Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 20, 2016

20
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 20, 2016

On June 20, 1732, the signing of the Georgia Charter was completed by the British government.

On June 20, 1782, Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, was responsible for the final design presented to Congress. The design approved by Congress was a written description without any sketches.

On June 20, 1819, the SS Savannah entered the port at Liverpool, England, marking the first transatlantic crossing by a steam-powered ship, having sailed out of Savannah on May 20th.

General Robert E. Lee moved on Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg, Virginia on June 20, 1864.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Gwinnett County’s first ever trial for human trafficking resulted in the conviction of Quantavious Lee Jackson, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Quantavious Lee Jackson, a young Brookhaven man with a crude dollar sign tattooed between his eyes, was found guilty of keeping two teen girls as prostitutes before their rescue in November 2014. After the verdicts, which a jury returned late Thursday, he faces life in prison during his sentencing hearing later this month.

“These convictions are the result of a tremendous effort put forth by multiple law enforcement agencies,” prosecutor Jennifer Hendee told the Daily Post on Friday afternoon. “We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict and we hope it sends the message that human trafficking will not be tolerated within Gwinnett County.”

The case had been one of many human-trafficking cases pending in the county since the General Assembly enacted Georgia’s law specifically addressing the crime in 2011, but it was the first to go to trial.

The DA’s office said Jackson, represented by Robert Booker, kept the girls, ages 15 and 16, for several days in various hotels in College Park, Buckhead and ultimately Gwinnett.

A study committee of Georgia General Assembly will consider once again tax breaks to attempt to promote a recording industry in the state.

The Joint Music Economic Development Study Committee will examine ways to “measure, expand and promote” music and foster connections between recorded music and other arts, such as film, digital media and gaming.

The committee is charged with finding ways to support and promote music tourism, post-secondary education in music and new studio spaces for artists to record their work.

Incentives for small music studios and musicians could be part of a package for lawmakers to consider when they reconvene next year.

Advocates say tax credits for music recorded here, particularly for film, television and theater, could help the industry attract new artists, retain and nurture up-and-comers, and spur the development of new recording facilities and event spaces.

The Middle Georgia Regional Commission is set to meet and discuss a new T-SPLOST, but may not be able to get it on this year’s ballot, according to the Macon Telegraph.

It appears unlikely, however, that all the steps can be completed to get the referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot. That means that any public vote probably would be held sometime next year.

Designated elected officials from each of the 11 counties in the region are expected for a roundtable meeting soon.

The push for the referendum began in September after the Middle Georgia Regional Commission polled the 11 county commissions and a majority wanted to move forward with it. But Houston County, the second most populous in the region, opposed it, along with Putnam, Monroe and Twiggs counties.

Those in favor of a transportation sales tax referendum are Peach, Crawford, Macon-Bibb, Jones, Baldwin, Wilkinson and Pulaski counties.

Atlanta City Council will vote Monday to put a half-cent MARTA sales tax on the November ballot.

A Glynn County SPLOST may be on the back burner as County Commissioners postponed voting on a proposed agreement with Brunswick.

On Thursday, the Glynn County Commission deferred its vote on an agreement with the city to allow Brunswick to have $15.99 million in projects included in the proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax the governments are hoping to get on the November general election ballot.

The agreement is necessary for the city to get more than the 19.32 percent it is legally entitled to of the more than $71 million in taxes expected to be collected. That comes out to around $13.8 million.

As expected, Mayor Cornell Harvey was not happy about the sudden change and questioned how the city is supposed to trust the county when it appeared the county was set to move forward with the agreement.

“I’m sadly disappointed in them for not taking the vote,” Harvey said Friday. “This was something that we had already agreed to and had whittled our list down. They are right that they only have to give us 19.32 percent but we had gotten past all that. The county doesn’t like that we have the purchase of police vehicles on our list.”

County commission chairman Richard Strickland said the agreement may now in limbo.

When asked if he thought an agreement would ever be approved, Strickland said, “I can’t tell you that right now. There were a number of commissioners who had reservations that hadn’t changed. There was a (previous) compromise but the county commissioners had time to think about it and thought the county had given enough.”

Strickland went on to say that the city needs to come down on the amount of money they’re asking for.
“The (intergovernmental agreement) is only in effect because the city wants more money than they’re entitled to,” Strickland said. “Based on the city’s population they are entitled to 19.32 percent which comes out to $13.8 million.

Peachtree City approved its list of SPLOST projects to be included in a possible November 2017 Fayette County SPLOST vote.

“Ultimately, it is a special purpose tax countywide, and the only ones who can call for that are county commissioners. The cities do not have any say whatsoever in terms of calling for a ballot initiative regarding to a SPLOST. All we’re doing is working with the county to try to develop a very feasible project list as we go forward,” [said City Manager Jon Rorie].

Forsyth County’s Board of Education voted unanimously to place a renewal E-SPLOST on this November’s ballot.

If approved on the Nov. 8 ballot by Forsyth County voters, a 1-percent sales and use tax, called SPLOST, will be re-imposed from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022.

A SPLOST approved in 2007 will end on June 1, 2017, so this fifth SPLOST referendum would simply pick up where that one finished — approving the option on the ballot in November would not increases sales taxes more than they are now.

SPLOST V would be used to fund up to about $35 million in capital outlay projects and up to about $159 million for debt service retirements, said Rick Gunn, chief financial officer for Forsyth County Schools.

A maximum revenue of about $195 million could be collected from this SPOLST program, Gunn said.

Voters will have the choice to approve or deny this SPLOST continuation on their ballot when they vote for President and local elected offices in November.

 

The Chatham County Commission is expected to vote Friday on millage rates for the 2017 budget.

The commission anticipates maintaining the millage rate for Chatham Area Transit at 1 mill, for the countywide general fund at 11.543 mills, and for the property tax paid by only unincorporated residents at 4.13 mills.

“The board of commissioners has stated its plan to keep the millage rates the same as they were last year,” Commission Chairman Al Scott said at an earlier hearing on the millage last week.

Although the county doesn’t intend to increase the property tax, the move by the commission to adopt a millage above next year’s rollback rate could result in an increase for some property owners’ annual tax bills. The county has reported that anticipated growth in property values could raise these payments on an average property by about $9.

The Gwinnett County Republican Party will open a new headquarters in a storefront in Gwinnett Place Mall.

High levels of vanadium have been detected in groundwater at a landfill near the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia.

A second round of bulk-buying of solar panels in the Solarize Tybee program makes eligible any rooftop within 100 miles  of Savannah.

That wait ends Tuesday when Solarize Savannah kicks off, with what’s shaping up as a 90-day period for interested property owners to sign up and have their rooftop evaluated for suitability.

Solarize is a national program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy that helps local governments promote solar energy to homeowners and business owners by streamlining the selection of an installer and buying in bulk to reduce cost. Begun in Portland, Ore., the program has been implemented in more than 200 communities around the nation. Solarize Tybee, which spread countywide, was the first Solarize project in Georgia. Solarize Athens and Solarize Decatur-Dekalb are currently underway.

Comments ( 0 )