BOC adopts emergency COVID-19 resolution

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — In responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution at Thursday’s meeting declaring that an emergency exists “that affects life, health, property and public peace.”

The resolution declares:

  • All matters requiring a public hearing are stayed for 60 days from the date of the resolution.
  • Any existing regulatory permits in effect that require a public hearing prior to renewal or extension that will lapse in the absence of such renewal or extension shall be extended.
  • County zoning and administrative agencies will suspend business for 60 days.
  • A 60-day moratorium on public events and/or gatherings. No permit applications will be accepted during the moratorium.
  • The Board of Commissioners shall continue to operate and assemble public meetings. All policy-making functions will be suspended with the exception of decisions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and related to public health and safety issues for 60-days. Citizens are encouraged to view the meetings via online streaming. Those who do attend meetings will be requested to observe social distancing protocol.
  • Contracting, budgeting and fiscal operations shall continue.

County officials had already taken significant steps to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. The following is a list of closings and cancellations enacted thus far:

(NOTE: The first confirmed case of novel coronavirus was reported in Dawson County Friday, Mar. 20.)

  • All programs of the Dawson County Parks and Recreation Department temporally suspended until March 30, 2020. But the parks maintain regular hours so citizens can enjoy outdoor activities.
  • Both gyms at Rock Creek Park in addition to the gym at Veterans Memorial Park closed until Mar 20.
  • Senior Services and Dawson Transit have closed all services and programs, with the exception of Meals on Wheels, until further notice. Call the Senior Center with any questions (706) 344-3700.
  • Dawson County Planning & Development asks citizens to call the office at (706) 344-3501 prior to visiting.
  • Dawson County Elections & Voter Registration: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has moved the Presidential Preference Primary from March 24, 2020 to coincide with the State Primary scheduled for May 19, 2020. There will be no more in-person voting until in-person voting begins for the May 19, 2020 state primary in April.  Please contact the Elections & Voter Registration Office with any questions at (706) 344-3640.
  • Dawson County School System Board of Education: For the most up-to-date information please visit their website or call 706-265-3246.
  • The Chestatee Regional Library System Board voted to close all branches of the library system to the public until March 30. The Board is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 to reevaluate this decision and decide to reopen or remain closed past March 30. For questions, call (706) 344-3690 or email at Dawson@chestateelibrary.org.
  • Tax Commissioners Office: Taxpayers are encouraged to conduct their business through online services. The office offers a number of motor vehicle and tax related services online, without the need of in-person interactions. Drop-Box: Renewals and property tax payments can also be placed in the drop-box by 4 p.m. for same-day processing. Online Services:

Motor Vehicle: For renewals, canceling registration, printing registrations, calculating TAVT etc. Our e-services portal is https://eservices.drives.ga.gov. Property: You can look up past payments, email or print receipts, pay current bills online, and etc. These transactions can be completed online at www.dawsoncountytax.com. MVD Self-Service Kiosk: Multiple motor vehicle transactions can be done on the kiosk including renewals that will print a decal immediately. Here is a list of all the Kiosk locations, https://dor.georgia.gov/mvd-self-service-tag-kiosk. If you have questions, call (706) 344-3520 or visit www.dawsoncountytax.com.

Tax Assessors Office: The office is closed until further notice but staff will maintain regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Call (706) 344-3590 with any questions regarding completion of forms or deadlines; or Visit www.DawsonCounty.org and go to the Tax Assessor department for more information.

Julie Hughes-Nix announces her retirement from Dawson County Board of Commissioners

Business, News

Julie Hughes-Nix

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga – Thursday’s Board of Commissioners regular meeting started with what must have come as a surprise to many in the audience.

Julie Hughes-Nix, the first woman to be elected to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners announced that she will retire at the end of this year.

Nix, who will complete 20 years as commissioner of District 4 in December, made the announcement during Thursday’s regular county commission meeting.

“Today, I want to make the official announcement that after prayerful consideration that my time serving District 4 will come to a close at the end of this term,” she said.

“It has been a great honor and  I have truly enjoyed serving the people of Dawson County, and I want to thank the people for supporting me all of these years. I will continue to give my all for the next 11 months and will work as earnestly and hard as I have always tried to do. After serving it is now about how I want to spend the next chapter of my life. Enjoying family.

Her knowledge and experience will be missed on the Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Brenau. She is also a graduate of the Certified Commissioner’s Advanced Program. She has served as a board member of Ninth District Opportunity and treasurer of Reading Education Association of Dawson County.

In other business, commissioners rejected a bid of $311,111 on 77.67 acres of surplus real property located along Shoal Creek Road. The county purchased the property for $1.7 million and it has been appraised at $1.1 million.

The property has gone out for bids several times, but the Board has not received an offer that was acceptable.

Commissioners then voted unanimously to approve a budget adjustment to correct a billing error by the Enotah Judicial District Superior Court. Court officials discovered recently that it had under billed the county for its services the last few years.

Commissioners also approved:

An alcohol license for Ray’s Signature Grill located at 200 N400 Center Lane to sell beer on the premises;

A debris removal and disposal contract with Graham County Land Company to be utilized following a disaster such as a hurricane or flooding. There is no cost to the county unless the company is called to report during a disaster. Then the cost is per hour;

A debris monitoring contract with Debris Tech to monitor the cleanup following a disaster. There is no cost to the county unless the company is called to report during a disaster;

Emergency Services request to approve renewal of the statewide mutual aid agreement through 2024;

A 50-50 matching grant with the Georgia Forestry Commission. The grant is for $10,000. The county is responsible for $5,000;

An Emergency Management Preparedness Grant in the amount of $15,568.  The county is responsible for $7,784.

Items discussed during work sessions are generally not voted on until the next regular meeting.

A lengthy conversation that took place during the work session that centered on what has become a hot-topic in Georgia and nationwide – Second Amendment Sanctuary cities and counties.

The Board asked County Attorney Angela Davis to review the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution adopted by Habersham County.

Her review resulted in a “redline version” of that resolution and a “short form” draft resolution that Dawson County could consider separately.

“I made some changes that are largely corrections of misquotes from the Constitution,” she said. “It also contains clarifications of federal law and also clarification as to the employees, agents and officials this Board can’t control. Obviously you can’t control operations of the Sheriff’s Office or the D.A.’s Office.”

She said the Board could also consider a “short form” drafted by her office.

That version states the Board’s firm support for the Second Amendment and that it will make no law that infringes on the right to bear arms. It also affirms the Board’s support of the sheriff to exercise his discretion when enforcing firearms laws.

“The short form,” Davis said, “stays very clearly in the lane of what you have controlling authority over. The redline version, she added, is “creeping out a little bit beyond what you have the authority to do.”

During the work session commissioners also considered:

A request by Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Greg Rowan to accept a 2020 Criminal Justice Coordinating Council K9 grant;

A request to approve a special event license for a Hippie Fest that celebrates the 1960s on March 14 and 15 from noon until 7 p.m. at the location of Uncle Shucks Corn Maze at the intersection of Bannister Road and Hwy. 9 South;

A request by Planning Director Jameson Kinley for the Board to create a nuisance property ordinance;

A request by Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson to approve an automatic aid agreement with Pickens County;

A request by Thompson to approve the 2020 Charity Boot Drives;

A request by Thompson to accept a Georgia Child Passenger Safety mini-grant;

A request by Thompson to accept an Emergency Management Performance Grant.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Small Business Week in Dawson County

News

DAWSONVILLE,, Ga. — There’s never been a better time to celebrate business in Dawson County.

Dawson County Board of Commissioners unanimously proclaimed May 5-11, 2019 to be National Small Business Week in Dawson County.

To celebrate, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be spotlighting its business members through its social media and newsletter as well as visiting members with staff and its Ambassador team.

“We are thrilled to use this week as an opportunity to showcase our business members,” Chamber President Christie Moore said. “Since a business is considered small if it has 500 or less employees, all Dawson County businesses technically fall into this category. Dawson County businesses keep our community thriving and we are grateful to all the local entrepreneurs who innovate, inspire and choose to do business here in Dawson County.”

Dawson County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May 5-11, 2019  as National Small Business Week at its vote session meeting on May 2.Pictured with the Board of Commissioners are Dawson County Chamber President Christie Moore, Economic Development Director Betsy McGriff and Membership Director Melissa Mayton.

Across the country, there are 30 million small businesses which create two out of every three new jobs in the economy, according to the Small Business Administration. More than half of Americans either work or own a small business. Small businesses are also responsible for 32 percent known export values totaling $440 billion.

“Here at the Chamber we are always seeking new ways to help our businesses thrive and grow,” Chamber Membership Director Melissa Mayton said. “Whether it’s a programming or networking opportunity or offering insurance benefits that employers can pass on to their employees, we are passionate about getting our members the resources they need for their business to succeed.”

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

 

 Dawson County celebrates Manufacturing Appreciation Week

News

 

PRESS RELEASE

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — April 15-18 is Manufacturing Week in Dawson County. During the week, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Dawson County will celebrate local manufacturers and industrial suppliers with staff visits to show appreciation and spotlight posts on social media. To kick off hte celebration and recognize the positive impact of local manufacturers, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners passes a resolution of support at their April 11 voting session.

Manufacturers and industrial suppliers play a vital role in the local economy. In Dawson County, the average annual wage for manufacturing-based employment is $10,000 more than the overall county average annual wage. Additionally, manufacturing facilities place a low burden on public services, enhance the diversity of the tax base, provide support to local nonprofits and enrich the education of local students through work-based learning initiatives.

“We have a growing cluster of advanced manufacturing and metal working industries in Dawson County, several of whom are expanding and adding new product lines, Chamber Economic Director Betsy McGriff said. “We are excited to place focus on these firms during Manufacturing Appreciation Week.”

The Chamber recognizes that saying “thank you” to business and industry does not end with one week of appreciation. The Chamber staff and board in partnership with the Development Authority continues to work year-round to foster growth in the manufacturing sector to help connect these businesses to the community at large. Manufacturing growth in Dawson County will provide additional opportunities for citizens to work closer to home for a better wage and improved quality of life.

Manufacturing Appreciation Week is an annual event, co-hosted by the Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development and brings attention to the tremendous contribution manufacturing makes in Georgia’s economic growth. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, more than 9,000 manufacturing facilities exixt in Georgia. These businesses provide 396,339 jobs, generate more than $23.1 million in wages for Georgia’s citizens, and contribute more than $100 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Please follow @dawsonchabergram on Instagram and @dawsoncountychamber on Facebook to learn more about local manufacturing firms as they are spotlighted during Manufacturing Appreciation Week.

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce represents more than 490 members in the North Georgia region. The organization exists to fulfill the mission of “cultivating a successful economic environment and a desirable quality of life for our businesses and community.” Located just north of the intersection of Georgia 400 and Highway 53, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism Development provides a Welcome Center and visitor, business, and economic development information to visitors, local citizens, and businesses. For additional information about Georgia’s Manufacturing Appreciation week, please visit http://www.georgiamaw.org/.

 

 

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

 

 

BOC holds public hearing on millage rate Thursday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County citizens are invited to express their opinions when the Board of Commissioners holds the first of three public hearings on setting the millage rate Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Administration Building at 25 Justice Way.

Commissioners have publicly announced their intention to leave the current millage

rate unchanged at 8.138 mills, or 0.745 mills above the rollback rate which would have allowed he county to generate the same tax revenue as last year. Setting the millage rate above the rollback rate requires commissioners to hold three public hearings. The second hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. The third and final hearing is set for Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $250,000 is approximately $74.50 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $200,000 is approximately $59.60.

Commissioners are expected to approve a request by the sheriff’s office to purchase two 2019 Chevrolet Tahoes from Hardy Chevrolet for a total of $72,870, one 2018 Dodge Charger from Akin Ford Corp. for $23,178 and one 2018 F150 from Allan Vigil Ford for $29,515. The total expenditure for all vehicles is $125,563.

The Board is also expected to approve Phase 1 of the three phase county wide computer replacement program. The total estimated cost for 2018 is $145,000 with funds coming from SPLOST VI. The total estimated cost for the three-year period is $435,000.

The Sheriff’s Office is also asking commissioners to approve a new professional services contract that will extend the number of years the contract for  can be extended from two one-year renewals to four one-year renewals.

Former Keep Dawson County Beautiful Executive Director Robbie Irvin has asked that Kara Wilkins be appointed as the new executive director with an annual salary of $5,000 to supplement to her current salary.

 

 

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

 

Chairman Thurmond will present proposed 2019 budget in Thursday work session

News
Dawson County BOC

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond will present the proposed county budget for 2019 during Thursday’s work session which will begin at 4 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room.

The Board of Commissioners is required to adopt an annual budget prior to the end of the fiscal year (December 31). As part of the budget process, the Chairman presents his proposed budget to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the public.

In meetings after the Chairman’s presentation, public hearings for the budget will be held for citizen input.

The BOC will hold 3 public hearings for the 2019 budget on October 4, 11 and 18. The budget may be adopted October 18, following the third public hearing.

Dawson County Parks and Recreation Director Matt Payne will seek board approval to apply for a Department of Natural Resources Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant. The minimum grant that can be awarded is $25,000 and the maximum is $100,000. A 50 percent county match is required.

The grant could be used to repair or replace the fishing pier at War Hill Park. The pier has undergone repair for many years and Payne says it would be more cost and time effective to have it replaced.

District Attorney Lee Darragh will ask board approval to accept a Victims of Crime Act Grant in the amount of $74,088.84. No county match is required.

County Attorney Lynn Frey will ask board approval to hire a legal assistant who can perform legal secretary functions, is familiar with specified job duties and has relevant experience. The position was described and requested in the County Attorney Budget for FY 2019, but Frey said subsequent discussion has led to the conclusion that the need is sufficiently urgent at present to move ahead on the position rather than delay until January.

The salary for a mid-October commencement of the job would be approximately $6,956.20 for five pay periods through the end of December. Eligibility for benefits would not occur until January. Annual salary for this grade 11 position, using entry level figures, is $30,547.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Commissioner Hamby will not seek re-election

News

Comm. Jimmy Hamby

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby will not seek a third term on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

“I’ve done two terms and that is enough,” Hamby said Tuesday. “I lost my son a year and a half ago, and I want to try to spend more time with my family.”

Hamby, who has built a reputation for keeping a tight rein on taxpayer dollars, said, “I’ve tried to keep the people I represent in mind, and I hope whoever takes my place does the same. I’ve always felt like it was the people’s money I was in charge of and not mine.”

Hamby said he would miss helping to shape the future of the county but added he plans to stay active and involved in county affairs.

“I’ll definitely miss it, but people can still call me and I’ll do my best to help them if I can,” Hamby stated.

Asked about the future of Dawson County, Hamby said, “Here’s the way I look at it: You can’t get much better than Dawson County and the quality of life we have here. I think we’re in good shape as far as our leadership. We have a good board of commissioners and good people working for the county.”

As far as the growth that is headed for Dawson County, Hamby said. “I don’t want to stop the growth, but I want to see it done to the benefit of everybody who lives here.”

District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes-Nix said she would miss Hamby.

“Jimmy always works to provide the very best service possible to the citizens of Dawson,” Hughes-Nix said. “He has been a great steward of taxpayer dollars and has earned the respect of the community and local officials. His commitment to protecting our quality of life is beneficial for the future of Dawson County. It has been a privilege to work beside him.”

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Headley: Sheriff’s budget increase close to $1 million

News

County Manager David Headley

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – A report issued by Dawson County Manager David Headley during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting indicates first-term Sheriff Jeff Johnson, who is threatening to sue the county for a bigger 2018 budget, received an increase of close to $1 million over the 2017 budget.

The sheriff’s budget for the current year is $6,822,566. The approved budget for 2018 is $7,365,547, an increase of $542,981. But Headley points out the sheriff’s office also will receive an increase of nearly half a million dollars in SPLOST funding and an additional $300,000 in capital funding.

Headley’s report indicated the sheriff’s office has received a budget increase in each of the last four years, including next year’s increase of $985,277.

The county manager took exception to a statement made by attorney Joey Homans, who represents the sheriff’s office, at a recent town hall meeting. Homans said commissioners refused to “sit down at the table” to negotiate a budget resolution.

“The notion that we have refused to meet over these matters is just wrong,” Headley said in his report. “The sheriff made his request for a large budget back in July. Since then, we have had several public meetings and hearings and the sheriff and his attorney were allowed to speak as much as they wanted. One of those meetings was a special called meeting held specifically for discussion of the sheriff’s budget.”

He added that the county has repeatedly reached out to the sheriff to offer assistance in matters such as human resources, finance and purchasing, grants and maintenance. “We have a well-trained staff and policies in place which can help with compliance with the law and doing things in the most efficient and economical way,” Headley said. “Our offers have frequently been ignored or declined.”

Headley said he chose to issue his report to clear up much of the confusion and misinformation that exists regarding the dispute between the county and the sheriff.

Johnson has often stated that he needs more officers on patrol, but Headley countered by saying, “Of the sheriff’s position requirements, none are for patrol. He asked for four detention officers for the jail (his top priority), a school resource officer, a communications officer, an investigator, accreditation manager and court services deputy.”

 

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. 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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