COVID task force: Not the time to be complacent
The Gordon County COVID-19 task force is encouraging people to continue following safety guidelines. COVID-19 cases in Gordon County rose to 240 over the last two weeks, compared to 170 in the two weeks prior.
The task force released the following statement:
“Over the last couple of weeks cases in Gordon County, the State of Georgia and the country have increased after multiple weeks of declines in case numbers. As these numbers declined people may have become more relaxed on precautions such as social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing hands, staying home if you are sick and the wearing of masks. As these numbers continue to trend upward this is not the time to become complacent and lose the gains we have made. We are asking each citizen and family to please remain diligent to keeping yourself and your family as safe as possible by continuing to observe recommendations from public health officials.
We will continue to monitor situations daily and do all that we can to keep our citizens safe. Since the beginning of this pandemic we have worked diligently to try and stay ahead of this virus as a team here in Gordon County. We ask that our citizens continue to do the things that can be done during this time to help our community as a whole. If you do feel you need to be tested the Gordon County Health Department continues testing at the Gordon County Senior Center which is currently closed to normal operations. The Senior Center is located at 150 Cambridge Court in Calhoun and free testing will be conducted on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30-4:30. No appointment is needed for this testing.”
The COVID-19 task force meets every two weeks and communicates daily. It includes members of emergency management, the hospital, and other government officials.
Gordon Central High School and Sonoraville High School go to hybrid schedule as COVID rates increase
Early voting sees record numbers
The Gordon County Elections Office received a verbal pat-on-the-back after Commissioner Bud Owens commended them.
“I’ve had so many people tell me what a great experience it was, that it ran smoothly, the staff was nice,” Owens told the commissioners.
County Administrator James Ledbetter said more than 6,000 people have voted early in Gordon County and the poll workers have worked to keep everything safe.
“They have one who opens the doors for people so voters won’t have to touch the doors,” he said, adding that the voting cards and machines are sanitized after each use.
Alcohol license suspended
The commissioners voted to suspend the alcohol license for Rainbow Corner, 4594 Dews Pond Road, after several violations. The violations include selling alcohol and tobacco to people under the age of 21 and allowing a convicted felon to be the holder of the license. The suspension will remain in effect until at least the November 3 meeting, when the board will decide to reinstate the license or continue the suspension.
The commissioners awarded a contract for janitorial services at the Agriculture Center to ICS Cleaning Service for $9,000. Although it was not the lowest of the seven bids, it was under the $12,000 maximum amount. The lowest bid was Hammi Building Services at $6,771.96 but they did not receive the recommendation because while they currently hold the contract, the county has received complaints about their performance.
“They just weren’t getting the job done, that’s why we put it out to bid,” said Ledbetter.
In other news:
- The board appointed Jim Bradley, the ordinance officer, as the agent responsible for deciding if abandoned mobile homes are derelict, giving landowners another level of due process to get rid of unwanted trailers left on their property.
- Tax bills are mailed.
- Work is underway at the courthouse annex, which will become the main courthouse upon completion. Plans include extending it and adding a level to it.
- The county is interviewing the most qualified candidates for the position of financial director.
Audit finds SPLOST and LOST funds for Gordon County
Gordon County saw a 67-percent increase in Special Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, and a 76-percent in LOST in September 2020 from September 2021. While it wasn’t exactly a mass shopping spree in Gordon County, it was the result of a sales tax coded wrong on the state level.
In September 2020-2021, LOST revenues were $867,534.93, $366,402.95 more than the $501,131.98 in September 2019-2020. SPLOST collections were $1,319,671.18, a $530,553.23 more than the same period last year. That is a total amount of $896,956.
“They can’t share which company it was, but it was a major company,” said James Ledbetter, county administrator. “They had paid $247 million in sales tax that was coded wrong. They found it and gave it to us.”
According to the administrator’s report, Gordon County wasn’t the only county shorted funds as about $247 million dollars was coded as being due to the state and a decision was made to pay all the local governments a lump sum. It was caught during an audit.
Grady bill reduced
Ledbetter said the county was able to get an inmate’s medical bill cut by almost 96-percent. The county received a $159,000 hospital bill from Grady Memorial Hospital. The bill is from a severe self-inflicted inmate injury at the Gordon County Jail.
The bill dropped to $9,000 from $159,000 after Gordon County officials used the medical expense review service, provided by ACCG, to negotiate the bill.
“We have to provide care for inmates,” he said. “But I almost feel guilty about this.”
Other finance news:
The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Accounting to Gordon County. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of Government Accounting and Financial Reporting. The award demonstrates the commitment of Gordon County Government to clearly communicate its financial picture to the public. Gordon County has received this recognition every year since Al Leonard became Finance Director in the early 2000’s.
The Oostanaula community in Gordon County might see some upgrades to the Brookshire Park. The passive park may include a pavilion and picnic tables. The county applied for a grant to help fund the upgrades. No estimate on cost is available as the work has not been bid out.
Macey Silvers of E-911 was recognized for seven years service with Gordon County.
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners approved two zoning applications. Clyde and Cindy Burchett’s request to rezone property from A-1 to RA-A was approved and Oasis Detox Spa’s request to rezone from A-1 to O-I Office Institutional was conditionally approved, pending completion of the driveway.
Early voting begins October 12 in the elections office on the bottom floor of the Courthouse Annex.
Resaca Confederate Cemetery was recently vandalized amid growing tensions between those wanting to remove all reminders of slavery and those who want to preserve history. No arrests have been made but the incident is under investigation by the Gordon County Sheriff’s Department. According to the report made by Deputy E.L. Kirby with the Gordon County Sheriff’s Department, some of the flags were laid down to spell “Stop Racism.”
John Biddy, Commander, Gen. Stand Watie Camp #915, Sons of Confederate Veterans, said none of the grave markers were damaged. All the damage was done to the second Confederate flag, which features a white rectangle two times as wide as it is tall, a red quadrilateral in the canton, and inside the canton is a blue saltire or St. Andrew’s cross, with 13 white stars.
The first Confederate flags, which feature three horizontal stripes alternating red and white, with a blue square. Inside the square are white stars.
Read more about the cemetery here.
“It was probably just a little bit of ignorance in history,” Biddy said as to why the St. Andrew’s cross flags were targeted but not the others. “There were several Confederate flags.”
Although the damage was minimal, Biddy pointed out the flags were purchased by a private citizen and placed on the graves, but the alleged vandals removed the flags, threw them in the center of the cemetery and stomped on them.
The incident happened between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 20.
The 2.5 acre lot, located off U.S. Highway 41 was founded on October 25, 1866 when John Green’s family returned to their plantation to find the bodies of Confederate soldiers buried in crude, makeshift graves across their yard.
Mary J. Green and her sister began working toward giving the soldiers a proper burial and although many in the area were left in poverty, they were able collect donations. John Greene, the superintendent of the Georgia Railroad, gave his daughters the land for the cemetery. Many of the 450 graves are unknown and only one civilian is buried there – Mrs. E.J. Simmons who was the president of the historical society and headed the movement to place a memorial stone in the cemetery.