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December 8, 2011 Issue

Man shot in tussle with burglars
Tax bills being sent
Lights and music...
Citizens attend land use meeting

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Man shot in tussle with burglars

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A man defending his property was shot during a struggle with two assailants this week.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene on Verdree Road in Louisville Sunday, Dec. 4, about 6:45 a.m.

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Sgt. Barrow Walden, a sheriff’s investigator, said the victim, Mitch Vaughn, told deputies he was awakened by the noise of someone rattling the doorknob of the back door of his residence.

Walden said Vaughn approached the door with a weapon and stepped outside. He didn’t see anyone and fired the weapon into the air in an attempt to scare off any intruders, Walden said.

Vaughn noticed a gate door open and went to investigate. Two men jumped him; and, the weapon discharged during the struggle.

Vaughn was wounded in the upper left arm, Walden said. Vaughn was taken to the hospital and released Sunday, the investigator said.

Vaughn and his wife own and operate Kackleberry Farm, which runs an agri-tourism business. The business was closed during the investigation of the scene Sunday but has resumed normal business hours.

A search was conducted for the two assailants who have been described as wearing dark clothes with hoods.

A helicopter from the Georgia State Patrol, two K-9 officers with the Richmond County Crime Suppression Team and investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted in the search and investigation.

The assailants had not been located and the search was called off about 5 p.m. Sunday, Walden said.

As of Tuesday at press time, the assailants had not been found, he said.






Tax bills being sent

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Almost all property owners in Jefferson and Glascock counties should have received their tax bills.

In Jefferson County, bills were sent to property owners in September. Those taxpayers are being given 90 days rather than the mandated 60, said Jenny Gordy, the county’s tax commissioner.

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“Payments will be due Dec. 20,” Gordy said.

The commissioner said county tax bills have the county tax, school board tax, state tax and economic development tax.

She said the total billed out was about $11 million.

“That was the levy at the time we certified the digest in August,” she said.

Revenue from those bills is estimated to generate $5,007,506 for the county, $5,703,991 for the school system and $312,969 for the economic development authority, she said.

The county bills also reflect about $98,000 that will be sent to the state, Gordy said.

Property owners in Avera should have received their bills, Avera City Clerk Amy Hadden said. Payments are due Dec. 30.

The city is expecting approximately $13,045 to be generated by taxes this year, Hadden said.

Bartow’s city manager, Susan Scarboro, said Monday that city’s bills have not been mailed yet but should go out this week.

“Payments will be due Jan. 31,” she said. Tax payments are estimated to generate about $35,000 in revenue for the city, Scarboro said.

Louisville property owners should have received their bills, said Don Rhodes, the city’s administrator. The city anticipates this will generate an estimated $392,636, he said. Payments are due Dec. 20.

Stapleton property owners should have received their bills. Payments are due Dec. 20, said the city’s clerk, Gail Berry.

"Projected total is $42,512,” she said.

Wadley’s city clerk, Sallie Adams, said Tuesday that city’s bills have not been sent yet. A delay occurred when the city’s council members did not immediately vote on the millage rate but discussed the budget and millage rate over several meetings.

Adams said property owners will have at least 60 days from the date of the bill before payments are due, which may result in a February due date.

Projected revenue for the city is $491,000, she said.

Wrens property owners should have received their bills; and, payments there are due Jan. 20, said Wrens City Administrator Arty Thrift.

“We gave everybody some extra time,” he said.

Thrift said the taxes should generate an estimated $731,569.

In Glascock County, tax bills were sent out to property owners in September. The county expects this to generate about $1,150,872; while the school system expects about $1,101,901, said the county’s tax commissioner, Sharon Lyons.

Payments are due Dec. 20, she said.

Edgehill’s city clerk, Angela Barrow, said the city plans to send out bills in the middle of December.

Taxpayers will have until the middle of February to pay their taxes, she said, adding the date payments are due is marked on the statement.

The city expects about $1,519 to be generated by taxes this year.

Gibson’s city clerk, Brandi Pritchett, said payments from Gibson’s property owners are due Dec. 31. Bills have already been sent. Revenue is expected to be about $21,401 for the city.

In Mitchell, D’Ann Simpson, the city’s clerk, said that city’s bills were sent out in October.

The city’s tax digest is $13,198.68, she said.

“Payments are due no later than Dec. 20,” she said.







Lights and music...

Crowds gathered last week for the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree in Wrens. City officials gave away door prizes and an area choir sang. Wrens Middle School’s band performed a medley of traditional Christmas favorites.

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Citizens attend land use meeting

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Land use management is almost always a touchy subject.

Most counties and cities have planning and zoning boards designed to navigate those difficult waters.

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Rural Glascock County never has.

That’s one reason why Development Authority Chairman Lori Boyen, along with the University of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, recently held a meeting to discuss ways counties like Glascock can have some control over the future use of private property.

Boyen said that this includes what local communities can do to restrict land use and thereby protect itself when dealing with controversial businesses such as landfills.

“Since 2008, local officials, citizens and stakeholders of Glascock County have attended meetings regarding the Communities of Opportunity (Co-Op) initiative,” the DCA said in a press release on this meeting. “The Communities of Opportunity initiative was an initiative designed to address the lagging economic vitality of rural Georgia through community self-assessment, targeted technical assistance and incentives.”

At past meetings, locals showed concern about the type of development that might take place on parcels purchased by individuals outside the state and the effect this development would have on the appearance of this historically rural community.

The participants of these Co-Op meetings expressed a desire to experience positive growth while protecting the county’s assets and charm, Boyen said. As a result, the participants chose to research land use planning as their Co-Op initiative.

The educational forum held on Nov. 15 was a step in the adopted action plan to provide information and answer questions.

The presentation included information on the impact land use planning has on city and county services, economic development and way of life, Boyen said. DCA provided possible land use planning ideas and examples of successes throughout the state. O.B. McCorkle, executive director of Warren County’s Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority, talked about what her county has done and what has happened since implementing similar plans there.

DCA also gave links to a model ordinance that anyone may review on the Department of Community Affairs website. DCA representatives further suggested research be conducted on other small rural areas that have used land use planning and see what has worked for them and what would make sense for Glascock County.

DCA representatives further suggested research be conducted on other small rural areas that have used land use planning and see what has worked for them and what would make sense for Glascock County.

“Land Use Planning is an unknown for Glascock County,” Boyen said. “We all hear horror stories of restrictions and regulations that seem to have a strangle hold on other communities. Typically these are larger, urban areas and they have many other concerns that drive their regulations. As a landowner, I am concerned about too much regulation. However, I feel Glascock is vulnerable to unwanted development and we must start looking at ways to protect our county. What McDuffie, Warren or any other county has implemented may not be what our community needs. We will not be able to determine the ‘what’ our county needs until we start talking about and researching this issue. Many others in the community have expressed these same opinions, and I think the information presented in the forum was exactly what we needed to hear to get us thinking about this subject.”

To see more information on Glascock County’s Communities of Opportunity initiative, visit http://www.dca.ga.gov/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/documents/Glascockfinal_000.pdf.

An eventual step would put this issue in the county commissioners’ hands, Boyen said.

Tuesday Glascock County Commission Chairman Anthony Griswell made a firm statement of where he stands for land use management or zoning. He is against it.

“As long as I am in place, I will never vote for any type of zoning in Glascock County,” Griswell said. “I am totally against zoning. It is mighty hard to tell somebody how they use their land, when you haven’t paid for that land.”

Griswell said he believes landfills would have a hard time finding a place to land in Glascock County because of the county’s waterways.

“There is no land far enough off of a stream that would allow them to put a landfill in Glascock County,” Griswell said. “They would have to go through EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).”

Currently, Griswell said, the commissioners are looking at adding business licenses in the county that would allow the county to keep track of businesses in the county. The county does not have any ordinance in place providing that businesses must be licensed through the county.

“At least we would be able to determine if a business meets state rules or our rules,” Griswell said, adding, “And if the ones already here are following the rules in place. But we are still discussing it and we will talk about this tonight at our commission meeting.”

For now, Griswell said he is taking a firm stance against any land use management or zoning, and what he sees as additional costs for the county.

“You can rule yourself to death,” he said. “Once you put all these rules in place, you will need a person to enforce all these rules and it is costing the tax payers to hire this person. You can put yourself in the poor house trying to have more rules.

“We have rules and regulations in place to protect citizens. If the people want a bunch of zoning rules in place, they can elect officials that might want it, but I don’t think it is for us. We can probably look at some ordinances, but as far as zoning, I can’t see it in Glascock County.”




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