By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Democratic representative Marty Fierman tendered his resignation to the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BER) at their regular meeting last Thursday.
Fierman’s letter was brief and did not give any reason for his decision to leave the board.
“We’re sorry to see you go,” said chairman John Milliken.
“I enjoyed being here,” said Fierman.
The BER is made up of five members, two appointed by the local Democratic party, two appointed by the local Republican party, and one appointed at large by the Morgan County Board of Commissioners. Fierman said the executive committee of the local Democratic party, who were notified of his resignation, expect to have a replacement appointed within two weeks.
In other business, county voter registrar Sue Doorenbos noted that registered voters in four precincts—Apalachee, Bostwick, Buckhead, and Bethany/Springfield—should have received new voter registration cards clarifying whether or not they now report to a new polling station. Precinct lines were adjusted earlier this spring after changes last year left some disgruntled voters passing one polling station to get to another.
BER members noted that the qualification period for candidates for elected office who wish to run as independent begins on June 23; the group also approved the removal of 13 deceased persons from the Morgan County voter roll.
Malcolm Gillis returns from Iraq
story by Jessica Blomquist • photos by Angelina Bellebuono
By Patrick Yost
City of Madison property owners can expect a 16 percent hike in property taxes in 2009.
The Madison City Council Monday officially adopted its fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget that includes a 16 percent increase in revenue generated by property taxes.
Madison City Manager David Nunn said increases in fuel costs, healthcare costs and salary increases contributed in large part to the projected rise in revenues.
For FY 2008, the city is projecting it will collect $950,000 in property tax revenue.
Next year, Nunn said, the city will need $1,110,000 to fuel its annual general fund budget. “We’ve got to have that much money to make ends meet,” he said. Nunn said the increase would also prompt the council to raise its millage rate.
Last year the city lowered its millage rate to 3.132 mils based on an explosive growth of county tax parcel re-evaluations.
That rate will increase to approximately 3.995 mills to satisfy the tax increase, Nunn projected.
Also, Nunn is projecting that the city will increase the cost of water for municipal customers by eight percent next year. Last year the city raised the water rates by 10 percent.
Nunn said the eight percent increase, which will take effect in January 2009, will add another $100,000 in revenue to the city’s water fund, rising from a projected $1.7 million in 2008 to $1.8 million at the end of 2009.
The increase should also add another $50,000 to the city’s sewage fund, increasing its annual revenue from a projected $900,000 to $950,000.
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No charges filed in Greensboro Highway accident
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Kevin Matthew Pope, 22, of Guinn Road in Morgan County, was struck by a car and killed while riding his bicycle to a dumpster on Greensboro Highway last Friday.
Pope was riding to the right of the fog line of Highway 278, traveling in the direction of Madison, when he turned left to enter the dump site in front of a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling in the same direction, said Georgia State Patrol Cadet Alan Rhodes.
Pope was declared dead at the scene.
“We did not find anything wrong with the driver [of the Jeep] or any actions that he made as he drove,” said Rhodes.
Both Brett Adcock, 35, who was driving the Jeep, and Janet Willis, a witness who was leaving the Dumpster, said that Pope looked back in the direction of the oncoming Jeep and appeared to turn directly in front of the car at approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 6.
Rhodes reported that Pope had begun a bicycle-riding regimen in the hopes of gaining entrance to the United States Air Force.
No charges have been filed at this time, said SFC J.C. Foskey, commander of Georgia State Patrol Post 8 in Madison.
By Kathryn Purcell
Because of a Governor Sonny Perdue-spurred teacher pay raise and an increase in the cost of fuel, Superintendent Stan DeJarnett announced to the Morgan County Board of Education Monday that the Board's projected budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009 would increase 3.85 percent from the previous year.
"The 2008 budget was 9.47 percent larger than the 2007 budget," DeJarnett said, in a phone interview. "This budget increase is just 3.85 percent."
DeJarnett cited Perdue's 2.5 percent salary increase for teachers and constantly increasing fuel and energy costs as reasons for the projected increase.
The Board budgeted $220,000 for bus fuel costs last year, according to DeJarnett. This year, they plan on budgeting $325,000 for bus fuel costs.
"I think that the 3.85 percent increase, mark that up to the state raise and fuel costs," DeJarnett said, referring to the causes of the projected increase.
“We don’t want to hurt the classrooms...We want to keep momentum so student performance continues.”
Last year's budget totaled more than $28 million, and the Board rolled the millage rate back to 12.735 mils.
The 3.85 percent projected increase itself totals more than $1 million, which brings the projected budget for FY 2009 to a little over $29 million.
"We've cut it hard," DeJarnett said.
DeJarnett also recommended that, through drawing some money from reserves, the Board agree to go back to the rollback millage rate for FY 2009 - 12.724 mils. This will be the third year in a row that the Board has been able to go to the rollback rate, DeJarnett said.