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July 2020
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County officially supports Second Amendment

Budget revised to add economic development deal with city

commissioners 2nd amendment


Commissioner Jones asked the packed house to stand and show their support of the Second Amendment. At right, Tommy Gartrell was one of many supporters in attendance.

With a standing ovation from the public on February 20, Pickens County Commissioners officially signed a resolution saying they support the Constitutional right to bear arms.

Saying they were following the lead of other counties, including most recently Gilmer, Chair Rob Jones read the resolution proclaiming that Pickens commissioners are “in full support” of the Second Amendment. Commissioner Becky Denney also signed the resolution. Commissioner Jerry Barnes was absent.

In after-meeting comments, Jones said there have been no challenges to this national right here, but he wanted to “reiterate” they are solidly gun rights in this county “as everyone should be.” Although Barnes was absent, Jones said he had discussed it with him and knew the west end commissioner was also in support.

The resolution gave a history of the Second Amendment and showed where it has been consistently re-affirmed over the years by the U.S. Supreme Court. “Whereas the citizens of Pickens County, Georgia regard the right of people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property as an inalienable right of the people and whereas citizens of Pickens County, Georgia derive economic and social benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting within Pickens County,” the resolution read.

With everyone in the room standing to signal their support of this move, Bill Cagle, a dedicated gun rights advocate, addressed the need to send a message to law abiding citizens, that “Pickens County respects your right to bear arms.”

Cagle said unfortunately there is a need today for citizens and local governments to be pro-active in defending gun rights. “The Founding Fathers were far wiser than we are today.”


In other business:

Budget adjusted for economic 

development position

The county re-adjusted their budget to implement the partnership for economic development between the county and city of Jasper, where each government will provide half of the funding for the office and a paid director.

Previously the county had funded the majority of the position.

Following the meeting, Faye Harvey, the chief financial officer for the county, provided budget information for economic development. The total budget for the office, including the salary of the recently hired Green B. Suttles, is $162,222. Of this, the annual base salary of the economic developer is $95,000 with another $15,500 for insurance. The remainder goes to cover basic costs plus travel, advertising and other projected expenses. The county and city each fund half of this amount in an agreement reached last year.

The office will be housed in the chamber of commerce building and the business organization will provide secretarial support.


Road/water departments get 

new equipment

The county signed a capital lease for the road/water departments to purchase new equipment.

Information provided by Harvey, following the meeting, listed the specifics included: Road department -  one Etnyre Centennial Series Asphalt Distributor, two Kubota Track Skid Loaders and one Ford F-150 Truck. The road department’s portion of the Capital Lease is $270,000 – 4-year term at an interest rate of 2.67 percent.  The water department also budgeted to purchase two Kubota Track Skid Loaders for $90k and they are included in this lease.

• The county approved a modification of a GEFA loan. As Jones explained, GEFA loans are for enterprise funds and are used for specific purposes. He said this loan was specifically for water lines, which will be funded only by tap-on fees from water customers. “So people who are in Ludville and not on these lines don’t pay for the loans,” he said.

Harvey explained after the meeting by e-mail, “There are two GEFA loans. The $2.6 million loan allowed the county to purchase the water withdrawal permit for Grandview Lake ($1.5 million – and those funds were allocated for repair of the dam).  The balance will be used to construct a water treatment plant to process the water from Grandview Lake.

  The other GEFA loan is for $1,413,000 and it is to construct water distribution lines from the water treatment plant to customers on the water system.

  The modification of the loan documents didn’t change the amounts of the loan, only the completion dates of the project.  Initial documents stated that the projects would be completed by April, 2020 and that deadline needs to be extended.

  When the projects are completed, the debt service will be repaid with revenue from the sale of water to customers.