Transportation Board Meeting Cancelled

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The Transportation Board Meeting has been cancelled for November 26, 2015 due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Office Closings for Thanksgiving Holiday

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All Butts County business offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on November 26th and 27th. County offices will resume operations on Monday, November 30th.

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Film Industry Returns to Jackson

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12248160_1235804209769059_1999695951768998947_oThe downtown Jackson area has been undergoing a facelift the past few weeks in preparation for filming to begin on a new Netflix Original Series slated for 2016. The new series, called “Stranger Things” takes place in an Indiana town set in the 1980’s and the revitalization of a number of storefronts has been done with this era in mind, primarily on the north side of the square along Second Street.

Jackson Drug Company and Radio Shack are two of the stores that will feature prominently in shots and both have been given a new color scheme and look for the film. The prop department this week has loaded the front store windows of Radio Shack with a selection of period electronics ranging from console televisions, smaller color as well as black and white TVs, to an Atari game console, a Kenwood stereo component system and a GE cassette tape recorder.

12003858_1235804213102392_7448237599455277649_nFurther down the block, the old Deraney’s Department Store building has been painted as well and transformed into a furniture store with a selection of 1980’s era furniture pieces in the large show windows along the sidewalk. The store had been empty until recently, when Jason Lee Music Store opened in this location. Other stores between Jackson Drugs and Jason Lee Music have also been refreshed and are being prepared for filming, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 23rd. Filming is scheduled for the entire day and will likely go beyond the normal business hours of the downtown Jackson square.

Scenes are also planned for the north entrance of the Butts County Courthouse, which will be fitted with temporary wooden doors to give the entrance a different look. Last week, workers from the City of Jackson, Butts County and film production crew removed the old fenced-in enclosure on the north lawn of the courthouse, as well as the old water pipe and concrete around the enclosure. This enclosure had been used for many years to store trash from the courthouse for pickup and many years ago, housed a watering trough that has been gone for decades. It has been replaced with plantings for the shoot and will be eventually sodded to match the grounds of the courthouse when production is completed.

12239957_1235805779768902_4020058972821742431_n“We have been grateful for the cooperation and interest in Jackson from the people at Netflix, especially Dan Reilly, the Assistant Location Manager” said Government Relations Director Michael Brewer, who also serves as the Georgia Camera Ready Liaison for Butts County. “They have teamed up with with Jeanette Riley, Mayor Kay Pippin and the City of Jackson as well as with my office, the downtown store owners, Downtown Development Authority and others, keeping us informed of what is going on and letting us know what they need to make the shooting a success. The City and County have worked very well together to help them in any way possible and we’re excited that they will showcase our town and community in a positive way”.

During the filming on November 23rd, three sides of the downtown square will be restricted during the time shooting is going on. These include Oak, Mulberry and Second Street. Stores on those streets have been working with the Netflix team to make alternate arrangements for customers on that day. For example, Jackson Drugs will allow for customers to enter their store through the back door that day and there will be people available to show them the way. Some stores on Mulberry Street also have back entrances that open up to the city parking lot behind the Verizon Store and City Pharmacy. Netflix has also worked with local merchants to help make sure they are not adversely affected by shooting schedules.

Probate Court arraignments scheduled for Monday will continue as scheduled but those attending will be required to enter the courthouse through the Third Street entrance. Those going to court will need to park in one of the open City parking lots located around the downtown area as they will not be able to access three of the streets in the area. Uniform officers will be in the area assisting with the street closures and can direct those going to court where they need to go.

11147873_1235804313102382_4232707967583084909_nFuture shoots for the series are planned for unspecified dates in the early part of 2016. The benefits to the downtown area, however, will continue on after film production is complete. Colors used for the painting of the buildings have been drawn from color charts approved by the Downtown Development Authority and will play a part in future planned revitalization efforts. More than that, film production is an economic engine in Georgia that has many positive benefits to the local economy.

They often employ local people to assist with work, utilize local businesses and restaurants and they bring positive attention and tourism to communities. Locations used in other film productions such as those in shows like “The Walking Dead” have become huge tourist draws, bringing more dollars into the community. “We are always glad to get their attention and to welcome them to our community” said Brewer. “They bring a lot to the table, they have a very positive impact on our local economy and they increase our exposure to people looking for interesting places in Georgia to visit. I hope they will continue to look favorably on our county”.

The series itself is set in the 1980s and is about a mystery surrounding a boy who suddenly disappears and the ever-expanding government conspiracy that unravels in its wake. Actress Winona Ryder will play the boy’s single mother who works in a local drugstore while the town’s Chief of Police will be played by David Harbour. In recent developments, Matthew Modine has been cast to play the role of  Dr. Martin Brenner, a brilliant but mysterious scientist who may know more than he is letting on. Netflix plans to air the series sometime in 2016.

Town Hall Meeting

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CourthouseAs reported here on October 27th, for the past several weeks, members of the Board of Commissioners, key staff and more recently, governing officials from the City of Jackson have been meeting to discuss the future plans for the Butts County Courthouse and its eventual retirement as an everyday center of justice. These discussions developed from a research project on the viability of the Courthouse that started in December of 2014 and has been ongoing since then.

A town hall meeting, which the public was officially notified of on October 27th, will be held today at 6PM (Monday, November 16, 2015) in the C. Wayne King Auditorium of the Butts County Administration Building, 625 W. Third Street, Jackson, Georgia. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss this matter further and put forward possible solutions that have been discussed in the hopes of attacking this issue in a way that will address both the needs of the future while also preserving our historical courthouse for the enjoyment and use of generations to come.

This historic building, which was completed in 1898, has been in continuous use as a county courthouse ever since the day the keys were turned over to Judge J.F. Carmichael by the contractor and today it is one of the oldest courthouses in Georgia still being used regularly for its original purpose.

The most recent report of the investigatory Grand Jury only serves to validate our position that serious attention must now be given to the direction the County will take in the coming years to provide a safe, efficient, secure and serviceable courthouse for the citizens of Butts County.

A project of this size and scope is not one that can be rushed but must be the result of purposeful, deliberate planning with an eye towards cost, usage, the needs of our growing court system, the safety and security of county historical documents, the location that will best suit these purposes and the ability of the county to fund it. The location of this facility must also take into consideration what is best for Jackson, which has been our County Seat for almost 190 years.

The public is cordially invited to attend the town hall meeting.

Notice of Called Meeting Scheduled November 16th

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The Butts County Board of Commissioners will hold a Called Meeting at 4:30PM on Monday, November 16th for the purpose of voting on a joint development and to conduct a public hearing for adopting the Impact Fee Ordinance as part of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Also, at 6PM a Town Hall meeting will be held to discuss future plans for the courthouse.  Both meetings will be in the C. Wayne King Auditorium located at the Butts County Administration Building, 625 W. Third Street, Jackson, Georgia 30233.  The public is invited to attend

Business & Alcohol License Renewal Time

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ButtsCountyGeD05aR03aP01ZL-Madison3a_mdmAs we get into the middle part of November, it’s time to begin renewals of business licenses. All current business licenses expire on December 31, 2015 and the renewal process is now open. Businesses wishing to continue their active business license status for 2016 and prevent any late fees or suspensions should contact the Community Development Department at 770-775-8210 and speak with Kimberly LeCroy about obtaining the proper renewal form. Please note that any changes associated with your business such as location, phone numbers, owner, business type, number of employees and mailing address should be included on this year’s renewal. Additionally, all Georgia State license holders must submit proof of a current valid license as part of the renewal process. To discontinue a business, please contact their office and submit this information by form to deactivate your license and stop further payments of renewal or late fees due thereafter.

The schedule below lays out the current fees for county business licenses:

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Additionally, all current Alcohol Licenses expire on December 31, 2015 and the renewal process has begun on these as well. To continue your active license status for 2016 and prevent any late fees or suspensions that may cause inactivity in this matter, please renew your alcohol license early, also at the Community Development Department. A current Alcohol State License that is required by the State of Georgia must be submitted along with the renewal application. To discontinue, please notify their office to obtain the proper form and submit to deactivate your license and stop further payments of renewal or late fees due thereafter.

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County Offices Closed for Veterans Day

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All Butts County business offices will be closed for Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. County offices will resume operations on Thursday, November 12th.