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Local News Archives for 2022-09

WWII Veteran Honored with Memorial Highway Dedication

This Saturday, October 1, join the family and friends of Roger William Cavender, U.S. Army veteran of World War II and Bronze Star recipient, to commemorate the naming of the Roger W. Cavender Memorial Highway, connecting his birthplace of Pickens County with Cherokee County where, upon returning home from the war, he built his home on a hill overlooking the highway now bearing his name. Before the Great Depression swept through the nation and Roger was forced to quit school in the fifth grade to help support his family, he walked to school in Nelson from his family farm on that same hill and through the same woods his namesake highway now traverses. Upon his passing in 1998, Roger was laid to rest on that same hill in the Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery, where he was a long-time deacon. In addition to being a distinguished veteran and dedicated deacon, Roger was also a loving husband, father, and grandfather. With the love of his life, Mildred, he raised two sons: Larry and Tim. Larry is a military veteran, retired teacher, and freelance writer and author. Tim served as Public Information Officer for Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services and is often better known as Santa Tim. The Roger W. Cavender Memorial Highway is the portion of State Highway 372 which connects Highway 575/515 to Old Highway 5 between Ball Ground and Nelson. State Representative Wes Cantrell introduced the resolution to honor Roger during the 2022 legislative session. State Representative and Transportation Chair Rick Jasperse then ushered the resolution through the committee process; the resolution was passed and signed by Governor Brian Kemp in May. The community is cordially invited to attend the dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony, which will include several local dignitaries in addition to the Cavender family, will be held at the ‘Salt Barn’ located near the eastern terminus of the road. Due to limited onsite parking, a reception will be held immediately following the ceremony at Ball Ground United Methodist Church. In the event of inclement weather, the dedication ceremony will take place at Ball Ground United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m. ahead of the planned reception.

Cherokee County Board highlights Sept. 20 meeting

Eight local nonprofits are a step closer to receiving a bolstering of funds following an affirmative vote by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

The Board unanimously approved awarding more than $2.8 million to local nonprofits as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The county issued a Request for Proposals and received 29 project requests from 13 nonprofit agencies. The requests totaled $20.3 million.

District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion to approve awarding the nearly $3 million at the Sept. 20 meeting, which was seconded by District 1 Commissioner Steve West.

This initial disbursement is nearly half of the $6 million in ARPA funds allocated for homelessness and community support services.

Proposals were required to be for capital projects from $25,000 to $1 million, and many submissions included requests for items considered repairs and maintenance, which would not qualify as a capital project.

The successful proposals include $700,000 to the Goshen Valley Foundation for the purchase of a medical building; $588,600 to Bethesda Medical to transition to a hybrid clinic; $500,000 to the Canton Housing Authority for the demolition and abatement of old buildings; $379,980 to Goodwill of North Georgia to purchase welding and forklift training simulators; $330,812 to Heritage Presbyterian Church for construction of a portico, ADA accessibility and security monitoring at their food pantry; $160,072 to Next Step Ministries to purchase a bus for wheelchair access for three; $110,000 to the YMCA to

repurpose tennis courts for other activities; and $78,000 to the Boys & Girls Club for controlled door access, smoke detectors and occupancy sensors.

The next step for the nonprofits to receive the allocated funds is to enter into memorandums of understanding, which will require approval by the Board of Commissioners.

During the Sept. 20, the Board also:

· Presented a proclamation for Fire Prevention Week, which is Oct. 9-15, 2022.

· Approved, 5-0, the 2023 Board of Commissioners meeting schedule, which has been slightly modified due to federal holidays. The January meetings will be changed to Jan. 10 and Jan. 24. The July 4 meeting will be cancelled. The remaining meetings will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Chairman Harry Johnston made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Postponed, 5-0, a settlement agreement with Scenic Summit Partners. The County received changes late in the day Sept. 20, and needed some additional time to review. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, after adding the item to the agenda, a 40-day moratorium on applications for warehouse facilities, like self-storage, outdoor storage and RV storage, while staff reviews ordinances. Warehouse facilities that are secondary to the overall business are exempt from the moratorium. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, the minutes from the work session, executive session and regular meeting from Sept. 6. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale.

· Held a public hearing for modification of zoning conditions for Boardwalk Storage-Killian’s LLC and Boardwalk Storage-Univeter Road, LLC. One person spoke. The item was postponed with a 5-0 vote. Commissioner West made the motion to postpone, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Held a public hearing regarding a request to rezone 34.632 acres from Agriculture to Agriculture with conditions for a pilot project for development of a minor/rural subdivision with five lots. Commissioner West made the motion to approve, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The applicant was the only person to speak. A condition was added that the owner could not ask the county to take over the private streets for 10 years.

· Held a public hearing on the 2023 budget. One person spoke. A vote will be taken at the Oct. 4 meeting.

· Held a public hearing related to modification of zoning conditions for Scenic Summit Partners LLLP. Several people spoke with many requesting a roundabout at East Cherokee Drive and Little Shoals Drive. The Board postponed the vote until the Oct. 4 meeting. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, with two separate votes two special use permits (SUP) requested by Rocky’s Lake Estate for a special event facility and non-scheduled chartered passenger air transportation at 2700 Cox Road. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the SUP for the special event facility and 12 conditions, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Commissioner

Weatherby made the motion to approve the SUP for the non-scheduled chartered passenger air transportation with 14 conditions, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, Southwyck Homes’ request to rezone 70.23 acres at 747 Arnold Mill Road from Agriculture to R-40 for a single-family residential development with 57 homes. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, the consent agenda, including: calling for a public hearing for St. Agnes Foundation of North Georgia Angel House, Inc. on Oct. 18 related to removal of zoning conditions; a facility use agreement with 112 Events for the drive-through holiday lights event at Veterans Park; acceptance of a permanent conservation easement revision for 197.97 acres for the Soleil at Belmont Conservation Design Community; a waiver of conflict between Cherokee County and Jarrard & Davis, Forsyth County, Fulton County and the city of Milton related to a rezoning case for a development known as the Puckett assemblage project; surplus of miscellaneous office furniture and equipment for the Clerk of Courts; surplus of an obsolete Ricoh copier/scanner on behalf of Fleet Services; a lease extension amendment with Canon Business Solutions for the county’s multifunction copiers totaling $119,325; and the renewal of the maintenance agreement for the LogVault system from the sole source provider TIBCO in the amount of $36,185 from IT Capital. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, the proposal from Travelers for the FY23 insurance coverage for property/casualty and liability insurance. The total premium amount is $1.8 million. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with Woodstock-based Piedmont Real Estate Group for real estate brokerage services. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a right-of-way negotiations fee schedule with Atlas Technical Consultants for the Trickum Road at Ga. 92 intersection improvement project. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Postponed with a 5-0 vote a development agreement with Mark Sixbilt Homes, Inc. to provide for roadway improvements on East Cherokee Drive in concert with the subdivision by Chatham Homes on property currently owned by Scenic Summit Partners. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, amendment one to the construction services agreement with Pencor Construction for additional services for the Charlie Ferguson Community Center. The cost is $318,899. The project is being paid for with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and Community Development Block Grant funds. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, the second amendment to the agreement with Keck & Wood, Inc. to prepare concept drawings for the proposed improvements identified in the Old Highway 5 Corridor Traffic Study. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a standard construction agreement with Abuck, Inc. for an addition to Fire Station No. 32, located at Lower Birmingham Road and Sugar Pike Road. The construction includes adding sleeping quarters and PPE storage. The bays will remain at this time. The cost is

$1.8 million with a county-controlled contingency of $185,150. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a purchase agreement with the Cherokee County School District totaling $600,000 for property on Hunt Road for a park that is part of the Southwest Cherokee Parks and Trails Plan, as well as the Old Tippens School property. The purchase is being made with SPLOST funds. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter

· Approved, 5-0, the purchase of one used Ford F-150 for the Sheriff’s Office and a budget transfer of $44,885 for the cost of the vehicle. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners present 2023 Budget

The fiscal year 2023 budget was presented during the Sept. 6 work session showing an overall decrease of about $26.1 million. The total budget, including operations, fire, and capital projects, is $361.4 million.

Cherokee County’s budget year runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30. A public hearing on the budget is planned for Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. with final approval expected at the Oct. 4 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The overall decrease in operating expenditures is attributed to a decrease in use of American Rescue Plan Act funds the county has been utilizing for just over a year.

The budget is based on the millage rates passed in July, which include maintenance and operations at 4.995 mills, fire district at 2.984 mills and parks bond at 0.354 mills. The Board of Commissioners lowered all the rates this summer, keeping Cherokee County as one of the lowest millage rates in metro Atlanta next to Fayette and Forsyth counties. Cherokee County is one of only three counties in Georgia, including Cobb and Gwinnett counties, without a Local Option Sales Tax, used to offset property taxes. With a LOST, Cherokee’s maintenance and operations rate would be 1.953 mills.

The maintenance and operations rate funds the general fund, fire district funds fire service operations, and the parks bond millage rate is a debt service rate used to pay back the $90 million voter-approved parks bond from 2007.

Of the total operations budget, 73 percent funds public safety and judicial and 16 percent funds general administration. The remaining percentages fund public works, housing and development, culture and recreation, and health and welfare.

The general fund budget is proposed at $138 million and utilizes $6.3 million from reserves. The finance department projects the county will end the 2023 fiscal year with $58 million in its reserves. The fire fund is proposed at $45.6 million and uses $1 million from reserves, with projections to end the 2023 fiscal year with $11.5 million in reserves.

The budget increase is being driven by market inflation, which is what is being seen in jurisdictions across metro Atlanta, the County’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Marquis told the Board.

The EMS fund is showing a 6 percent increase, the EMS fund is funded 51 percent by General Fund transfers. The Board has previously discussed raising EMS rates to lessen the burden on the General Fund, allowing it to be paid for by those who use the service. Marquis told the Board that is something to which the county needs to pay attention.

Other notable highlights from the finance department include income from Title Ad Valorem Tax. That revenue line item is trending downward, which Marquis says reflects the difficulty in the car industry and fewer people purchasing new vehicles.

The capital projects fund, funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and impact fees, pays for equipment and facilities like sheriff’s office patrol cars and equipment, parks facilities, roads and road maintenance, and stormwater projects. The proposed capital funds budget totals $93.9 million. Marquis showed a breakdown of the various SPLOST accounts and what remains. SPLOST V (collection period 2006-12) has about $1.2 million remaining and is allocated for library building expansion, software for the fire department and projects and equipment for roads and bridges. SPLOST 2012 (collection period 2012-18) has about $5 million remaining, which includes library building expansion, road construction and airport construction. SPLOST 2018 (collection period 2018-2024) has about $80 million remaining. Those funds are allocated to road construction, fire stations, fire vehicles and ambulances, law enforcement vehicles and a K-9 office/new precinct, the Charlie Ferguson Community Center in North Canton, airport expansion and IT improvements. A portion of the Justice Center expansion is also included in SPLOST 2018.

City of Canton Changes Sanitation Service Provider

Let it go to Waste Pro! On Oct. 1, the City of Canton will change from the current sanitation services provider to Waste Pro for trash and recycling.


Waste cart delivery will begin the week of Sept. 19. When you receive your new cart/s, please put them away and do not use until Oct. 1. The current sanitation services provider will NOT pick up any waste put in these carts.

Patriot Day Ceremony Set for September 9th

Cherokee County’s annual Patriot Day Ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Canton. This will be the 20th year of the annual ceremony, which will take place at the Public Safety Memorial at Rotary Park (between the historic courthouse and the Justice Center).

“Patriot Day is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker, who led the planning committee this year. “We hope you can join us to commemorate this day as a community.”

The keynote speaker will be Cherokee County E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake. Director Bonebrake retired from the Woodstock Police Department in 2021 to lead the county’s E 9-1-1 Center that serves all public safety in Cherokee County. His 30 years in public safety includes director of EMS Services for Six Flags White Water, flight medic for Lifenet Georgia, narcotics and vice officer for the New Orleans Police Department, chief international flight medic for Worldwide Transport Services, a firefighter/paramedic for Rockdale County, a Rockdale County 911 dispatcher, Cherokee County firefighter/paramedic, a soldier in the U.S. Army (field, flight and ER medic) and several roles with the Woodstock Police Department.

This year’s event will feature music from the Cherokee High School Band of Warriors. Cherokee Fire Battalion Chief Cheri Collett will perform special music on the bagpipes. The Cherokee County Multi-Agency Honor Guard will present the colors, and Capt. Baker will serve as the event emcee.

Fire Chief Eddie Robinson began this Cherokee County tradition in 2002 to honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

The event is free and open to the public, and it is a rain or shine event.


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