County irons out budget
McDuffie County Manager Don Norton announced to commissioners last Tuesday night that the county's 2006 budget was balanced. The bad news was that the contingency was only $66,000 when it should be around $300,000.
One large increase in spending came in the form of a 3.5 percent cost of living raise for all county employees. Also, several large projects at the tax assessors' office were added. Commissioners and Mr. Norton will continue to tweak the budget until contingency is larger and all high-priority items are included.
The commissioners are required by law to advertise a notice of property tax increase because the property values increased. The millage rate will stay the same. Three public hearings will be held at the courthouse about the tax rate, two on Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. and at 6:30 p.m. and another on Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Pit bulls not rabid
Two pit bull terriers that were put down after recent attacks on a man on Adams Avenue and a horse on Sagamore Drive tested negative for rabies, said McDuffie County Health Department's Environmental Health Specialist Tim Mosley.
Officials had sent the animals to the Georgia Public Health Lab for testing after a rabid raccoon was killed in the Randall-Hunt Road, Bonneville Road area on July 12. Also a rabid fox attacked a woman on July 20 in the County Line Road, Larkin Road area.
Because of the recent incidents, Health Department officials are reminding all McDuffie County residents to have their pets vaccinated by a registered veterinarian. They also advise residents to avoid contact with wild animals, but request that any such contact be reported by calling 595-1740.
Health Link hosts kids program
Health Link has begun offering fitness classes for kids starting Aug. 8. According to Health Link General Manager Dede Keir, the classes will focus on warming up, stretching, weight programs, cardio and fun fitness.
The classes for 10-15 year-olds will be on Monday-Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and the cost is $25 per month. Mrs. Keir said parents can drop kids off, and they will be supervised by Health Link staff members.
Huckaby helps and Old Dogs return
Southern author Darrell Huckaby will be visiting Thomson to lend a helping hand on Aug. 12 during the football scrimmage between Thomson High and Screven County. He will sell and autograph his books at the Brickyard, giving a portion of the proceeds to the THS Athletic Booster Club.
In other Booster Club news, two of Thomson's most well-known boosters will be back on the radio tonight. The Two Old Dogs show, featuring Ralph Starling and Jerry Randolph, will make its return to WTHO at its regular Thursday time, 8 p.m.
Day and night work on Warrenton Highway
Crews are now working day and night on the nearly six mile paving project along Warrenton Highway (State Route 12) in McDuffie County.
The Georgia Department of Transportation said APAC-Georgia, Inc. crews would be working longer hours beginning Wednesday, Aug. 3. The project is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2005.
During construction, motorists can anticipate a single-lane closure along State Route 12 with both directions of traffic sharing the remaining lane. This closure will be implemented utilizing flagmen and a pilot vehicle. Those who routinely travel state Route 12 should leave earlier since they can expect to be delayed several minutes while waiting for the pilot vehicle to return to escort them through the site.
Contract awarded to resurface local roads
Georgia DOT Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl recently awarded a contract that will resurface local roads.
The project, which was awarded to APAC-Southeast, Inc., includes 3.45 miles of mix resurfacing on various county roads. The projected completion date set for this project is Dec. 31, 2005. The estimated cost is $149,739.
Funding for these road improvements is provided through the Georgia DOT's Local Assistance Road Program. Each year, all Georgia cities and counties submit a priority list of roads or streets in their jurisdiction that need to be resurfaced. The Georgia DOT reviews each road and street submitted and develops a needs assessment and cost estimate.
"We are proud to assist local governments through the LARP program," Mr. Linnenkohl said. "A well-maintained road helps make our transportation system safer and more efficient."
State Transportation Board Member Bill Kuhlke Jr. was instrumental in gaining approval for this project. Mr. Kuhlke represents the Ninth Congressional district which includes McDuffie County.
The following roads are being repaired and resurfaced; the contract has been awarded to APAC - Southeast, Inc.:
County Roads (2.59 miles): Betsy Scott Drive, Branan Street, Faubus Street, Hawes Street, Pounds Street, Scott Drive and Viola Avery Street.
City of Dearing (0.1 mile): Prather Street
City of Thomson (0.76 mile): Beauregard Drive, Gus Street, Hunter Street, Ridge Avenue and Whitehead Street.
Looking for a family
Michelle Zupan, the curator of Hickory Hill, is looking for any living relatives in the McDuffie County area of Dr. James Spann Jones, one of the founder's of the Methodist Church. Dr. Jones' daughter was named Laura Jones for whom the school was named.
Ms. Zupan has access to some research about the family's history as well as copies of photographs that descendents of the Jones' may want to view. If anyone knows of any living descendants in the area, contact Ms. Zupan at 595-7777 or 502 Hickory Hill Drive in Thomson.