BOC to vote on adjustment to coroner’s budget

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Coroner Ted Bearden

DAWSONVILLE, Ga – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on Coroner Ted Bearden’s request for funding for one additional deputy coroner position beginning on Oct. 1 when it meets in a regular session Thursday at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

The position has been approved for the 2019 budget, but Bearden told commissioners during last week’s work session that a 30 percent increase in the number of calls since last year had forced him to hire a deputy coroner this year and pay him out of his own pocket. He did not ask to be reimbursed for his out of pocket expense, but did request commissioners approve funding for the fourth quarter of this year, approximately $3,876.

He also asked that the coroner’s budget for Other Services (morgue-transportation) be increased by $8,000. He pointed out that the expense had been budgeted for $25,900 in 2017 but only $19,000 this year.

Counties are required by state statute to pay for burial or cremation of indigent deceased persons. Bearden requested that the county only provide cremation service because the reimbursable expense to counties is only $2,000. “There is no way to bury someone for that amount,” he said.

Thursday’s meeting will also see commissioners vote on a conditional use permit requested by Herman Goforth to allow for multiple accessory structures to be built on a 2.744-acre tract. The property is located on Lumpkin Campground Road near Hwy. 53.

Another request commissioners will have to vote on is one made by Public Works Director David McKee who has asked for a professional services exemption for Wakefield Beasley and Associates. The company provided the preliminary civil engineering design for the Veterans Memorial Park ballfield dirt relocation and storm water management plan, which was incorporated into the full design plans for the construction of the new Senior Center building.

The county is in the beginning stages for relocation of the current pavilion, playground and update of the walking trail and unused ball field directly across from the Senior Center. McKee asked for the exemption so Wakefield Beasley & Associates can complete its preliminary work on these designs and plans. The cost is not to exceed $53,915.

McKee said the exemption would save the county the expense of hiring a new firm to become familiar with the site, draw up preliminary plans, and create the complete plans/specifications for for construction services.

Commissioners will also vote on the 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting calendar which accommodates a couple of holidays — July 4 and Thanksgiving — which fall on Thursday. Meetings those weeks will be held on Tuesday. The proposed calendar also accommodates the Association County Commissioners of Georgia Annual Conference in April 2019. Additionally, no meetings are scheduled for the weeks of New Year’s and Christmas.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Coroner Bearden requests budget update

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Coroner Ted Bearden appeared before the Dawson County Board of Commissioners during last week’s work session to request an increase in funding for this year’s  budget.

Bearden told commissioners, “There is going to be a shortfall. There is just no way around it. That is based on the caseload. We are still running over 30 percent higher number of cases than the same time last year.”

He attributed the increase to drug-realated deaths and deaths of a violent nature.

The county has added a deputy coroner position in the 2019 budget, but Bearden said he has already hired a deputy coroner and has been paying him out of his own pocket. He asked the county to pay the salary and benefits starting Oct. 1.

“It would be a big help to us if we could go ahead and do that,” he said.

Public Works Director David McKee will ask that commissioners grant a professional exemption to Wakefield Beasley and Associates in an amount not to exceed $53,915 to complete the design, plans and specifications necessary to complete the renovation project at the Veterans Memorial Park.

The old pavilion at the park is to be torn down to accommodate a parking lot for the new senior center that is under construction. McKee explained that in losing the old pavilion a new design plan will have to be done to accommodate the drainage that will be lost there. Wakefield Beasley has been involved in the design of the senior center from the beginning.

McKee said the exemption would relieve the county of the expense for a new firm to become familiar with the site, draw up preliminary plans, and create the complete plans/specifications for an IFB for construction services.

Commissioners discussed the proposed 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting calendar which will include a couple of minor changes to accommodate Independence Day and Thanksgiving, which fall on Thursday. Those meetings will be held on Tuesday. The proposed calendar also accommodates the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Annual Conference in April. Additionally, no meetings are scheduled for the weeks of New Year’s and Christmas.

Also on the agenda was a discussion about the reappointment of Chief Voter Registrar Glenda Ferguson to Chairman of the Board of Elections & Registration. That is expected to be approved at the next voting session.

Items discussed during work sessions can be voted on at the next regular meeting.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Two county departments ask for budget cuts

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Coroner Ted Bearden presents budget request.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County officials are walking that fine line between trying to reduce the cost of government and providing the quality services citizens expect. Two more departments presented budget requests for 2019 that reduce their operational expense during Thursday’s budget hearing. Several others asked for modest increases.

County Manager David Headley asked for $8,625 less than his 2018 Administration budge while Justin Power in the Clerk of Courts office is requesting $36,743 less.

The General Government budget requested shows a $131,261 increase over 2018. But that amount is misleading since $100,000 of that is in a contingency account which can be used in an emergency, but which is not expected to be spent. There was some discussion about removing that from the General Government budget and placing it in the county’s Fund Balance.

Coroner Ted Bearden is another example of a county official working hard to keep costs down. So much so that he is self-funding some functions.

Bearden asked for a minimal increase of $20,747 Thursday. He pointed out that his office has not asked for an increase in nearly 20 years. He also noted there has been a 30 percent increase in the coroner’s call volume so far this year. He is also requesting the addition of one new deputy coroner, plus training expense and the cost of some equipment.

Bearden thanked Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, who served as the county’s Emergency Services Director for many years before running for chairman, for volunteering to act as deputy coroner.

“The county doesn’t pay him to work cases,” Bearden said, “So I pay him out of my own pocket.”

Bearden did hire a deputy coroner this year but because there was no position in the budget, Bearden funds that position himself. “I really don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay him just to keep the county covered,” he said. “But that is the only way I can make it work. We are 24/7, 365. If we get a call Christmas morning, somebody’s got to go.”

Facilities Maintenance, which is responsible for repairs, preventative maintenance and construction of all county facilities, requested an increase of $25,206 to $1,049,928. Much of the increase, if approved, will go toward property repair and maintenance.

Board of Equalization requested a slight increase of $5,533, $5,000 of which was an increase in the salary line item that resulted from the commission-approved salary increase of 2017.

Information Technology is also asking for an increase of about $46,138 in its 2019 budget.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Missing Atlanta Woman Died of Self-inflicted Wound

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Dawson County Coroner Ted Bearden confirmed today that 29-year-old Jillian Hudson, the Atlanta woman whose body was found inside her abandoned car on Lumpkin Campground Road in Dawson County Thursday, died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hudson had been missing for two days when employees at a medical office building across from the Outlet Mall reported the abandoned car parked behind the building.

The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office investigated the incident.

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