sanders admitted to being with Neal
when he stole the four-wheeler from the
Downs residence. Sanders was taken into
custody June 27.
Dusty Allan Bland, 24, of Gibson
purchased the Ellis’ four-wheeler from
Neal. Bland was charged with theft by
receiving stolen property. Bland was
taken into custody at the same time as
Neal on June 25.
Ranger Brian Adams went to the Bland
residence on Pine Road on June 25 after
receiving information that the Ellis fourwheeler
was there with a missing VIN
“I went to the residence and talked with
Crystal Bland,” Adams said in the report.
“She stated that she did not know about
any missing VIN numbers on the ATVs.
She then gave consent to look at the four
ATVs sitting in the yard.
“The red Honda Foreman was sitting
at the front porch came back stolen from
Beechtree Acres on the 15th day of June.
At this time I called Mrs. Bland’s husband
at work and asked him if he would meet
me at his residence. Dusty Bland and Ashton
Neal arrived at the house together.”
Downs’ four-wheeler was recovered
after a Washington County man, who
said he did not know the ATV was stolen,
returned it to the Glascock County
Neal was charged with two counts
of theft by taking and one count of possessing
equipment with an altered serial
Couch said that the investigation is
ongoing with the help of the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation and more arrests are
forthcoming. While searching the Bland
residence, another small four-wheeler
“There was a small Red Cat fourwheeler
that was recovered,” Couch said.
“The serial numbers have been removed
and we are still trying to find out who
Couch asked that anyone with information
on the recovered ATVs contact the
Glascock County Sheriff’s Office.
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Fire in the sky
Though the weather threatened to dampen the Louisville Lions Club's fireworks show at the Jefferson
County Recreation Department ballfield Saturday, children, young and old, were able to enjoy the night's display of fire and lights that they hold each year.
Louisville radio station WPEH provided patriotic music to accompany the fireworks, while the Louisville Fire Department offered hot dogs, hamburgers and refreshments to attendees. Also on hand was the Ogeechee River Band providing musical fare.