By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
regular monthly meeting was mostly routine business for the Dade County
Commission, but Chairman Ted Rumley predicted great things on the way for the
warns residents not to hold their breath but he hopes soon to announce a
solution to Dade’s “driver’s license desert” problem. “We’ve tentatively come
up with, hopefully, a solution,” Rumley said during his regular monthly report.
legislature was in session, he said, and he had met with Jeff Mullis, the
Georgia state senator, and John Deffenbaugh, the Dade resident elected last
year to the Georgia House of Representatives. The upshot is that things now
look good for the state issuing licenses from a Dade office two days a month,
said Rumley. “To me, that’s big,” he said.
He said the
plan is for the state to maintain permanent equipment here as opposed to
sending out a satellite contingent as was done in the past. The effort now is
to locate a suitable site, said Rumley. “We’ve got two or three places that
we’re looking at to show them next week,” he said.
Dade citizens spend unhappy birthdays driving across Lookout Mountain to the
state facility in Rock Spring, where they stand in line for hours. On top of
that, new documentation requirements mean that some are sent home for more
papers and must return for a second helping.
exciting, if a bit less immediate, development Rumley discussed at the Feb. 7
meeting was the possibility of Dade becoming the conduit for water from the
Tennessee River flowing southward into the thirsty mouth of the Atlanta metro
Rumley read to
the audience part of an email from Eugene Holmes, a longtime proponent of
tapping the Tennessee at the northwest corner of Georgia, thus reclaiming what
some consider Georgia’s just rights to the river which were lost due to a
surveying error 150 years ago.
working on a tradeoff,” said Rumley, explaining that Holmes had written to
announce that the Georgia House had just unanimously passed a resolution in
favor of tapping. “This is just a real positive step right here in that
direction,” he said.
The plan, first
conceived after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece by Dade surveyor and
history buff Barton Crattie some years ago, has resurfaced periodically from
2005 onward, but Rumley thinks it’s an idea whose time has come. “They’ve got
to stop talking sometime and do something,” said Rumley. “They can’t make it
Dade could profit – for once – from its peculiar geographical situation if the
idea does come to fruition. “It could really drastically affect our tax base,”
Commissioner Scottie Pittman had glad tidings as well: Davis Community’s dream
of having its own community center seems finally on the brink of realization.
Davis, which is the only district in the county that does not have such a
center, should have both a community building and walking track by summer, said
the county’s unofficial grant writer, was tracking down money for the project,
said Pittman, and he reminded citizens that community centers could be used not
just for official business but any event – birthday parties, family unions,
But Pittman said
he could use a little cooperation getting it done. “Anybody that’s interested
in being a part of this, give me a call,” he said.
telephone number is (423) 413-6572.
Commissioner Robert Goff warned about the state’s new vehicle ad valorem tax
procedure set to take effect in about six weeks. “It’s going to catch a lot of
people by surprise because it’s new,” said Goff. “All across the state, tax commissioners are
Under the new
rules, car buyers pay ad valorem on vehicles when they purchase them, whether
new or new-to-them, but they do no pay ad valorem in subsequent years.
Commissioner Allan Bradford, new to the commission this year, had as his first
committee assignment a certain problem “dumped,” as it were, in his lap. As the
commissioner now in charge of the county transfer station, Bradford inherits
responsibility for the monthly “State of the Dump” address and must explain to
taxpayers why the county has continued to represent itself as recycling glass
when it has been putting their carefully sorted bottles and jar into the
landfill (see accompanying article).
of District 1 in his monthly address reminded the commissioners that the
Chattanooga Bicycle Club’s annul 3-State 3-Mountain bike ride is upcoming in
early May. He said his big worry about the race is Highway 299, where trucks
leave I-59 for the truck stations there, and where thousands of riders will
turn onto Highway 11. “That intersection can be deadly,” he said.
But Lou Pape, addressing
the commission on behalf of CBC, said last year the cycling club had had a rest
station at the BP at 299 and had experienced no trouble there. He said event
organizers were happy to station police officers anywhere Dade officials
thought them needed. “We’re open to suggestions,” he said.
Burkhalter Gap Road, the last leg of the annual ride, should not be congested
by bike traffic for as long this year. The race is organized into shorter and
longer rides – 100 miles, 80 miles and downward – and Pape said last year
organizers observed that some participants were doing the longer ride who
shouldn’t have been. This year stragglers would be weeded out, he said.
said safety for the biking event as it passes through Dade would be in the
hands of Dade’s new sheriff, Ray Cross. He said meetings would begin this week
to coordinate between CBC and Dade officialdom.
Dade’s agricultural extension agent since August, addressed the governing body
briefly. She said 4–H was going strong and reported on various 4–H programs
including shotgun instruction, poultry judging and the new robotics project, in
which participants had made a marshmallow catapult. She said she and coworker
Rich LaValla would love it if volunteers stepped up to share their skills and
talents and expand the project base.
The 4-H number
is (706) 657-4116.
business, the commission accepted a bid to replace scoreboards at the county
athletic fields; resolved to reapply as it does every year for its federal
grant for transportation for the senior center; declared Feb. 15 Arbor Day;
reappointed Eddie Cantrell to the Dade Water Authority’s board of directors;
approved a refinance of its energy conservation program with Chevron to take
advantage of today’s lower interest rate; and voted to adopt a final budget
resolution for fiscal year 2012 at the advice of the county’s auditors.
whom, Ladell McCullough and Jason Martin of the Chattanooga accounting firm
Henderson Hutcherson McCullough gave the county its annual finance report. They
reported Dade was doing as well as could be expected in bookkeeping with such a
small staff, though it had deficiencies that could only be corrected with
greater monitoring. They reported no major problems.
Also on the
financial front, chief appraiser Paula Duvall of the Dade County Tax
Appraiser’s office gave her own yearly report on the county’s sales ratio, the
relationship between tax values and market values. She reported that the task of keeping that
number in touch with reality was complicated by new state rules requiring her
office to take as fair market value bank sales after foreclosures as well as
other special situations.
the audience that her office was required to review each property on the
county’s tax rolls every three years and that a visit from her staff by no
means automatically means a tax increase. “It’s just data collecting,” she
Marshana Sharp announced the library and its nonprofit Friends Group would host
a dinner on March 22 for local leaders to brainstorm together on how to save
the library. As it stands the library is funded only through June.
held a rare and rather lengthy executive session but returned with nothing to
report from it.