Lumpkin Board of Education recognizes outstanding student achievements

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Lumpkin, Ga.- The Board of Education recognized the achievements of Jake Barrett and Cooper McDonald for finishing seventh in the High School Fishing National Championship.

Jake Barret and Cooper McDonald competed this summer in both the national and world High School Fishing Championship. Barret is currently an eighth-grader and McDonald is now a senior.

The boys fished six consecutive weekends at Lake Hartwell and Lanier to qualify for Nationals after finishing fifth in State. Nationals were also held at Lake Hartwell for three days. The Sunday after they fished with the top 30 that had moved on the world.

“This is an awesome opportunity to congratulate these two young men on a great accomplishment,” explained Athletic Director Mike Powell.

In addition, the board recognized Jacob Tinsley, Brad Head, and Greg Trammell for their hard work for the school system, they received the Ideal Indian Award. There was one more recognition at the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Rob Brown. He has become the President of The Georgia School Superintendent Assissocation.

Jacob Tinsley the Maintenance Director, Brad Head a member of the maintenance crew, and Greg Trammell Chief Operations Officer were recognized and awarded the Ideal Indian Award for their hard work this summer in completing several projects. These projects include the new playground equipment at Blackburn and Longbranch, new furniture and lighting at Longbranch, a new parking lot and sewer line at Longbranch, the new roof and HVAC system at the High School, and the new Pole Barn at the High School.


Greg Trammell (left), Jacob Tinsely, Brad Head, and Dr. Rob Brown (right)

Trammell is also in charge and overseeing the new elementary school that is being built. His work on the school has given him the opportunity to foster better relationships with the Board of Commissioners.

“Mr. Trammell we appreciate you and all you do to lead operations in our district,” commented Superintendent Dr. Rob Brown.

Superintendent Dr. Brown was also recognized at the meeting. Brown has been voted the President of the Georgia Schools Superintendent Association for the 2021/2022 school year.

This means that he is the head superintendent for the state overseeing 187 superintendents from all across the state. For more information about the GSSA visit

His fellow superintendents showed their support by writing words of congratulations to him. It was printed off, framed, and presented to him along with a bell by Assistant Superintendent Sharon Head.

“He is the head of the organization this year which is quite an honor from around the state and we are very proud of him for that,” stated Head.


Dr. Rob Brown receiving his recognition from Board

Budget and Millage Rate

The board also voted to approve the CTAE Grants, the last FY21 amended budget, surplus furniture, and employee recommendations. Chief Financial Officer Shannon Christian presented the board with two possible options for the millage rate, this will be voted on at a Special Call Meeting on August 23, at 6:00 p.m.

The board approved the new CTAE Grants. The grants are federal and state grants received each year. Federal $51,839, state $55,160 and additional $19,433 in AG Ed state grants this year.

Next for approval was the FY21 amended budget. The expenditures did not change they have been moved around and the CARES Act 2 numbers were changed to reflect what was actually used of the grant.

The FY21 Amended Budget changes are in green.

The old furniture from Longbranch was approved as surplus furniture. The furniture can now be sold at auction.

The final thing the board approved of was employee recommendations. The new employees include Rhonda Ervin Counselor for the High School, Courtney Greene Paraprofessional at Blackburn, Richard Harris Bus Driver, and Jack Lowry, Anna Isaacs, Claire Stephens, Tyler Payne, and Karen Harris student workers.

The staff that is retiring and resigning are all bus drivers Freddy Lingerfelt, Jamon Tipton, and Robert Bryant. There is also one transfer Marilyn Pippin transferring paraprofessional from Blackburn to Longbranch.

Option 1 for the millage rate.

Shanon Christian also presented the board with two possible options for the millage rate this year. Option one presents no increase to taxpayers. It would be a 15.56 mills rate.

Option two would be to keep the rate current at 16.176 mills. This option would have a tax increase of $742,745 for the taxpayers. There will be a special call meeting on August 23 at 6:00 p.m. for the board to vote on the rate.

“I think with the option since we have CARES Act money available I think option one seems like a better alternative, go head and rollback offering the savings to the community,” stated Board Member Craig Poore.

Departments’ 2020 budgets didn’t reflect CARES Act reimbursements

Board of Commissioners, Featured News, Featured Stories, News
CARES Act reimbursements

BLUE RIDGE, Ga: Several county departments never received their CARES Act reimbursement funds in 2020 despite the county having the money.

Chairman Jamie Hensley addressed the matter during the February 9, 2021 meeting, stating that at least one department was showing over by 175 percent.

“Unbeknownst to the commissioners, I can honestly say that they really didn’t know. This is something that we just found out,” Hensley said.

These departments spent funds from their capital outlay budgets to safely maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state gave Fannin CARES Act funds specifically for coronavirus-related improvements.  T

The departments’ financials weren’t changed to reflect the addition of the CARES Act. The money went into the general fund account. Board of Commissioners needed to move a line item to demonstrate that these departments weren’t grossly overbudget.

“We’re not actually putting money back into their budget. It’s all in one pot like in the general fund. It’s just going to be a reflection of the actual budget line-item number,” County Clerk and Interim CFO Sherri Walker explained.

Outgoing Chairman Stan Helton and resigned Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway never met with Hensley before he assumed office. The CFO resigned before he took office. As a result, no one explained the reasoning for leaving the money in the general fund and not updating departments’ budgets.

Fannin Board of Commissioners also discussed Whitepath.

Hensley asked the department heads for all their receipts to accurately adjust, monitor, and reimburse their COVID-19 expenses. Presently, at least five departments need their budgets to be made whole from 2020.

Post One Earl Johnson

Post One Earl Johnson wanted to know why the CARES Act reimbursement money sat in the general fund.

“We applied for that to receive COVID funding to do all those things. All we’re doing is using the money for what it was intended for, not to beef up the general fund account. I have no idea why or how it happened,” Post One Earl Johnson stated, “I think all of these budgets, in my opinion, need to be made whole for expenditures that were caused by COVID because we got federal funds to do so.”

Post Two Glenn Patterson echoed that sentiment.

To prevent a similar situation from happening in the future, Hensley suggested setting up a separate account for such funds as the CARES Act. With an established account, the county can know the exact amount remaining or if a department needs reimbursement.

County Attorney Lynn Doss added that legally Fannin needs a file that documents all COVID-19 expenses in case of a future audit.

The board agreed to get all the receipts together before making a motion to approve moving the money.

They’re in the process of interviewing for a new CFO and human resources person.

Gov. Kemp and UGA Provide Overview of CARES Act Funding

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Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided an overview of the funding allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This critical funding will help small businesses keep workers employed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the state has launched an information website to provide guidance on accessing a variety of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

Beginning April 6, these state partners will host a series of web-based information sessions tailored to each region of the state. In addition, SBDC will be available to assist businesses, where necessary.

The CARES Act provides funds for SBA to aid small businesses through its network of private small business lenders. Georgia has more than 70 qualified SBA lenders, and detailed information about the following vital lending programs can also be found HERE.

“Small businesses are the engine of Georgia’s economy and provide economic opportunity for millions of Georgia families,” said Governor Kemp. “As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, this critical resource will provide a lifeline to small businesses across our state. I am encouraging all Georgians to support their local businesses in this difficult time. We will get through this together.”

“The Georgia Department of Economic Development is continuing to work with our partners statewide to confront COVID-19 and move forward together,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Governor Kemp, DCA, and SBDC for working together with us to better and more efficiently serve our state’s small businesses at this time of great need.”

“DCA is proud to work with our state partners to support the small businesses that are such a vital part of the communities we serve,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn.

“The University of Georgia has a strong track record of helping to develop new small businesses across the state. Assisting these firms to navigate COVID-19 aligns perfectly with our land-grant mission,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

Kemp and UGA’s SBDC released a list of SBA lenders.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
A new $349 billion lending program under the existing SBA 7(a) program. The SBA guarantee of PPP loans will be 100 percent through the end of 2020. PPP loan payments will be deferred for a minimum of six and up to twelve months. Loans will be administered through local and regional banks; any federally regulated bank may become an SBA lender for this purpose. The Department of the Treasury will issue regulations for these loans quickly.

Eligibility: Small businesses as defined by SBA size standards, generally up to 500 employees, but up to 1,500 depending on the sector; sole proprietors, the self-employed, and independent contractors.
The interest rate will not exceed 4 percent; currently fixed at 0.5 percent.
Regulatory streamlining: SBA’s standard “no credit elsewhere” test is waived, no personal guarantee or collateral required, and no additional fees will be applied to these loans.
Size of loans: Up to $10 million. Loan amount is based on recent payroll costs, compensation paid to individuals, including those who are self-employed. Compensation in excess of $100,000 per year to any individual is excluded.
Requirements: The business must certify the loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage or lease payments, and pay utilities.
Loans may be forgiven, up to an amount equaling eligible payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility cost, incurred during the eight-week period starting from the loan origination. Compensation in excess of $100,000 a year to any individual will not qualify for forgiveness. Additionally, loan forgiveness is reduced by layoffs or pay reductions in excess of 25 percent, and loan forgiveness is not treated as taxable income.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance

Eligibility: Advances are available to small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in operation on January 31, 2020.
For those that apply for the EIDL, an advance of up to $10,000 will be provided to small businesses within several days of applying for the loan.
The advance does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EDL.
Funds can be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

7(a) Loan Payment Relief

SBA will pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees owed on 7(a) loans as follows:

Existing borrower not on deferment: six months beginning with the next payment due on the loan;
Existing borrower on deferment: six months of payments beginning with the next payment due on the loan after the deferment period; and
New borrower: six months of payments beginning with the first payment due on the loan, but only for new loans made within the first six months starting from the date of enactment.

Should you need assistance, the UGA Small Business Development Center offices across the state are open and available. Contact information for every office is available HERE.

Earlier today Kemp released details on Medicaid and Peachcare waiver. 

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