County opens Tate Fire Station with Ribbon Cutting

Community, News

 

JASPER, Ga. – Pickens saw celebrations and attendance from many officials as all three members of the Pickens County Board of Commissioners met to cut the ribbon on the new Tate Fire Station.

The new facility is the second-largest fire station in Pickens County now that it is open and hosts larger drive-through bay doors to accommodate future plans for equipment and hosts the fully drive-through bay area to prevent the larger trucks from needing to back out.

Pickens Fire Chief Sloan Elrod said, “I want to thank all the citizens that voted on SPLOST, without SPLOST this would be very tough to be in this building, to have our new trucks.”

Several officials from across the county were also in attendance including representatives from the Pickens Board of Education, Cherokee Fire Fighters, the Copeland family who sold the land to the county for the station, the Pickens Sheriff Office, and Jasper Fire Department among others.

With those wider bay doors on the new fire station, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones said this is part of a direction towards housing a Quint. A quint is a multi-use fire truck that serves multiple purposes based on needs including pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.

Jones said that the board is looking at better and bigger equipment for the community. Part of the opening of this station and the continuing goal that Jones noted is lowering the ISO Rating. This insurance rating, as noted in previous fire station openings and other counties, affects the insurance costs.

Fire Chief Sloan Elrod left and Commission Chairman Rob Jones speak at Fire Station 2 ribbon cutting in Tate Fire Station

Fire Chief Sloan Elrod, left, and Commission Chairman Rob Jones, right, speak at the Fire Station 2 ribbon-cutting in Tate on January 28, 2020.

With Tate’s upgrade into the new station, Jones said the county’s rating is down to a four. Continuing along with past years planning to increase the fire department and lower the rating.

Additionally, the new station will also see the change to constantly hosting three paid firefighters every day according to Elrod. Jones echoed this saying they are still relying on volunteers in the county and want to continue utilizing them even though they will constantly have three on staff in Tate at Fire Station 2.

October 23 – 31 Proclaimed Red Ribbon Week in Pickens

Community, News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners met on Monday, October 21, 2019 to proclaim Wednesday, October 23, 2019 to Thursday, October 31, 2019 to be Red Ribbon Week in Pickens County!

Chairman Rob Jones signed the proclamation Monday morning which states the following:

Send a message: Stay drug free. Whereas alcohol and drug abuse in this nation has reached epidemic stages and continues to be a threat to the well being of children, families, and neighborhoods in Pickens County; And whereas is imperative that visible, unified prevention education efforts by community members be launched to eliminate the demand for drugs; And whereas national red ribbon campaign offers citizens the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to drug-free life styles. No use of illegal drugs, no illegal use of illegal drugs, and, whereas business, government, parents, law enforcement, media, medical institutions, religious institutions, schools, senior citizens, service organizations and youth will demonstrate their commitment to the healthy, drug-free lifestyles by wearing and displaying red ribbons during this week long campaign; And whereas Pickens County is joining communities across the nation in the celebration of red ribbon week and the drug-free life style; And now therefore I, Robert P. Jones, Chairman, Pickens County Board of Commissioners, do hereby proclaim the days of October 23 through October 31 2019 as red ribbon week in Pickens County and call upon everyone to raise the standard of a drug-free Pickens by wearing or displaying a red ribbon and by participating in a wide array of drug prevention activities during red ribbon week.

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BOC considers vending contract in Recreation Dept

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners began considerations for their vending contracts at the Recreation Department.

During their monthly work session, the commissioners listened to details presented proposals from Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi Co. While Pickens has used Pepsi for the last few years, this year’s bid packages were presented to the commissioners with a quick comparison.

That comparison showed that Pepsi has offered a $5,000 check to the Recreation Department and Coca-Cola has offered to either fund two scoreboards plus maintenance or provide a $6,000 check.

Additionally, the county’s ‘commission on vending sales’ with Pepsi would be 30 percent while Coca-Cola would be at 35 percent, Pepsi is proposing to go from $1.50 in price to $1.75 while Coca-Cola’s proposal is priced at $1.50.

Part of the contract with Pepsi is a required truck sale that the county does in the spring, Coca-Cola’s contract holds the truck sale as optional. Selling this miniature trucks functions like a fundraiser for the recreation department according to information in the commissioners meeting.

The county will not vote and decide on the proposals until the county’s regular meeting on June 20, this also gives citizens time to contact the commissioners and weigh in on what they would like the county to chose.

Possible closure of Old Grandview Road at The Salvation Army Camp Grandview

Business, News

JASPER, Ga. – During the Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2019 the board heard from members of the Salvation Army Camp located on Old Grandview Road in favor of closing the road for the safety of the children, as well as members of the community who are opposed to the closure.

Those in favor of the closure cite that closing off the road would make the camp much safer for the children who cross the road to get from one side of the property to the other.

Camp Director of Camp Grandview.

According to the camp director present, they’ve been having trouble with people speeding on the road for quite some time now, and there’s also a terrible blind spot on the road, making it difficult to see who’s approaching.

There’s also a problem with people who shouldn’t be on the camp property gaining access because of the road.

The closure wouldn’t shut down the road indefinitely. Members of Camp Grandview say that they are simply wanting to place electronic gates on either side, making it possible for those who use the road to come and go in the event of weather-related closures of other roads utilized as a bypass, as well as allowing those who use the road for activities such as walking their dogs to continue doing so, as there are currently no plants for any sort of walls or barriers aside from the gates.

Community Member against the closure of Old Grandview.

There were many opposed to the closure of the road, however. A big concern was how difficult it would be for those who use the road regularly to do so in the event of storm damage causing closure to other roads in the area.

There could also be potential issues with delivery drivers, as well as those using a GPS to navigate the area.

Having painted crosswalks, moving traffic signs further away from the crossing area, implementing speed bumps, and having more sheriff presence in the area were all proposed solutions to the problems at hand.

Those living in the area also simply do not want to have to travel further to get to where they’re going, especially when they’re paying taxes that help keep the road maintained.

 

Camp Grandview Personnel.

Members of Camp Grandview state that the children are always supervised, but that the crosswalk from one side of the property to the other was paved over by the county.

A point made was also that people simply disregarding signs meant to slow vehicles down.

With little law enforcement presence in the area, especially during the Summer months, both sides seem to agree that more presence would be a huge step forward.

It was stated during the meeting that the camp does have security guards, speed limit signs, etc. But that there have been several near-misses regarding the safety of the children.

Community members against the closure of Grandview Road.

No decisions have been made yet. It’s been said that there would be someone available to open and close the gate at all times, making it possible for those who live in the area to utilize the area as needed. Members of the camp have also considered having the closure only during the Summer months, as this is the busiest time of the year for the camp.

The next meeting isn’t currently scheduled, but, this issue will continue in future meetings. These meetings are open to the public, and take place at Suite 168 of the Administrative Office Building located at 1266 East Church Street.

The debate on the closure of Old Grandview can be seen from the beginning of the video until (28:49), at which time the board recognizes employees of the county.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiRQWjYrHGI[/embedyt]

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BoC Recognizes Jim Harvey, Christy Fisher, and Shane Callahan!

Community, News

JASPER, Ga. – During the Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2019 several employees of the county received recognition for their services.

Jim Harvey and Christy Fisher received awards for service to the county! (Harvey is on the left, Fisher is in the middle).

Jim Harvey received an award for 10 years of service as the county Marshall, while Christy Fisher received an award for 20 years of service with Pickens 911 services.

Shane Callahan, Life Safety Coordinator for the school system program, received an award as Pickens County Fire Marshall, though he also received his badge during the meeting. This badge allows him to conduct fire safety inspections, conduct fire scene investigations, and prepare and submit reports to the state, among other duties.

The awards ceremony portion of the meeting may be viewed from (29:25) until (33:45) in the video below!

 

 

Shane Callahan, Pickens County Fire Marshal.

Congratulations from Fetch Your News to all who were recognized during this meeting, and thank you for your service to the county!

 

 

 

 

 

 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiRQWjYrHGI[/embedyt]

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

County finds funding for Jones Mountain Road slide

News

JASPER, Ga. – The citizens of Pickens County breathe a sigh of relief today as County Commission Chairman Rob Jones shares information on funding for repairs of the damage that has shut down Jones Mountain Road close to two months ago.

Citizens have been avoiding the area since February 22, 2019, when the county closed the road after major storms washed out the ridge under the road and caused part of the pavement to crumble away. The road is still closed today, but Jones says this will change soon as the funding will allow them to move forward with a proposal from GeoStabilization International to reopen the road.

The county has secured $1.3 million in funding from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank with the SRTA (State Road and Tollway Authority as well as an additional $500,000 from the state’s emergency LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) to cover the estimated $1.8 million project. These estimations came when Chairman Jones called the event a “major disaster” in early March.

Jones says that additional companies have spoken with the county about their own proposals for the repairs. But utilizing these funds requires the project to meet and adhere to DOT guidelines. Additionally, operating under the emergency status for the county, they will not wait for a bid process that could take up another two months before any repairs begin. Instead, the county is moving forward under the proposal with GeoStabilization International.

While the road will take upwards of two months to fully repair, Jones reiterated his intentions, as he explained in the March Commissioners’ Meeting, to get the road open for use of a single lane within the next two weeks. As part of the proposal, this quick turnaround will address the extra 4.7 miles that both citizens and emergency services must travel to go around the slide area.

While some points of the project are still up for negotiations in the upcoming pre-construction meetings, Jones asserts that the funding will cover the entirety of the project. However, he did note that the county could reach into the $100,000 contingency funds should the need actually arise.

Jones noted that receiving the state funding would not have been possible without a major concerted effort. Pickens County Finance Director Faye Harvey in conjunction with state representatives Steve Gooch, Rick Jasperse, andChuck Payne worked alongside Emily Dunn on the State Board to make a last-minute push for state involvement to bring funds to relieve the citizens from such a major financial impact from this emergency.

Citizens of Pickens should begin seeing the repairs and construction beginning soon and in a matter of weeks, access through the entirety of Jones Mountain Road should be returned, if only a limited one lane access.

Continuing operations in Pickens BOC

News

JASPER, GA. – Much of the Board’s meeting focused on continuations of present items as they reappointed members to boards and authorities and continued as the agent for a grant.

Family Connections requested the continuation of the Board of Commissioners acting as the fiscal agent of the Family Education Grant. Finance Director Faye Harvey said that either the Board of Commissioners or the Board of Education has to be the agent on the grant. She also noted that the expenses for the grant are reimbursed quarterly.

County Commission Chairman Rob Jones stated that the county has “done this for a few years now.” The motion came for approval by giving the chairman the authority to sign the agreement.

The Board also reappointed John Tatum, Phillip O’Bryant, and Jack Brown to the Pickens County Water and Sewer Authority and Lee Thrasher to the Pickens County Planning Commission.

Also continuing previous work, a resolution was passed by the board confirming the use of the land where the Veteran’s Memorial currently is and the land south of that as well as the property west of the parking lot for honoring veterans of Pickens County.

The Veteran’s Memorial currently in place stands as an achievemnt for both Pickens County and the City of Jasper, but continuing further developments are possible with the confirmation of this property.

Though this doesn’t guarantee the land for any one organization, it is set aside for that use.

Pickens year-end budget review

News

JASPER, Ga. – January’s meeting of the Pickens County Board of Commissioners brought with it the final budget report of FY 2018.

Entering the new year showcases departments both over and under. Most notably, the budget sat at 97.92% ($25,648,382) of total revenue collected.

On the other side, total expenditures came in at 92.72% ($24,287,881).

Individual Departments and Offices over-budget at the end of December include:

  • Sheriff was budgeted at $6,663,915. The 2019 Actual was $6,759,370, achieving 101.43% of the budget.
  • Probation & Drug Abuse Funds was budgeted at $27,500. The 2019 ACtual was $58,984, achieving 214.49% of the budget.
  • General Gov Buildings was budgeted at $420,728. The 2019 Actual was $522,158, achieving 124.11% of the budget.
  • Superior Court & Grant Admin was budgeted at $365,124. The 2019 Actual was $395,334, achieving 140.14% of the budget.
  • Economic Development was budgeted at $56,273. The 2019 Actual was $56,768, achieving 100.88% of the budget.

Be sure to see the full budget provided by Pickens County below.

December Summary Pg. 1

December Summary Pg. 2

Chairman Jones optimistic after meeting with Dawson County Chairman

News, Press Release

JASPER, Ga. – A press release from Pickens County could indicate a positive movement on the recent troubles and issues of Dawson County Fire Station 8.

Pickens County Commission Chairman Robert Jones and Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond met on Wednesday the 12th to discuss the recent discrepancies involving Fire Station 8 located off Monument Road. The meeting was productive in making clear the desires and expectations of both counties. The Chairmen agreed the most crucial aspect is to provide adequate fire protection for both counties’ citizens. The two men representing their respected Boards tentatively agreed to work together to solve these discrepancies and guarantee proper service to this area. The Chairmen also tentatively agreed to begin renegotiating a new Intergovernmental Agreement that will reflect the desires of both government agencies as well as the citizens in the affected community. Chairman Jones believes the meeting was in good faith from both sides and is appreciative for Chairman Thurmond’s willingness to build constructively on the partnership between both counties. Chairman Jones is optimistic in the direction this situation has taken and believes the result will be beneficial to all involved.

Jones publicly addresses Fire Station issue in Work Session

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners held their December work session for department updates. With nothing else but General Discussion on the agenda, no action was discussed for later this month.

However, one point arose as Chairman Rob Jones took a moment in general discussion to address Post Commissioners Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes about a rising issue on the eastern side of Pickens County. Though nothing was set for specifics, Jones noted he wanted to get training sessions for Authority Boards in the county. With some Boards able to bond and perform other tasks in the county, Jones said he wants the people on these boards to know “what the process is and what it does to the tax base of the county or city.”

Jones also took time to address (25:25 in video) a rising issue in Pickens as he spoke pubicly that the Board has been approached about taking control of a Fire Station on Burnt Mountain. The issue has been rising between Dawson and Pickens Counties over the recent months. Dawson County Fire Station 8 is located inside of Pickens County and operated under an intergovernmental agreement. The area served by this volunteer fire station actually reaches across both counties.

Jones noted he still wants to maintain the automatic aid agreement between the two counties even as the Board goes forward with requests from several in the area. Jones stated, “Our main goal is for the protection and cooperation of the citizens in that community.”

Stay with FYN as we sit down with Rob Jones to speak about the rising issue between the two counties.

Pickens BOC approves Sunday Sales

News

JASPER, Ga. – A Special Called Meeting saw the Pickens County Board of Commissioners approve a resolution to officially adhere to election results from November.

The Sunday Sales question on Novembers ballot resulted in 63.55% approval, that’s 8,205 votes. Though election results showed the county’s wishes, it still had to be approved by the Board. Though almost a formality, the election results were followed with a 3-0 vote by the Commissioners to approve the resolution.

Effective immediately after the vote, Chairman Rob Jones clarified with County Attorney Philip Landrum that this allows the sell of spirits on Sundays with a few notable exceptions including holidays like Easter Sunday and Christmas. This will be allowed from 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.  on Sundays.

Though the county already has resolutions for beer and wine, this resolution allows for the sales of distilled spirits.

 

Sheriff’s budget in question for 2019

News

JASPER, Ga. – A full extra mil on taxes, that is what citizens could expect if no cuts are made to the over $1.1 million difference between the 2018 and 2019 budgets for the Sheriff’s office.

The difference accrues over a loss of revenue including an end to the housing inmates from Sandy Springs in the Pickens Detention Center as well as $448,043 increases in the Sheriff’s Administration, Uniform Patrol, Detention Center, and School Resource Officers areas alone.

Although the budget already had at least one point ready to cut as it covered two contingencies involving either continuing overtime pay for certain staff or hiring new employees to spread the work among them. Craig noted there are 11 openings in the office that he is seeking to fill.

Like the other offices and departments, the Sheriff’s Office is seeking the 2.5% increase in salaries for employees. There are other increases such as repairs and maintenance in the office as Craig says some of the older cruisers are showing their age, with some vehicles dating back to 1996.

While the county is attempting to push some of the costs like newer vehicles among other things into the county’s next SPLOST cycle, there are many things that Craig said need immediate attention. He also noted that many of the increases involve things the Sheriff’s Office can’t control saying, “I can’t cut employees, and I can’t cut the services we have.”

He also noted increases to the demands on the office including 37,000 in call volume in this year alone. He said there hasn’t been a major increase in staffing in recent years despite doubling the call volume in the last decade.

Plans for an additional School Resource Officer and upgrading computer systems are just a small part of the changes coming. But citizens need not wait until next year to see them beginning as December will see the office going live with the upgraded Caliber System. Next year will see the $117,965 payment for the system, though.

As the Board of Commissioners are still working on the budgets, the Sheriff’s Office is working along with them to deeper analyze the office’s revenue and expenses. Chairman Jones did note that he believed the county could handle up to a $300,000 increase in the budget without needing to change the millage rate.

FYN reached out to Chairman Jones to ask when the last time a major increase like this occurred in the county’s budget. He replied saying that the county raised the Sheriff’s budget three years ago by about $700,000 to cover inadequate salaries.

If approved as is, the Sherriff’s budget will reach $7,092,649. For comparison, Pickens’ northern neighbors, Gilmer County’s Sheriff’s Budget is proposed for 2019 to total $5,673,394, that’s $1,419,255 less for a county of similar size and population.

However, this is still early in the budget process for Pickens County. As both the Board of Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office have agreed to continue working on the budget, citizens can continue to stay informed through the county’s work session, Thursday, November 1, and special called meetings that may arise in the coming month.

One thing to note as talks continue and a final budget is set. Though discussed and agreed to under the county budget meetings, it is ultimately the Sheriff’s budget and responsibility as the elected official in 2019.

Pickens proclaims Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Community, News
Pickens BOC Chairman Rob Jones signing Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones met with members of the community April 17 to officially sign the county’s proclamation declaring April “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

The proclamation urges “all citizens to observe this month by becoming aware of the reality and tragedy of sexual assault, and by supporting the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network in its efforts to end sexual violence and exploitation.”

Interim Executive Director Elaine Cannon looks on as BOC Chairman Rob Jones signs the county's Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation.

Interim Executive Director Elaine Cannon looks on as BOC Chairman Rob Jones signs the county’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation.

Joined in support at the meeting, Kerri Henderson, Pickens County supervisor for the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Shelly Cantrell, Student Services for Pickens County Schools, showed just a small portion of the network of support the Crisis Network has established to answer the need for those victimized. Elaine Cannon, interim executive director at the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, said the community that makes up the supporting organizations are the key to taking care of those in need.

Proclamations like this one from county and city governments show the official and legal face of supporting the cause as the “awareness” that becomes part of shepherding those in need to those who can help, but also in keeping the Crisis Network open with official support when they seek grants and funding to continue their work.

Another part of the network’s need for awareness, Cannon explained that some victims may not come forward for care due to stigma or fear. Explaining the options for victims and those who just need an advocate in a time of shock or confusion and others needing guidance and support going through investigations or medical care is something that these people may not realize. Catering to every need from a retreat, shelter, or support in a court case, the network continues to build upon the entire support structure to continue, without interruption, to provide for the people they help.

Cannon told FetchYourNews, “If we can work together that way, it ensures that the people get a more broad arena of services … Of course, none of us can provide everything they need all the time, but together we can.”

Commissioners’ finances see Tax Anticipation Note and fundraiser in April

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners saw a work session and immediate subsequent called meeting to finalize TAN Documents and bids for the county’s 2018 Tax Anticipation Note (TAN).

Having sent requests to five banks, the county received responses from two, Community Bank of Pickens and United Community Bank. The interest rates on the two bids saw Community Bank with 2.15 percent and United Community Bank at 3.36 percent.

Being a work session, the board had to leave its work session and officially open a called meeting in order to field a motion to accept Community Bank’s 2.15 percent TAN and a motion to approve Pickens County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones to execute the documents.

Additionally, the board was presented with a $10,000 check from the Wildcat Community as a reimbursement for their work on the Wildcat Community Fire Station. With a major ISO rating drop from 10 to five with the facility, the addition has proven more than effective. The station has constant need for water as it has responded to 191 incidents with six of those being major structure fires (four in Pickens County) since its opening in 2009.

This is part of the support for which the community is thanking the county, helping provide a tank for 45,000 gallons of water, which is half of the total 90,000 gallons now available in the area. The community offers its thanks to the Pickens BOC for its leadership and recognition of need for the area.

The community stretches across Pickens and Dawson counties and has received support from both counties. They continued raising funds for the original and a replacement fire engine better suited for the winding roads on the mountain.

The community has raised over $100,000 in support of fire services for the station and its need. That fund raising is what allowed them to provide the “reimbursement” to the county.

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.

Protect Pickens Pets Confronts Board of Commissioners

News

JASPER, GA – Protect Pickens Pets and supporters filled the room at this month’s commissioner meeting. The group made plans to bring their concerns and requests to the board about the conditions at the animal shelter coming together after the firing of former shelter employee Judy Moody.

Before the meeting adjourned Commissioner Jones made the announcement that anyone with questions or comments could speak one at a time. Hands went up in the air one by one to speak on the situation of the shelter and Moody.

Lisa Kelly commented first,

I am concerned the animals are not being took care of. There is 11% left on the budget that could go towards the shelter. Why is the money not being spent? Feces are in cages and there are empty bowls. When you question the staff they say they are overwhelmed and understaffed.

Linda Ross followed asking,

Who is in charge of hiring? Do they have a background? Sanitation procedures need to be in place. It’s great to have volunteers, but that’s not enough. We need a better staff. The shelter conditions are bad.

Lori Taylor told Jones,

There is a networking to running a shelter. We can’t leave things how we are. We need a company that could deal with the dogs that some fear to help them. Chihuahuas bite more than pitbulls! You’re out of your league with us people. We need to make a committee with rules and regulations.

The members of the board were silent throughout most of the comments and this bothered supporters who came to hear an answer.

Board member Becky Denny spoke to the crowd,

I have been to the shelter and been pleased with it. Legally we can’t speak about an employee. I would be happy to go to the shelter and look around.

Commenters mentioned Denny has been the only one to come to the shelter.

As comments and questions kept coming, Commissioner Jones adjourned the meeting. FYN spoke with Judy Moody after the meeting closed for a statement. Moody replied with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi,

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Commissioner Jones also gave us a statement on how he felt the evening went,

I think it went really good and I believe some of the commenters have great ideas such as creating a board or committee for the shelter. I have had the shelter inspected by the Department of Agriculture and we received an A.

Protect Pickens Pets will be having a protest Monday, July 24 at 11:00 A.M. in the Burger King parking lot. They encourage all supporters to come out to the protest.

The group left this message on their page last night,

Sadly we attended the Pickens County Commissioners meeting last night to witness the painstaking process (sarcasm) of a new Pickens County Tax Assessor being selected. The commissioners discussed how this new candidate owned a Pickens County business with his father and the fact that a commissioner knew who he was. We learned that this new candidate just happened to be the son of the former Pickens County Tax Assessor who was stepping down from the position.
What was never discussed by the commissioners was this new candidate’s education level, experience, resume, his qualifications, or any other candidates that may have applied for this same position.
Now the person approved last night to be your new Pickens County Tax Assessor may very well be qualified. But this would be a simple roll of the dice as our fine commissioners certainly did not put forth any effort to guarantee this.
Is it too much to ask that a person appointed by our Pickens County Commissioners to decide how deep to reach into your pocket be competent to do the job?
How many other Pickens county officials are deciding the daily direction of the county and our lives with their only qualification being a Good Old Boy Certification of Approval?
Is it any wonder that the Pickens County Animal Shelter Directors have all been unqualified and completely inexperienced?
It’s time for a change!

FYN will follow this story as it progresses, or read “Animal Shelter Employee Fired” and “Animal Shelter Situation Escalates”.

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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