Public Hearing Notice

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT

Washington County will hold a public hearing on Monday, September 29, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., at Washington County Board of Commission Chambers, 119 Jones Street, Sandersville, Georgia, for the purpose of discussing the approved activities of the County’s Community Development Block Grant Program. On September 5, 2014 the County was awarded a grant in the amount of $500,000 to renovate the existing 1958 Washington County Health Department in order to accommodate the patient and staff needs and provide a safe, code-compliant facility.

Items to be discussed at the Hearing include:

• The amount of funds received and a description of the activities
• The amount of funds available for each activity and the amount of funds that will benefit low and moderate income persons
• The plan, if applicable, to minimize or prevent displacement of persons and the plan to assist persons who may be displaced.
• Fair Housing laws, and the City’s plan, if applicable, to further Fair Housing.

The public is invited to attend this Hearing to become informed of the project activities. Persons with special needs relating to disability access may use the Georgia Relay Service for the hearing impaired at 1-800-255-0056 or contact Chris Hutching, County Administrator at (478) 552-2325 prior to September 24, 2014.

Georgia DOT Announces Milestones of First Eighteen Months of the Transportation Investment Act

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) released the status of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) along with a companion video through the first 18-months of the program’s tax collections today.  Eighteen months marks the mid-point for Band 1 projects required to begin during the period of January 2013 to December 2015. Forty-two percent of the 269 projects in Band 1 were let to construction by the end of June 2014.

 

Through June 2014, tax collections in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Heart of Georgia Altamaha (HOGA) and River Valley brought in nearly $200 million extra dollars for transportation projects in the first 18-months.  Local governments in the Regions received $50 million of the total revenue to use as discretionary funds for any transportation related needs in their communities.  These funds are helping GDOT provide work for 17 Georgia construction companies and 29 consulting firms.

 

“I am truly pleased with the progress we have made to this point,” State Transportation Board Chair Jay Shaw commented.  “The TIA Program is a great opportunity for these Regions, and to see the projects starting all around us is very gratifying.  Myself, and many of my fellow Board members supported the Transportation Investment Act for the benefits we hoped it would bring to our areas, and we are really seeing it now – projects starting and finishing, local contractors working, economic development – it is all happening.”

 

GDOT and local governments in the Regions have let to construction a total of 114 projects during the first 18-months, and GDOT forecasts letting an additional 79 projects through December 2014.  The 114 projects let through this June represent construction contracts valued in excess of $140 million.  Revenue collections of nearly $200 million were accumulated from the one-cent tax with $91.2 million in the CSRA; $66.4 million in River Valley; and $42 million in HOGA, funding TIA projects.

 

“We are a little more than halfway into Band 1 of the program, and there is significant construction activity in all the Regions,” said State TIA Administrator Mike Dover.  “Once collections began to accumulate and we analyzed what the actual revenue from the tax was going to look like for the first few years, we were able to clearly identify strategies to effectively deliver these needed projects for the citizens.”

 

A few of the larger TIA projects under construction in the first 18-months of the program include:

 

US 27 Widening in Randolph County          $30 Million

46 Resurfacing Projects-HOGA                    $2.3 Million

Old Petersburg Road Columbia County     $34 Million

Eastman Bypass Dodge County                   $6 Million

Deepstep Road Washington County          $1.7 Million

 

Tax collections over the 10-year tax period from the passage of TIA in the CSRA, HOGA and River Valley Regions, allows projects to leverage additional funds from other sources to advance projects that previously had no construction funds identified prior to the TIA.  The approved investment lists in these Regions include projects that have been seeking funding for years that are now possible as a result of the transportation tax in those areas.

 

The 871 projects on the voter approved investment lists include new roadways, bypasses, bridges, safety enhancements, signalization upgrades, interchange reconstructions, multi-use facilities and resurfacings.  Additionally, local governments are able to use the 25 percent discretionary funds for other transportation related projects in their community.

 

More information on the all the TIA projects and events, visit the TIA website at www.GA-TIA.com.  The new video TIA Progress Report – First 18 Months is available for viewing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsqZz6tG_Xc

Code Enforcement

The Washington County Board of Commissioners has established a Code Enforcement Officer to enforce the Ordinances of the County.  The Officer will monitor the County dumpster sites to ensure that the solid waste and littering provisions of the County are followed.  In addition, Code Enforcement monitors logging operations, trucks on county roads, illegal burns, and other Ordinances.  Code Enforcement is under the supervision of Public Works.

Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Washington County Ordinances

BUILDING, DEVELOPMENT, MOBILE HOMES & DRIVEWAYS:

  1. I am planning on building a new home in the County. Will I need a permit?

Yes. Starting January 1, 2014 all construction will require a permit: residential, commercial, subdivisions, mobile home parks, and RV parks. Development Permit applications may be obtained through the Tax Assessors’ Office at 121 Jones Street, Sandersville, GA. Full requirements may be viewed at http://www.municode.com/Library/GA/Washington_County. Please refer to Chapter Eight.

If the property does not have and E911 address, you must also obtain this at the Tax Assessor’s Office.

Well and septic tank permits are issued separately by the Washington County Health Department. The address must have an E911 address before this permit can be issued.

  1. What is the cost of the Development permit?

$50 for a home or commercial business, $20 for an out building greater than 400 square feet, $250 for a subdivision, RV park, or mobile home park; payable upon application for the Development permit. The fee for an E911 address is $20.

  1. What is the reason for the Development permit?

The County will inspect the land to see whether or not it is in a Flood Zone or if it is subject to flooding. It also will see if the construction is too close to rivers, streams, ponds or other bodies of water. The County may not have been eligible for Federal Assistance during natural disasters and citizens and businesses might not be able to obtain Federal Flood insurance without County participation in the Flood Plain program. A permit process is part of the requirements for participation in the program. The County will also inspect to ensure that any new or re-done driveway is installed properly.

  1. What if I plan to build and the property is located in a Flood Plain? Can I still build there?

Maybe. The building may still be built if it complies with construction requirements in Federal Flood Plain law. More details are available at the Washington County Public Works Department at 1862 Kaolin Road, Sandersville, GA.

  1. Will I need a permit for a new driveway?

Yes. A permit must be obtained before building a new driveway on any County maintained road. This also applies for any re-do of existing driveways. Applications for Driveway Permits are also available at the Tax Assessors’ Office at 121 Jones Street, Sandersville, GA. These driveway permits are at no charge.

  1. Will I need a permit for a barn or other outbuilding which is not livable space?

Yes, if the structure is detached from your home and is larger than 400 square feet you will need a permit.

  1. Will I need a permit if I am remodeling my house?

You will not need a Development permit unless you are adding square footage to your house that is more that 50% of its current size.

  1. What if I am building more than one structure (e.g. building a home and a workshop)? Will I need separate Development permits?

No. If the construction is part of a single project, you will only need one Development permit.

  1. If I am re-locating a mobile home into the County, which permits do I need?

Prior to the location or re-location of a mobile home into or within the unincorporated areas of Washington County, a Permit to Transport, and a Decal showing that property taxes have been paid must be obtained from the Tax Commissioner.

In order to obtain the Permit to Transport, certain requirements must be met. The Health Department must approve the well and septic system; and a certificate of inspection or proof that the mobile home is new must be given to the Tax Assessor’s office. There is no fee associated with the Permit to Transport. However, a Development Permit is also required. The applications for these two permits are available at the Tax Assessor’s Office at 121 Jones Street, Sandersville, GA.

Well and septic tank permits are issued separately by the Washington County Health Department. The address must have an E911 address before this permit can be issued.

  1. Has the County implemented a Zoning Ordinance?

No.

  1. Who may use the County Dumpsters?

Only citizens for whom a garbage fee has been paid my use the County Dumpsters. This includes homeowners and tenants of unincorporated Washington County. These citizens may also use the County Collection Center on Kaolin Road to dump recyclable and small quantities (under 1 pickup load or 1 small trailer load) of construction materials. The residents of Oconee, Deepstep and Riddleville may also use the County Dumpster system and Collection Center since these towns participate in the County Dumpster system.

No citizen of the Cities of Sandersville, Tennille, Harrison nor Davisboro may use the County Dumpster system unless a garbage fee has been paid, and a card obtained at the County Commissioners office at 119 Jones Street, Sandersville, GA.

  1. I am a citizen of a municipality that has garbage pickup, but my town does not recycle. May I use the County Collection Center on Kaolin Road for only Recycling?

Yes. Citizens of Washington County municipalities may use the Collection Center for recycling upon payment of a fee of $30/year. Citizens of any municipality may obtain a “Recycle Only” card at the County Commissioners office at 119 Jones Street, Sandersville, GA. No business may use the County Dumpsters.

  1. May I burn my household trash instead of paying a garbage fee?

No. It is against the law in Georgia to burn household trash. Limbs and yard debris may be burned between November 1 and May 1 if a burn permit has been obtained from the Georgia Forestry Commission.

  1. What changes have been made to requirement for posting E911 addresses?

Reflective letters/numbers are now required on the mailbox or on a post/object at the curbside. Letters/numbers should still be affixed the to structure (house, mobile home or business) itself.

Metal Theft Reform

Contributed by Association County Commissioners of Georgia

During the 2012 legislative session, the General Assembly passed a comprehensive metal theft reform bill designed to combat this serious problem. One of the requirements of the legislation is that all secondary metal recyclers register with the sheriff’s office in each county in which they do business on an annual basis. Additionally, the bill requires the establishment of a statewide database of the registered recyclers that is searchable by all law enforcement.

While the law specified that the statewide database be maintained “in collaboration” with the Secretary of State’s Office, the bill did not actually establish a database or provide a mechanism for doing so at the state level. However, the bill does allow the sheriff to charge each metals recycler a registration fee of up to $200.00 on an annual basis. Those fee revenues will go to the county general fund presumably to underwrite the cost of the creating and maintaining the statewide database.

ACCG has met with the Georgia Sheriffs Association (GSA) to work on a solution for establishing the database required by law. The proposed solution includes the following points:

  • The statewide database will be created, housed and maintained at GSA and will be accessible by all law enforcement within the state.
  • The Secretary of State’s Office will provide a link to the GSA database through their website.
  • Each sheriff will charge the full $200 annual registration fee.
  • Counties may enter into an agreement with the GSA on an annual basis to remit $100 of the $200 fee to the GSA to defray the cost of the creation and maintenance of the database. This fee will be revisited on an annual basis to ensure that the revenues collected approximate the actual cost of maintenance of the database. ACCG is drafting a sample memorandum of understanding or subscription agreement for use by the counties and the sheriffs.
  • The actual registration occurs at the county level. Normally that will be in the sheriff’s office. However, the sheriffs have the discretion to enter into an agreement with their county commissioners to delegate the responsibility for registering metals recyclers to the county police department, business license office, etc

A detailed information sheet and FAQ’s provide more information.

Garbage Fees and Service for Unincorporated Residents

By Chris Hutchings July 27, 2012
County Administrator/Clerk

A garbage fee of $11/month will be added to the property tax bills on the house or mobile home in unincorporated Washington County. The fee is being prorated in 2012 and will be $96. It will be $132 in 2013 (12 months x $11/month). The fee is necessary to pay for the present dumpster system and a new collection center to be placed on Kaolin Road.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions concerning this fee and the services it pays for:

What changes to the garbage system have been implemented?

The commissioners are planning to keep the 31 present dumpster sites located around the county for unincorporated residents to use. One manned collection center will be constructed on Kaolin Road to allow unincorporated residents to dump non-household garbage. This collection center will also serve as a recycle center for unincorporated residents.

A part-time code enforcement officer will patrol the dumpster sites and to enforce garbage and other county ordinances. A garbage fee of $132 per residence ($11/month) will be added to the property tax bill to pay for garbage collection and disposal services for households in unincorporated areas of Washington County. The fee is prorated from the date of passage in 2012 and will be $96 per residence.

The commissioners are no longer considering a door-to-door garbage pickup system.

Why does a fee have to be charged?

It costs about $682,000 per year to maintain the 31 dumpster sites and dispose of county garbage. In the past, taxes were used to pay for this. Since 2009, the County has experienced a decline in many of its revenues. Local Option Sales Taxes alone have declined over $400,000 per year. SPLOST has declined about $800,000 per year. Most other revenues (fees, fines and other taxes) have declined. The garbage expenses cannot be covered any longer from these revenues. Many County expenditures and services have been cut for the past three years but the garbage expenses can no longer be covered with tax revenues.

Why are fees being charged to only the residents of unincorporated areas of the County?

Citizens in the cities of Sandersville, Tennille, Davisboro and Harrison already have a weekly garbage service and these residents pay this fee directly to their cities. Citizens in Deepstep, Riddleville and Oconee use the County dumpster system and collection center because these three cities reimburse the County. Therefore, only the unincorporated residences will have the garbage fee.

How can the County keep the people from the cities in Washington County from using these dumpsters?

The same question also applies to out-of-county residents. Deputies and a code enforcement officer will patrol these sites. They are responsible for code enforcement including illegal dumping. We do know that illegal dumping goes on at the sites (tires, furniture, tree limbs, etc.) and also that non-Washington County residents dump at these sites. We need to stop illegal dumping at these sites for both residents and non-residents through better Code Enforcement of these sites.

The County Commissioners asks that every citizen report illegal dumping at these dumpster sites to the Washington County Sheriff’s office or to Washington County Road Department for investigation.

Isn’t this “fee” really just a “tax” in disguise?

No. It is a user fee. Georgia law allows Counties to charge user fees based on the costs of services provided. The services provided are dumpster sites and a Collection Center. This fee will be charged to every household in the unincorporated area of the county.

Why is it $11.00 per month?

The cost of the garbage service is slightly more than $11/month. There are 5,000 households in unincorporated Washington County. This fee will raise $660,000 per year to cover most all the costs of the dumpsters.

Why don’t businesses pay the fee?

The dumpster sites are for household garbage only. It is a violation of county ordinances for businesses to use the dumpsters. Businesses must make their own arrangements for garbage collection or use the County Landfill.

Can I pay this fee by the month instead of when I pay property taxes?

No. The county does not have any billing system in place to send a bill to 5,000 households each month or quarter. Putting this fee on the tax bill keeps the administrative costs low for County residents. We researched having Washington EMC bill on behalf of the County and researched other ways to do monthly billing, but this was not feasible.

What happens if I don’t pay the garbage fee?

A partial payment of the tax bill will be prorated to both property taxes and to the fee. Also, garbage fees not paid can have liens taken against them by the Tax Commissioner.

Is there any way to reduce or not pay the fee?

Yes. Upon appeal to the Tax Assessors Office, partial or full year credits will be given upon proof of one of the three situations below:

  1. The house or mobile home is not occupied. You can prove this by presenting your utility bill to prove that little or no electricity is being used.
  2. The house or mobile home is damaged by an “Act of God” or fire and you have to move out.
  3. You have an alternate weekly pickup service provided by a licensed, garbage collector. You can find out who the qualified, licensed collectors are on the Georgia Environmental Protection Division website:

http://www.gaepd.org/Documents/lpb_solidwaste.html#swpermfac

Also, the fee will be reduced by 50% to non-rental residences such as deer camps, weekend cabins and guest houses.

Who Can Use the Collection Center and what are the Fees?

Any citizen for whom the Garbage Fee is paid may use the Collection Center for no additional fee. Citizens that do not pay the County garbage fee cannot use the Collection Center. Citizens of Deepstep, Oconee, and Riddleville also may use the collection center because these cities use the County dumpster system and the cities reimburse the County for their cost.

Waste accepted:

  • Non-commercial limbs and yard waste (pick up or small trailer)
  • Construction and demolition from individuals. Prohibited items includes such things as free liquids, chemicals, asbestos (pick up or small trailer)
  • Appliances and metal
  • Brown goods (furniture and bedding)
  • Recyclables
  • Tires (fee will be charged)

Senior Center Director of the Year 2012 Award Winner Lynn Beal

lynn

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Lynn Beal for the DAS “Center Manager of the Year” award. Lynn was appointed manager of the Washington County Senior Center (WCSC) shortly after it reopened in spring 2008. Lynn moved from her original position in foodservice to becoming center manager with an encouraging word and a bit of arm twisting. You see, Lynn didn’t believe she had what it takes to inspire people to reach new heights and actively engage them day after day. What Lynn didn’t realize was that she possesses a boundless energy and internal enthusiasm that is downright infectious and, like a good musical beat, you can’t help but have a spring in your step and a tap in your toe when you are in the WCSC.

Most nominees have one or two very specific programs that earn them a nomination for an award. In Lynn’s case, however, it is not so much one specific thing as the consistency of the many great things she provides at the center. It all begins with the unprecedented attention to décor which reflects a different theme for each month. During Hawaii month, for instance, the seniors were whisked away to the Islands where they could almost feel the sand between their toes. All aspects of the center reflect the theme so during this month the hula dance was used as an exercise routine and the seniors were provided with pineapple and strawberry fruit cups which encouraged the “5 A Day” message. During spring when all eyes are on the graduates Lynn helped the participants feel young at heart by holding a graduation ceremony from the School of Hard Knocks. This was an uplifting and inspiring way of acknowledging the value of each participant’s life experience. The ceremony was complete with pomp and circumstance, graduate caps, diplomas, and a key note address consisting of Lynn reading a speech once delivered by President Obama.

Educating the participants and keeping their minds active is as much a part of good health as exercise and nutrition. Lynn’s desire to broaden her participant’s knowledge beyond the county line developed into the “Grinning Granny Project” wherein they mail off a small cardboard “granny” to centers/facilities around the nation and in foreign ports. The grannies bring to their host center greetings and information about Washington County. In return the host center decorates the granny in the traditional garb of their region and sends her back home with pictures and stories of her adventures. One adventure included a trip to a military post where Grinning Granny was photographed with a famous country singer who was performing at the installation at the time of Granny’s visit. How exciting for the participants to be acknowledged by a celebrity!

As you have seen Lynn has a unique approach to activities and this extends into the wellness arena as well. While the more traditional programs such as the Nutrition Program, Farmer’s Market, Brown Bag, and exercise class are offered Lynn also brings in the more unique programs such as Reiki, meditation, and the CDSMP. Reiki is a wellness technique that uses the palm of the hand to transfer healing energy while the meditation program focuses on inner calm through rejuvenating activities such as sand gardens. Relaxing the mind is only one facet of the wellness approach as Lynn also challenges the mind with Chinese figure puzzles (forming a square out of various shaped puzzle pieces), word challenges, and trivia. It is truly a holistic approach to wellness.

If you were to ask Lynn about the secret to her success she will quickly tell you that it is a team approach. Like a band of musicians without a maestro a village of volunteers is not as effective without the guidance of a leader. Lynn guides her community into a partnership with the WCSC by simply inspiring them to help. Lynn managed to create a beautiful and well stocked sewing room through community donations of machines and supplies. Once in place she then reconnected with the community by having the participants sew quilts which they then raffle; the proceeds funding center activities. One quilt required a donation of men’s neck ties from the community which were sewn together to create a giant flower and later generated $424 in ticket sales. This group also made “bling” (aka rings) out of pieces of elastic and colorful buttons which were so popular even the men got in on the act by making “gentlemen’s pinkie rings”. Lynn has also partnered with the Cub Scouts to create a Memory Garden and soon to be certified wild life habitat which serves the multiple purposes of providing comfort, serenity, beauty, and a safe harbor to wildlife. She has also called upon a magician to entertain the participants but the trick was on him as he found himself so moved by the center that he felt compelled to write about this hidden gem in the local paper. Once the word was out, the entire community began contributing various items which Lynn puts to good use regardless of the shape, size, or original purpose. In Lynn’s opinion the community also includes your own family as she has also recruited her husband and son for a number of creative jobs such as building a wooden cut-out of a 1950’s car which was used at the sock hop as a photo opportunity for the participants – each one getting “behind the wheel” for a shot. The dynamic duo also created a bowling game out of PVC pipes and electrical tape using the Lowe’s creative newsletter as a guide. Acknowledging that partnerships require a give and take Lynn cheerfully gives back through projects such as the collection of toys for shelter animals; a $250 donation to the AHA Go Red campaign for women raised through the center’s sale of red paper dresses; a canned food drive for the Christian Life Center, and donations to “Feed the Children” raised through Bingo proceeds.

Obviously it takes a spirited, enthusiastic individual to transform a center to a place where one longs to cross over the threshold and be a part of something special. A place where “everyone knows your name”. I believe Lynn embodies that spirit and is a most worthy recipient of your Center Manager of the Year Award.

Cindy Elia, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Services and Senior Center Program Manager, CSRA Area Agency on Aging

State Parks and Historic Sites Free Day in Georgia

Click here for more information from the ACCG website.

General Biofuels Georgia to locate in Sandersville

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that General Biofuels Georgia, LLC will construct a wood pellet manufacturing plant in Sandersville investing $60 million and creating 35 jobs.
Sep 27, 12

For more information from gov.georgia.gov website click here.

Media Advisory: Trojan Battery Prepares to Reopen in Sandersville

To read about the reopening click here.