2013 was a busy year in Upson County, filled with many notable events. We have chosen to highlight the top news story (in our opinion) for each of the past 12 months, and present them to you as our look back at 2013. Below each of the stories are some of the other noteworthy headlines for that month. We are presenting our review of 2013 in two parts. The first pat, from January through June, ran in our Jan. 3, 2014 edition. We now present the second part, from July through December 2013.
$430,000 in drug cash is seized in raid
A joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies culminated in the seizure of $430,000 in suspected drug money Friday. This is the largest cash seizure in Upson County history. Sheriff Dan Kilgore stated there were two simultaneously executed search warrants at the homes of two suspects. At one house they recovered a small amount of crack cocaine, some marijuana, and two handguns. At the other house, they found two to four ounces of cocaine, three different vehicles and two different trailers that contain lawn equipment, a handgun, and $430,000 in cash. Two suspects were also arrested.
Other July Headlines
• Board discusses forming Recreation Committee
• TUAC seeks increase in budget
• Silvertown Tennis Courts to be redesigned
• BOC Chairman predicts tax millage increase
• Thomaston Council approves bond issue
• Claude Burgess honored by Georgia Historical Society
• A tribute to Trayvon Martin
• Upson County commits $50,000 to new emergency sirens pending grant approval
BOC proposing 16.5 millage rate
The Upson County Board of Commissioners are considering having to raise the property tax millage to 16.5 mills. The higher rate for this year is needed to make up for the rollback of last year’s millage rate and to cover expenditures for 2013, which include an additional Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) possibly needed for the county to operate the rest of the year, and a budget amendment for the Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority of $600,000 to go toward debt reduction and tax incentives for potential incentives.
Other August Headlines
• Drug-sniffing dogs will be searching schools this year
• Sprewell Bluff Park used to film popular TV series
• One officer injured during police chase
• BOC getting earful from public about millage hike
• City, county finally agree on LOST and joint projects
Liquor-by-the-drink vote delayed until 2014
Due to the fact that there are no other county elections this fall, the Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday night to postpone the vote on liquor-by-the-drink in the unincorporated portions of Upson County until the earlier possible election in 2014 to save on county expenses. Chairman Rusty Blackston said for the county to hold the election, it would cost between $5,000 and $8,000, so they decided to put it off until next year, when there will be state and federal elections as well.
Other September Headlines:
• Football field to be named in honor of Coach Dawkins
• Industries starting to look at Upson County
• No tax break for seniors from BOE
• Greathouse wins District 4 Special Election
• Upson receives $500,000 for residential renewal
• Thomaston Councilman Dr. Jim Richards passes away
• Standard Textiles now hiring fulltime
• Mallory & Trice are no longer county attorneys
BOC declares Joint Projects agreement ‘null and void’
Two months after Upson County and the City of Thomaston agreed on service delivery provided by each in a “Joint Projects Service Agreement,” part of the overall agreement between the county and the cities of Thomaston and Yatesville on the percentage split of the one percent LOST, the Upson County Board of Commissioners is of the opinion the agreement is null and void. They are basing their claim on the recent Georgia Supreme Court decision of Turner County v. City of Ashburn, et al, which stated that the procedure for judicial resolution (arbitration) of the LOST negotiations between a county and city is a violation of the separation of powers doctrine and is unconstitutional.
Other October Headlines:
• Severn Trent investigating pollutant in Lamar County
• Two escape injury in plane crash
• City questioned on preferences for local bidders
• County proposes resubmission of LOST have expiration date
• LBD event raises more than $26,000
• Thomaston submits Open Records Request for county data on Road Department and Sheriff
Tommy Watson resigns as Knights’ Head Football Coach
Following his fifth sub-.500 season in six years, Upson-Lee Knights head football coach Tommy Watson has tendered his resignation. Upson-Lee Athletic Director Eddie Payne. Watson will remain at the high school as a physical education teacher, and Payne will continue to serve as part-time administrator.
Other November Headlines:
• Leaders in Yatesville hope to keep 2 percent once LOST smoke clears
• Senior meals still in doubt
• 2014 county budget close to being balanced
• Greathouse wins District 4 post
• Lincoln Park Veterans R&R Area dedicated
• Ruth Hatchett receives Lifetime Achievement Award
• Armed robbery suspect is captured
• Beretta Firearms not coming to Upson, says Blackston
• Consolidation not in future for city, says Mayor Arnold
Proposed utility rate increases in Thomaston budget
If the Thomaston City Council agrees with City Manager Patrick Comiskey’s recommendations for the 2014 budget, city residents could be seeing rate increases in water and sewerage, electricity, and sanitation on their bills. The increases would 50 cent more per 1,000 gallons of water and 45 cents more per 1,000 gallons of sewage, a 6.5 percent increase on residential, commercial and industrial electric rates, and a 75 cents per month increase in residential garbage and a 4 percent increase on the general commercial bill.
Other December Headlines:
• Bell Tower at First Baptist is dedicated
• Yatesville Council holds off starting garbage pickup
• Lancaster Energy hopes to be open by end of year
• Board of Education honors 2013 Teachers of the Year
• Is no joint projects agreement harmful?
• Rate hikes, tax increases in future for residents, says city manager
• Yatesville couple recovering after Monday shooting
• BOC approves EMS contract with Mid-GA
• Thankfully no one was seriously injured when truck plowed into the front of English’s Café
• BOC approves $14 million budget