Happy New Year fellow citizens of North High Shoals!
On behalf of your representatives on the town council and town clerk Carolyn Pritchett, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a healthy and happy 2017.
2016 was a great year for your town. The budget was well managed, which will allow us to pursue some exciting projects throughout 2017. It was a year of change, as we said goodbye to a mayor and two council members. Of course, we also said hello to those stepping up to take their places.
Please continue reading for a month-by-month summary of what your representatives have been up to this past year, as well as for links to information on how you can contribute to making and keeping North High Shoals an awesome place to be!
- Mayor Toby P. Bradberry
Council expressed its appreciation for two outgoing council members, Jason Wisniewski and Steve Holzman, while welcoming their replacements, Eric Carlson and Jason Presley.
New benches were installed at the town park, and some trees were trimmed along the paved walking trail.
An estimate for the proposed new town hall building – to be located at the town park – came in at $400,000 – $500,000.
Various appointments were made at the January council meeting, as follows:
- Mayor Pro Tempore (Pro Tem) – Council Member Ann Evans
The mayor pro tem serves in the absence of the mayor.
- Presiding Officer – Paul Dotterweich
The presiding officer serves in the absence of both the mayor and mayor pro tem.
- City Clerk / Treasurer and Election Qualifying Clerk – Carolyn Pritchett
- City Attorney – Joe Reitman
Joe is a lawyer with Lambert, Reitman & Abney, L.L.C., of Madison, Georgia.
- Building Inspector – Morgan Wheeler
Morgan is a building official with Walton County.
- Planning Commission Representative – Karl Berg
- Engineering Firm – Carter Engineering (Mark Campbell)
Visiting the January council meeting were David Riddle, architect for the proposed new town hall; Steve Holzman; Jason Wisniewski; Robin Dotterweich; Cole Tucker; and Nichole Scott.
During the February council meeting, a special election was scheduled for May to select a new mayor to replace retiring mayor Mike Beall.
Council also agreed to submit an application for a Local Maintenance and Improvement (LMIG) grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to be used for “street safety” projects.
Visiting the February council meeting was resident Toby P. Bradberry.
The River Dawgs baseball team was recognized for its great work in maintaining the baseball field at the town park. A new outdoor classroom was also installed at the park.
Visiting the March council meeting were Toby P. Bradberry and David Riddle.
A swearing-in ceremony was held during the April council meeting for mayor-elect Toby P. Bradberry. Toby qualified in March to run for mayor, and with no competing interest, was sworn in without the need for an election.
Council also expressed its gratitude and said farewell to outgoing mayor Mike Beall. Great work, mayor Mike!
Visiting the April council meeting were Steve Holzman; John Daniell, then chairman-elect of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners; and David Riddle.
The inoperative “radar sign” located on Rays Church Road was replaced with a functioning version.
Volunteers worked to clean up some of the walking trails at the town park.
The first of two public hearings for the fiscal year 2017 budget was held during the May council meeting.
Visiting the May meeting was resident Robin Dotterweich.
Given that several council members were on vacation, the mayor was unable to declare a quorum for the June council meeting. (A quorum is when at least three of the five council members are present. According to the town’s bylaws, it is not legitimate to hold a council meeting unless a quorum is present.) Instead, that time was used as a work session to discuss the design and placement of the proposed new town hall.
During the work session, it was decided that the second of two public hearings concerning the fiscal year 2017 budget would be held during a called meeting to take place on June 29. The proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 was subsequently adopted during that hearing.
Visiting the June work session was architect David Riddle.
A note was sent from mayor Bradberry to residents along Hillsboro Road advising them of the updated No Thru Trucks ordinance. Council also arranged for extra patrols by Oconee County deputies to address speeding on town roads.
A discussion was held during the July council meeting concerning what might be done with the current town hall building once the council has moved into the new town hall. Suggestions included using the building for storage; establishing a museum of some sort; and possibly renting the building. Do you have any ideas?
Visiting the July council meeting were town resident Fred Johnson and reporter Michael Prochaska of the Oconee Enterprise newspaper.
A public hearing was held during the August council meeting to discuss the annual setting of the town’s millage rate. Council agreed to accept a rollback rate of 1.398 in order to keep property taxes at their current level.
A brain-storming session was also held to identify potential projects for the new fiscal year. (The fiscal year for North High Shoals begins July 1 and ends June 30.) Ideas included arranging for a dumpster to be made temporarily accessible to residents for the disposal of non-household refuse; a community yard sale; a bonfire at the town park, possibly coinciding with a holiday or other special occasion; a garden tour of local properties; a revival of the “dog days” event at the town park; and a community bike race or ride, perhaps to benefit one or more charities. Suggestions for projects or events of this type are always welcome, along with volunteers to bring them to fruition.
Visiting the August council meeting were Morgan Wheeler and state representative Chuck Williams.
The son of long-time resident and town benefactor Horst Klein, who passed away in 2014, asked the town council for permission to create and place a memorial to his late father at the town park. Council readily agreed, and the memorial – in the form of a bench – is expected to be ready for dedication early in 2017.
Council witnessed a presentation from a company that manufactures and installs solar power panels. Council members are very interested in incorporating solar power into the new town hall building if it can be done in a cost-effective manner.
The council also elected to move the footprint of the new town hall, to be built at the town park, a further 20 yards back from Hillsboro Road.
Visiting the September council meeting were Steve Holzman, Karl Klein, and solar power company representative Gerd Schroth.
A required public hearing was held during the October council meeting to discuss raising the speed limit on a portion of Rays Church Road from 35 mph to 45 mph to enable law enforcement to use radar within town limits. The change was approved, and relevant signage has since been updated.
If you have a suggestion for slowing traffic on town streets, please let us know!
Several drainage issues were addressed around town, and mayor Bradberry and council member Dawe attended a meeting in Madison co-hosted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency dealing with the management of local flood-prone areas.
Volunteers worked to clean up the exercise circuit and walking trails at the town park.
Resident and former council member David Lawrence graciously allowed the use of his antique truck to represent the town at the annual Watkinsville Christmas parade. The mayor and several council members and residents rode and walked alongside while distributing candy to spectators. Thanks David!
And so it went. As with most endeavors, the lion’s share of effort went to the day-to-day, “keeping the lights on” type of activities with which we’re all familiar. We do have some exciting things planned for 2017, including the installation of new playground equipment at the park and – dare we hope – breaking ground on the new town hall. We hope you’ll get involved when and where you can.
We’d also love to be able to reach out to you when we have important or exciting news, and we want you to be able to connect easily with us when you have questions, comments, or concerns. To that end, please let us know a little about you and how we can reliably connect with you. At a minimum, we’d like to get your name, your mailing address, and – most importantly – an email address.
(Detailed Agendas and Minutes for past council meetings are always available on this Web site.)