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County finance officer resigns

Updated: Gilmer County CFO hired as replacement, see story in print or e-edition on sale.

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Mechelle Champion, right, at an earlier tax hearing with Commissioner Rob Jones and County Attorney Phil Landrum. Champion resigned on Friday.

Pickens County Finance Officer Mechelle Champion has resigned as of Friday 7.

     According to Commissioner Rob Jones, the CFO put in her resignation due to personal issues.

     “It was a friendly resignation,” Jones said Monday, who noted that Champion will work on and off until Oct. 31.

     “She’s going to work for a while and help with the paperwork to get things caught up,” Jones said. “I’m looking for a new CFO now, and I’ve got a few names I’m pulling from.”

     Champion was not available for comment.

Anger over proposed 9 percent tax increase grows

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After being pressed and berated by more than 50 citizens for two hours Friday in the final hearing on a proposed 9-percent property tax increase, Commissioner Rob Jones agreed to give the budget one more look before making it official. Above, Commissioner Rob Jones presents finer points of the budget to a crowded meeting last Friday.
Jones told the crowded mid-morning gathering of citizens angry over the higher tax rate that there is little left to cut, “but we’ll go back and see what we can do.”

The citizens in attendance had a lot to say, including calling for a 20 percent cut in all county department spending. See the rest of the this story in our print and e-edition now on sale.

 

Also in our print and e-editions: Final chance for cuts not encouraging, says Jones

 

See previous story from our August 30 edition, Tax Hike Too Much, citizens tell commissioner

Grandview to be lowered for work, monitoring

 

   With state dam officials on hand, members of the Grandview Lake Company opened a single 8-inch valve Tuesday morning, starting a gradual lowering of the scenic lake.

   Peter Wilcox, president of the Grandview Lake Company, said they will lower the water level about 8 feet to allow more detailed monitoring of the earthen dam built in 1946.

 

See details on the work in our print edition and e-editions now on sale

Jasper “Duck Pond” work ahead of schedule

 

 

Updated: Mayor John Weaver announced Monday that work at the popular walking/picnic area is going faster than expected. Portions of the park could open next week.

See complete story in this week's print edition.


     In a sudden move, Jasper City Hall announced Thursday that the portion of the Jasper City Park containing the duck pond and walking trail would be closed for urgent repairs beginning later today (Friday, Aug. 25).

     The repairs could take a month, according to a statement sent from city hall. The sports fields adjacent to the duck pond in the park will not be closed.

Jasper Mayor John Weaver said he went by the park earlier Thursday and started looking at everything that was broken, rotten, overgrown or just trampled following a summer of heavy use and realized they needed to take action immediately.

   Heavy equipment will be needed around the walking paths and there is no way the work can be handled with people coming through he said.

Weaver noted that of prime concern are spindles holding up the handrails around the pond that are rotten and a safety concern.

The park, which includes a walking path, tennis courts, two playground areas and picnic areas sees heavy summer use all day, walkers using the mostly level paved path, while the picnic tables with nearby grills get regular weekend gatherings. The park also contains the best playgrounds in the county.

Weaver said the park is really pushed beyond its capacity with the number of users. He said when he started developing a work list he kept finding items that were in urgent need of attention, which prompted the immediate closing.

There are overgrown trees, the rotten spindles, the lake is leaking through a drain, we are going to need some heavy equipment to do the work “and I won’t even tell you about the sand in the playground.”

Deadline draws close for local writing contest

 

BY  JOAN WILSON

The Sassafras Literary Exchange’s Adult Writing Contest has been extended through September 15.  Be sure to enter before the deadline! Winners will be announced at the Pickens County Marble Festival the first weekend in October.  Entries of 1,500 words or less of Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Poetry submitted by applicants 18 years old or older will be accepted.

The theme of this year’s contest is: “Marble through the Ages”.  Submissions should mention marble and its history, influence, or use during any time period; past, present, or future.   Creativity is greatly appreciated and valued by the judges.  Use your imagination as any mention of marble will qualify.

The date, time, and place for the announcement of the winners will be given in the Pickens County Progress near the end of the contest.