EPD’s Summer Burn Ban Lifted

Outdoor burning will again be permitted beginning October 1 in 54 Georgia counties where restrictions have been in place since May. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issues the burn ban annually to help reduce emissions from ground level ozone that may jeopardize air quality, mostly in north Georgia.

Burn permits issued by the Georgia Forestry Commission are required for any outdoor burning in the state to help prevent wildfires and problems generated by smoke. They may be
obtained at GaTrees.org or by calling 1-877-O-K-2-BURN.

“The GFC will resume issuing burn permits on a day to day basis in counties that have been under the EPD ban all summer,” said Frank Sorrells, Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “We’ll be following our normal fire danger and smoke management procedures.”

Sorrells said many areas of the state are currently experiencing dry conditions, causing grasses and vegetation to burn readily. Rainfall in the next few weeks will be critical to reduce the threats of wildfire as we move into the fall and winter months, he said. The Georgia Forestry Commission also promotes prescribed burning for the many wildfire prevention and forest management benefits it provides.

“Safety is our top concern,” said Sorrells, “and we’re asking everyone to be extra cautious when doing open burning of any kind.” According to Sorrells, escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires in our state, and it may be necessary and wise to delay or postpone open burning if local conditions are unfavorable. The GFC advises burners to always keep tools on hand, such as water, a shovel and a cell phone. Never hesitate to call 911, and never leave your fire unattended.

For more information, contact:
Wendy Burnett
478.365.6233
wburnett@gfc.state.ga.us

The 54 counties whose EPD summer burn bans have been lifted are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

For specific information about conducting open burning, permitting requirements and current fire conditions in your area, contact your county’s GFC office or visit GaTrees.org.

Fire Chief Zaydel Recognized by City Council

The Social Circle City Council recognized Fire Chief Ken Zaydel for his election as Secretary/Treasurer of the statewide Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs (GFAC). The election took place last Saturday at the 2018 Georgia Fire Service Conference held in Dalton, Georgia. Chief Zaydel had served as one of the nine District Vice Presidents before running for the executive committee.

“We are pleased to have Chief Zaydel taking on this leadership position, on the GAFC Executive Board,” said GAFC Newly Elected President, Chief Wasdin, Hazlehurst – Jeff Davis County Fire Department. “Zaydel is respected by his colleagues, and I’m sure he’ll provide great leadership to the membership.”

Chief Zaydel has served as the Fire Chief for the City of Social Circle since November of 2012.

Dating back to 1952 and based in GMA’s Atlanta office, GAFC works to advance fire services in Georgia and represents more than 800 chief fire officers statewide.

North Cherokee Water Line Replacement Project Update

The water line replacement project on Clarke, Juniper, North Cherokee, East Hightower, and Heritage Park started on 8/20/18.  The Project will last through the middle of November 2018 at the latest.

The City has met with, the engineer, contractor, and school representatives to ensure traffic flow continues for the schools. All have emphasized safety for the children until this project is complete.

There will be some temporary road closures and slowdowns during this project, however, these will be kept to a minimum.  This project is one of several that will replace old waterlines  to improve your water system for fire protection, water pressure, and water quality.

We ask the citizens to be patient, drive with care , and respect our workers for their safety and yours.

Underground Gas Pipe Maintenance

As your natural gas distributor, the City of Social Circle is required, in accordance with federal regulations, to make you aware of certain safety recommendations regarding your underground natural gas piping. The City of Social Circle operates our gas system with an emphasis on safety. We are required to design, operate, and maintain our underground natural gas pipeline system in accordance with prescribed federal safety standards.

The gas department does not maintain the gas piping downstream of the gas meter. This is the responsibility of the customer who owns that piping. If the buried pipe is not properly maintained, it may be subject to corrosion (if the piping is metallic) and/or leakage. To ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of these lines, the buried piping should be checked periodically. You (or the building owner) are advised to contact a licensed plumber or heating contractor to assist you in locating and inspecting your buried gas piping. If any unsafe condition is found, repairs must be made ASAP. The Yellow Pages are an excellent source for listings of licensed plumbers and heating contractors.

If we can answer any questions regarding this notice, please call Social Circle City Hall at 770-464-2380. You may disregard this notice if you do not have buried piping beyond the gas meter.

Suspicious Person Reported

On Friday, May 11, 2018, at approximately 3:10 p.m. the Social Circle Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious person that was near the Social Circle Library.  When officers arrived they spoke with the 11 year old juvenile and mother about the incident. The juvenile stated that she was walking to the library from the Social Circle Elementary school when an older model grey vehicle pulled off the side of the road. The juvenile stated that an older white male rolled the window down and asked if she needed a ride. The juvenile stated that she got scared and ran to the Social Circle Library and called her mother. Her mother then called for our assistance.
The man and vehicle were described as:
  • Older White Male
  • Tattoo on the lower right side of his neck (possible rose or gun black in color)
  • Older model four-door vehicle
  • Rear door windows were tinted
“We have been and will continue to provide extra patrol the area during dismissal hours. We encourage everyone to report any and all suspicious activity by calling 911,” says Chief Oliver.

Utility Billing Update: Update Your Account Number

This month’s utility bills have the final format under the new system. Please note that under the new system, your billing account number has changed. If you have bill pay set up with your bank, please update your account to reflect the new account number to ensure there are no issues with processing your payment. The new account will have this format: xxx-xxxxx-xx . The old format was xxxxx-xxxxx.

If you have any questions, please call City Hall, 770-464-2380.

Sign Up for Walton County Citizen Alert Notifications

Walton County has launched a mass notification service that will alert you to potential safety hazards or concerns, such as severe weather, tornadoes, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. You can choose which alerts you want to receive and whether to receive alerts via calls to your home, mobile or business phones, or messages by email address or text messages. There is no charge for this service and you can opt out at any time. To sign up, go to http://www.waltoncountyga.gov, scroll down and click on the EVERBRIDGE logo in the Quick links box.

IRS Phone Call Scam Reports on the Rise

It’s tax season and scammers are continuing to prey on people’s fear of the IRS and paying taxes. Citizens are reporting calls coming from Lake Charles, LA from the phone number 337-516-0542 claiming to be with the IRS and demanding payment for taxes that are owed and threatening to send the local police department to arrest them if they don’t.

If you receive a call like this, just hang up.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For those who owe taxes or think they do:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov. 

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Utility Bill Format Changes

We apologize for the confusion that the appearance of the new bills may have caused. Next month’s statement will have the City of Social Circle identified on the return address and the statement will be changed to make it easier to read.

The image to the right is a sample of what next month’s utility bill will look like. The portion at the bottom shows the return address that will show through the window on the envelope clearly identifying The City of Social Circle. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

We appreciate your patience and your comments on the new bills as we transition to our new system.

All utility bills were mailed on Tuesday, March 13.