More News & Features
Board taken to task for school play
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County Commissioners expressed concern last week that annual tax collections are currently low, relative to this point in the tax cycle last year.
Through April of 2007, 98.7 percent of taxes due had been collected by the county. Through April of 2008, only 93.91 percent of tax monies due have been collected.
“If we’re not collecting five percent, that’s a lot of money,” said Mack Bohlen, chairman of the county commissioners, at their monthly meeting last Thursday.
“That’s a chunk of change,” agreed county manager Michael Lamar.
Five percent of the $11 million tax digest is equal, in fact, to about $550,000.
Madison city council members also acknowledged at a recent meeting that collections were low for this point in the year; however, neither commissioners nor city council members have taken any public action beyond noting that collections are currently off. In the wake of the 2007 county-wide re-evaluation of property values, a number of county and city residents saw their tax bills increase significantly, which could account for some of the slow payments. Elected officials also noted that while taxes are due in December, the reality is that some residents wait until their income-tax refund check is in hand before paying what is due.
The Morgan County tax office is currently closed for employee training, and Tax Commissioner Becky Astin was unavailable for comment this week.
In other county business, commissioners voted unanimously to uphold the recommendation of the Morgan County Planning Commission and rezone 92 acres of agricultural land between Pierce Dairy and Indian Creek Roads as industrial.
By Matthew Burgoyne
The Home Ownership Commission met on Thursday to discuss the future of the group and its goals for Morgan County. Due to a few absences, a quorum could not be held; however, those in attendance reviewed the Rules of Procedure for the commission.
Bryce Jaeck, Madison City Planner, went through the procedures to garner feedback from the commission members who were able to attend.
The Rules of Procedure are important to the future of the Home Ownership Commission because they are needed to become a standing committee. Currently, the commission is not a standing committee in Madison. The city council and mayor will decide if the commission will become a standing committee as soon as the group gathers the materials necessary to present to the council.
As stated in the Rules of Procedure, the commission hopes to “advocate, research, and advance issues facing housing in the City of Madison.” They hope to do this through detailed research on the state of housing in Madison, education for the citizens of Madison, and advocacy to the city council and mayor. The commission continuing to grow and needs to support of the community to become a standing committee.
Centennial Church pulls in large crowd for fourth annual event
By Ann Cantrell
The Centennial Baptist Church held its fourth annual Women’s Weekend May 2 to May 3.
The Women’s Weekend is one part of the church’s growing attendance and departments. Despite conflicting with a home-school convention weekend, the weekend event brought in about 200 women. In the past seven years, Centennial Baptist Church started growing, so much so, that the church is now planning to build a new sanctuary.
The Southern Baptist Convention recognized the church as the fast growing church within its category. “We’re amazed, people are joining the church every Sunday,” said Julie Phillips, one of the founders of the Women’s Weekend.
About 10 years ago, the women of Centennial were all going to conventions out of town. Phillips and other women decided to start their own Women’s Weekend when about 300 women were trying to go to out-of-town conventions. The speaker for the convention was Jena Forehead, who Phillips described as a captivating speaker. “The time just flies by and you don’t even realize it,” said Phillips. Twelve breakout sessions were also held on subjects ranging from grand-parenting to the affect that women have on one another and the rest of the world. Centennial Baptist Church is located at 5321 Brownwood Road at the corner of Centennial Road.
Moms Club reaching out to at-home mothers
by Meg Ferrante
photos by Angelina Bellebuono
By Ann Cantrell
From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday Madison will be part of a global discussion on the environment, war and peace efforts.
The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is screening 24 short films in participation with Pangea Day. On May 10, across the world and at six major locations, these films will be played in addition to some live activities.
Judy Barber, executive director for the Cultural Center, said that once she heard about the event, she jumped at the opportunity to participate.
The 24 films cover a variety of global topics from the perspective of different cultures. Barber thought that a screening at the Cultural Center would be a great opportunity to increase discussion about global issues.
She went on to say that she believed strongly in the premise of the films.
“The premise behind it is to use film as a way to help people understand each other better,” said Barber.
Film and other forms of art are very powerful, said Barber, because they cross national and cultural boundaries.
The film festival started after the winner of the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) prize, Jehane Noujaim, was granted her wish of an international film festival.
The films will also be streamed across the internet. At the auditorium of the Cultural Center, individuals can stay for the duration of the four hours, or drop-in. People are encouraged to bring a picnic for before the event, and drinks will be provided by Coca-Cola company.