THE PICKENS REPORT- 2018 IN REVIEW

Community, News

2018 In Review

Pickens County Government concluded a busy and productive year with several projects ahead in 2019. Elected officials, department heads, and staff implemented policies and launched new resources to increase the efficiency of operations. The county government improved services provided to the citizens, and increased services offered. The collaboration amongst various departments, and the dedicated public servants paved the way for many accomplishments during 2018.

Pickens County Public Works resurfaced 27.66 miles of road across the county, in addition to tar and graveling 3.245 miles of dirt road. This brought a total of roughly 31 miles of road that were asphalted or tar and graveled during the year setting a paving record for Public Works. Additionally, Public Works cleaned up over 500 down trees on right-of-way, installed 111 drainage pipes county-wide, and constructed a new parking area at the Tate Depot. The Water Department installed 77 new meters and installed over 17,000 feet of new water line along Jones Mountain Road that will connect to Gilmer County’s water main. Also, the Water Department and Public Works have been working in conjunction to start an in-house brine operation which will allow roads to be pretreated more efficiently during the winter months. The project will be completed in early 2019. The Department of Planning and Development issued 475 building permits, 123 new business licenses, and renewed 605 business licenses for the year. Also, Planning and Development received 16 rezone requests and revised two county ordinances. The 911 Operations Center received 19,976 total calls marking their busiest year in department history. 8,899 of the total calls were medical responses or fire related. Pickens Fire & Rescue acquired property in Tate to rebuild Fire Station #2. Groundbreaking on the project is set for this Spring. Construction on Carlan Road Fire Station #12 continued throughout 2018 and is expected to open within a couple of months. Further, Pickens Fire & Rescue received an impressive upgrade of ISO ratings that indicates fire service readiness and is used to calculate homeowners’ insurance. The Pickens County Recreation Department had roughly 1,000 kids participate in youth sports and 185 kids attended PCRD Summer Camp. Additionally, with the help of an EMA grant a new Thor Guard lightening detection system was installed around the ball fields, the U6 and U8 soccer fields were redone, and new playground equipment was installed with the help of Pepsi and Southeast Outdoors Solutions. PCRD continues to offer many activities for the citizens: the popular adult sport Pickelball, fitness, karate, and dancing classes. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 1,006 animals and adopted out 1,001 animals during 2018. The Pickens County Board of Elections and Registration oversaw four successful elections during 2018. Currently, they are preparing for the 2019 election cycle of city races to be held on November 5th.

Overall, Pickens County Government made great progress in providing quality services for the citizens. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners did an excellent job of leading these efforts. As a new year begins, Pickens County Government looks forward to improving our overall operations further for the benefit of our citizens and our county. Stay connected with us by liking our Facebook page: Pickens County Ga Government, follow us on Twitter: @pickensgagov and monitor our website: www.pickenscountyga.gov for updates throughout 2019. As work progresses and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!

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THE PICKENS REPORT- NOVEMBER 2018

Community, News
PCRD basketball season currently underway.

The holiday season has arrived; marked by cool weather, and festive decorations. This is a busy time of year for most, and especially for those in the Pickens County Tax Commissioner’s office. The group has been working particularly hard this tax collection season. The total 2018 collections as of December 17th, equivalate to 87.47 percent, an above average and successful collection thus far. The collections are from taxes levied on heavy equipment, mobile home, personal property, real property, and timber. Also, the 2019 county budget public hearing has taken place, and all advertised requirements have been met. The budget is set to be approved at the Board of Commissioners meeting on December 20th. The 2019 budget can be viewed online at www.pickenscountyga.gov or a detailed version is available for review at the Pickens County Administrative Building.

During the month of November, the Water Department installed five new meters. The Department of Planning and Development issued 30 new building permits. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 100 animals, and 121 went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to five cases. The 911 Operations Center received 1,448 total calls, 680 were medical responses and fire related. The Road Department is maintaining and pretreating roads for the winter weather. They are also working to clean up debris and the over 200 down trees from the recent winter storm. Public Works expects to have all right of ways clear within a couple of weeks. The Pickens County Recreation Department is currently midway through basketball season. All games will break for Christmas starting December 22nd and will resume on January 5th. Additionally, new playground equipment will be installed later this month at Roper Park with a gracious donation from Pepsi. Overall the Pickens County government departments are working hard for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continue to do a great job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments. On behalf of Pickens County government, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!

PCRD basketball season currently underway.

PCRD basketball season currently underway.

Pickens election candidates qualify (FINAL)

Election 2018

JASPER, Ga. – This week marks qualifying for the coming 2018 elections in Pickens County.

Pickens County is holding elections for this year’s open positions for County Commissioner District 1, Board of Education Post 2, Board of Education Post 3, Board of Education Post 5, Jasper City Council, and Nelson City Council.

Each day, FetchYourNews will be taking note of those qualifying for the election and the position for which they will be running.

As of Thursday, March 8, those who have qualified so far are as follows:

District 1 County Commissioner

Amberle Godfrey has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican.

Amberle Godfrey

Bart Connelly has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican.

Bart Connelly

Jerry Barnes has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican. He is the incumbent for this position.

Jerry Barnes – Incumbent

Board of Education Post 2

Joeta Youngblood has qualified for the Board of Education Post 2 position as a Republican.

Board of Education Post 3

The race for Post 3 will see competition this year with two already qualified for the position.

Byron Long has qualified for the Board of Education Post 3 position as a Republican. He is the incumbent for this position.

Tucker Green has qualified for the Board of Education Post 3 position as a Republican.

Board of Education Post 5

Steven Smith has qualified for the Board of Education Post 5 position as a Republican.

Jasper City Council

With the recent resignation of James Looney in the Jasper City Council, the open seat up for election has seen qualifiers as well.

Kirk Raffield  has qualified for the Jasper City Council seat.

Kirk Raffield

Doug Patterson has qualified for the Jasper City Council seat.

Doug Patterson

Nelson City Council

Nathan Hamby has qualified for the Nelson City Council seat.

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Board of Commissioners Meeting

News

Pickens County Board of Commissioners met Thursday, July 20, 2017, to review this month’s agenda.

At the beginning of the meeting the board recognized employee Casey L. Pickett. Pickett has worked for the county in the 911 department for ten years.

The finance report came next on the agenda. For the first six months of the year, the county has a limit of 50% of the budget to spend. Our total expenditures for this time period is at $11,600,457. Only 45.49% of our budget has been spent for the year so far.

The LMIG road schedule for 2018 reappeared on the agenda, the full list has not been posted yet, but roads such as Lumber Company, Hickory Ridge, and Grandview have been mentioned. The total cost for the project would be $455,292, and the state would be matching money from the amount the county puts forth. Board members tabled the issue in favor of further study.

Under new business this month, a request was presented for 4-H funding for a part time assistant. The UGA Extension Office told the board that if the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and Board of Education (BOE) would agree to fund 25% each for the assistant, then they would cover the other 50%. Members agreed to approve the funding as long as the BOE approves their part and should have a solid answer after their meeting.

Sheriff Craig spoke with board members to discuss a capital lease for new vehicles. This would be for 10 more vehicles fully equipped at the total cost of $450,000. BB&T had the lowest interest rate at 2.2% at a three year pay off. Members chose to discuss the vehicles further to find out what type of vehicles would be purchased and to look at all of their options. They plan to revisit the request at next month’s meeting.

The Commissioners did approve the Calhoun water agreement, which allows the county to continue to purchase and sell water with them. The pay is $1.62 per 1,000 gallons, the average water usage from Calhoun is 62% to 70%. The county purchases 360 to 410 gallons of water from them.

Before the meeting adjourned supporters from Protect Pickens Pets spoke to Commissioner Jones to share their comments and questions. To follow this story read “Protect Pickens Pets Confronts Board of Commissioners”.

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

Protect Pickens’ Pets Protest

News

JASPER, GA – Protect Pickens Pets and supporters met at 11:00 A.M. this morning in the Burger King parking lot to hold a peaceful protest against Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones, the Pickens County Animal Shelter (PCAS) conditions, and the County’s dog breed ban. This event has been a work in progress for a few weeks,and has caught the attention of those in Pickens and surrounding counties.

Citizens are still reporting going in the shelter and viewing animals with algae in water bowls and animals with feces in their cage. The group is calling for a change and do not plan to stop until certain conditions are met, such as providing better care for the animals at the PCAS and lifting the dog breed ban.

The ban does not allow breeds such as pit bulls, german shepherds, dobermans, and other bully breeds to be adopted from the shelter in the county. Citizens say that if a dog of that breed is at the shelter they have to be transferred or risk being euthanized.

FYN spoke with Commissioner Jones about the ban who stated,

There is no ban, citizens are allowed to have any kind of animal and breed they want. We sometimes have aggressive animals that come through the shelter and they can be of any breed. If an animal is brought in that concerns the shelter or potential owners they go through testing for aggressive nature. If an animal is deemed aggressive then they will be able to be adopted through another shelter to find the right owner. I want to make sure other animals and people are safe. That is why we have the testing on animals who seem to be aggressive, to ensure the animal won’t hurt anyone. 

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

Board of Commissioners Work Session

News

Jasper, GA –  At this month’s Board of Commissioners Work Session, the board discussed the LMIG 2018 road paving schedule. The list is not complete, but already includes roads such as Lumber Company and Upper Grandview. It will be determined after approval which roads will be paved by the county and by contractors.

Following the road paving schedule, Sheriff Donnie Craig spoke further on Capital Lease for new patrol vehicles. A loan would be taken for the vehicles and paid back with available SPLOST funds.

Sheriff Craig is still looking at different models of vehicles to determine which would be most suitable. The Sheriff’s Office currently plans to keep the better vehicles they have and surplus out the others.

The board spoke next on the proposal of the Georgia Mountain Regional Contract, which would allow new and updated photography of Pickens County. For the full story, follow up with Georgia Mountain Regional Commission Contract.

Don Boggus brought attention to the possibility of two new airport t-hangars. These would be placed on the north side of the current t-hangars. Once built, it is believed they will pay for themselves. Boggus stated that the t-hangars already have commitments, along with a waiting list behind them so the need is there.

The t-hangars would be financed for ten years with two years of that being only interest and a seven year payback. An exact cost for the construction has not been said yet.

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

Animal Shelter Situation Escalates

News

Former shelter employee Judy Moody and Protect Pickens Pets are making plans to be at this month’s commissioner meeting to confront Rob Jones. At the meeting, they say they will be bringing the following concerns and demands:

-You should have the right to choose your family pet, even if it is a pit bull, German shepherd, or Doberman.
-Pit bulls, German shepherds, and Dobermans should not be condemned to a Pickens County Animal Shelter cage or euthanization on a Commissioner’s whim.
-Demand a solid plan to keep euthanization numbers low, so the label “Kill Hill” is never again used for our shelter.
-Our shelter should be managed by a private, no kill agency and out from under Commissioner Jones’ radical control. The shelter should be managed for the good of the animals and Pickens County citizens, not Commissioner Jones’ cronies.
-Shelter staff should be hired on merit and fired for cause, not based on their relationship with Commissioner Jones or any other politician.

On Monday July 24, 2017, Protect Pickens Pets will be organizing a peaceful protest from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM in the Burger King parking lot in Pickens. The group has a permit from the local authorities and are encouraging supporters to create signs for the event.

The group made this statement on Facebook,

If you have not visited Pickens County Animal Shelter lately, please do so. You may not recognize it from just a short time ago. The adult cat room had feces all over and there was no water to be had. Adult cats are having to be packed into cages due to the volume of animals. Some cats have what appears to be untreated wounds and flies are everywhere. Sick kittens are in the same cage as the healthy. The cages were not cleaned and litter boxes were full. The shelter is maxed out with cats and they keep coming in. Dog kennel area had not been cleaned. Judy Moody’s discharge paperwork read: no longer needed. We and the animals at PCAS beg to differ Commissioner Jones. We hope you don’t plan to leave the current shelter employees understaffed and overwhelmed.

Within Moody’s public files her discharge papers did indeed read that her services were no longer needed. Citizens say they are bothered by the news asking,

If services are no longer needed, why is it being stated that the care at the shelter is declining?

Other citizens are questioning if protesters are focusing on the animals and what they need? If that be the rehire of Moody, hiring other employees, or replacing the leadership.

Along with discharge papers, a Voluntary Statement was made by one of Moody’s former co-workers. The statement did say that Judy told the kitten owners in an aggressive tone,

If you would have kept the kitten inside the kitten wouldn’t have gotten injured and run off. If you don’t want people to pick up your animals you should keep a better eye on your pets and keep them inside.

Commenters mentioned this wasn’t the first time that an incident like this has happened.

FYN will follow this story as it continues, or read Animal Shelter Employee Fired.

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

 

Robert Jones Announces Candidacy for Commission Chairman

Featured Stories, Politics

My name is Robert “Rob” P. Jones , and I am announcing my candidacy for Commission Chairman of Pickens County.
(more…)

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