Jasper discusses pay scale for city employees

News
meetings, pay

Jasper, Ga. – Since last winter, the City of Jasper has been discussing changes to its salaries and pay scale. Now, the city is seriously looking at a base rate of $13 per hour.

In addition, council member Jim Looney said, as he began discussion on the topic, that he also wanted to look at the “possibility of raising our hourly position by one dollar at the same time.” Still more, Looney also requested looks at moving from weekly pay to bi-weekly pay.

Looney and Mayor Steve Lawrence reiterated this is the beginning of the process as they will be “looking at” these changes. The city is not fully imposing changes yet, simply studying what the costs and results could be. With the accounting software capable of making the process easier to handle, Looney said he understood there is a burden on employees. He also suggested a retention advancement bonus to aid in the transition process to a bi-weekly payroll. Suggested as a one time payment, it was suggested only to be available to ease employees into the new payroll should the city move forward with the option.

Council member Sonny Proctor referenced the efforts of Looney back when he was the interim city manager for Jasper. Proctor noted that the city has been looking at the topic since then.

City Manager Brandon Douglas also echoed the sentiment saying that the priority for pay scale changes since 2019 as the TAVT tax changes and then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 created issues and needs for the city. Douglas said he understood this could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars more, but is a dire need. He stated that he is tasked with the city’s needs and while this could be a recruitment tool, it is mainly a retention tool in efforts to maintain proper levels in the city.

Proctor stated in their May meeting that employee satisfaction “is very important.” The council as a whole agreed with Anne Sneve commenting on the amount of work that has already been done on pay scales. The city will move forward with studies and reports on these possible changes and the effects it could have.

The council will use that information in furthering the development of changes. When the reports are given, the council could approve the changes to be put into use at that time.

 

City Council returns to open events in city with approvals

News
Council

JASPER, Ga. – Plans are now in motion in the city council to return to Fourth of July celebrations in Jasper this year. While last year the city didn’t hold fireworks and had other issues due to COVID restrictions, the council is looking to return this year with a two day event on Saturday, July 3, and Sunday July 4.

According to the presentation by Leslie Miller and discussion in the May meeting of the city council, the plan was set to hold events, the parade, bingo, and celebrations in the afternoon while holding the fireworks display on Sunday along with a band playing at Lee Newton Park.

The parade will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. this year to coincide and “kick off” the celebration with the major parts beginning around 230 p.m. City Manager Brandon Douglas said the process began months ago with planning and looking ahead. He noted that “signature events” like the Fourth of July show great partnerships between the city and other entities. He noted that there would be costs involved including staff time, stage rental, and other needs from departments like the police who help make the event work.

With that, approval for the event came unanimously with the addition for the City Manager to spend what he feels appropriate “in his limit.”

The council also approve an event in September, furthering their return to general activities and public events. This event, to be held on September 2-5, 2021, is a special event for camping at Lee Newton Park. According to the city, North Georgia Family Partners is reserving the park similar to how they have in the past in order to “accommodate camping for Jeep Fest participants to raise money for the children and families in their program.”

According to the event website, for those who don’t know, “JeepFest raises money for a variety of charities that share one thing in common….they take care of kids. Since the event is hosted by the Sheriff’s Foundation, a non-profit organization, the Board of Directors works each year to identify needs in local, state, and national youth needs to support. Some of the charities that we help include the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, the Joy House, Special Olympics for Pickens County, the Boys and Girls Club, the Jasper Youth Sports Association and much more!”

As campers start showing up on Thursday, those getting ready for the event would have places to set up for the whole weekend and using facilities at the training center. The city will not be handling the security for the area, but the motion only approved permission for the usage.

Pickens in recovery from storm damage

News
storm

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. – With schools completely shutdown today, March 26, 2021, citizens and authorities are out in force attempting to recover from the damages caused by last nights storm and tornadoes across North Georgia.

Pickens did not suffer a tornado, but has suffered severe damage from the storm, flooding, and winds during the night.

Earlier today the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office offered a list of known road hazards or roads that are currently impassible from the storms last night.

– Evans Rd has several places that are severely washed out or potentially have damage to the roadway and is shut down.
– Grandview Rd at Pendley Creek below Parkland Dr has a large amount of mud buildup.
– Mineral Springs Rd North just south of Roper Funeral Home has been flooded over.
– Long Rd at the creek is flooded over.
– Talking Rock Road at Highway 136 near Downtown Talking Rock is severely flooded.
– Jordan Road is flooded is some parts.
– Upper Salem Church Road is flooded near the bridge.
– Talc Mine Road is washed out in one area.
– Genett Drive is shut down at Hood Park Drive near the bridge.
– Twin Mountain Lake Circle is flooded and is impassable.
– There is a tree across both lanes of Highway 136 East just west of East Price Creek. There are utility lines involved. State DOT is currently in the process of clearing this obstruction.

The Pickens Board of Education said they worked closely with city and county road officials before canceling class. Due to the storm, many roads have severe washouts that citizens should avoid.

Authorities across the state are warning citizens to not attempt to drive through flooded areas of roads. This is because some of those roads may be so flooded that they only appear to have a foot or two of water, but have washed out the road under it. Risks of severe injury or death could come from driving into such washouts.

stormThe City of Jasper has shared a photo of Gennett Drive (pictured to the right) showing just how bad some of these roads have become.

Roads are not the only effected area as the storm also knocked out power for much of North Georgia. According to Amicalola EMC some of these are quite major including “one large outage affecting 655 members in Pickens County near Cove Road and Grandview. A tree has torn the line down and crews are working to restore power now.”

Due to the calm morning, much of the power has been restored and, according to their outage map, only a few pockets remain that crews are still working to fix.

Pickens County’s Government also issued a statement on the storm saying, “We were extremely fortunate in Pickens County last night to avoid the tornadoes that swept across the south. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many communities that were hit. Unfortunately, we were not spared from several areas experiencing some level of flooding.”

Citizens should also be aware that while the county and public safety officials issued a list of affected roads, there are others not on the list including personal roads and even driveways that can and have been affected.

stormJoAnn Smith commented on the city’s photo, sharing her own photo of her driveway (pictured to the left) affected by a small creek. Any and all water flows have been affected and could potentially cause similar damage.

Pickens County Government has encouraged citizens to sign up for “Code Red Alerts” by taking a moment to fill out the information at the link. They stated, “Doing so will ensure that you are notified by your local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts.”

Geological surveys in nearby areas showed rivers reaching over 12 feet in depth.

As the situation continues to unfold, citizens are encouraged to reach out to public safety for emergencies as the county continues clearing debris, repairing roads, and returning itself to safer conditions.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 1/24 – 1/31

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 1/19 – 1/23

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 1/4 – 1/10

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 12/27 – 1/3

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 12/21 – 12/27

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 12/14 – 12/20

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 12/6 – 12/13

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 11/30 – 12/5

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

BOE updates Distance Learning and Calendar Survey

News
Learning

JASPER, Ga. – With focused consideration for students “not on track” in classwork, the Pickens County Board of Education heard an update on Distance Learning from Curriculum Director Anita Walker.

Pickens is returning as many students as possible to in-person learning rather than virtual learning. Walker noted that they have had students “not-on-track” returning to in-person for multiple reasons varying from a dislike or disconnection with the Pearson program, including some technical issues the school overcame in the first part of the semester, to issue with difficulty of use and focus to scheduling conflicts with younger children who need parental help with the programs while the parents might be working full-time.

While the schools have some experiencing difficulties, many others are succeeding and progressing in the virtual learning. More success was seen in lower grades, Kindergarten to 4th Grade.

Walker did note, however, that she felt that in-person is usually going to provide better educational experiences for the majority of students.

During her presentation, Walker pointed out some details that may be contributing to those not on track with the program including time spent with the program. She broke down data specifically focused on those in that category based on grade levels and compared them to the number of students spending more or less that 30 hours a week on the program.

Touching on support for the program and changes to bolster their efforts to support students and families choosing virtual learning, Walker noted the teachers efforts such as a tutoring program that virtual and in-person students can take advantage of. They are also putting extensions on some class work to aid in students needing that.

On the other side, with about 60 students moving from in-person to virtual learning for various reasons, Walker said the school encouraged students and families to come in a go over the program so that they would no and understand all of the requirements and needs involved with the program before fully committing to virtual learning.

Distance learning was not the only discussion for the day, however, as the board looked closer at results from a survey over the school calendar for 2021-2022.

Learning, Calendar, EducationNearing the mid-point of the school year, early discussion is already coming in for the next school year as Pickens County is going through the lengthy process of adopting a school year calendar.

According to Superintendent Dr. Rick Townsend, a survey was taken with input from students, parents, employees, and residents/business owners.

Of the 1209 replies to the survey, the boards report indicated that 500 were parents, 298 employees, 60 students, and 39 residents/business owners.

The vast majority emphasized a great importance on Thanksgiving and Christmas and not changing those breaks.

Additionally, 70% of the response said they would prefer a digital learning day for snow days or inclement weather rather than making those days up during winter break.

Many comments supported moving back the start date of school into mid to late August, but the board was told that hey would have to do away with several breaks to incorporate that change.

While the recommendation is set to be the same calendar as previously recommended, the board will be voting on the calendar next Thursday, December 10, 2020.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 11/23 – 11/29

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

No activities for schools after 6 p.m. due to weather

News, Press Release

According to a press release from Pickens County Schools, there will be no activities on any campus after 6 p.m. due to inclement weather. This applies to Nov. 30 and the system will provide updates throughout.

Check back for more information.

 

 

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 11/16 – 11/22

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 11/9 – 11/15

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report and photos provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) allows for FetchYourNews.com to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Pickens County. Those arrests are posted on FetchYourNews.com for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

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