News

Fri
15
Sep

Putnam County tax hike fails By Shannon Sneed

From left, Commissioners Trevor Addsion, Alan Foster and Daniel Brown give opposing reasons Sept. 8 for and against increase Putnam County’s millage rate.

The three newest members of the Putnam County Board of Commissioners shot down a recently advertised proposal to raise taxes. After much debate over not “nickel and diming” taxpayers every year by increasing the millage rate, Commissioners Trevor Addison, Daniel Brown and Kelvin Irvin voted at a called meeting Sept. 8 to set a rate equal to the reassessed value of property. Commissioners Dr.

Fri
15
Sep

Hurricane

Hurricane Irma blew through Eatonton and Putnam County Monday, Sept. 11, with winds reaching 43.5 mph, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who also serves as the county’s EMA Director. The wind speed varied between 13.8 mph and 43.5, knocking down trees all over the city and county, as well as utility poles, electric/cable/telephone lines, signs, siding and roof shingles. Sills said his staff took care of 66 calls concerning trees that had fallen and blocked roads, “and that does not include the city of Eatonton,” he noted. The city’s numbers were not available by press time, because the city was still without power Tuesday evening. City and county government offices, except Eatonton Police and Fire departments and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue, were closed Monday and Tuesday, as were all schools and many businesses.

Thu
14
Sep

Commissioners disagree on budget

A small crowd listens as Putnam County commissioners discuss their opinions of the millage rate and budget at the Sept. 8 meeting. 

Commissioners disagree on budget

Should be set at Sept. 19 meeting

 

By Shannon Sneed

shannon@msgr.com

After a 3-2 decision by the BOC on Sept. 8 not to raise Putnam County taxes, commissioners discussed implementing changes to the proposed budget that could significantly reduce expenditures.

Sat
09
Sep

Putnam Health Dept. closes to help hurricane victims

Putnam Health Dept. and others close to assist in Hurricane Irma sheltering

Special to The Eatonton Messenger

Fri
08
Sep

Putnam prepares for Irma

Traffic from Florida is lined up on the Gray Highway beside Wal-Mart Friday afternoon as evacuees flee Florida to escape Hurricane Irma’s forecasted wrath.

By Lynn Hobbs

lynn@msgr.com

Friday afternoon, Eatonton and Putnam County officials said they are ready and waiting for Hurricane Irma.

“We are working and preparing for the worst, and praying for the best,” Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence said.

While talking with The Messenger, the chief also talked via phone with City Administrator Gary Sanders, Putnam County Charter Schools Superintendent Eric Arena, and even Jet 24 gas station Manager Evelyn Lawson.

“She said they just got a (gasoline tanker) truck in and just filled up and are ready for the crowds,” Lawrence said, noting he knew Wal-Mart in Eatonton had run out of gas, but was unsure if it, too, had received a new supply.

Fri
08
Sep

Eatonton Police Department commended for full compliance One of only 11 agencies to achieve ‘very difficult’ fulfillment

Eatonton Police Department is one of only 11 agencies across the state to achieve full compliance of the Georgia Crime Information Center audit cycle; and Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence and department staff were commended during a convention in Savannah recently On Tuesday, August 22, staff of the GCIC, a division of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, convened a training symposium for more than 1,200 criminal and non-criminal justice professionals at the Georgia International Trade and Convention Center in Savannah. GBI Director Vernon Keenan, along with Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher, Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department’s Major John Gavin, welcomed attendees to the conference and Lisa Kemp, of No-Nonsense Training, was the keynote speaker. Classes covered a wide variety of topics, including Conflict Resolution for Public Safety Leaders, Ethics in Public Service, Criminal Justice Policy and Procedures, Gangs, Use of Technology in Law Enforcem

Fri
08
Sep

City of Eatonton moves toward primarily volunteer fire department By Shannon Sneed

Eatonton city officials are in discussions to restructure the staffing of its fire department to maintain one full-time employee and depend upon volunteers to cover part-time positions. The city will maintain a full-time position for the fire chief, currently occupied by Chief Eugene Hubert, who has been working with his pool of volunteers to staff the department shifts on a part-time basis. “Over the course of the last year, we have recognized the challenges related to running a full-time fire department in a town of our size and we have been looking at options and creative ways of staffing,” City Administrator Gary Sanders said at a recent budget hearing. Sanders reported there had been some staff members to leave the department and the positions had not been filled.

Fri
08
Sep

BOC propose millage rate By Shannon Sneed

Former Commissioner Billy Webster is the lone wolf who spoke at a recent public hearing where he suggested board members focus on keeping expenditures down instead of raising rates.

Two citizens showed up for the first public hearing to discuss adopting Putnam County’s 2018 millage rate Aug. 31 and commissioners met with an empty house at the second hearing later that evening. Based on a proposed $18,887,288 budget, the Putnam County Board of Commissioners recently announced an increase in the property taxes it will levy this year by 1.73 percent above the rollback millage rate for the incorporated area and 5.12 percent above the rollback millage rate for the unincorporated area. If those rates are adopted at the final public hearing on Sept. 8, the millage rate for the incorporated area will be 8.999 mills, an increase from last year of .153 mill and 8.701 mills for the unincorporated area, an increase of .424 mills. Speaking during the public comment session, former Commissioner Billy Webster challenged the BOC to focus on cutting back their spending instead of raising millage rates.

Fri
08
Sep

One of three bank tellers pleads guilty By Lynn Hobbs

One of the three bank tellers arrested last year for theft from The Peoples Bank has entered a plea and is awaiting sentencing, while the other two have yet to appear in the court system, The Messenger has learned. Bank teller Jeanette Williams, of Twilight Shores in Eatonton, was the first to be arrested in Eatonton, on March 14, 2016. Reports show she was arrested at the bank in downtown Eatonton and released on bond that same day. A little more than a week later, tellers Vicky Martin, of Parks Mill Road in Buckhead, and Brandy Mize, of Parkside Lane in Putnam County, also were arrested, on March 23. They were arrested at Eatonton Police Department, and also released on bond that same day. The case was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and last fall, Special Agent Stephen Emmett told The Messenger it had been turned over to the U.S.

Fri
08
Sep

Red Cross sets up shelters in Georgia, offers tips

Georgia’s Red Cross prepares for Hurricane Irma – Issues safety steps

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