City Council Advertises Millage Rate

News

Jasper, Ga – The City Council approved advertising for their millage rate alongside other items this week. Moving the meeting due to the holiday, the Council met on Wednesday, September 5.

The Council made no changes to the rate, leaving it at 4.655 mills. Thought Lisa Hoyle said in the meeting that the inflationary rate actually went down, it did not force a rollback rate. With growth in the county and new construction, the city could still see a rise in revenue, but they decided not to raise or lower the rate to affect any other changes to the budget.

With the advertisement, the council can move the next two meetings in October and November, this could also include a Special Called Meeting if needed. Citizens are invited to speak on the Millage Rate at any meeting set to discuss the subject.

The City also motioned to move forward with negotiations in the interest of connecting a water line to a new Pickens County Water Treatment Plant. With finer details still in need of finalizing and concessions between the two entities to be met, the City will be sending Mayor John Weaver, City Manager Jim Looney, and David Hall back into the negotiations to protect the city’s interests.

The approval simply notes the city’s willingness to participate in the new treatment plant by constructing the pipeline and covering the costs. It could mean the ability to trade water between the city and county treatment plants as well as adding a potential 300,000 gallons of water per day to the supply for the area.

The city is set to continue updates for the council in coming meetings as details and agreements are finalized. The city is also looking to maintain its water supply and flow through potential drought conditions.

A third major topic the council discussed involved restricting turn options at Mark Whitfield Street and Highway 53 and a four-way stop at Old Philadelphia Road and Confederate Avenue.

Making the turn left off of Mark Whitfield Street next to the drug store was approved in efforts to fight against the danger of what Looney referred to as a “Blind Turn.” Making the action illegal will cut down on the issue while encouraging drivers to begin using alternate routes such as moving over to North Main Street or on the opposite side to Richard Street. Officially approved as “Right-Turn only,” the approval will actually have citizens avoid going straight across either.

A four-way stop on Old Philadelphia Road is set to help avoid traffic back-up from another dangerous intersection. With heavy traffic involving the many businesses located on Confederate Avenue and Philadelphia Lane, as well as traffic coming from the nearby Wal-Mart using Old Philadelphia Road as a shortcut towards North Main Street.

Requested by a business owner in the area, the council decided they wished to further investigate as the item was placed on the agenda last minute. Officially tabled until October’s meeting, the council will be looking at the intersection until then.

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Pickens commissioners talk water in February meeting

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners could see major changes to its water system in February.

Two issues dealing with the subject will affect the county moving forward. However, many citzens may not see these changes right away. That is because the first issue is set to strengthen the county’s water back-up power system in emergencies, and the second will only affect rates for meters two inches or larger.

The county has secured an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Generator Grant. According to a report the county heard in its work session, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) visited Pickens to view the water pump sites in the county. After going through paperwork and traveling across the county, GEMA has signed off on the grant and the county should receive the money, $185,115, by the end of February to move forward with adding a backup generator to another of the county’s water pumps to maintain water access through power outages in situations like storms, a tornado, or other disasters. The county is matching $24,000 in the project works for the grant.

Additionally, the representative from GEMA saw other sites to add five more generators to complete the backup power of the county’s water including one at the public works to help with concerns over the fuel depot. Having already taken the representative to these other locations could expedite the pre-application for grants on these other sites.

The other issue discussed at their work session focused on a rate increase being requested by the Pickens County Water & Sewer Authority to compensate for an increase in water drawn from a business in the area; however, the specific business was not disclosed. The increase is not going to every customer, rather only the large meters two inches and bigger. The increase comes on the heels of information that the one customer has been drawing, on average, 190,000 gallons of water per day.

The current look of the water rates, according to the county’s website, looks like this:

WATER RATES & METER FEES

¾ inch meter …… $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons .

1 inch meter……  $51.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

2 inch meter……$66.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

3 inch meter……$76.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

4 inch meter……$81.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

6 inch meter…. $111.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

$5.00 per thousand above 1,000 up to 3,000 gallons

$6.00 per thousand above 3,000 up to 5,000 gallons

$7.00 per thousand above 5,000 gallons and above

FH meter…. $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$4.25 per thousand above 1,000 gallons

Since the county can only pull 280,000 gallons of water from Cherokee County per day, before incurring a heavy surcharge, to supplement the water usage, the Authority is requesting their rate increase. Currently, the top end rate stands at $7 per thousand for anything 5,000 and above, but the increase will change it to $7 per thousand from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons and $9 per thousand for anything 10,000 gallons and above.

Since it was a work session, neither item has had official action yet. Citizens still have the chance to speak with the board members at the regular scheduled meeting on the third Thursday of the month, February 15.

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Hurricane Irma Impacts State Rate

State & National

Jobs decrease slightly in state, as Hurricane Irma impacts Coastal Georgia

ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Hurricane Irma caused Georgia’s job numbers to fall and unemployment claims to rise in September.

Butler noted that the state lost about 500 jobs for the month.  Similarly, Georgia also saw nearly 25,000 unemployment claims filed in September. That was a modest increase from the prior month and from September 2016. A 240 percent jump for the month in the coastal region drove the statewide numbers up slightly, the commissioner said.

“Even though the hurricane did have a negative effect on Georgia’s job and unemployment claims numbers, we still had a record month for employment and persons entering the workforce,” Butler said. “This shows the strength of Georgia’s economy and job market.”

Butler noted that even though September’s numbers were impacted by Hurricane Irma those changes were not enough to significantly affect the state’s strong performance over the past 12 months. Georgia added more than 84,000 new jobs during that time, Butler said.

Further, Butler said in September the state jobless rate continued to decline. He reported the September unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in August. It was last that low in June 2007. The monthly rate compares favorably to last September when the rate was 5.4 percent.

Butler added that employment among the state’s residents was up by 35,649 from August. That’s the largest single-month gain in at least 40 years.  The labor force, which is the number of residents employed and those unemployed but actively looking for work, rose by 25,761, as the number of unemployed declined by 9,888.

“It continues to be a very good year for Georgia’s economy when you look at the whole picture,” Butler said.

With the monthly job loss, Georgia ended September with 4,497,200 total jobs.  Jobs were up 1.9 percent from September 2016.

Most of the over-the-year job growth came in professional and business services, 28,200; leisure and hospitality, 19,200; education and health services, 14,600; and trade, transportation and warehousing, 10,400.

Statewide, unemployment claims were up by 3.6 percent to 24,666, due largely to temporary claims filed in manufacturing and accommodations and food services. Compared to September 2016, claims were up a modest 1.1 percent from 24,403.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 56,210 new active job postings in Georgia for September.

Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.

DATA FOR THE METRO AREAS ARE ATTACHED, TABLES AND GRAPHS REFLECTING LABOR MARKET DATA ARE AVAILABLE AT http://dol.georgia.gov/current-labor-force-data-and-graphs

NEWS MEDIA NEEDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY CALL (404) 232-3685

Pickens BOC Public Hearing and Regular Meeting 9/15/16

News

The Pickens Board of Commissioners held there Public Hearing and Regular Meeting regarding the Millage Rate increase in Pickens County.

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