Your Washington Desk
Your Washington Desk
Four affordable-housing projects in Bibb and Houston counties will get $3.3 million in tax credits for development, 15 percent of the amount handed out statewide.
In Macon-Bibb County, renovation of the former Hunt Elementary School at 990 Shurling Drive into apartments for the elderly will get $657,286 in tax credits, which can be sold to raise money for construction, while turning the former A.L. Miller High School at 2241 Montpelier Ave. into relatively low-priced apartments will qualify the developer for about $1 million in tax credits, said Alison Tyrer, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
In Houston County, two new construction projects get the credits: $981,733 for senior housing called Oliver Place, on Gray Road in Perry; and $692,668 for the second phase of Potemkin Senior Village at 701 Elberta Road in Warner Robins.
Chris Byrd, development associate for Oracle Consulting Services LLC, said the Kentucky-based company hopes to start work at the Miller school in March or April 2015, and construction will take 12 to 14 months.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced Wednesday it has manufactured the 100th G650. The ultra-long-range business jet was delivered to a customer on Nov. 14.
“The production of the 100th G650 is a testament to the demand for this amazing aircraft,” said Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream. “It truly set a new world standard for performance, range, speed, safety and comfort when it entered into service in December 2012.
“The completion of the 100th aircraft also speaks volumes about the skilled employees who build these planes.”
The G650 was announced on March 13, 2008, and took its first flight on Nov. 25, 2009. The aircraft was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration on Sept. 7, 2012, and by the European Aviation Safety Agency on Dec. 21, 2012.
The city of Savannah — with the help of a surveillance camera — has begun enforcing a local ordinance meant to stop trains from backing up traffic for excessive periods of time.
A citation, which could include a fine of up to $500, was issued against a train operator, Golden Isles Terminal Railroad, for blocking vehicles on President Street last month for more than the 10 minutes allowed by city ordinance.
The 17-minute traffic blockage at about 2 p.m. on Oct. 14 was confirmed by reviewing video from a surveillance camera after the city received a complaint about the incident, said city spokesman Bret Bell.
Golden Isles works hard to stay within the 10 minutes allowed to minimize traffic disruptions, company spokesman Michael Williams said in an email.
“While it can be frustrating to wait in traffic as a train moves back and forth in the crossing, I assure you that the crew is doing all they can to safely complete the task and clear the crossing as soon as possible,” Williams said.
The city and Golden Isles reached an informal agreement in 2007 not to “switch cars” from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., but it still happens occasionally, Bell said.
Federal and state laws prohibit the city from adopting the rush-hour restriction into law, but they do allow for the city’s 10-minute limit on blocking traffic, Bell said.
Georgia State Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) recently announced his intention to re-introduce a “religious freedom” bill in the 2015 Georgia General Assembly. A previous version was opposed by some business interests as well as the Georgia Municipal Association because they felt it would legalize discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and deny them access to needed services.
A plain reading of the legislation, however, says otherwise.
McKoon’s bill simply restricts the right of any governmental entity to “substantially burden a person’s civil right to exercise of religion” unless it can show that the burden is necessary to further a “compelling governmental interest”. Uprooting discrimination on the basis of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, what have you, is a well-established “compelling governmental interest”. Further, the burden must be the least restrictive means of alternative means to protect that interest.
Under this law, the government is barred from passing a law or imposing a regulation that interferes with one’s religious beliefs unless that law or regulation can pass a “strict scrutiny” test. It addresses government power and the free exercise of religion; it is not a law promoting or protecting acts of private discrimination.
The bill mirrors the 21 year old federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other similar laws on the books in 19 other states, even more when judicial decisions are included.
MARIETTA — A day before the Cobb Board of Ethics is scheduled to hold a hearing on an ethics complaint against County Chairman Tim Lee, one member of the board has resigned and other is being asked to step down.
Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ben Mathis, Lee’s attorney, filed a motion Wednesday requesting Angeline Mathis, his ex-wife, to recuse herself from the ethics board.
Additionally, the Rev. Walter Moon, the ethics board member appointed by the Cobb Board of Commissioners, has submitted his resignation from the board for personal reasons, according to Lynn Rainey, attorney for the board.
MARIETTA — The first hearing for City Councilman Anthony Coleman was heard in Cobb Superior Court on Wednesday after he was indicted on charges of violating the racketeering act and making false statements.
Judge James Whitfield heard motions filed by Coleman’s attorney, Jimmy Berry, but the judge did not make any rulings.
One of Berry’s motions was unsuccessful in court Wednesday, so he dropped it almost immediately after arguing in front of the judge.
Berry, a Marietta defense attorney, argued the charges in the indictment should be dropped because Coleman was not given a 15-day notice of his indictment, as Georgia law requires for elected officials, according to the motion filed Oct. 20.
Former Gov. Carl Sanders was no longer a household name in Georgia at the time of his death at age 89 on Sunday. Considering the turmoil of the 1960s Civil Rights era during which he served; and considering how the names of so many of his peers across the South are remembered with scorn, his seeming modern-day anonymity was a silent testimony to his ability to deftly lead the state through such troubled times.
The Augusta native and World War II veteran graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, worked his way up in the state Legislature in the 1950s and first ran for governor in 1962.
Georgia and the rest of the South was in the midst of political and societal turmoil unmatched since Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Movement was gathering steam, but much of the white community was staunchly against dismantling segregation. Unfortunately, too many Southern governors, most notably Alabama’s George Wallace and Mississippi’s Ross Barnett, were eager to pander to the segregationists. Their states and others were wracked with race-related murders, lynchings, burnings, bombings and more.
Sanders ran in 1962 as a moderate in the all-important Democratic Primary against Marvin Griffin, a segregationist former governor. The general election was an after-thought in those days.
As governor from 1963-67, Sanders distanced himself from the segregationists and took what for the time, for a white Southern politician, were progressive stances on race. He was not one to stand in the schoolhouse door or make fiery “Hell No!” speeches. Rather, he took a “pox on both their houses” approach, criticizing both the Klan and “agitators” like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., took a similar approach, touting Atlanta as “The City Too Busy to Hate.” As a result, Georgia’s racial temperature rarely reached the boiling point, and the state dodged most of the self-inflicted black eyes suffered by its neighbors.
Sanders walked a tightrope as governor on civil rights: He opposed the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he also removed the “Whites Only” signs from the Capitol’s restrooms and drinking fountains; and later that year named two blacks as members of the state’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.
They are close, but the Dalton City Council and the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners haven’t quite reached agreement on how money from a 1 percent proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will be spent.
The City Council voted 4-0 Monday to table an intergovernmental agreement with the board that would spell out how that money would be spent. Mayor Dennis Mock usually only votes to break ties.
The move came after the city public works department received two studies from Dalton Utilities on the costs of repairing the dam at Threadmill Lake to reduce stormwater runoff downstream from the lake.
Representatives from Whitfield County’s smaller cities say they support a proposed intergovernmental agreement to create a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
The Dalton City Council voted Monday to table the agreement while it reconsiders one of its key projects, a $2.2 million plan to repair the dam at Threadmill Lake and to link the lake with Lakeshore Park and Brookwood Park with trails.
Dalton Public Works Director Benny Dunn told the council that because the lake and the area around it are considered wetlands, just receiving the federal permits for the work would probably cost $2 million and take five to seven years. He said based on studies, the work would reduce runoff during a storm that would occur only every 50 years by 3 percent.
The agreement calls for a four-year SPLOST that is forecast to collect some $62 million.
Officials with the cities of Cohutta, Tunnel Hill and Varnell say they don’t plan any changes in their projects.