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.

Solarize Newton-Morgan Invites You to Their Launch Event

Solarize Newton-Morgan invites to you to attend their Launch Event on Thursday, September 6 at 7:00 PM at the Georgia Wildlife Federation at 11600 Hazelbrand Rd NE, Covington, GA 30014.

The Launch Event is an opportunity for folks to hear more about how solar works, meet the installers, and find out more about solar equipment options. There will be an opportunity for folks to ask questions about the program and to see why now is a great time to consider solar energy for their home or business. You can visit the official Solarize Newton-Morgan website for more information about the Solarize Newton-Morgan campaign and sign up for a free solar analysis for a home or business.

Sustainable Newton is partnering with the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority, Oxford College Farm, Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Solar CrowdSource, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, and Environment Georgia to launch a solar photovoltaic group purchasing program. The purpose of the program is to help homeowners, businesses and nonprofits in Newton and Morgan Counties save on the cost of solar through bulk purchasing. Similar programs have been successfully completed in Savannah, Athens and Dunwoody, and have recently been launched in Atlanta and Carrollton.

The steering committee recently received proposals from three Georgia solar installers. We selected Alternative Energy Southeast (AES) because of their commitment to providing low cost solar as well as promoting community engagement and education. In addition, AES has agreed to donate 1% of gross sales to a pro bono solar installation project for a local nonprofit.

https://www.solarcrowdsource.com/campaign/newton/

Newton-Morgan | SOLAR CrowdSource

www.solarcrowdsource.com

Interested in going solar? Want to save money and have the support of experts in installing the right system for you? Working together, we can make Newton and Morgan counties leaders in solar energy.

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.

Farmer’s Market Now Open

Rules | Application

Come down to Friendship Park (across from Ace) and shop for locally grown produce at our farmer’s market. The market will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am – 7 pm between now and November 17, except for the day of the Friendship Festival (10/6).

We currently have one farmer, and want to expand the market to include produce by local growers as well as presentations and demonstrations related to agriculture and gardening. If you are interested in having a booth, please view the rules and download the application. There is currently no fee for the permit.

 

Library Expansion Groundbreaking, July 27, 11:00 am

Join us Friday, July 27, 2018 at 11:00 am for the groundbreaking for the new library expansion. The library will relocate temporarily to the Blue Willow Village beginning in August. We appreciate the assistance of everyone in helping arrange for a temporary location, and this location should be most convenient for the public during the library construction period. The library expansion is funded in part by City of Social Circle SPLOST funds, as well as funds from the State of Georgia and The Uncle Remus Library System.

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.

Burks Field Playground Update

Burks Field Playground ConstructionThe construction of the new playground at Burks Field Park is almost complete! The final step will be spreading the mulch and placing the mulch barrier around the perimeter of the playground.

And we need YOU!

At 5:30 pm, Thursday, July 5, we will host a community work day to put the finishing touches on the playground. Please come and do what you can. If you have rakes, shovels or sledge hammers, please bring them.

Then make plans to join us on Saturday, July 7 at 9:30 am for the ribbon cutting for the new playground. Burks Field Park is located on Vine Circle. We will have refreshments available.

The playground is paid for by $50,000 in City Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and is a cooperative project between the City, community, and the Kiwanis Club of Social Circle.

We hope all citizens will take pride in and ownership of this beautiful new playground.

Public Hearing Dates for Tax Rate Input Scheduled

Public Hearings have been scheduled by City Council to seek citizen input into setting of the tax rate for the year 2018.

Under Georgia law, whenever property values in the city as a whole increase, or the tax rate, known as millage rate, increases, the City Council must hold at least three public hearings to explain the property tax change.

The total City budget is $12.8 million for the 2018 fiscal year. A millage rate is being considered that would provide $1.45 million from property taxes.  A stable property tax income is necessary in order to continue to provide essential city services such as police, fire, and street maintenance.  The balance of revenues comes from local option sales tax, utility fees, permits and licenses.

Mayor and City Council are considering a tax rate of 7.900 mills or $0.007900.  This is an increase of 0% from the current rate of $0.00790.

Assessed property values in the city limits of Social Circle increased 2.09% on average this year.  The roll back tax rate would be 7.738 mills or $0.007738 which would eliminate the effect of any increase in property value. In addition, property tax revenues will increase due to new construction and industries whose incentive property tax abatement has expired, such that they are paying property taxes on more of the value of their property.

The millage rate is applied to 40% of the assessed value of the property. For example, the proposed tax for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $316.00 at a rate of 7.9 mills as compared to $309.52 at the rollback rate of 7.738 mills resulting in an increase of approximately $6.48.

Three public hearings have been scheduled on the proposal of a 7.9 mill property tax rate.   Public Hearing dates and times are:

June 12, 2018                           Noon                Social Circle Community Room

June 12, 2018                           6:00 p.m.          Social Circle Community Room

June 19, 2018                           6:30 p.m.          Social Circle Community Room

The Social Circle community room is located at 138 East Hightower Trail, Social Circle, GA

You may view the current proposed City Budget here.