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June 18, 2009 Issue

Deadline is Monday to appeal assessments
Lampp and Oliver to vie for probate judge
Diggin’ the dirt track
Stimulus money available locally

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Deadline is Monday to appeal assessments

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

As of Tuesday about 3:30 p.m., fewer than 5 percent of Jefferson County property owners had filed appeals against their assessments, according to a spokesman in the county’s tax assessor’s office.

“We have got 532 parcels being in dispute,” she said. “Some property owners have appealed more than one parcel. There were 10,977 parcels.”

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Of those, the spokesman said, 3,900 or 35.53 percent went down in value while 5,229 or 47.64 percent went up and 1,848 or 16.84 percent stayed the same.

The changes in assessments are the result of a recent countywide re-evaluation the county agreed to under a consent order from the state.

“They fined the county a penalty,” the spokesman said.

“And the county could either pay the penalty or have a countywide reval. The re-evaluation was for the whole county for uniformity,” she said.

Anyone who plans to file an appeal must do so before Monday, June 22, at 5 p.m.

“Taxpayers should come to the office in person,” she said.

“If they can, they need to come by the office because there are several forms they need to fill out. If they are out of state or otherwise unable to come in person, they can put something in writing and mail that or fax it. If they do put something in writing, when they come for the appeal hearing, we can get them to sign their forms then,” the spokesman said.

Taxpayers can personally attend the hearing, have a representative attend for them or, if unable to do either, can have a phone conference.

“They would need to request that a phone conference be done so that we will know and they need to make sure we have a good phone number to reach them by,” she said.

Taxpayers may appoint whoever they want but will need to provide a written statement to that effect so the tax assessor’s office will know.

There are only three reasons a person may file an appeal on their assessment; uniformity of assessment, valuation and taxability.

Anyone with questions call the assessor’s office at 478-625-8209.



Lampp and Oliver to vie for probate judge

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

A runoff election will be needed to determine the new Probate Judge for Jefferson County, between Asholyn Powell Lampp and Marnique Oliver after Tuesday’s election.

Jefferson County registrar Chandrel Evans said 359 voters cast ballots early and 234 voted during the advance voting period.

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For the entire election, 2,990 registered voters in Jefferson County took part out of 10,571, according to the unofficial results Tuesday night.

Evans said that anyone who registers now will not be eligible to vote in a runoff.

“The cutoff for this election period was May 18,” Evans explained. “Even if we have a runoff, it’s still in the same election period.”

Of the ballots cast, Lampp received 732 votes or 24.48 percent; Oliver received 657 votes or 21.97 percent; Charlotte Gilmore received 623 votes or 20.84 percent; Tyler Mahaffey received 489 votes or 16.35 percent; Alton Spells received 325 votes or 10.87 percent; and John Pilcher received 164 votes or 5.48 percent.

The runoff election between Lampp and Oliver will be held on Tuesday, July 14.



Diggin’ the dirt track

By Jared Stepp
Apprentice

“Can you imagine if this was your job all the time?” John “Tan-Man” Tanner asks as two remote controlled cars fly off dirt ramps and fly up into the air.

Tanner, a native of Midville, has constructed a large, 1,194-foot wide racetrack for remote controlled cars.

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“This is the largest racetrack for RC cars in Georgia,” he said.

Tanner said these cars can get up to 40 to 45 mph and run on either fuel or are battery powered.

Prior to building this track, Tanner was a web designer in Beauford, designing pages for lawyers, product companies, carpenters and others.

He designed the message board site www.garcracers.com and now moderates it.

Tanner served in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005.

He said he burned out on web designing and decided to do something he loves, which is racing RC cars.

He moved to Midville in order to do just that, starting with building the track.

After designing the track, he first had to treat the land to get it ready. He put light poles and dug clay.

The track features a concessions stand. There is a set of doubles, where one car travels upwards, over a gap and lands on the other side.

There is also a suicide jump, where one car stays on the track while another car, after veering onto another section of track, jumps over the first.

Tanner says he put more than $20,000 into the track. He has future plans of building a pond specifically for RC Boats and constructing a rock crawling course for the cars.

Racers come from different parts of Georgia, including Augusta and Athens, to race their RC cars on his track.

“It’s like a family reunion,” says Tanner. The racers are competitive but all good friends.

Tanner doesn’t charge an admission fee to watch the show and what a show it is. His plans for the track are still evolving and he hopes to soon add high speed RCs for rent at the raceway.



Stimulus money available locally

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Leigh Evans, a vice president with Sandersville Technical College, presented information to Jefferson County Commissioners during their work session earlier this month.

Evans, VP of economic development, business and industry services division, told the commissioners about stimulus money being provided to area businesses to help them and the unemployed through the economic crisis the country is currently experiencing.

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The funds are being made available through the Workforce Investment Act, she said. “It’s the funds that are coming down from the president to the governor,” she said.

“The governor has to distribute it to the different WIA boards. The board is in Thomson. We’re working with them. I see it as an economic development tool.

“What it’s going to do is put people back to work. It’s going to give employers an opportunity to hire someone and not cost them anything because the stimulus funds are going to pay the wages,” Evans said in an interview last week.

The worker, who must be at least 18 years old, unemployed and not receiving Social Security, can work for 90 days.

Evans said if the employer wants to keep the person more than the initial 90 days, there are funds available at this time to pay half of the worker’s wages.

“The employer would be responsible for the other half of the wages,” she said.

All employers are eligible.

“I’m working with a farmer that’s cutting wheat now. And he wanted someone to drive the tractor. So he has someone who’s cutting wheat and that’s a job,” Evans said.

“The participants are going to have to pass the Work Keys Assessment. And they have to be Work Ready certified. Those assessments are available at the different branches of Sandersville Tech,” she said.

Evans said those who are interested in taking the assessment should call the school and say they are interested in taking the Work Keys Assessment.

People who are interested in participating as workers and have already taken the test, need to make sure they attach a copy of their scores when they complete the application, Evans said.

“All of this is paid for by the WIA. The Work Keys Assessment is free. They’ll have to take an OSHA Safety Class, it’ll be offered at Sandersville Tech. It’ll be offered at all three branches, too,” she said.

There is no cost for the safety class. The WIA will pay for it, Evans said.

“The purpose of the program is to get people employed permanently. This is just a trial period,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for the employees to learn a new trade or possibly consider a new career. It’s just a good opportunity to provide work experience in an area the participant could be interested in pursuing.

“One thing I do think is important is for employers that are struggling with the recession, it will help them make it through the end of recession – they won’t be having to pay the wages for that person,” Evans said.

Jobs obtained through this program will not affect someone’s unemployment benefits, she said.

“This post pones the benefits; it’s doesn’t delete them,” she said, adding this program does not affect severance pay.

“They can get that no matter what,” she said.

Anyone interested in participating should call the school at 478-553-2050 and say you are interested in participating in the stimulus program. State whether you are a worker or employer.




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