The Dade County Board of Commissioners approved many resolutions and proclamations, and also heard from many participators at the Thursday, Feb. 6 meeting.

Commissioners approved proclamations designating February 3rd -7th as Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the whole month of February as American Heart Month, and the third Friday of February as Arbor Day.

Members of the Optimist Club were at the meeting to hear a proclamation designating the first Thursday of February as Optimist Day. Optimist Club members posed for a photo between the workshop session and the regular meeting.

Commissioners also approved the first reading of Proposed Ordinance 03-05-20, the permit heavy industry and land use ordinance. The section about setbacks which had caused much opposition had been removed. Commissioners all noted that they were fine with the latest draft. A second reading will be held at the March meeting.

Board members also approved a resolution to reimpose, levy and collect a special sales and use tax within Dade County, to be put on the ballot and voted on May 19.

Other resolutions approved for the May ballot include permitting Sunday package sales of beer and wine, and permitting Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Commissioners approved a resolution from the U.S. Geological Survey to name a local watershed as Webb Creek.

“They want to name it after a gentleman that had lived out there from 1906 to about 2000. He was 90 something years old. It starts in Dade County and goes into Rising Fawn. It is a real small creek,” Commissioner Allan Bradford explained.

Commissioners also approved a resolution to request Legislative Delegation to introduce local legislation authorizing a Probate Court assessment of administrative fee. This would add $5 to each civil and traffic citation filing in the office. The money collected from the fines would help with technology costs.

The Board of Commissioners approved the appointment of Richard Stephens as a Dade County Tax Assessor Board Member. Stephens replaces Jeff Forester, who resigned at the end of December.

Commissioner Lamar Lowery and Dade County Dade Sheriff Ray Cross proposed Dade County becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

“As you see, our Second Amendment rights are getting scrutinized,” Cross said. “Whether this proposal goes through or not… as Sheriff, I said I would always stand by our right to bare arms. I will not force my deputies to take a gun from any law abiding citizen ever.”

The Commissioners asked the County Attorney to write up a resolution.

Jane Dixson also spoke to Commissioners about the Alliance for Dade, Inc.

“The Alliance means unity of things which have the same benefit. We are using that word as an umbrella that is over two important things in our community, the Dade Chamber and the Visitors Bureau,” Dixson said.

Dixson continued, “The old Chamber is currently inactive. At present we are really lacking.”

The five main things that the Alliance will address are speaker programs, tourism promotion, networking, business support and economic development.

Dixson is a temporary member of the Alliance, and she noted they are looking for people who have the time who are willing to help.

Commissioners agreed to have a representative from the Alliance update and speak to the Board of Commissioners each meeting.

During committee reports, Lowery noted that there 3,814 9-1-1 calls, which was the highest amount he’s seen. He also said there were 3,390 law enforcement calls.

Lowery also urged citizens to check their drivers licenses, to see if they have a gold or black star which indicates a “real ID.” If people choose to do so, they can get a new license issued that includes the star.

Starting in October 2020, without this star, people cannot fly on airplanes (unless you also have a passport.)

Commissioner Phillip Hartline reported that that there were 56 trees planted around the sports complex.

Hartline also noted that there have been some complaints about the fields being locked. Hartline said that they have been locked due to the amount of rain.

Commissioner Robert Goff reported that SPLOST was up well over $200,000 this month. In the last 20 months it has only fallen under $200,000 once.

“That is very important. That’s the money we use and the money the school uses,” Goff said.

Commissioner Bradford reported that there were 101 work order this month, and noted that work was well underway at the new Dollar General on Lookout Mountain. Bradford also noted that there were 720 tons of garbage for the month.

County Executive Ted Rumley reported on an ongoing railroad issue, where the tracks are often blocked.

“It effects a lot of people in our county,” Rumley said.

Rumley went to a meeting with railroad representatives and GDOT.

“The trains are twice as long. There’s limited crossings where they can pull over and let another train pass,” Rumley said. “It was an informative meeting.”

Rumley also attended a quarterly meeting with GDOT, where he heard an update about the paving of Highway 136. Bids will happen at the end of 2020.

Marshana Sharp with the Dade County Public Library reported that there will be a program called “Kiss the Ground” on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. It will be about how farmers can improve their land and make a bigger profit. Sharp would like people to RSVP to this program.

Sharp noted that tax forms are also available at the library. There will also be computers designated for the census.

A Read to Lead program will be held in March, and the Glow Run will be held in April.

Sharp also reminded citizens that there are sewing machines for use at the library.

Sarah Dyer, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, gave an update on the UGA Extension and 4-H.

4-H’ers kicked off their safe shooting teams. They also competed in Rome at the Cloverleaf DPA. 4-H is also currently having a flower bulb fundraiser.

Dyer also received a scholarship to attend the 2020 International Poultry Conference.

“This conference really opened up my eyes to a broad overview of the industry,” Dyer said.

Dyer also noted that 4-H summer camp registration is now open.

William Black with Dade County Economic Development reported that there are three expansions currently underway in the industrial park, which should be completed by the end of the year.

During the monthly financial report, Finance Officer Don Townsend reported that as of Jan. 31, the general fund had $3,665,367. Total available SPLOST funds are $948,931. Revenue collected as of Dec. 31 was $666,812.82 and the monthly budget was $862,667.15. As of Dec. 31, $1,001,848.28 was expensed and there was $1,127,837.15 budgeted.

During the citizen participation section of the meeting, Susie Talbott asked the Board of Commissioners to consider moving citizen participation further up during the meeting, so it would be before the Commissioners vote on the agenda. Talbott also told Commissioners that there are currently no standards for when draft governmental documents will be produced to the public prior to the meeting. Commissioners said they would consider her suggestions.

The next meeting will be held on March 5.