JULY 17, 2018
Tifton, Georgia

The Tift County Board of Education meets Tuesday to set the tax millage rate for the new  fiscal year, lowering the rate for property owners by one mill.

The Tift County Board of Education formally voted today ( Tuesday) to lower its tax millage rate to 16.946, a one-mill reduction. Property owners should see their tax reduction in 2019.

School officials say that since the state is fully funding schools for the upcoming year, the Tift BOE is able to rollback the millage rate for Tift County taxpayers The state Legislature earlier this year voted to fully fund the Georgia Quality Basic Education funding model for the first time, eliminating so-called "austerity cuts."

The Tift school board rollback means that local taxpayers will save $1 in property taxes for every $1,000 at which their property is taxed. The one-mill reduction translates into approximately $957,000.

The BOE previously OK'd its 2018-2019 budget with the anticipated millage reduction. The new school budget includes  $450,000 for full-time School Resource Officers at all Tift County public schools. Previously, SROs were only in schools with  grades 7-12.

Also in the budget are several salary increases, including an a pproximately 20 percent hike for paraprofessionals and school nutrition staff; an  18 percent pay increase for school nurses; and about a  15 percent salary increase for school-level clerical staff and school bookkeepers.


This is the final week of early voting for the Tuesday, July 24, primary election runoff

Secretary of State Brian Kemp reminds Georgians that they can vote early in the political party runoff contests  through this Friday, July 20. More than 99,000 Georgia voters already have cast early ballots. More than 500 people have voted early in Tift County.

Voters will decide nominees for a  local school board race and for several statewide offices, including the  GOP candidate for  governor.

Voters in  Tift County may cast their ballots  8 a.m.-5 p.m. through  Friday at the election office (the old gym) on  Chesnutt Avenue

In Tift County Board of Education's District 6, voters will choose between Rusty Harrelson and Jimmy Cargle Runoffs are required in Georgia for races in which no candidate won a majority during the May 22 primary election. In the primary, Harrelson received 43 percent of the vote; Cargle38 percent; and Jo Windom, 19 percent.

The race getting the most attention is the GOP runoff for governor between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Also on the Republican runoff ballot are David Shafer and Geoff Duncan (lieutenant governor), and Brad Raffensperger and David Belle Isle (secretary of state).

On the Democrats' ballot are Otha Thornton Jr. and Sid Chapman seeking the nomination for state school superintendent.

During the runoff, voters aren't allowed to switch political parties from the May primary. Therefore, voters who participated in the Republican primary can only vote in the Republican runoff, and voters who cast ballots in the Democratic Party primary must vote in the Democrats' runoff. 

However,  registered voters who did not participate in the  May primary election may vote and select  either party's ballot in the runoff election.

If you haven't registered to vote, it's too late to participate in the July 24 runoff, but you have until Oct. 9 to register to vote in the November general election.
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Brumby Tennis at ABAC hosted 54 players in the singles tournament last Friday. Players were divided into five divisions according to  rank on the singles ladder. 

Pictured above is "Green Ball" division winner Jacob Stephenson receiving his trophy Monday   from Coach Mike Brumby during a break in  morning tennis class

This week's "Friday at ABAC" will feature doubles competition. Doubles winners will also take home the gold. The  largest  trophies will go for sportsmanship and ladder leaper.


Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia has named James Nixon of Tifton as its chief operating officer.

Nixon, a Tifton native, most recently served as vice president in different capacities and divisions at Tift Regional Health System. He and his wife Angeanette McCall Nixon, a practicing licensed professional counselor, are relocating to the Vidalia area.

Nixon completed his bachelor's degree in finance at Mercer University and his master of science in health administration at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is board-certified in healthcare management as a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Management and has spent the past decade as an administrative leader in the healthcare field.

Meadows Health is a regional health system featuring Meadows Regional Medical Center Inc., the only nationally accredited hospital in Montgomery, Toombs, Treutlen and Tattnall counties. It also features a  20,000-square-foot cancer center  and a  network of physician practices  that serve Vidalia and its surrounding communities.

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When it comes to the turf at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College golf course at Forest Lakes Golf Club near Tifton, Austin Lawton is ready to take on all comers.

"Come out to a golf course that plays great and looks great year-round," said Lawton, an ABAC graduate and the Forest Lakes superintendent. "Our golf course is in great shape, and our turf rivals any golf course south of Macon and north of Tallahassee."

Although Forest Lakes' nine-hole course is used by ABAC students as a teaching laboratory in a variety of subjects, the course remains open every day as a public course. 

"Don't let the heat scare you away from playing golf here," Lawton said. "We welcome early morning and late evening play to beat the heat."

Recent improvements to the course include selective tree removal from around greens, tees and fairways, the addition of 10-foot tall colored flags on the driving range and intensive greens management to provide a more consistent playing surface.

Lawton thanked industry partner Hunter Golf Irrigation for the recent donation of an irrigation controller and 30 sprinkler heads, valued at $12,000. The last two  Forest Lakes Supporter Tournaments raised $9,000 so that continued improvements can be made.


State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, has been appointed a member of the Senate Study Committee on Service Animals for Physically or Mentally Impaired Persons.

"Service animals are a crucial component in completing daily tasks that people without disabilities
sometimes overlook," Kirk said. "Through this study committee, we are going to make sure that there is a process that will only allow those in need to receive the certification for their service animal. 

"By streamlining a process to legitimize certification, we will take some of the burden off of store, hotel and other business owners and workers who have to try and determine whether a service animal certificate is real, while ensuring that those who are actually in need of a service animal can obtain this certification."

The study committee was created in the recent legislative session and must report its findings by Dec. 1. 

Kirk represents the 13th Senate District which includes Crisp, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner and Worth counties, and portions of Sumter and Wilcox counties.


The City of Tifton has several openings on volunteer boards open to local residents. Tifton logo

City boards include the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning and Zoning, and the Zoning Board of Appeals

Applications are kept on file for one year, pending openings.

Interested residents may get an application at City Hall or by Clicking Here!

For information, call Jessica White at 229-391-3970


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Ga. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black stopped by Tifton on Friday, visiting with Southwest Georgia agriculture leaders at Lewis Taylor Farms

In photo above, UGA Tifton Assistant Dean Joe West, at end of table, talks with David Perdue and Sonny Perdue, both at the far right. The officials traveled across the state to hear from farmers, foresters, researchers and stakeholders in the agriculture  industry.


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