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Not So Public Tax Rate Increase Talks, Missing Monkey and Trash Plan Ruling

A look at the top stories this week on Dacula Patch.

If you missed last week’s Dacula City Council meeting in which elected officials discussed a proposed millage rate increase, you were not alone. In what City Administrator Jim Osborne described as an oversight, Dacula Patch was not notified of the meeting, nor was notice of the meeting posted on the city’s website. Though legal notice was sent to the classifieds department at the Gwinnett Daily Post, the newsroom did not get the word and, therefore, no media was present for the discussion.

While oversights can and will happen, it is of course a concern when officials fail to take advantage of the numerous methods of communicating with the public that are at their disposal. From the day the decision was made to call the meeting (June 16), Dacula officials had three full business days in which to post notice on the city’s website and alert the local media.

Though no notice of the June 21 meeting to discuss a potential tax increase was published on the website, three other website updates were made between the day the meeting was called and the day the meeting was held. On June 19, an announcement regarding the new Dacula to downtown bus service was posted by Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks (see photo). A notice about the bus service was also posted in the community forum on June 20 (see photo). Additionally, a Happy Father's Day message was posted on the city's website by Mayor Wilbanks on June 18 (see photo).

The day after the meeting, officials posted information on the website about the proposed rate increase and published notice of a public hearing on the matter which is set for July 12. Though the information was added to the website on June 22, the date/time stamp on the article displays January 1, 1970 (see photo above - taken on June 25).

While officials followed the letter of the law regarding the Open Meetings Act, they -- and the voting public -- must consider whether sufficient effort was made to fulfill the intent of the law.

Also in the “Important News for Taxpayers” category, a judge has ruled that Gwinnett County is within its rights to force taxpayers to use a designated trash service and pay for said service 18 months in advance. Count me among District 3 Commissioner’s who believe the trash plan is far from the “great, great success” he believes it to be.

Today’s third entry in the “Important News for Taxpayers” category is last week’s telephone town hall meeting to discuss the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax. We still have a few months before we know exactly what projects we will be voting on, but we do know that no matter what projects make the list, we will be paying for them for the next 10 years and beyond. Choose wisely my friends.

You just don’t get to run headlines about missing monkeys every day. The CDC says not to worry. Anyone else seen the preview for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"?

If you have been reading Dacula Patch for any length of time, you know . Gwinnett County Police are investigating a lead in a recent string of entering autos in the Hamilton Mill area. This story was interesting because the juvenile interviewed by police claimed he bought stolen merchandise at school. I really hate to think there are teen criminals not only breaking into cars, but marketing and selling the stolen merchandise at school when they should be busy learning how to be productive members of society.

Be sure to check in during the week for the latest news and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the day. Have a great week and thanks for reading Dacula Patch.

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