Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 29, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 29, 2019

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Page 2B May 29, 2019 i orter By Richard Dumas Monroe County Com- missioners approved a budget amendment to balance the year-end 2018 budget. At the request of the county's chief financial officer Lorri Robinson, commissioners on Tuesday, May 21 increased general fund revenues by $1.12 million and increased general fund expenses by $903,000 in order to reach a final budget of $28.78 million in 2018 revenues versus $28.78 million in 2018 expenses. Robinson, who said 2018 was a "great year finan- cially" for Monroe County, said the county actually ac- crued just over $30 million in revenue and has only spent $24 million thus far for a pre-audit surplus of just over $6 million. In addition, Robinson said the county's state and federal payroll withhold- ing taxes are now being paid on time and said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) waived about $95,000 in penalties for failure to pay payroll withholding taxes for a portion of the previous year. In other Board of Com- missioners' news: The Monroe County Public Facilities Authority approved on Tuesday, May 21 a resolution for the issu- ance of revenue bonds in the amount not to exceed $20 million. The bonds, which will have an interest rate of no higher than 5 percent, will be repaid with SPLOST collections beginning in 2020. The Monroe County Public Facilities Author- ity is comprised of the five Monroe County commis- sioners. Commissioners later approved on Tuesday, May 21 an intergovernmental contract with the Public Facilities Authority allow- ing for the execution of the bonds. Monroe County Com- missioners approved a contract with county man- ager Jim Hedges to include a severance agreement payable only after Hedges reaches the one-year em- ployment mark. Following a 15-minute dosed session to discuss personnel, commission- ers approved by a 3-1 vote on Tuesday, May 21 to give Hedges three months severance with one month added each year up to six months maximum if terminated without cause. Hedges' contract term will renew annually. District i commissioner Larry Evans opposed the measure, saying he object- ed to Hedges receiving sev- erance pay. Evans also said he was opposed to Hedges being allowed to take his county vehicle home to Ashburn, a nearly three- hour daily round trip. By Richard Dumas Monroe County Commission- ers upgraded the county's weather warning siren system. Monroe County Fire/EMS chief Matt Perry told commissioners on Tuesday, May 21 that the county's six weather sirens were installed in 2009-10 after being bought using federal grant funds. Perry said they are VHF radio-controlled, are solar-powered with batteries and often range in performance level from "unreliable to useless:' Perry said the VHF radio system is failing and isn't compatible with the county's newer Harris/Wil- liams communication system. He estimated it would cost $150,000 to $180,000 to piece together a working system by maintaining the current one. Instead, Perry proposed buying a new cellular-based system for $80,399 through Federal Signal (siren manufacturer) and Macon- based Alpha Electronics, Inc. using available Fire/EMS SPLOST funds. The cost would include cellular activations, software, new batteries, the wiring of the system to existing buildings, solar panel upgrades and a six-week installation period. Af- ter the first year, the county would then pay a $5,000 subscription fee for monitoring and activation. When Perry said only about 2,000 citizens live within close enough range to hear the sirens, District 4 commissioner George Emami asked Perry if there was any alternative technology to the weather sirens, possibly utiliz- ing smartphones, that would get weather alerts to a greater percent- age 0fthe population. Perry replied that he wished there were another county funds available to outfit every home with a weather radio. However, Perry said the sirens are popular and said he hears it from citizens when the sirens aren't working correctly. He added that the main intention of the system is to alert people who are doing outdoor activities. "We put these in areas that have the potential for outdoor popula- tions," Perry said. "These systems are often misconstrued. They (citi- zens) think they're (sirens) going to wake you up in the basement four miles away in the middle of the. night. They're not designed for that. One mile from the siren for typically people outside:' Perry said the new system would likely last at least another decade, and then Monroe County could determine what other methods to use in the future. County manager Jim Hedges then recommended the county subscribe to the CodeRED mobile alert application to receive emergency warnings, saying he has it on his Smartphone. Hedges said citizens could then download the app for free on their phones. After about 20 minutes of discus- sion, Emami motioned to buy the new siren system through Alpha Electronics, and his motion passed 4-0. District 3 commissioner John Ambrose was absent from the May 21 meeting. revises animal By Richard Dumas Monroe County Commissioners cut the number of business days from seven to five that an impounded dog will be held before giving the dog to an approved rescue or- ganization or eutha- nizing it. Commission- ers amended the county's animal ordinance on Tues- day, May 21 at the recommendation of interim county ani- mal shelter director Dawn Kennedy, who said seven days was too long for the shelter to hold a dog. Com- missioners previously increased the amount of time the shelter would hold a dog from three days to seven in December 2018 after some citizens expressed concern that dogs were leaving the shelter before their owners had an oppor- tunity to claim them. Senior Care 478-994-9535 105 Martin Luther King Dr Forsyth, GA 31029 Mist our website at YourHome Senior Care has partnered with Electronic Caregiver a personal emergency response system with unique features such as medication reminders, health care reminders and optional services such as Pocket MD and a family caregiver application. The base premier equipment comes FREE when purchased through YourHome Senior Care. There are optional stylish wrist pendants to choose from, and an optional fall pendant which detects falls and calls for help. The monthly service starts at $39.95. We have equipment in our office re, to THAT CAN By Richard Dumas Monroe County Com- missioners agreed to close the railroad crossing at Hwy. 41 South and Charlie Benson Road. The closure, which was approved by a 4-0 vote on Tuesday, May 21, was made contingent upon Norfolk Southern Railroad honor- ing a previous agreement to widen and put crossing n, arby cross- ing at Hwy. 41 South and Old Rumble Road at the railroad's expense. District 3 commissioner John Ambrose was absent from the May 21 meeting. pinned on Mich. A Michigan truck driver has been charged with breaking into local fast food restaurants and stealing $106 on April 1. Forsyth police Inv. Greg Jefcoats has charged Willie Emmett Mixon, 59, of Trenton, Mich. with burglarizing Marco's Pizza, Big Chic and Subway in the wee hours of April 1 and making off with some cash. Inv. Alexander Daniels said video footage showing Mixon's tractor trailer Emmett Mixon was key to identifying him as the suspect, is charged with three break-ins Daniels said Mixon used a brick to shatter at Forsyth fast the glass door at Marco's to gain ent~. He food places, stole $6 from the register. The suspect got and faces $100 from the drawer at Subway, and noth- similar charges ingwas reported stolen from BigChic. in El Paso and Video from Marco's security camera likely in Henry shows a light-skinned black male witha County too. mustache, wearing a white hoodie and blue jeans. While talking to the Marco's manager, Daniels discovered that the Marco's and Subway in Locust Grove had had similar break-ins, and Mixon may face charges there too. Mixon was arrested and charged with robbing two stores in E1 Paso, Texas on April 9, eight days after his thefts in Forsyth. e gwes taxes By Richard Dunlin Monroe County Com- missioners agreed to a Floyd Road property owner's request to waive penalties and interest on a delinquent tax bill. Annette Lucear told commissioners on Tuesday, May 21 she bought a mobile home in 1993 and parked it on Floyd Road. She said the mob'de home was put in the name of her son, Kenny Davis, in 2005, but Lucier said she continued paying the property taxes on it. However, Lucear said she failed to pay the annual mobile home sticker price from 2005-2012, resulting in a tax bill of $323.99 as well as an additional $552.79 in penalties and interest. Monroe County tax com- missioner Loft Andrews told Lucier she could not waive the penalties and in- terest, saying she could find no evidence of county error in the matter. Therefore, Lucier, who said she had no issue with paying the initial tax bill amount, notified commissioners about the situation. District 1 commis- sioner Larry Evans in whose district Lucier's mobile home sits, said he's never encountered a case in which the property owner paid her property tax but not the sticker tax. Because of the unique nature of the case, Evans then motioned to waive the penalties and interest and require Lucier only to pay back the actual tax amount of $323.99. Commissioners then ap- proved by a 4-0 vote Evans' motion pending approval by county attomey Ben Vaughn. District 3 com- missioner John Ambrose was absent from the May 21 meeting.