BOC says no to smaller lot sizes in Chestatee


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners unanimously denied a request by Brian Ferris and Chestatee Development Corporation to amend Chestatee subdivision’s Master Plan during Tuesday’s meeting.

Ferris wanted to change the master plan that called for lots in the Linkside section to have 100 foot widths to allow 70-foot widths to accommodate 11 more lots in that section. There are 46 lots in Linkside and 34 remain unsold. Homeowners in Chestatee have strongly objected to the request, saying it would decrease the value of their homes and create additional traffic congestion.

Ferris’ attorney Ethan Underwood argued that his client didn’t need approval of the Board to change the master plan. “The number of lots per unit shall not require further approval by the Planning Commission or Board of Commissioners,” he said. “That’s the law. That’s the master plan.”

In other business, the Board agreed to a request by Georgia State Patrol Post 37 to purchase two radar units and two laser units to equip the patrol cars assigned to the Dawson County area at a cost of $8,890. Commissioner Chris Gaines pointed out that GSP’s law enforcement effort has raised $83,118 for  the county this year.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Tax Commissioner Nicole Stewart to write off $73,237.38 in uncollectable taxes due to businesses closing or moving out of county.

The Board also agreed to purchase 16 new fire hydrants at a total cost of $55,440 for Nix Bridge Road, Overlook Drive, Woodland Circle and North Seed Tick Road.

Fire Chief/Public Safety Director Danny Thompson requested the Board appoint Lucas Ray as interim Emergency Management Agency Director while he completes courses required for him to gain Certified EMA status. Commissioners, instead, chose to appoint Thompson as the interim director.

The Fiscal Year 2019 contract with Legacy Link was renewed at a cost of $337,901 and commissioners unanimously approved the Title VI plan for Dawson County Transit.

The Board also approved the following appointments: Kathryn Reagan Smith and Gail Smith (Library Board); Brian Trapnell (Industrial Building Authority); Brian Trapnell and Christie Haynes Moore (Joint Development Authority).


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Johnson Elected Dawson County Sheriff

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Jeff Johnson eked out a narrow victory over Tony Wooten in Tuesday’s General Primary runoff to be elected Dawson County Sheriff. Johnson will replace long time top cop Billy Carlisle who is resigning at the end of this year.

Johnson received 1,890 votes or 52.07 percent of the total votes cast to Wooten’s 1,740 votes or 47.93 percent.

Johnson a Major in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, campagned on his many years of experience and by emphasizing the need to retain experienced personnel. He was able to reverse the results of the four-candidate General Primary election in which Wooten took 36 percent of the vote to his 27 percent.

In the race for tax commissioner, Nicole Stewart defeated Andi Henson Juliette with 1,889 votes or 53.8 percent of the total votes cast to Juliette’s 1,624 votes or 46.2 percent.

“I’m so humbled and blessed for everyone’s support,” Stewart said after the election. “I would like to thank everyone who helped with my campaign. I couldn’t have done it without each of you. I’m beyond excited to be your Tax Commissioner and look forward to continue serving my community.”


Johnson is Elected Dawson County Sheriff

News, Politics

In Tuesday’s General Primary runoff races, Major Jeff Johnson was elected sheriff, beating Captain Tony Wooten by 150 votes, 1,890 to 1,740 and Nicole Stewart won the tax commissioner’s race, beating Andi Henson Juliette, 1,889 to 1,624. Results are unofficial until certified by the Dawson County Elections Office on Friday.


Runoff Races Front and Center in Dawson, Lumpkin today

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgians will head back to the polls today to decide key races, including several in Dawson and Lumpkin counties.

In Dawson County, voters will vote in a new sheriff and tax commissioner.
The sheriff candidates are veteran law enforcement officers Captain Tony Wooten and Major Jeff Johnson. Nicole Stewart and Andi Henson Juliette are competing for the tax commissioner job.

In Lumpkin County, voters will choose who they want to represent them on the county commission in District 2 and in the coroner’s office. Steve Shaw is the incumbent Dist. 2 commissioner and Bobby Mayfield is the challenger.

The candidates for coroner are Amanda Jones-Holbrooks and Jim Sheppard. Jones-Holbrooks was arrested earlier this month on a felony charge of first-degree forgery and is awaiting trial. Sheppard is a veteran law enforcement officer who will resign at the end of this year after 28 years of service.


Early Voting for Primary Runoff Races Ends Friday

News, Politics

DAWON COUNTY, Ga. — Early voting ends Friday for the July 26 general election primary runoffs.

The races in Forsyth County are between Tony Wooten and Jeff Johnson to decide who will replace retiring Sheriff Billy Carlisle and tax commissioner where two newcomers, Andi Henson Juliette and Nicole Stewart, are seeking to fill the vacancy left by Linda Townley who is also retiring this year.

Early voting started July 5 and the Dawson County Elections Office reports that the turnout has beem much heavier than expected. As of Friday afternoon, 1,569 people had cast their ballots

“That’s much greater than we anticipated, especially for a runoff election,” said Dawson County Director of Elections and Registration.
Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate wins a majority in a general primary.


Sheriff, Tax Commissioner Candidates Square Off

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A standing-room-only crowd got one last chance to evaluate the candidates for Dawson County Sheriff and Tax Commissioner Tuesday in the Meeting Room of Fire Station No.2 on Dawsonville Highway.

Tax Commissioner candidates Nicole Stewart and Andi Henson-Juliette provided a tepid, respectful opening act for a slightly more combative performance by Sheriff candidates Tony Wooten and Jeff Johnson.

Henson-Juliette stressed her experience in handling multi-million dollar budgets while Stewart placed the emphasis on her customer service experience and community involvement.

Henson-Juliette is a former analyst for a Department of Defense contractor and the FBI and has managed budgets in excess of $50 million. She is a graduate of Dawson County High School and North Georgia College and State University.

“A lack of experience in the Tax Commissioner’s Office could be detrimental to taxpayers since 75 percent of the county’s budget comes from sales tax,” she said. “I’m the only candidate with experience managing budgets like that.”
Stewart said she has solid management experience. “I have effectively managed 8-10 people and have helped teach many small businesses how to manage a budget.”

She is a former banker with experience in the loan department. She is also an honors graduate of Dawson County High School and North Georgia College and State University who recently earned her Masters degree at Brenau University. Active in many community affairs, she was named Dawson County’s Outstanding Citizen in 2015.

The sheriff candidates did find some areas of agreement, for example no-knock warrants. Both agreed they were sometimes necessary for the safety of officers. They also agreed the county needs a strict policy to restrict high-speed chases.

But the tension began when Johnson implied that Wooten had made promises to deputies who publicly endorsed him in a half-page ad that ran in the local newspaper this week.

“I can say a lot of promises had to be made,” Johnson said. “They’re doing all they can to get their man elected.”

Candidates were given an opportunity to rebut their opponent’s comments and both men took full advantage.

Wooten bristled at Johnson’s remark, “They haven’t been promised a thing.”

When Johnson pointed out that he had more years of experience than Wooten, Wooten responded with “All the candidates in the race had experience. It’s not the number of years experience that makes you a leader. I’ve led five of the six divisions in the sheriff’s office.”

Early voting in both races will continue through Friday, July 22. Election day will be July 26.


Final Candidate Forum Scheduled Tuesday

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Tea Party and Foothills Republican Women will host the final candidate forum Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fire Station No. 2 next to Tractor Supply on Hwy. 53 in Dawsonville. This will be the last forum before the Election Day which is scheduled for July 26.
Guests are invited to prepare questions to ask the candidates and submit them as they enter.

The candidates for sheriff are Captain Tony Wooten, an 18-year veteran of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Major Jeff Johnson, a 23-year law enforcement veteran.

Wooten has commanded all but one department in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and currently supervises the community policing program and school resource officers while serving as the Public Information Officer.
Johnson is currently the head of the Dawson County detention center and has experience in patrols, courts, investigation, specialized assignments internal affairs and community programs.

Wooten won the four-candidate May primary with 1,527 votes while Johnson finished second with 1,157.

The other runoff race is between Andi Hinson Juliette and Nicole Stewart to decide who will become the county’s next tax commissioner.

Juliette is a former analyst for a Department of Defense contractor and the FBI and has managed budgets in excess of $50 million. She is a graduate of Dawson County High School and North Georgia College and State University.

Stewart is a former banker with experience in the loan department. She is also an honors graduate of Dawson County High School and North Georgia College and State University who is currently working on her Masters degree at Brenau University in Gainesville. Active in many community affairs, she was named Dawson County’s Outstanding Citizen in 2015.


Heavy Turnout Reported for Advanced Voting

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County voters returned to the polls this week for advanced, in-person voting in key runoff races for sheriff and tax commissioner.

Glenda M. Ferguson, Director of Elections and Registration, said, “The first two days have been great, really excellent. We had 202 on Tuesday and so far, we’ve had 139 today. That’s much better than I can ever remember for a runoff election.”

Tony Wooten and Jeff Johnson survived a four-candidate race in the May primary to advance to the runoff. Wooten won by a sizeable margin 1,527 to Johnson’s 1,157 but neither man garnered the 51 percent plus 1 vote necessary to avoid the runoff.

The candidates in the race for Tax Commissioner are Andi Hinson Juliette and Nicole Stewart. Juliette received 1,212 votes to Stewart’s 1,026 to advance to the runoff.

Ferguson would like to remind everyone that this is a Republican runoff therefore, only those who voted Republican, nonpartisan or didn’t vote at all are eligible to vote in this Election.

The schedule is  8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until July 22. Election Day is Tuesday, July 26 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

There is one voting location for Advance Voting, all precincts will vote at the Dawson County Board of Elections Office, 96 Academy Avenue in Dawsonville. On Election Day, voters are to go to their assigned voting precinct.

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