Jasmine Nicole McCoy Tyjerries Cortez Scarebrook
Sheriff’s Office’s investigation still ongoing
By Kathryn Schiliro
Two local residents have been arrested for their alleged parts in a 12-hour series of thefts from automobiles in Buckhead that happened between the late hours of May 8 and the early hours of May 9. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is investigating even more individuals potentially connected to the thefts, according to Capt. Chris Bish, of the MCSO’s Uniform Patrol and Criminal Investigations Divisions.
Tyjerries Cortez Scarebrook, 18, of Baldwin Dairy Road, Buckhead, and Jasmine Nicole McCoy, 21, of Saffold Road, Buckhead, were arrested on Wednesday, June 5 by MCSO representatives. Scarebrook was charged with entering an automobile with intent to commit a theft or felony, and McCoy was arrested for theft by receiving stolen property.
By Kathryn Schiliro
The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) introduced a proposed fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget at their meeting Monday, June 10 totaling more than $26.6 million, down from the slightly more than $27million budgeted for FY13.
The budget’s expenditures break down to more than $23.7 million in anticipated salaries and $2.9 million in operating costs. The BOE’s Budget Committee, consisting of BOE Chairman Nelson Hale and member Andrew Ainslie, was able to cut about $1.3 million, but step increases – experience-based salary increases – and increases in insurance costs brought those net cuts to more than $434,000, Libby Whitaker, the school system’s internal auditor, explained.
The school board is set to receive more than $13.7 million in state funding, based on enrollment, and more than $500,000 in miscellaneous revenue. The BOE will have to make up the difference, more than $12.4 million, with local taxes in order to balance the budget. Solid local tax projections weren’t in in time for the BOE meeting Monday, but system administration is expecting an update from the county at week's end.
To begin to raise that more than $12.4 million in local taxes, the BOE would need to approve the rollback millage rate – millage rates are applied to the value of residents' property to determine how much is owed in ad valorem (property) taxes – of 18.212. While the FY13 millage rate for the school system was 17.701, the county's property values have declined, making the value of a mill less than last year. The rollback rate means they will bring in the same amount of money, Whitaker said; the millage rate increased because property values decreased. Bear in mind that local tax numbers aren't in yet, and the BOE won't finalize any of this until next month.
By Les Bessenger
Madison City Manager David Nunn shared with the City of Covington a request for Madison to receive an equal third of the cost and revenues for providing natural gas to Baxter and Stanton Springs.
Baxter, an international healthcare company, is in the process of building a facility at Stanton Springs, which, according to its website, spans 1,620 acres near Covington, Madison and Social Circle.
The original agreement on cost and revenue division for providing natural gas, done in 2006 or 2007, has Covington and Social Circle receiving 37.5 percent each and Madison receiving 25 percent.
Nunn explained that Jasper County originally had 10 percent but decided it wasn’t interested and passed its percentage to Morgan County, which increased its percentage from 15 to 25.
He added that Morgan County accepted the original percentages but things changed when Baxter came.
Nunn said that there was “no rhyme or reason” behind the original agreement’s numbers.
His proposal would have Madison be equal partners alongside Covington and Social Circle: each would receive an equal third.
The reason behind the current request, according to Nunn, “Simply fairness.”
So far, he said the talks have been between the mayors and managers of the three cities, though the Covington City Council recently voted against hearing Madison’s request.
When asked if Madison still will run natural gas lines later if needed, Nunn replied, “Yes.”
Printed in the June 13, 2013 edition.
Members vote 4-1 to green-light requests after DiLetto recuses himself, mayor breaks ties
By Patrick Yost
After a more-than-three-hour public hearing, the Madison City Council last Wednesday approved four zoning requests that will effectively pave the path for an affordable housing development on Bethany Road.
The council, in a 4-1 vote, approved the requests by property owner Madison Associates LLC, represented by David G. Newton.
Curry Wadsworth, a representative of Parallel Housing Inc., told the council the initial zoning request for a 14-acre tract of land inside the Madison bypass on Bethany Road would allow Parallel Housing to construct 44 housing units for up to 88 residents. The development, Wadsworth said, would be open to residents 55-years-old or older with an income between 40 to 60 percent of the median income for Morgan County.
Real estate agent Jack Bone told the council the Parallel development would be a $6 million investment.
The Morgan County Planning Commission voted not to recommend the zoning requests. At Wednesday’s meeting, Council Member Michael Naples made a motion to deny the request to change the zoning from Planned Professional Development (PPD) to Planned Residential Development (PRD). Naples argued that the property, which constitutes a 47 acre tract, should stay PPD. "Why would we want to give up Planned Profession Development in that area?" he asked the council. Naples suggested the project would fit better elsewhere in Madison.
Naples motion to deny, which was seconded by Council Member Whitey Hunt, died in a 3-2 vote, with council members Fred Perriman, Rick Blanton and Mayor Bruce Gilbert voting against the motion.
By Stephanie Johns
The Morgan County Commission held a budget workshop last Tuesday evening to hear about the county’s proposed budget, the sheriff’s office budget request, as well as information about a victims’ advocate position.
County Finance Director Lori Sayer said Morgan Memorial Hospital has agreed to accept $100,000 less from the county, which can now go toward the sheriff’s office.
She reminded those present that the county may save $123,000 by switching to Aetna for its health insurance needs.
Chair Ellen Warren asked if they still would need a millage increase in light of the savings.
County Manager Michael Lamar said yes, they would still need a mil increase of a half-mil, which equates to about $15 or $16 for homeowners of $200,000 homes.
Sheriff Robert Markley then went over his office’s request.
“I understand it’s a tight budget year,” he said.
He noted the sheriff’s field operations budget request for 2014 stands at $1,936,267.
“Excluding vehicles and one or two line items, we’re holding to what we had last year,” he said.
As for the sheriff’s jail operations budget, their request for 2014 stands at $1,549,209.
Markley said their number one issue is a need for eight new patrol cars.
“We need to address this in some form or fashion,” he said. “We’re always going to be replacing cars. As we grow we’ll be replacing more and more.”
Allison Burleson then shared figures regarding the victims’ advocate position.
In 2012 they served 384 victims, provided 3,473 services, and worked a total of 1,255 hours.
According to a document she shared, they secured $188,000 to help victims “cover medical bills, counseling, funeral expenses, and economic losses (lost wages/loss of support).”