In the group’s second local presentation of the year, Quilts of Valor kicked off this week’s Calhoun City Council meeting by honoring local military veterans.
A national group with a mission to “cover service members touched by war with comforting and healing quilts,” local Quilts of Valor members Patty Defoor and Delilah Baxter honored Calhoun Police Department members Jason Azar, Ray Bentley, and Darrin Smith Monday night. Unable to attend due to K-9 training, Azar’s wife Lindsey accepted his quilt in his absence.
In other business, a pair of alcohol license requests were approved by the council Monday night after public hearings drew no speakers. First was a Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Pouring License request by Jonathan Bennett on behalf of Calhoun Coffee Company, 117 S. Wall St., and the second was a Beer and Wine Package License request by Arpit V. Patel on behalf of Royal Express, 609 S. Wall St.
Also approved by the council was a second amendment to a power purchase agreement contract between the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and its solar participants. The agreement comes with an increased price per megawatt hour from $29.06 to $37.75 with a 15-year fixed term.
“According to the recommendation from the MEAG board, even though this is a price increase due to the additional cost of infrastructure, they feel that it is still advantageous for us to continue on with this agreement,” Utilities Administrator Kyle Ellis told the council.
Council members unanimously approved the appointment of Gary Erwin to fill a spot vacated by Tony Swink on the Zoning Advisory Board. Swink is moving away from the city, and will no longer be eligible. Erwin currently serves as the Calhoun Housing Authority’s Executive Director.
Finally, the council accepted a third quarter financial statement as submitted by Administrator Paul Worley, who said City Government is currently in a “strong financial position, with 85% of projected budget collections already received for the fiscal year.
A second public hearing for the upcoming proposed 2023-24 city budget will be held at the council’s next meeting. A copy of that budget is currently available for viewing during regular business hours at City Hall, 226 S. Wall St., and at cityofcalhoun-ga.com online.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the council is set for Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m., at the Depot, 109 S. King St. All meetings are open to the public.
Calhoun City Schools held their first budget hearing for their proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.
That budget would require city schools to pull just over $1.8 million dollars out of its general fund to cover a gap between estimated revenues and expenditures. The public hearing drew no participation or comments from members of the public, and was closed with board members voting unanimously to approve the tentative budget, with Dr. Stephen King absent.
The next scheduled public hearing for that budget will take place on Monday, June 19 at 6 p.m. at Calhoun Depot.
Also on the agenda was the 2023 Retiree Reception, honoring four retirees from city schools: Tammy Berry, Carol Holland, Angie Hufstetler, and Kris Lowe. Each retiree was honored by coworkers and offered a present from the board. Also recognized were Exemplary ESOL student Iker Najera Garcia and Exemplary ESOL teacher Lisa Holden.
There were quite a few items up to a vote.
City schools looked at purchasing a CNC router for their Construction Pathway program. That would be purchased using Architecture and Construction Essential Workforce funds, as well as Industry Certification grant funds. The quote from Wm. J. Redmond & Son for a grand total of $16,021.90 was approved.
The board also saw three different facility proposals. One was the abatement of asbestos at the property at 344 South Wall Street using $43,000 in SPLOST funds. The bid from Priority Environmental Services, which has done work in the area including the County Courthouse and Annex, was approved.
Another facility proposal was some painting work at Calhoun Middle School, including the gym, G-hall, and auxiliary areas. That would include a custom mural to replace existing artwork in the gym. H/H Services put in a bid for $28,500 which would be funded using FY24 General Funds. That was approved.
The final proposal was the installation of artificial turf near the high school band room and the courtyard/cafeteria, which would fix erosion issues. Nationwide Turf placed a bid for $12,618 which was approved by the board, to be paid with FY24 General Funds.
The board also looked at a proposal to surplus some old equipment, including display boards, scoreboards, clocks, and other miscellaneous electronics and equipment. That surplus would allow the school system to recoup some of the cost they paid on that equipment, all of which ranges from eight to fifteen years old. That was approved.
City schools also approved its 2023-24 bus driver salary schedule, and several overnight and out of state trips were approved for Calhoun High School wrestling and debate.
Upcoming events include the last day of school Friday, May 26, the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 29, post-planning for teachers May 30 and 31, and the next Board of Education Meeting and budget hearing Monday, June 19 at Calhoun Depot, 109 S King St.
For more information on city schools, visit calhounschools.org.
A downturn in state tax collections predicted several months ago is starting to show up. Locally, sales tax collections rebounded in April after a downturn in March.
The Georgia Department of Revenue brought in $4.19 billion in tax revenues last month, down 16.5% compared to April of last year, the agency reported Tuesday.
The declining revenues were found primarily in individual income taxes, which fell 32.4% from April 2022.
The sharp year-over-year drop in individual income tax collections is due in large part to the first-year implementation of legislation the General Assembly passed last year that permits certain pass-through entities such as S-corporations and partnerships to make entity-level tax elections on behalf of their individual partners. The bill took effect in tax year 2022 for returns filed this year.
Individual income tax payments declined by 49.4% last month compared to April of last year. Tax refunds also were down, but the 37.9% drop in that category was more than offset by the falloff in payments, resulting in the net decrease.
Net sales taxes actually rose by 2.4%, with consumer spending still strong due to a still robust state economy. Corporate income tax receipts in April increased by 4.7% over April 2022.
With gasoline prices up significantly over last year, state motor fuel tax collections shot up by 83.5%.
The state’s chief economist, Jeffrey Dorfman, told lawmakers in January that state tax revenues were likely to drop sharply this year because last year’s huge increase in capital gains tax payments was unlikely to be repeated.
Locally for April, Gordon County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax saw $1,251,982 in distributions, up from $1,022,793 in March, and also up from $1,149,103 collected the same month last year. Meanwhile, in April, the county’s Local Option Sales Tax brought in $752,888, up compared to $622,012 in March, and also up from last year’s $727,702.
The City of Calhoun’s LOST saw a distribution of $439,742 in April, up sharply from $362,472 in March, and also up from the $395,486 amount a year ago.
Both Education Local Option Sales Tax totals were down slightly compared to March. The county’s ELOST came in at $797,676, up from $644,468 in March, and also up from $735,650 in April 2022. City ELOST for April was $505,033, up from $418,844 in March, and also up over $447,008 in April of last year.
For Fairmount, its April LOST dollars totaled $16,542, up from $13,758 the month before, and also up from $14,944 the same time last year. Resaca’s LOST came in at $20,902 for March, up from $17,213 in March, and up well over last year’s $11,495 distribution.
Finally, The City of Plainville’s LOST collection was $7,689 in April, up from $6,318 in March. Plainville wasn’t part of last March’s sales tax distribution.
The Calhoun Times, 210 S. King St., keeps limited, in-person office hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. We may also be reached by phone, email, or mail.
Mail: P.O. Box 8
Calhoun, GA 30703
Phone: 770-748-1520 — Ex. 1
Phone: 770-748-1520 — Ex. 1
Phone: 706-629-2231 — Ex. 4
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Mailing address for payments:
P.O. Box 1633
Rome, GA 30162