HART COUNTY PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOC. MEETING SUMMARIES
JANUARY 15, 2018
Jim Owens, Director Hart County Recreation Department, was our guest speaker. A summary of the recent construction projects was presented specifically; the two new football/soccer fields along with the 1.5 miles of walking trails at the Elberton highway facility. A description of all the Rec. Dept. properties was provided emphasizing the recent land acquisitions of Long Point and Mill Town Campground. The Dept. has an annual budget of approximately $330,000 that covers operations and salaries. The recently passed SPLOST allots $500,000 over the next six years.
The Rec. Dept. supports numerous activities all of which are operated by the various leagues and associations. All of the fees collected by these groups go to the County General Fund, none goes to the Rec. Dept. Donations and Grants are the only supplements to the budget. The first priority, once the SPLOST funds begin flowing in April are rebuilding four tennis courts. These courts will be lined for both tennis and pickle ball. A new Rec. building is on the wish list but the projected cost puts it into the distant future.
The Dept. is putting together its 5-year plan. Meetings will be held March 6 to obtain public input for the plan. Jim urged all to attend the meetings. Meetings will be at in the Community Room of the existing recreation building at 200 Clay St. across from the senior center. Meetings will be at 8:30 in the morning and another at 5:30 in the afternoon. Meetings will be publicized.
FEBRUARY 19, 1018
Election of Officers for 2018 was held. The following slate was proposed by the HCPOA Board and approved by the membership. President – Mike Buckel. Board members – Terry Chenoweth, Bill Fogerty, Connie Hamilton, Pat Ranels, David Sewell, and Dottie Williams.
President Mike presented a power point presentation on Hartwell Lake Hartwell Issues.
Hartwell Lake has not been full since June 6, 2016 and the lake level average for the past 652 days is 7.5 feet below normal pool. Using graphics and text, Corps management and downstream issues were discussed as some of the reasons contributing to the problems we continually face in our upstream lake. Lake management issues must be done at the legislative level. At our next meeting on March 19, HCPOA will be hosting a seminar with Corps Hydrologist, Stan Simpson, plus representatives from offices of State legislators Doug Collins and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Senator David Perdue. This will present a unique opportunity for citizens to address elected officials who can help address our ongoing problems regarding Lake Hartwell. Key points need to be: depressed property values, how we are subsidizing downstream pollution with our water, how industries can use benefits of recent tax cuts to eliminate river pollution, and fundamental changes needed in Corps rules.
The Hart County Recreation Department has invited citizens to a March 6 meeting to express their views on future projects they would like prioritized by that department.
March 19. 2018
We had a great turnout for the meeting with many membership renewals and new members. Special thanks to local elected officials that attended; Ricky Carter and Matt Honiotes.
The meeting featured Stan Simpson the Chief Hydrologist of the Savanna River Corps Project Office. Also featured were Sandy Campbell of the Hartwell Dam Office and representatives of Senators: David Perdue, Andrew Seaver; and Johnny Isakson, Brad Williamson; and Congressman: Doug Collins, Joel Katz.
Stan's presentation included the new water management plan that is expected to be finalized later this year. When it becomes operational we can expect water levels to increase by about two feet on average during drought conditions. He explained the Guide Curves that govern the Corps water release decisions and their effectiveness during drought conditions. Water is released in attempting to match the guide curves. Water is never released just to generate electricity. Except when testing the spillways and during flood conditions, all water released generates power. The reason the lake is full now is because: we have had adequate rainfall, the release rate is reduced in winter, and there was a transmission line failure in November so dam power could not be accepted. The shortfall was made up by pumping more from Lake Russel and purchasing alternative power at a cost penalty to the utilities (customers) of about $20M. The bad news is that the lake will probably start to drop in May unless we get more rain.
Sandy reported that the new Shoreline Management Plan will be released early next year and no major changes are planned.
Dwayne Dye, Director of Economic Development for Hart County, gave an excellent PowerPoint overview of all facets of the Hart County Industrial Building Authority.
Attached are the slides of his presentation.
JUNE 18, 2018
Our guest speaker was Terrell Partain, Hart County Administrator and Director of the EMS. He was truly a breath of fresh air as he conveyed considerable good news. County Administration is working on next year’s budget. No increase in property tax rate is expected. There will be an increase in services; however, the increased digest will cover these costs. Insurance is expected to increase, but they have that covered.
EMS has 31 full time employees that are rated as Advanced EMT and Paramedics. The EMS will soon open two new substations, Gold Mine and Cross Roads. Currently 4½ trucks are staffed full time, three shifts. They have responded to 270 calls so far this month. Service is provided to the hospital that best meets your situation, unless you specify another facility. Greenville is the closest Category 1 hospital with Anderson and Athens being Category 2. Anderson is 20 minutes closer than Athens.
When Terrell took over, the mortally rate for trauma cases was over 60%. He convinced the Commissioners to spend money on advanced training and equipment that has lowered the mortally rate to 5% over the last 4 years. His frustrations are people that call 911 that do not need any kind of treatment and his inability to collect fees from many people in Hart County. They do recover about $1.2 million/year applied over and above his $2 million budget.
He advised us to call 911 on our cell phones and get registered in the system. Your land line already provides the information as to address. Give them any health information as to allergies to medicine and where you hide a key to your house. If you need help, they will come in and having a key reduces the stress on your door. This information is not shared with anyone and will reduce the time required to get you help.
JULY, 16 2018
Our guest speaker this month was Alan Powell our representative in the Georgia House of Representatives. The following is a summary of his comments.
FINANCIAL STATUS OF GEORGIA – GOOD
When Sonny Purdue left office, 8 years ago, the Rainy Day Fund had about $2m, enough to run the state for a few hours. When Nathan Deal leaves office in January the Rainy Day Fund will have about $2.5B, enough to justify a ¼ point reduction in the State income tax in 2019 and another ¼ point reduction in 2020. This legislation has been passed and signed by the governor. The current tax is 6% going to 5.5% in two years.
ELECTIONS – Powell is not endorsing any candidate
The fall election is very important for the future of Georgia and is cause for concern. The Democrat candidate for Governor, Stacey Abrams, is campaigning on several important issues; convert the Hope scholarship program from merit based to an entitlement, repeal the income tax cuts, and introduce gun control measures. Georgia has divided into two states, metropolitan Atlanta and rural. The rural vote, us, is diluted with every person that moves into metropolitan Atlanta. Atlanta has become the economic engine that drives Georgia.
WATER – Nothing new
The issue of Atlanta getting water from Lake Hartwell is dead at this time as determined by Georgia law. But Georgia law can be changed any time. The Federal Government makes all decisions relative to water releases from Corps lakes. Only Congress can amend the priorities that the Corps operates under. Considering that Congress can’t agree on what to do with the terrible immigration mess, we can’t expect much on water issues. The Georgia/South Carolina coalition on lake issues still exists but is not functional. The representative from South Carolina, that was in Anderson, lost his office. The only official in SC that remains in the coalition is from south of Akin and is primarily interested in the river not the lakes.
COAL ASH – It is what it is
Alan was asked how and why Georgia allowed coal ash to be imported into a landfill in Franklin County. The response was that the landfill operator applied to the appropriate Georgia authority stating what class of landfill he proposed. The permit was granted. Subsequently the citizens of Franklin County voted to allow the landfill and the County is making a fortune on the tipping fees. If Franklin County and its residents are happy that is the end of the story. The landfill is operating within the bounds of their permits.
The speaker for the August 20, 2018 meeting of HCPOA was Terri Partain. Terri is a respiratory therapist and has worked for 16 years in various capacities in the healthcare industry. A lifetime resident of Hart County, she decided to enter the real estate field with a focus on clients age 50+ and obtained her Senior Real Estate Specialist Designation.
Terri saw a need for an information network for Active Aging Adults, Retirees, Boomers, Seniors and Caregivers and she has formed a Lake Hartwell Active Aging Resource Network which will meet monthly to hear local speakers who specialize in various topics such as Making Sense of Medicare, Medicaid, and VA Benefits; Estate Planning; Residential Options such as Downsizing and Age-in-Place; Understanding Home Health Care; Managing Finances in Retirement.
Meetings will be held the 1st Friday of each month from 10:00-11:00 AM, at the Hart County Library downstairs meeting room. There is no cost to attend but RSVP is suggested as space is limited. Call 706-436-3936 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to reserve a spot at one of the meetings.
(Terri is affiliated with Living Down South Realty and serves Northeast Georgia and all surrounding communities.)
October 15, 2018
Regular October meeting of the Hart County Property Owners' Association was held on the 15th. It was a lively meeting with varying points of view expressed.
The mission of HCPOA is to keep you, our members informed on important issues within the County and to help resolve relevant problems as they arise. To that end, the Board has unanimously voted to oppose the proposed ESPLOST initiative of the Hart County School System. Our goal in the meeting was to provide you with information regarding the five proposed amendments and the three referenda, one of which is the SPLOST that will appear on the ballot. You will not find this material anywhere else as it is the result of extensive research into publications on the amendments and the actions of the school system.
BE SURE TO VOTE. EARLY VOTING IS UNDERWAY NOW.
Amendment 1 - Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and parks.
Amendment 2 - Creates a state-wide business court to lower costs, enhance efficiency, and promote predictable judicial outcomes.
Amendment 3 - Encourages the conservation, sustainability and longevity of Georgia's working forests through tax subclassifications and grants.
Amendment 4 - Provides rights for victims of crime in the judicial process.
Amendment 5 - Authorizes fair allocation of sales tax proceeds to county and city school districts.
Referenda A - provides for a homestead exemption for residents of certain municipal corporations.
Referenda B - Provides a tax exemption of certain homes for the mentally disabled.
Continuation Special Purpose Local Option Education Sales Tax.
Hope to see you at our next regular meeting on January 21, 2019.