Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Few Seize Chance To Speak On Liquor-By-The-Drink Referendum Now Before Oconee County Board Of Commissioners

Action Expected Next Week

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, anticipating a large turnout tonight for its discussion of a liquor-by-the-drink referendum, moved its meeting from the relatively small Commission Chamber to the much larger Courtroom 1, but the change of venue proved to be unnecessary.

Only nine people spoke, with three of them expressing opposition to the proposal to put the issue before voters in November.

The remainder said they wanted citizens to have a chance to vote, though most did not take a position on what citizens should do once they go to the polls.

Joey Wilson, chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, said he was certain that some people in the community want the issue on the ballot so they can vote it down, as voters have three times in the past.

Others want the issue to pass, Wilson said, as the video shows. Reflecting the position of the Chamber, Wilson said the BOC should put the issue on the ballot.

In the end, the issue was simply put off until the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5. Chairman Melvin Davis said last night he will ask for the Board to vote then on whether it wants to put the issue on the ballot for the November 4 election.

Daniells Bridge Road

Two projects involving Daniells Bridge Road produced opposition from residents of subdivisions along that roadway.

The BOC was being asked to consider project framework agreements with the state that would set the timetables for widening of the roadway from Mars Hill Road to Hog Mountain Road and for construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road that would connect, via a flyover of SR Loop 10, with Jennings Mill Parkway at Home Depot.

Bob Isaac and James Morris, both members of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee On Land Use And Transportation Planning, said the projects had not been properly vetted and that the BOC should refuse to take action on the agreements.

Isaac and Morris live in Welbrook Farms Subdivision, where I live.

Rick Waller, chairman of the county’s Industrial Development Authority and a resident of Birchmore Hills subdivision, also said more public scrutiny of the plans is needed before action is taken.

I said the road extension would put additional traffic on Daniells Bridge Road that it could not accommodate without a major re-engineering of the roadway.

County Clerk Jane Greathouse had anticipated that the two agreements, as well as one for construction and widening of Jimmy Daniell Road, would be tentatively approved and had them listed on the draft consent agenda for the Aug. 5 meeting.

Instead, Davis, who has been pushing the three projects in negotiations with the state, agreed to put them on the Aug. 5 agenda for further discussion.

Haygood Introduction

County Attorney Daniel Haygood initiated the discussion of the liquor-by-the-drink referendum, indicating that he expected to draft an ordinance similar to the existing beer and wine ordinance should the Commission vote to go forward with the referendum.

Haygood said he expected the county to restrict where liquor could be sold to areas along major highways already approved for beer and wine sale.

One issue the county would have to consider, he said, was what ratio of alcohol to food sales would be appropriate.

At present, 75 percent of the restaurant’s revenue must come from food, but Haygood said the county might want to recalculate that given that alcoholic beverages are more costly than beer and wine.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Busy Oconee County Board of Commissioners Agenda Includes Liquor-By-The-Drink Referendum And Daniells Bridge Road Flyover Agreement

COLA For Retirees Too

Discussion of a liquor-by-the-drink referendum tops a busy agenda of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night that also includes consideration of contracts for three roadway projects, at least one of which has been controversial in the past.

Also on the agenda is an amendment to the benefits plans for retired county employees that led to open disagreement among commissioners early last month and an update on Mars Hill Road widening project that has been let for bid by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Calls For Liquor-By-The-Drink Referendum

Vote Unanimous

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority decided to weigh in on the liquor-by-the-drink issue on Monday afternoon, voting unanimously to ask the Board of Commissioners to put the issue on the November 4 ballot.

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis, a member of the IDA, said the commissioners will take up the issue at their meeting next Tuesday night and then vote on whether to put it on the ballot at the meeting on Aug. 5.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wilkes Defeats Hale In Oconee County Board Of Commissioners Race

Only Woman Defeated

Former Oconee County Commissioner W.E. “Bubber” Wilkes unseated incumbent Margaret Hale in the Republican primary runoff for Post 3 on the Board of Commissioners today, with 51.2 percent of the 4,253 votes cast.

Wilkes will have no opposition in November, meaning he will return to the Commission after an absence of 10 years.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Name Not On Oconee County Ballot On Tuesday Is Key Part Of Election

Early Turnout Nearly Matches May

Melvin Davis’ name is not on the ballot on Tuesday, but he is very much a part of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners Republican primary runoff election.

Post 3 commissioner candidates Margaret Hale, the incumbent, and W.E. “Bubber” Wilkes, seeking to regain a spot on the Commission after a 10 year absence, have made the role of the Commission chairman a key issue in the campaign.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Georgia Department Of Transportation Too Busy To Enforce Sign Law At Oconee County Connector, Deputy Commissioner Says

Explanation For Boswell Signs

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis seems to have it about right.

The state does not have the time for, resources for or interest in enforcing its ban on signs in the right-of-ways for highways around the state, according to Georgia Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Todd Long.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Oconee County Commissioners Set To Approve Agreement For Roadway In Gateway Industrial Park

State paying $172,000

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners is set to give formal approval tomorrow night to an agreement whereby the county will pay John W. Rooker and Associates nearly $250,000 to build a roadway to property Rooker Properties LLC bought from the county in its Gateway Business Park.

The Georgia Department of Transportation gave the county a $172,000 grant to pay for the bulk of the cost. The county, through its Industrial Development Authority, will pay the remaining $75,674 from the money it earned from the sale of the property to Rooker.