Sunday November 29th, 2015 10:53AM

Hall Commissioners get questioned about preservation

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - A south Hall County woman concerned with historic preservation wanted assurances from county commissioners Tuesday that sites within a new, developing county park would be saved.

Teresa Owens from Friendship Road told commissioners more needs to be done to clearly identify a rock overhang at Cherokee Bluffs Park as a historic site, possibly qualifying for the National Register of Historic Places.

Owens was also concerned about preservation of a family cemetery on the park grounds near a proposed parking lot and accused south Hall Commissioner Craig Lutz of ignoring archeology reports. Lutz was not at Tuesday's work session.

"I'm asking the other four commissioners to be responsible and get the archeological report done, identify the cemetery boundaries and protect the rock from vandalism before any more construction takes place in this park," Owens said.

Commissioners approved a contractor's infrastructure design request Tuesday, pointing out that the park project is nowhere near the construction phase.

Commission Chairman Dick Mecum said the cemetery was identified and marked off on a project drawing presented by Public Works Director Ken Rearden and it will be protected by the County.

As for the rock overhang study, Mecum said he has not seen or heard about it before.

"That has to be established," Mecum said. "We really have to take a look at that study."


Hall County employees who smoke could pay a bigger tobacco surcharge in their medical plans next year because of 'Obama Care'.

Human Resources Director Bill Moats told county commissioners the surcharge may go from $30 to $80 dollars a month to control costs.

"Some of this is in reaction to the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care as a way for us to continue to find ways to be more financially responsible," Moats said.

Moats added during his annual review of employee benefits that tobacco users taking a smoking cessation program might get a surcharge rebate.

Moats said the surcharge increase is consistent with what the State of Georgia charges their workers. United Parcel Service charges its smoking employees a $150 surcharge in addition to the regular payment.

Also, according to Moats, the definition of a Hall County retiree would change effective January 1st.

"Regardless of how old or young someone is, currently they could work for the county for ten or more years, leave Hall County, elect to take our retiree medical insurance and go work somewhere else," Moats said. "What we would like to do is change the definition of retiree from ten years of service only to a 'Rule of 75' with a combination of age and service."

Moats said right now the county is incurring the cost and getting no value out of that employee.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Dems, GOP seek to define issue for 2014 elections
Ten months to next year's midterm elections, Democrats are determined to make Congress' slim production of fewer than 60 laws and plenty of incompletes - on immigration, gun control, tax reform and basic spending bills - a defining issue, heaping much of the blame on the GOP-led House for obstructing President Barack Obama's second-term agenda.
1:38PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
Mexican sales tax hike seen as boon on US border
Mexican license plates are common in parking lots of shopping malls in U.S. border cities. They will be even more familiar after Mexico raises its federal sales tax in border regions to match the rest of the country, say merchants and shoppers.
11:06AM ( 1 year ago )
32,000 acres selected for 2015-2016 prescribed burn season in North Ga.
Fire managers with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have begun the first of several prescribed burns as part of the U.S Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "2015-2016 prescribed fire season."
7:34AM ( 3 hours ago )
Run game, defense helps Dogs seal victory over Jackets, 9-win campaign
Mark Richt trotted over to a corner of Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the Georgia band played and the red-clad faithful had nothing but cheers for the embattled coach.
11:59PM ( 10 hours ago )
IRS phone scammers are making calls again in Hall Co.
Hall County authorities say there's been a resurgence of phone calls from scammers posing as IRS agents.
11:59AM ( 22 hours ago )
Molly the Firehouse Dog brings smiles to first responders, hospital patients
Molly is a well-known face around the Hall County Fire Department and Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where she serves to comfort others during times of stress.
10:26AM ( 1 day ago )
Gainesville runoff election is Tuesday
A runoff election for a seat on the Gainesville City Council will be held Tuesday.
9:15AM ( 1 day ago )