Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pike Tax Hike Hearings

The Pike County Commissioners held two public hearings Wednesday to allow input on a proposed increase in the tax millage rate of .118 mills.

At the morning hearing, businessman Howard Rawlings urged the board to cut another 10% from the budget to avoid a tax hike. Merritt Speir who volunteered to help prepare the budget with former county manager Tommy Burnsed, had a presentation and indicated they went through two rounds of budget cuts before they arrived at the current numbers. He and Burnsed have called it a bare bones budget.

At the night hearing commissioner Tommy Powers said, "We skin it back as far as we could and still survive next year. At Tuesday's regular meeting the commissioners were told there's only $9000 in the general fund, $10,000 in cash reserves, the fire fund has $118,000 and E-911 $73,000. The commissioners have approved a line of credit for $800,000 to cover county operations till the end of the year, a tax anticipation note.

Upson Tax News

The Thomaston City Council adopted the 2010 tax millage at a called meeting Thursday, the rate of 3.62 mills is the same as last year. Mayor Hays Arnold thanked City Manager Patrick Comiskey and city department heads and employees for working hard to hold down operating cost.

The County Commissioners and Board of Education set their millage rates Tuesday, there was no change.

Upson County Water Super Hired by SouthWest

Upson County Commission Chairman Maurice Raines says the county water superintendent, Chet Ward, is leaving in two weeks. He's been hired by SouthWest Water, the City of Thomaston's water operations consultant. Chairman Raines stated, "Chet has done a great job and I hate to see him go, but he's getting a pay boost." The chairman said the county has personnel who can step in and carry on, but the board will advertise the post.

The commissioners are also taking applications for tax assessor following the resignation of Emily Oxford last week, one application has already been received.

Chairman Raines said the Department of Family and Childrens Services has rejected the old Georgia Department of Transportation building because there is no elevator and limited parking out front. He urged the board to look for tenants.

Upson Commissioners Meeting

At the July 27th meeting of the Upson County Commissioners, a beer and wine pour license was approved for Tony Nicholson at the Ridge Golf Course.

Susan Hill, Executive Secretary for the Thomaston-Upson Development Authority was recognized as employee of the month.

Commissioner Steve Hudson said the work is starting on a culvert at Reeves Creek on Old Alabama Road. For four weeks motorists must detour to Roland Road and Fork Drive.

The commissioners have a work session, Tuesday, August 3rd at 8:00 A.M.

School Board Selects New Fine Arts Location

At Tuesday's meeting the Thomaston Upson Board of Education selected the site for the new Fine Arts Center. The site is located between the high school and South Elementary on property the school system already owns. The location will eliminate land costs and it will be within easy walking distance for all schools except the middle school.

The board appointed an advisory committee to work with the architect on planning.

Community appointees: Juliette Hightower, Eddie Rogers and Jay Eubanks.

School system appointees: Band Director Jeremy Stanley, Choral Director  Jeremy Rooks and Drama Director Josh Sermones.

School board members: Keith Rowling and Angeline McGill along with Mike Majors from the central office.

The school board passed a resolution allowing the use of general funds for the project to be re-paid when the SPLOST begins in August. The total maximum amount allocated for the project is seven million dollars.

Riggins Granted Bond

In Upson Superior Court Friday, Judge Tommy Hankinson granted bond to Robert Ryan Riggins on a child molestation charge. The bond is $125,000 and Riggins will spend nights and weekends in jail. Other stipulations include paying a weekly jail fee of $100, adhere to a child protective order and have weekly drug and alcohol testing. 

Assistant District Attorney Alana Gernade opposed the bond because Riggins has a new charge of vehicular homicide relating to the death of a a female motorcycle rider May 22nd. Prosecutor Gernade said the child molestation case will be presented to the August Upson County Grand Jury but evidence in the vehicular homicide case is not ready.

Superior Court Pleas

A defendant charged with child molestation entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by Judge Tommy Hankinson in Upson Superior Court. Juan Marquez Lyons, 10 years, serve 5 and $2,500 fine.

Casey Melinda Taylor, two counts of forgery, 3 years to serve.

These cases fine and probation:

Balind Bakhtiar Salith, criminal trespass and interference with custody

Morgan Shawn Key, theft by conversion

Austin Ray Odom, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana

Berry B. Harrington, possession of drug related object.

Bank Teller Arrested

According to Thomaston Police, a bank teller was arrested for theft by deception Monday. Nina Armstrong of East Moore’s Crossing Road was terminated from West Central Georgia Bank downtown branch. Cash was allegedly taken from the bank over a period of time.