U.S. National Debt is focus of Dawson County GOP meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Pepper Pettit shared some startling numbers regarding the U.S. national debt with those who attended the Dawson County Republican Party meeting Monday evening at the Bowen Center for the Arts.

According to the U.S. Debt Clock that informs the public of the financial condition of the United States, the nation’s debt is $23,095,871,671,554. An even more ominous number, Pettit said, is $127.1 trillion in the United States unfunded liabilities.

Unfortunately, the gloomy analysis does not end there. There are proposals in Congress that are likely to be passed if Democrats win the 2020 election that will add trillions to the national debt. According to Forbes, Bloomberg, the Washington Examiner and Fox News, the price tag for the Green New Deal, being pushed by Democrat presidential candidates is $36.1 trillion.

Another expensive program being pushed by Democrats is “Medicare for All,” with an estimated cost of $52 trillion. That does not take into consideration the loss of millions of U.S. jobs that would add another cost of $18 trillion to the economy.

The cost of a “Reparations” program that would be paid to descendants of Africans trafficked as slaves, is estimated to cost $97 trillion. The program has since been expanded to additional classes of Americans such as Native Americans, Gay and Hispanic Americans at an additional cost of $51 trillion. Total cost for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and Reparations, if passed into law, would be in excess of $329 trillion.

BOC Chairperson Candidate Renee Duren speaks to Dawson County GOP Monday.

To pay for the programs, Pettit said, would require an increase in the payroll tax (32 percent), individual income tax (100 percent), corporate income tax (100 percent), income surtax (25 percent) and value added tax (42 percent).

In a more upbeat note, GOP Chairwoman Seanie Zappendorf introduced two Dawson County citizens who will run for public office in 2020.

Renee Duren, who announced her candidacy for Dawson County Commission Chairman in November, said what citizens want most is “to keep their quality of life, planned growth at a rate that doesn’t outpace our infrastructure and government that is honest, open and financially responsible.”

Marcus Sewell, a candidate for Dawson County Sheriff, told attendees there is a lack of leadership in the sheriff’s office and that the budget has been mismanaged.

“With my experience over the last 10 years as commander in the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, I can bring leadership to that agency,” he said.

A longtime resident of Dawson County, Sewell began working in law enforcement in 2004. He worked in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office from 2005 through 2009 before going to work in the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office where he advanced to the rank of captain and currently is in charge of investigations.

 

 

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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Refinance of 2014 bond could save city taxpayers $200,000

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawsonville City Council has tentatively agreed to re-finance a 2014 bond that was issued at an interest rate of 3.05 percent. The new rate will be 1.76 percent, which will generate a saving of approximately $200,000.

Before final approval, however, council directed the bonding company to provide a final analysis of the exact savings.

Council also approved a series of appointments to various committees. Marcus Sewell, a Lumpkin County Chief Investigator who has announced his campaign for Dawson County Sheriff,  was appointed to the city’s new ethics committee. Susan Thiesen was appointed to the Planning Commission. Perry Bohn was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission and Jamie McCracken was appointed to the Downtown Development Authority.

Council also approved:

A registration application by CSL Georgia Realty/CSL Georgia Systems known collectively as unity to use the public right of way to install, operate and maintain telecommunication devices for public telephones, internet and broadband. In exchange, Unity will pay the city 3.5 percent of its monthly revenue;

A conditional use permit for Atlanta Motorsports Park to build garage condos at its facility on Duck Thurmond Road;

A motion to approve a zoning amendment correction on property located at 86 Hwy. 53 west from Institutional District (ID) to Town Business District (TBD) was approved unanimously;

A budget amendment to spend $8,000 for conceptual design of an amphitheater at Main Street Park;

A contract with Custom Fence of Atlanta in the amount of $127,199 for fencing at Main Street Park, with the stipulation that it is to be built in stages;

A potential change order in the amount of $49,563.30 for Main Street Park. The vote was 3-0. Councilman Caleb Phillps abstained.

Council denied the alcohol amendment ordinance and directed staff to move forward with drafting another ordinance.

Also denied was a request by Atlanta Motorsports Park to expand its teen driver training facility.

 

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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Sheriff candidates presented their credentials at GOP meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The 2020 campaign season got off to an early start Monday when the Dawson County Republican Party invited the three candidates for sheriff – Sheriff Jeff Johnson, Jeff Perry and Marcus Sewell to introduce themselves to a packed house at The Bowen Art Center.

Former County Commission Chairman Mike Berg served as event moderator and each candidate was given 10 minutes to speak and a few minutes more to answer questions.

Johnson, who has 26 years’ law enforcement experience, took the lectern first.

His education includes graduating from Dawson County High School, University of North Georgia, Northeast Georgia Police Academy, Sheriff’s Select Academy, National Sheriffs Institute and 3,400 hours in specialized training.

Johnson encouraged voters to consider “true experience” when it comes to electing a sheriff. “The function of the sheriff’s office includes jail operations, court services, 911, patrol and investigations,” he said. “I’m thankful that throughout those 26 years of experience, I have been able to work in and serve each of those components.”

Johnson said one thing that has been a success during his first term is the focus on community programs. “I’m thankful to our citizens who have taken part in those. I still get to teach and take part in those and to empower our community.”

Johnson said the sheriff’s office has overcome internal conflicts and a mass exodus during his first year in office. “When I say mass exodus, we had over 20 employees leave and for a sheriff’s office of 115 employees at the time, that is pretty substantial. Still, we’ve been able to forge ahead and accomplish a lot of good things. One of those being we are a state certified law enforcement agency.”

Johnson also pointed to the state certified medical department within the jail system as an accomplishment. “Should something happen, it should serve to minimize any liability we have. We’ve also been able to better equip our officers with standard weapons, standard gear. We’re proud of our man and women and what they have been able to accomplish.”

Jeff Perry, who is making his second campaign for sheriff, has 30 years’ experience working for the state’s Pardons and Parole Board. After he retired, he started the Criminal Justice program at Dawson County and now teaches criminal justice at the school.  His comments focused on managing the budget and retention of deputies.

“It’s easy to manage a budget when you have the money,” he said. Perry said he managed a budget during the recession when his department could not only get additional money, but the governor took some money away.

“You have to adopt,” he said. “People have to take on additional roles. It takes strategic planning. The Dawson County Sheriff has to have a strategic plan that focuses on retention and recruitment of deputies and looks at future growth.”

Perry is a graduate of the certified public management course at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vincent Institute. “They reminded us that people don’t leave jobs because of money. They leave jobs because of bad leaders.  We have to identify those who are going to become capable leaders and promote those from within instead of promoting bad people who perform bad behavior.”

Perry also said if he is elected he would start an educational allotment that rewards employees five percent for a four-year college degree and an additional five percent for graduate degree.  We have to award those people who go above and beyond.”

Sewell started his law enforcement career in 2004, working at the state prison in Alto where he was promoted up to the rank of Sergeant. In 2009, he went to work in the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office. From then on his career took off.

“In 2011, I became jail commander then I was over Special Services which does narcotics, canine, victims’ advocate and school resource officers. For the last four years, I’ve been Chief Investigator over Criminal Investigations.”

“Over the last eight years as Commander, I’ve managed the jail budget which is half the sheriff’s office,” he said. “You have to learn to control your budget. Every penny, nickel, dime and dime we spend is your tax money.”

“We’ve got to realize we can’t sue the county” he said in reference to Johnson’s failed lawsuit against the Board of Commissioners that cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

“We can’t increase the budget every year,” he said. “We’ve got to work and compromise. In the last two and a half years, the budget went up 18.5 percent.

“In Lumpkin County we have 33,000 residents our budget is $5.8 million. In Dawson County the budget is $9 million with 24,500 people.” With that kind of budget, he said, there is no reason the county can’t put 8 or 9 people on patrol instead of five.

 

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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Marcus Sewell enters race for Dawson County Sheriff

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PRESS RELEASE

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Marcus Sewell, a veteran law enforcement officer and current member of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff where he serves as head of Criminal Investigations, today announced he is a candidate for Sheriff of Dawson County.

“For two and a half years, I have witnessed the fiscal and professional mismanagement within the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office,” Sewell said. “This has to change. With my leadership, integrity, experience and my passion for Dawson County, I am confident that I can give our citizens a Sheriff’s Office they can depend on and be proud of.”

A graduate of Dawson County High School and longtime resident of Dawson County, he launched his law enforcement career in 2004 working in the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto.

In 2005, he transitioned to Dawson County where he worked under Sheriff Billy Carlisle. He started as jail deputy then was promoted to sergeant while working in the jail.  Sewell then transferred to the patrol division. In 2009, he accepted a position in the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office as assistant Jail Commander and once again his law enforcement abilities propelled him upward.

After a stint as Assistant Jail Commander, he rose to Jail Commander, Special Services Commander (drug investigations, K9 deputies, school resource deputies, victims advocate and animal control) and today commands Criminal Investigations. His experience also includes a three-year stint as Georgia Sheriff’s Association region 3 representative for the Jail Management Advisory Committee. The committee does jail management and operations while coming up with safe, efficient solutions for jails.

Marcus has been very involved in the community. He was a collegiate wrestler at Anderson College and he has coached many Dawson County youth in wrestling and football. In 2003-2004 he assisted in coaching the Dawson County High School wrestling team to a third state title. He is also a Leadership Lumpkin graduate, and a member of the Rotary Club of Dawson County.

Marcus’ wife Amber is a nurse at Mount Sinai Wellness Center. They have two children, Tristan, age 8, and Alena, age 4. They attend Harvest Baptist Church where Marcus is also a home preacher.

“I ask for your vote, your support but most of all your prayers as I undertake the challenge of serving as Dawson County Sheriff,” he said.

Please visit Marcus Sewell’ s Facebook page at Marcus Sewell for Sheriff.

 

 

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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2020 Dawson County sheriff’s race beginning to take shape

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Captain Marcus Sewell

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Two potential challengers for Dawson County Sheriff in 2020 have emerged. Jeff Perry, a veteran parole officer, officially tossed his hat into the ring last week and Capt. Marcus Sewell, Chief of the Investigations Division in Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, is expected to announce his campaign next week.

Perry ran against Johnson in the 2016 election and finished third in a four-candidate race. He, of course, hopes to do better this time around.

In making his announcement last week, Perry said, “I am running for Sheriff to serve the citizens of Dawson County because there is nothing more important to me than keeping our families safe, and bringing capable leadership to the top law enforcement position in the county.”

Jeff Perry

Sewell has not made an official announcement but there are campaign-style signs appearing on social media that indicate he soon will. He is a veteran law enforcement officer widely known in Dawson County. He is a graduate of Dawson County High School and served as a deputy for longtime Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle.

Johnson has had a troubled first term as sheriff. In his first year he sued the Board of Commissioners in an effort to get more money for his 2018 budget. He lost the lawsuit and alienated county commissioners and other county officials in the process. Most of them have said privately they want to see Johnson defeated.

Commissioners have also been angered by Johnson’s insistence on hiring someone to handle sheriff’s office finances, a service the county could provide at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The new candidates are almost certain to attack Johnson on his wasteful spending. The unsuccessful lawsuit cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Embarrassingly, Johnson learned at the end of that budget year, he had nearly $500,000 remaining that he failed to spend. That money could have been used to give deputies a well-deserved pay raise. Instead, it went back into the county’s general fund.

Johnson has also attracted a great deal of negative publicity for personnel issues within the sheriff’s office. For example, in 2018 three detention officers were arrested – two for domestic violence issues and another for unlawful sexual relationship with a female prisoner. That same year, an entire night patrol of on-duty officers was discovered playing badminton and leaving the county unprotected. And, in May 2019, a computer aided dispatch report showed that one sergeant refused to report to the scene of an accident for more than six hours.

The election is still a year away, but the campaign is right around the corner.

 

 

 

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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