May 2023 Board Meeting Minutes

Towns County Civic Association

Board Meeting – Upstairs City Hall

May 10, 2023 – 2 p.m.

1. President’s report: John Clemens, Anna Denton, Joan Crothers, Michael Courey, Jim Olson.

Absent: Larry Dietsch, David Best, Gordy Jones.

a. Welcome

b. Discussion on President’s issues

1. Newsletter: Quarterly or Monthly? Discussed Gordy’s suggestion that we’d be more up to date with a monthly newsletter, but all agreed to stay with quarterly now.

2. Post Office: No place at either post office for Amazon to leave packages safe from weather. Larger facility needed somewhere in between both cities. We’ll keep working on this.

2. Board Officers Reports

a. Secretary’s Report-Joan: No minutes in April, meeting cancelled. March minutes were emailed to Board. Motion to approve made by Anna; seconded and passed.

b. Treasurer’s Report-Larry: No change the past two months per Larry’s email. Motion to approve made by Michael; seconded and passed.

c. Membership Report-Anna: No change. Several former members were discussed and will be contacted as to membership.

d. Web site-David: No report.

3. Committeee Reports

a. Chamber of Commerce-John: The 2023 Made in Georgia Festival will be on June 24th and 25th. 70 vendors have been approved thus far (TCCA will be one of them). Three fishing tournements have been confirmed for 2023 – Lady Bass Anglers on May 4th & 5th, Reel Money Student Trail on May 20th and the Boating Atlanta Skeeter Challenge Championship on September 29th – October 1. Chamber has gotten seven new members since March 16th. Chamber has 9 ambassordors who meet monthly on the last Thursday of the month.

b. City of Hiawassee-Joan: April 24 mtg.: Larry Nelson, Owner of Berrong/Oakley house, just off Main St., finally agreed to sell after 6 yrs. of Mayor asking. Signing contract for $300K in June to use as an event center after some renovations. Mayor has Hiaw. as a Hikers Retreat w/shuttle to bring them into town; in April & part of May had 1,407 hikers. They shop and some spend the night, then are shuttled back to AT. City crew busy with trees down from the wind; lst Fri. Market for year was May 5th; Music on the Square starts Sat., May 28th. Prop.& Liability ins. discussed by Tim Barrett; GIRMA is lowest. 2023-24 budget discussed—Public Hearing prior to 5/22 Work Session. 4 quotes on City Hall cameras; lowest bid $5,400+. Sign Ord., feather signs allowed for only 3 days before an event. Chief Parker wrote article on not getting in turn lane to turn left; Tracy James resigned. Paris building funding discussed; cost has increased substantially ($1.2 mil. up to $2+mil.) All above approved at 5/2 official mtg.

c. City of Young Harris-Jim: YHC Pres. Van Horn complained that the francise tax would put a burden on the college with a much higher EMC bill. According to the treasurer, Anna Hess, funds are “looking good” at this time. A line-by-line accounting is available from City Hall. The board has approved renewal of its GIRMA subscription for ’23/’24. A SCADA system for the wastewater plant was approved. A purchasing (bank) card has been issued for employees and elected officials. Bidding is open for a Timberline booster pump. Proposal for the modernization of the water metering system continues with United Systems UPM.

d. T.C. Commissioner-Joan: Apr. 18: Harold Copeland was on hand to talk about educating the public on fire safety, esp. yard brush burning. T.C. Firewise Coalition has a SSTAR program citizens should follow. No permits needed now in GA, but citizens are responsible if fire gets out of control. John Bennett was appointed as a Democrat to T.C. Board of Elections. Methods Corp. contract renewed as life flight helicoper for county.

e. T.C. Water & Sewer Authority-Jim: Very short meeting. The financial report is “on track” according to the treasurer. The staff are very satisfied with the new hire’s performance to date. Frog Pond water problems still being worked on. They are changing their payroll company.

f. CVB (Convention Visitors Board)-Jim: Ronnie Phillips stepped down as Chairman; Committee is being restructured by Commissioner Bradshaw. Treasurer reports $199K in the bank. 2021 tax filing extension status is unknown; ’22 tax filing is not done, a tax attorney is being sought. Georgia Mountain Fair funding request is limited to $80K. Radio ad scripts must be submitted to CVB. New city welcome signs at each end of the county are approved for $60K.

g. Board of Education-Jim: Voted to put a 1cent ESPLOST referendum this Nov. to raise money for needed capital improvement projects; this would raise sales tax to 8% in April 2024. This would add $500K to the Ag building for a full cannery and commercial kitchen, flooring in the 3 schools and the HVAC system at the Elementary School reworked.

h. BRMEMC-Michael: Annual meeting will be 9/9 at YHC. EV station is being constructed in Blairsville.

i. County Planning Commission-David: No Report.

j. County Health Dept-Larry: No Report.

4. New Business from Board Members: None

5. Old Business: None

Adjourn: Duly motioned at 4 p.m.; seconded and passed.

Joan Crothers, Secretary

Next meeting: June 14, 2 p.m. at City Hall, 2nd Floor.