Tuesday, December 26, 2006

***Milton, GA Homestead Excemption!***

Milton homeowners have until May 31, 2007 to file for city homestead exemptions. Only those homeowners seeking senior, senior additional, senior full value and/or disability exemptions need to file with the city. These exemptions only apply to City of Milton taxes, not to the Fulton School Board or Fulton County portion of property owners’ tax bills.

Homeowners who have already filed for the basic exemption with the Fulton County Tax Assessor’s Office do not need to take any action. The $15,000 deduction from the owner-occupied property’s assessed value is automatically renewable. Homeowners who qualify for the basic exemption and have not applied must apply through the Fulton County Tax Assessor’s Office.

Categories and eligibility requirements for the City of Milton exemptions are:

Senior exemption – age 65 or older

$15,000 deduction from assessed value
65 or older before Jan. 1 of the tax year.
Owner occupied.
Automatically renewable after initial application.

Senior additional exemption – age 65 or older, income requirements

$10,000 deduction from assessed value.
65 or older before Jan. 1 of the tax year.
Income limitations as defined by the IRS.
Owner occupied.
Automatically renewable after initial application; however, income verification may be requested.

Senior full-value exemption – age 70 or older, income requirements

Full value exemption of assessed value.
70 or older before Jan. 1 of the tax year.
Income limitations as defined by the IRS.
Owner occupied.
Automatically renewable after initial application; however, income verification may be requested.

Disability exemption

Full value exemption of assessed value
Doctor’s certification of disability.
Owner occupied.
Automatically renewable after initial application.

Friday, December 22, 2006

180 Year Old Church Prize in Annexation Battle

Courtesy -> PAUL KAPLAN The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 12/22/06

For most of its 180 years, Union Primitive Baptist Church stood in the middle of nowhere in a rural corner of what is now northwest Fulton County.

For the last few months, it has sat in the middle of a hissing match over land. The little red brick church is being pulled in opposite directions by a pair of cities that want it for their own.It's not the church they're enamored with. That's just an old two-room prayer hall that turns no heads and pays no taxes.

What the cities want is bigger than Union Primitive Baptist Church, a lot bigger.By a geographical quirk, the church sits on a thin strip of land that connects two large tracts that both Roswell and the new city of Milton covet. They want it so badly, in fact, that both cities have annexed it. "It's nice to be wanted, " Pastor Marty Smith said.

This kind of border dispute has become more common since Sandy Springs won permission to become a city last year. Now all of north Fulton is incorporating, and the church, just north of Roswell, is in one of the last remaining uncommitted areas.

Back when Union Primitive was founded, in the late 1820s, land disputes like this were often settled with guns. Today it's mostly lawyers and politicians firing the volleys. Both sides in the dispute have tried hard not to step on the church, which sits on a couple of quiet acres and has more headstones in its small graveyard than members, who number fewer than 100. But Union Primitive, a conservative congregation, could not be kept out of the dispute.

"That church is the connecting piece, so we didn't really have a choice," said Joe Lockwood, the mayor of Milton.Property owners south of the church, have expressed a preference for joining Milton. That area is surrounded by Ros- well, however, so unless Milton gets the church property, it can't have the tract south of it, because a city only can annex land it's connected to.
So whoever gets the church gets the big prize with it.

Both cities were able to stake a claim to the church by using different annexation formulas covering different geographic areas. Milton wants Union Primitive so badly that it annexed it twice, under two different formulas.For its part, the church didn't care which city it joined, Rev. Smith said. "Both cities are good cities," he said.

But it had to pick one or the other, because Fulton County will not serve the area much longer. The series of incorporations, which added Milton and Johns Creek this year, took the county out of most day-to-day operations on the Northside.The church is inside a three-mile strip of land that was omitted from Milton's boundary because residents there hadn't decided between the new city and Roswell. The competition for the last significant piece of Northside land has been very aggressive — and reminiscent of the fight Roswell had with Johns Creek over the Newtown neighborhood. Roswell lost that battle, and it seemed to add a sense of urgency to its current squabble with Milton.

There also have been skirmishes in south Fulton over annexations into Palmetto and Union City, and in neighborhoods south and west of Atlanta. Those were sparked by a proposal to create a new city of South Fulton. When it came time for Union Primitive to choose sides, its deacons picked Milton. It was mainly because neighbors of the church generally preferred the new city, which will initially have a lower millage than Roswell. Some neighbors asked the church to join Milton so they could join it too."That dominated the discussion with the deacons, how we'd be most helpful to the folks around us," Smith said.

All of this could end in one of three ways: in court, in the General Assembly, or in a room where the two sides cut a deal.Both cities would prefer the latter method, and they are in negotiations.
"I said, 'Make us an offer, and I'll take it to the City Council," Roswell Mayor Jere Wood said.
What if they can't make a deal?"It would be nice to see our preference honored, but if not, we won't take to the streets," Smith said. "There are some things worth fighting for, but this isn't one of them."

So the little church caught in the middle is keeping its head down and meeting for lunches every other week after Sunday services — sausage, yellow rice, sliced ham and lots of good cheer. The last thing these folks wanted was to disappoint either side in the land dispute.

"We've lived peacefully here for years," said Ted Walker, a member of the church for more than four decades. "We didn't want to be the linchpin for problems."Walker had a 12-acre spread up the road from Union Primitive back when the area was rural. He sold it all when the area started getting crowded, and he moved farther out, to Cherokee County.

The area around the church remains knitted together by meandering two-lane roads, but housing developments are springing up all along those roads, including several near the church. The house directly across the street from Union Primitive has six bedrooms and three fireplaces, and it's yours for $900,000.

Big money, big disagreements.

"We didn't realize this was going to be controversial," said Jere Jones, a deacon at the church. "It got a little difficult."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Cities Look for Parkland Paths for Cyclists, Walkers

DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 12/12/06

John Byers of Johns Creek objects to the idea of having to drive someplace to ride his bicycle.
"There's no safe place to ride," he said. "You're taking your life in your hands if [you] go on the road. When my family rides, I have to load the bikes and go to Big Creek Greenway."

But Georgia Tech is working on a plan to fix that. Using $250,000 in state grant money, the university is doing an inventory of possible parkland and mapping out possible bicycle routes for the new cities of Milton and Johns Creek.

About half of Milton, home of horse farms, golf courses and two-lane roads, is undeveloped, giving it a better chance of finding additional park space although it has inherited 301 acres from Fulton County for its 20,000 residents.

Johns Creek's neat subdivisions, and brick and stone shops take up about 85 percent of its land, and it only has about 200 acres of parks for its 60,000 residents."Johns Creek has a significant need for new parkland," said Bill Drummond, the Georgia Tech associate professor heading the project. "They're overcrowded or people go to other cities' parks. Or they don't go out as much."
Inspired by a dream of being able to ride from Milton to Roswell or Alpharetta and maybe to Johns Creek or Forsyth County, state Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) sponsored the bill that set aside the grant money in 2004. The funds were rolled over until 2007.

"I want to connect neighbors with places to go," Jones said. "We should be able to ride to school, library or the park." Drummond said Milton's long roads may lend themselves to bike lanes, although that could be expensive. Johns Creek, however, might be better served with wide multiuse paths next to its busy streets.The study also will estimate costs and break the acquisition and construction into phases to make it more feasible, Drummond said.
After the initial study is complete, it will be presented to citizens' committees in each city for their reaction and suggestions.

After incorporating citizens' proposals, it will be forwarded to the city councils. Drummond said that having the parks and bike paths will make both cities better places to live. "It makes destinations accessible," he said. "I expect it will increase social interaction and cut down on isolation that occurs in suburbs."

David Deutsch, 46, of Milton said his three teenage children would use a connected path to visit friends in other neighborhoods, and he would use it for long-distance rides.
"I definitely support it," he said. "Cars are not a big fan of bikers."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A "Thank you!" from District 4 Candidate Tim Enloe!

9:00am / Tuesday / December 5th, 2006


I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has been so kind to me and my family during both the regular campaign and run-off. This experience has exposed me to many wonderful folks who share my sincere sentiments about the place we all call home. You have truly shown what the true meaning of "community" is all about. Regardless of what happens at the end of this day, I do thank you for your friendship, your kindness, and your faith in me.

Please keep in touch.

Tim Enloe
13005 Bethany Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004
770 653 0552 /