Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 7, 2024

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 7, 2024

Georgia’s colonial charter, signed by King George II was witnessed on June 9, 1732.

Click here for the full text of Georgia’s Royal Charter from 1732.

Click here to see the oldest copy of Georgia’s Royal Charter, which was presented to Georgia by South Carolina.

The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought between Spanish forces and colonists under James Oglethorpe on St Simons Island, Georgia in 1742 on a date that is variously cited as June 9 or June 7, 1742. Thus began the rivalry between Georgia and Florida.

On June 9, 1772, the first naval attack of the Revolutionary War took place near Providence, Rhode Island, as HMS Gaspee, a British tax enforcement ship was baited into running aground and attacked by a boarding party the next day.

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution before the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia calling for American independence from Great Britain.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

Four weeks later, Georgia’s members of the Continental Congress – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton — voted for a version written by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and called the Declaration of Independence.

“Light Horse Harry” Lee, (aka Henry Lee, III), later the father of Robert E. Lee, led a group of Continental soldiers, South Carolina and Georgia militia as the British surrendered Augusta on June 5, 1781. The capture of Augusta led to Georgia’s inclusion in the United States, though it had previously been so divided between Patriots and Loyalists that Georgia was the only American colony to not participate in the First Continental Congress. Henry Lee, III was a nephew of Richard Henry Lee and served as Governor of Virginia and represented the Commonwealth in Congress.

The expulsion of the Cherokee from Georgia began on June 6, 1838 as 800 members left by riverboat.

On June 9, 1864, Gen. W.T. Sherman moved his troops to Big Shanty, Georgia, now called Kennesaw, and beginning a four-week period sometimes called the Battle of Marietta.

The Republican National Convention met in Philadelphia on June 5, 1872, nominating Ulysses S. Grant for President the next day. Twelve years later, on June 5, 1884, William T. Sherman refused the Republican nomination for President, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

The first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, also called Denali, in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, was completed on June 7, 1913.

On June 7, 1942, Japanese troops occupied American territory in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-eight years ago, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower began the invasion of France, called D-Day.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

The first Porsche automobile was completed on June 8, 1948.

On June 6, 1949, George Orwell published 1984.

Republican candidate for Governor A. Ed Smith died in a car accident on June 5, 1962.

Ronald Reagan became the Republican nominee for Governor of California on June 7, 1966.

Cream was formed on June 9, 1966 by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first to win all three of the Triple Crown races since 1948. Secretariat was bred by Christopher Chenery, a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, whose jockeys wore blue-and-white silks in honor of Chenery’s alma mater.

Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984.

On June 8, 2004, Georgia hosted the G-8 summit meeting of the world’s major industrial democracies, which included representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, plus a representative from the European Union. The 30th meeting of the G-8 was held at Sea Island at the Cloister.

June 7, 2016 was declared “Prince Day” in Minnesota under a proclamation issued by Governor Mark Dayton. Prince was born on this day in 1958. Governor Dayton missed his chance to begin a proclamation with “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together today….” The next year, Dayton proclaimed Prince Day on April 21, 2017.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Court of Appeals stayed the Trump Fulton prosecution, according to USA Today via the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Court of Appeals on Wednesday temporarily halted the 2020 election racketeering case involving former President Donald Trump and 14 others until the appeal seeking the disqualification of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is resolved.

The late afternoon ruling, which came without elaboration, issues a stay in the election subversion case until the appellate court can weigh the evidence and make a decision. The court on Monday scheduled the appeal for Oct. 4, strongly suggesting that the case will not be tried before the Nov. 5 election.

Trump and eight other defendants are seeking to overturn a ruling by Fulton  County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who said in March that Willis can stay on the case despite their allegations of misconduct and financial conflict of interest. He had said he would allow some trial preparations to continue while the case is appealed.

Trump and the other defendants petitioned to have Willis and her entire office removed from the case because of what they said was her improper relationship with Nathan Wade, the private lawyer Willis hired to serve as special prosecutor.

Trump lawyer Steven Sadow praised the decision, saying, “The Georgia Court of Appeals has properly stayed all proceedings against President Trump in the trial court pending its decision on our interlocutory appeal which argues the case should be dismissed and Fulton County DA Willis should be disqualified for her misconduct.”

From AtlantaNewsFirst via WTVM:

A stay means that all hearings, arguments, rulings and other matters are on hold until the court of appeals rules on matters it is currently hearing — including whether to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting the case. The court is also reviewing an appeal for charges dropped in the election interference case.

The Georgia Court of Appeals’ order on Wednesday prevents Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee from moving forward with other matters in the case while the appeal is pending. The order will undoubtedly further delay the case because McAfee will not be able to continue to handle pretrial motions in the case as he had planned.

Governor Brian Kemp and the State Road and Tollway Authority announced $16.9 million dollars in road upgrades, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp and the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) Board of Directors today announced the approval of $16.9 million in Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) loans and grants that will help fund five transportation infrastructure projects across the state. This round of funding includes the fourth largest loan amount allocated in the program’s history, all four of which have come under Governor Kemp’s administration.

“Our state’s unprecedented economic growth is in part thanks to our reliable transportation infrastructure network that serves both hardworking Georgians and the job creators that employ them,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “In order to continue attracting talent and opportunity and maintain our status as the number one state to do business, we must responsibly fund our infrastructure needs. Thanks to this investment, even more communities will see improvements with a generational impact.”

Approved funding includes $6.6 million awarded to Peach County in the form of a $5.6 million loan and a $1 million grant. This is the largest in GTIB’s history, reflecting continued efforts to help prioritize investment in rural parts of the state. By fully meeting Peach County’s funding requests for the Lilly Creek Road project, GTIB will substantially accelerate the paving of a dirt road providing access to over 1,000 acres of developable land and improving connectivity.

According to Peach County Administrator April Hodges, Peach County experienced persistent challenges in ensuring the safety of Lily Creek Road due to its unpaved condition and the project’s significance was recognized through successive comprehensive plans since 2016. Chairman Martin H. Moseley, Jr. of the Peach County Board of Commissioners confirmed that receiving GTIB funding will expedite the paving of Lily Creek and save the county two years and additional costs. “We are appreciative of the commitment of SRTA and its Board of Directors, led by Governor Kemp, to prioritize the transportation improvement needs of small communities such as ours,” stated Chairman Moseley. “This will enable the county to focus on other critical transportation projects, facilitating efficient roads and coordinated planning for new industrial development, preparing for future growth.”

The City of Watkinsville is receiving funding for its Simonton Bridge Road Pedestrian Improvements project. Receiving a GTIB award for this project will be transformative for the Watkinsville community. The cost of the Simonton Bridge Road project is more than the city’s $3 million annual operating budget. In addition, it would take an estimated 5 to 7 years to complete the project, without this award. With the help of GTIB funds, the city anticipates completing this project in less time and at approximately half the cost.

“For decades, residents along busy Simonton Bridge Road have requested a pedestrian connection to downtown Watkinsville,” said Watkinsville Mayor Brian Brodrick. “Given the challenging terrain, limited right of way and our small budget, Watkinsville simply could not make this happen without a very long timeline or outside support. GTIB funding will allow us to accelerate our plans while connecting a new 100-acre park to downtown. We are grateful to Governor Kemp and SRTA for their support.”

Since its inception in 2010, GTIB has awarded $216 million in grants and loans investing in projects, with a combined project value exceeding $1.1 billion, demonstrating the impact of the state’s investment and outstanding partnerships with local governments and community improvement districts (CIDs) in Georgia over the past 14 years.

“We are excited that the investment we have made into transportation projects around this state will continue to grow. While we’ve invested $16.9 million throughout the state this year, there were $52 million in additional funds requested, the majority of which was in the form of loans. Thanks to the members of the Georgia General Assembly, starting in Fiscal Year 2025, GTIB’s annual funding allocation from the state legislature will increase from $13 million to $15.4 million,” said SRTA Executive Director, Jannine Miller. “This increase in funding will allow GTIB to help even more local governments throughout the state accelerate project delivery and reduce transportation infrastructure costs for Georgia taxpayers.”

From the very first award granted, GTIB has provided strategic state investments in critical transportation projects that enhance mobility in local communities throughout Georgia. Applications are evaluated on a competitive basis. Criteria include transportation/engineering merit, economic merit, matching funds, and project specifics such as project phase and feasibility.

Loan applications are also evaluated for creditworthiness and overall project merits. An advisory committee comprised of representatives from state agencies and statewide associations evaluate SRTA staff recommendations and make final recommendations to the SRTA Board. Funds distributed by GTIB are used for capital expenses related to road and bridge infrastructure work.

The GTIB application window started November 1st and closed on Wednesday, January 25, 2024. Fiscal Year 2024 awardees, project descriptions, and funding amounts are as follows:

Peach County
Lilly Creek Road Project
This project will pave Lilly Creek Road from SR 49 to Brock Rd/Fullwood Road, a distance of two miles, and will include the addition of a new culvert at Mossy Creek to prevent flooding. The project will improve paved road connectivity, access to the state network, and opportunities to attract industry to the area.
GTIB Loan Award: $5,600,000
GTIB Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Watkinsville
Simonton Bridge Road Pedestrian Improvements
This project will construct an approximately 3,100-foot-long, ten-foot-wide pathway along Simonton Bridge Road from the Simonton Place neighborhood to Mulberry Street – supporting economic development in the downtown area by connecting it to one-quarter of the City’s population.
GTIB Loan Award: $2,225,000
GTIB Grant Award: $1,530,405

City of Locust Grove
Peeksville Connector
This project will construct a new two-lane road connecting Peeksville Road at its intersection with SR 42 to Frances Ward Drive, including the addition of eastbound turn lanes at SR 42. The project will reduce congestion in downtown Locust Grove and improve connectivity to the state network.
GTIB Loan Award: $2,000,000
GTIB Grant Award: $2,000,000

City of Sandy Springs
Boylston Drive between Hilderbrand and Hammond Drive
This project will realign the existing intersection of Hammond Drive and Boylston Drive/Hamilton Glen and install new sidewalks at each corner of the realigned intersection in order to improve traffic flow and safety.
GTIB Loan Award: $850,000
GTIB Grant Award: $650,000

Upper Westside CID
Chattahoochee Avenue Improvements Phase I
This one-mile-long project will convert a westbound turn lane to eastbound at the Howell Mill and Chattahoochee Avenue intersection, streamline signal operations at Howell Mill and Defoor Avenue, and construct a multiuse path along Chattahoochee Avenue between Southland Circle NW and Howell Mill Road. The project will improve freight access to I-75 and improve multimodal travel.
GTIB Loan Award: $1,000,000

For more information about the GTIB program, visit www.srta.ga.gov/gtib.

Governor Brian Kemp drove the first electric vehicle produced in Georgia off the assembly line, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Just 10 months after Kia invested $200 million to expand operations at its plant in West Point, Georgia, the company released its EV9, the first electric vehicle manufactured in the state of Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp drove the vehicle off the production line last Thursday and congratulated the Kia Georgia team for helping boost the state’s EV portfolio, strengthening the battery belt and advancing the climate agenda. Transportation activities accounted for 37.4 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions, fossil fuel combustion in 2022, according to the latest EPA US Greenhouse gas 2024 inventory.

“We are working to become the e-mobility capital of the nation,” Kemp said.

The fossil-fuel, emission-free vehicle went on sale at the end of 2023. The vehicles were shipped from South Korea and sold in all 50 states.

By being manufactured on American soil, the vehicle becomes at least partially eligible for a $7,500 EV tax credit that is part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The tax credit, created to help offset the cost of EVs and encourage the transition from fossil fuels, has two requirements. One of them is the EV must be made in America, and the second has to do with battery components.

“We expect the Georgia-assembled EV9 to qualify for available incentives in the near future and will provide additional details at a later date,” Patrick Sands, spokesman for Kia Georgia, said in an email.

Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones spoke to the Georgia Press Association at Jekyll Island, according to The Brunswick News.

He’s a big fan of local newspapers, Jones said. His office always receives a copy of the local paper in his hometown, Jackson. When he was a state senator and kept his office there, Jones said he’d read the paper for noteworthy awards, achievements and recognitions. Often, he’d write handwritten letters to the recipients.

Getting that kind of day-to-day community news is something you don’t get from larger institutions and outlets, Jones told the GPA.

“You can feel the pulse of a community through the local paper,” Jones said.

It’s local papers that cover the positive things that state and local governments do for their constituents, more often than not. In particular, he pointed to the state General Assembly’s passage of school choice legislation and Certificate of Need reform.

School choice is a hot topic, and it’s been fodder for division in the capital, he said. Despite that, it’s one of the more popular pieces of legislation he’s worked on. More parents contacted him about applying for the $6,500 vouchers to nonpublic education options, Jones told those at the luncheon.

The Certificate of Need, or CON, is a measure by which the state controls what kind of medical facilities can open and where. It’s prevented places like Greene and Morgan counties from expanding existing hospitals or opening new ones. Morgan County, in particular, struggled with opening a hospital to replace one that closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The citizens of Morgan rallied around a new facility, but the CON process has stymied their efforts for years. Even U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who Jones, a Republican, acknowledged not otherwise seeing eye-to-eye with, worked to help the state legislature with the CON reform. Ossoff was part of an effort to direct federal funding to Morgan County for medical services, but without a hospital, the money was useless.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Inflation will drive support for former President Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones predicted Thursday.

“2020 was the personality vote,” Jones, the first Georgia elected official to back Trump’s first campaign for president in 2015, said during a luncheon speech at the Georgia Press Association’s annual conference. “2024 is going to be a pocketbook vote.”
Jones cited the high price of gasoline and other necessities under President Joe Biden as more important to voters in the 2024 election cycle than the concerns over Trump’s character that marked the Republican’s narrow loss to Democrat Biden four years ago.

Indeed, 29% of 1,203 registered Georgia voters who responded to a Quinnipiac University poll earlier this week said the economy is the most important issue in determining how they will vote for president. The state of the economy outranked preserving democracy in the United States and immigration, rated most important by 23% and 14% of those surveyed, respectively.

Jones, who presides over the state Senate, also highlighted a couple of bills the General Assembly passed during this year’s session after years of failure.

He said a private-school vouchers bill Republican leaders steered through the legislature will give parents with children living in neighborhoods with low-performing public schools a chance to send them to a private school if they choose.

“Even the best public schools might not be the best fit for every child,” he said.

Jones also praised lawmakers for passing long-awaited legislation to reform Georgia’s “antiquated” Certificate of Need (CON) process governing the construction of new health-care facilities and the provision of new medical services.

He said rural communities looking to expand health-care access have been blocked repeatedly by the need to undergo an expensive, cumbersome CON review at the state level that forces them to demonstrate a need for a new hospital or medical service in their area.

“I watched a lot of these communities hindered around the state,” Jones said. “Everybody was shocked that we got it done.”

Former State Senator Mike Dugan (R-Carrolton) and DC Insider Trump Staffer Brian Jack (R-Fayette County) meet in the Runoff Election for the Third Congressional District, according to WTVM.

Brian Jack and Mike Dugan were the top two vote recipients in the primary election, but neither captured the threshold of votes needed to avoid the run-off. This seat has been a Republican mainstay for almost two decades, currently held by Congressman Drew Ferguson. Ferguson is retiring at the conclusion of the current term.

The winner of the run-off will face Democrat Maura Keller in the November general election.

Jack and Dugan sat down for interviews with WTVM’s Ben Stanfield to talk about their platform and qualifications.

Jack carries an endorsement from candidate and former President Donald Trump. The Peachtree City native worked in the Trump administration.

Dugan, a native of Carrollton, has been endorsed by eight of the county Sheriffs in the district. He served in the Army as a Ranger and was the Republican Majority Leader in the Georgia Senate before vacating that position for this congressional run.

You can watch the video interviews on WTVM’s website.

Brian Jack also was endorsed by two former candidates who didn’t make the runoff, according to the AJC.

Jack’s campaign hopes the blessings of former state Sen. Mike Crane and ex-state Rep. Philip Singleton — who finished third and fourth place, respectively, in the May primary — will propel him to a win over Mike Dugan.

Jack bested Dugan in every county in the district but Carroll, the former Georgia Senate GOP leader’s base. But Jack’s campaign hopes the endorsements help him improve his margins in other parts of the territory, particularly Crane’s home of Coweta County.

“We can send someone who has built and developed relationships, based on trust and integrity, that will be necessary to promote the ideals we know are fundamental to the future security and prosperity of our nation,” Crane said in his endorsement.

Voters in eight state legislative districts will vote in the June 18, 2024 Primary Runoff Elections, according to the AJC.

RaShaun Kemp and former state Rep. Ralph Long III say they are running to provide full representation to Senate District 38 after constituents went without it for so long. The two, like candidates in numerous legislative districts across the state, face off in a runoff election on June 18 after none of the six hopefuls who ran in the District 38 primary secured more than 50% of the vote last month.

Senate District 38, which is based in Fulton County, spans from Sandy Springs to Palmetto.

In District 34, which spans Fulton and Fayette counties, Valencia Stovall, a former state representative who left office in 2020 to unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, led the field of seven with about 46% of the vote. She will face Kenya Wicks, a former military officer who received about 15% of the vote. The winner of the runoff will face Republican Andrew E. Honeycutt in November.

The race for the DeKalb County seat held by retiring Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler will see a choice between former Democratic state Rep. Randal Mangham and Iris Hamilton, a nurse. Mangham was the top vote-getter in the five-way race, securing about 31% of votes counted. Hamilton finished second, with about 23% of the vote. Butler has endorsed Hamilton as her replacement.

Voters in five more districts across the state will head back to the polls June 18 to vote on legislative seats.

Rep. Steven Sainz, R-St. Marys, is the only incumbent who will have to defend his seat in a runoff. He received the most votes, getting just under 50% of votes counted. He will face Glenn Cook, a veteran and retired pilot, who secured about 27% of the vote. The winner will face Democratic candidate Defonsio Daniels in November.

Two Gwinnett County-based seats will also have runoff elections. Democrats Arlene Beckles, who works in IT, will face Sonia Lopez, who works with Scouting America, in the runoff to replace retiring longtime state Rep. Pedro Marin, D-Duluth. There is no Republican in the race, so the winner will be the next representative to serve House District 96.

Republicans challenging state Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes, a first-term Duluth Democrat, are also headed to a runoff election. J. Gregory Howard, a commodities broker, will face Fred Clayton, who is CEO of a remodeling company, in the Senate District 7 runoff. The winner will challenge Islam Parkes in November.

Rob Clifton, a commercial general contractor, and retired educator Paul Abbott will vie to be the Republican nominee in House District 131. Incumbent state Rep. Jodi Lott, R-Evans, is retiring. Democrat Heather Rose White, who recently retired from the U.S. Army, will challenge the Republican winner of this month’s runoff.

Two Democrats will face off later this month in a newly created, court-ordered majority-Black district based in Monroe and Macon-Bibb counties. Juawn Jackson, who works with middle school and high school students on college and career readiness, and Tangie Herring, a teacher, will battle to become the Democratic nominee in House District 145. The winner will face Republican Noah Redding Harbuck, an insurance agent, in November.

Muscogee and Harris County voters will also see a Runoff Election, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

As they did during the May 21 election, Muscogee County voters may vote in two nonpartisan races to decide this one citywide seat on the 10-member Columbus Council.

The May 21 election whittled the four-candidate field to two: Prestige Property Brokers owner Travis Chambers and Ankerpak President John Anker.

They are competing to succeed John House, who resigned in April 2023 to spend more time with his ailing wife. House represented District 10, one of the council’s two citywide seats, for 4½ years.

The two runoff races between Anker and Chambers are the special election to determine who immediately will fill the seat for the remainder of this year and the regular election to determine who will fill the seat for the full four-year term, starting in January.

Harris County has a runoff for the five-person Board of Commissioners District 4 seat between incumbent Bobby Irions and Richie Grantham, the top two finishers out of three candidates.

Two congressional runoffs to represent the Columbus area in the U.S. House also are on the June 18 ballot. Both are undecided races from the May 21 Republican primary.

In District 2, Wayne Johnson, a Bibb County businessman, and Chuck Hand, a Taylor County construction superintendent, are in a runoff after finishing as the top two out of four candidates. The winner will be the GOP nominee to run in the Nov. 5 general election against Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop of Albany, a former attorney.

In District 3, Mike Dugan, a Carroll County retired military veteran and a former state senator, and Brian Jack, a Fayette County political adviser for Donald Trump, are in a runoff after finishing as the top two out of six candidates. The winner will be the GOP nominee to run in the Nov. 5 general election against Democratic nominee Maura Keller, a Fayette County nuclear medicine technologist. Republican incumbent Drew Ferguson decided to not seek re-election.

The Houston County Board of Elections reversed an earlier decision and reinstated a candidate to the ballot, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The reversal came just two days after the board disqualified District 7 candidate Clyde Jackson based on his wife’s employment with the Houston County Board of Education. He is a retired teacher and coach.

The board voted 3-1 to keep Jackson on the ballot in the June runoff. Board member Andrew Bennett cast the dissenting vote.

The disqualification was based on state law Section 20-2-51 (4)(a) that states in part:

“No person who has an immediate family member sitting on a local board of education or serving as the local school superintendent or as a principal, assistant principal, or system administrative staff in the local school system shall be eligible to serve as a member of such local board of education.”

Jackson’s wife, Traci, who retired from the Houston County school system, currently serves in a part-time position as a coordinator for district and school effectiveness. She is a former principal and educator.

She told The Telegraph before the start of Thursday’s emergency meeting that her role is not an administrative position and that she works less than 20 hours a week.

However, Jennifer Jones, school spokeswoman, said in an email that Traci Jackson would still be considered an “administrator” in current part-time employment.

Before a crowded meeting, County Attorney Tom Hall said that former school board candidate Caly Hess didn’t file the challenge in a timely manner. Hess came in last among the candidates vying for the District 7 post during the May election.

“My counsel to the board of elections is to rescind the action of Tuesday night and allow the runoff election to take place,” he said.

In a field of six candidates in the May election, Jackson emerged with 4,117 votes, or 22.7% of the vote — placing him in a runoff with Angel Brown, who won 6,348 votes, or 35.01%, according to a board of elections summary report.

Swainsboro City Council member Quantavius Foster Sr. announced he has been suspended from his District 5 seat, according to WRDW.

Swainsboro District 5 City Councilman Quantavius Foster Sr. has announced that he has been suspended from his council seat.

According to Foster, City Attorney Jon Levis made this decision “unilaterally.”

In a statement on Facebook, Foster said “On August 30, 2018, our lives changed drastically as we lost our home and vehicles, experiencing a period of homelessness. Despite what may be said or seen, I made decisions to ensure my family’s safety and well-being.”

Cobb County Commissioners are expected to vote to place a transit referendum on the November ballot, according to the AJC.

The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority approved Cobb County’s proposed transit project list, paving the way for the Board of Commissioners to vote Tuesday on whether to place the transit referendum on the November ballot. It is expected to pass along a party-line vote, with the three Democrats voting in favor and the two Republicans against.

Local leaders in both counties are aiming to expand mass transit to the rapidly growing Atlanta suburbs through 30-year penny sales taxes. The proposed projects in both counties include bus rapid transit, on-demand microtransit and expanded local bus routes. Neither includes an expansion of MARTA rail.

The taxes, if approved by voters, would raise an estimated $12.4 billion in Gwinnett and $10.8 billion in Cobb.

Even though a majority of voters lean Democratic in Cobb and Gwinnett, some have expressed opposition to transit expansion into the suburbs, particularly under a 30-year sales tax. And transit expansion has historically been a tough sell in both counties.

Republican candidate for Cobb County chair Kay Morgan told the authority’s board at their Thursday meeting that “30 years and 11 billion of our tax dollars is just too much of a burden for us to bear.”

If it makes it to the ballot in November as expected, the transit tax will be one of a few votes in Cobb County history on transit, while Gwinnett has rejected transit in various forms multiple times in recent years.

The Tybee Island Historical Society will receive a grant from the Georgia Power Foundation to help restore the Tybee Island lighthouse, according to the Savannah Morning News.

TIHS announced in a press release that it had been chosen as a recipient of the Georgia Power Foundation Grant. Georgia Power selects local organizations for funding based on their potential impact. While the amount was not disclosed in the press release, it will “significantly contribute to this vital restoration effort.”

Last winter, during a routine inspection it was determined that the lighthouse was in need of essential repairs to the window, around the Fresnel lens, roof and masonry.

The tasks at hand were to repair the curtain wall, take the glass out, repair and preform cast iron replenishment and coatings to keep the water out. The cost of the repairs came to $1.6 million, with an unexpected $83,000 to replace some of the copper seams in the roof of the lens room. The project is nearing completion, with the daymark on the lighthouse being removed to facilitate stucco repairs and plans to repaint it by the end of June.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles elected a new Chair and Vice Chair, according to the Albany Herald.

David J. Herring will serve as chair of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles for Fiscal Year 2025 which begins July 1. Meg Heap will serve as Vice Chair.

Herring and Heap were elected by the board at its recent monthly operational meeting. Herring served as vice chair for FY 2024.

Herring thanked current Chairman Terry Barnard for his leadership and said, “You’ve done an outstanding job, and we appreciate your leadership.”

Herring was appointed to the Parole Board in 2018. He is a former state trooper with the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and prior to his board appointment he served as a lieutenant colonel managing security for the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Heap is a former district attorney in Savannah. She was appointed to the Parole Board in 2021.

The other members of the Parole Board are Terry Barnard, Joyette Holmes and Wayne Bennett.

Georgia’s governor appoints members to the Parole Board to seven-year staggered terms. The state Senate confirms the appointment. Members are full-time state employees.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources budget includes funding for a restoration project at Ossabaw Island, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The work is expected to begin in late fall, nearly 50 years after passage of legislation championed by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter that would make Ossabaw the state’s first acquisition under the Georgia Heritage Preserve Act.

Funding for the project is included in the 2025-2025 Georgia Department of Natural Resources budget.

The Ossabaw Island Foundation, which manages the state-owned property near Savannah, is “over the moon” that the project has been funded, said Executive Director Elizabeth DuBose.

Georgia DNR’s Engineering and Construction Division will lead the rehab. DuBose, who said she’s worked closely with DNR since last year in planning the work, will act as an adviser.

Bulloch County will receive a $2 million dollar state grant for road resurfacing, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Bulloch County is accepting an additional $2.22 million Georgia Department of Transportation grant that will expand the county government’s 2024 road resurfacing program to almost $6.6 million in state and local funding, expected to resurface 12 paved road segments totaling 23.52 miles.

Also included in the grand total is $502,457 for crack sealing, patching and chip seal application at “various locations” on roads throughout the county.

“So, if you combine all that together, it’s going to be more like about 50 miles,” said County Engineer Brad Deal.

As he explained, the new $2.22 million grant is from a special state fund, similar to but separate from the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, or LMIG, money the county receives annually through the Department of Transportation. With what was originally a surplus from state motor fuel taxes, Gov. Brian Kemp and the Legislature made $250 million more available to Georgia cities and counties this year in a program called simply Local Road Assistance, or LRA.

One major difference is that LRA grants are 100% state funding, requiring no local matching funds, unlike regular LMIG awards, which require at least a 30% local match. But Bulloch County usually exceeds the required match anyway, through the use of Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money to supplement LMIG, and will also be using some T-SPLOST funds in the mostly LRA-funded projects.

Officially, what Deal was requesting from the commissioners was approval to submit an application to the Georgia DOT for the Local Road Assistance funding. But really, the $2.22 million has already been allocated to the  county.

“The only thing we have to do is send the application and tell them what we’re using it for,” he said. “That’s really the only strings attached to it, as long as it’s … maintenance or improvements to public roads.”

Glynn County received no public feedback on their proposed FY 2025 budget, according to The Brunswick News.

A public hearing on Glynn County’s proposed FY25 $205 million budget ended without public comment during the Glynn County Commission meeting Thursday.

The City of Port Wentworth will consider raising the property tax millage rate, according to WTOC.

The City of Port Wentworth is proposing a property tax increase and they want to hear from the people that live there before it goes to a vote.

Port Wentworth City Manager Steve Davis said, “the City of Port Wentworth is experiencing hyper-growth- not just exceptional growth, not just fast growth. We’ve increased by over 40% over the last three years.”

Davis says the city is adding three new police officer positions, as well as three new public works positions. There are also six new firefighter positions being added and a new fire station, expected to open in 2025, is being built, as well.

To calculate what taxes property owners will pay, the City uses a millage rate- 1 mil is equal to one dollar of tax per 1,000 dollars of taxable value.

The proposed millage rate in Port Wentworth will increase from 4.16- to 5.216. Davis says this will account for an increase of $84 per household a year.

CAT bus expansion is also a big part of the need for the increase, Davis says.

That number also accounts for the money needed to fund CAT services, which just recently expanded into Port Wentworth.

That’s something Davis hopes to take off the city’s tax bill in the future.

“We need legislation to get that changed. Right now, we’re funding that out of our General Fund. And what we’re looking for is legislation to get put into the CAT service district, so that would be, then we would take this off and CAT would charge the transit tax.”

Davis says overall, inflation is affecting Port Wentworth’s budget the same way it’s affecting everyone. He wants people to know, however, that the tax increase is to fund a better city for everyone.

“These things that we’re working on to improve lives. There are a lot of great things going on, and these things cost money.”

The city will be holding three public hearings about the tax increase at Port Wentworth City Hall.

The City of Tybee Island adopted a property tax millage rate higher than the full rollback rate, according to WSAV.

The city of Tybee Island has tentatively adopted a millage rate, which will require an increase in property taxes by 5.79% over the rollback rate.

According to requirements of the O.C.G.A. 48-5-32, does hereby publishes the following presentation of the current year’s digest and levy along with the history of the tax digest for the past five years.

This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 3.542 mills, an increase of.194 mills. Without the tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 3.348 mills.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a reasonable value of $250,000 is approximately $49, and the proposed tax increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $750,000 is approximately $146.

Houston County’s proposed FY 2025 budget growth exceeds the rate of inflation, according to 13WMAZ.

Is Houston County’s budget rising faster than inflation?

Yes, Houston County’s budget has increased faster than the rate of inflation

In 2025, the county is spending nearly half of its budget on public safety. Perdue says they hope to recruit and retain more employees, give out merit bonuses, and provide better services for the county jail. He says they want to upgrade healthcare in the jail and need more money to spend on inmate meals.

“When you look at our per capita spending in Houston County it has grown. It’s grown by 25%,” he said.

We looked at the five years that the viewer questioned. In 2020, the budget was set at $59.2 million and at $75 million in 2024. That’s a 26% spending increase.

Then we compared that growth to the inflation rate.

“In that same time of that time span the compound inflation rate is about 27%,” Perdue said.

Perdue sent us a spreadsheet made up by his office, starting in 2018. They compared growth to the rate of inflation, which was 27%. They say 25% growth is in line with 27% inflation.

We did the comparison a bit different. We looked at the federal online inflation calculator. From April 2019 to April 2024, the federal government says inflation rose 22% in five years.

Comparing the 26% growth in Houston County’s budget to the 22% inflation rate allows us to say the budget is increasing at a faster rate than inflation.

We looked at Paulding County, where the population is closest to Houston. Between 2020-2024 their budget increased by 42%.

We also looked at Macon-Bibb County. Between those same years, the budget increased by 29%. These numbers show that other county’s budgets are rising at a quicker rate as well.

Folks in Houston County have until July 1 to appeal their new property values. Perdue says they plan to roll back the county millage rate so that most people won’t see higher tax bills.

Perdue says state auditors say Houston County’s property values aren’t keeping up with rising sale prices, and that will cost the county state aid unless they fix it. This is why you may have seen a drastic change in your reassessments.

The Habersham County Commission will present a proposed FY 2025 budget, according to AccessWDUN.

The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education proposes keeping the property tax millage rate at the current rate for FY 2025, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) has proposed to maintain the current millage rate of 17.631 for the fourth consecutive fiscal year. The last time the millage rate changed was when the board rolled it back in 2021 from 18.131 mills to the current rate.

Although the rate remains unchanged, a majority of property owners may still wind up paying more in school taxes. Why?

Property value increases due to assessments made by the Chatham County Board of Assessors. To be clear, not all property owners will see increases in their taxes. Some property values in the county did not change while others decreased. The majority, however, have increased because, as SCCPSS Budget Director Paige Cooley noted, “The price of housing has gone up.”

Cooley presented another budget update at the school board’s June 5 Informal Session as part of the ongoing budget proposal process for Fiscal Year 2025. The penultimate slide of the most recent presentation stated, “Even though the District is not seeking to raise the millage rate, any millage rate that is in excess of the ‘Roll-Back Rate’ must be advertised as a tax increase.”

Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson wants a Charter Review Committee created, according to WJBF.

It will be a first since consolidation, Mayor Garnett Johnson voting like the other commissioners, after voters agreed to change the charter and the mayor feels other changes need to be reviewed.

“Every other consolidated government I know in the state of Georgia, probably most across the United States, has the ability to take a look and see if their government is operating efficiently and effectively,” says Mayor Garnett Johnson.

The mayor is asking commissioners to approve having the Vinson Institute at UGA help the city create a review committee for a deep dive into the charter.

“They’re unbiased and non-partisan, they are the ideal organization to lead us through this,” said the mayor.

“If this is what the mayor wants to see, I do, I supported it yesterday. we ought to go ahead with this charter, what is the hold up,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.

But commissioners are tapping the brakes sending the request back to committee for more discussion.

Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams is resigning effective July 12, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Williams’ resignation, a late addition to the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting of Athens-Clarke County’s mayor and commission, was accepted unanimously by the commission. Some commissioners relucted at their decision but opted to honor Williams’ decision to resign.

The commission vote came after a closed-door executive session of the mayor and commission earlier Wednesday that was convened to discuss personnel matters.

“My decision to resign is driven by a sincere desire to explore new opportunities for personal and professional growth, and to be with my family,” Williams told commissioners following their vote.

There were indications Wednesday that pressures felt by Athens-Clarke County officials from some quarters following the Feb. 22 slaying of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old Athens nursing student, may have reached Williams’ office.

Under the terms of the resignation agreement, Williams will receive severance pay of $110,590.50, the equivalent of six months’ salary, to be paid out over six months. He will also retain health insurance and life insurance benefits for six months.

As part of the agreement, Williams will be “reasonably available” for consulting with the interim county manager, at a rate of $106 per hour, through Aug. 30.

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