Trenton Runaround Dec. 4: Fred's to Sell Beer, Trenton Airs Budget, IDA Talks Lightbulbs, Christ



Fred's will sell Adult Beverages as soon as the city can process its malt beverage license.

Practically no one attended last Thursday's public hearing for the Trenton City Commission's proposed 2018 budget. Only two of the four city commissioners showed up for the Nov. 30 event, just one member of the public--who said he was there because he was waiting for somebody--and no press but your friendly neighborhood Planet. But it seems the natural place to begin our orbit around Trenton--this week's Runaround--because interesting info emerged from it.

To wit: Fred's Dollar Store and Pharmacy (above) will be the latest local business to break away from Dade's blue-law-fettered past and begin its forward march into modernity (or its downward spiral into iniquity, according to your point of view): Trenton Mayor Alex Case (at far left below, dwarfed by "Silver Bell" presents) announced Fred's had begun paperwork toward procuring a malt beverage license.


​​Fred's being a retail store, it will, of course, sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption. The Artzy Cafe, on the other hand, which also has an application in, will serve by the drink. Or it will if the app ever goes through--Mayor Case explained the process was delayed in Artzy's case because the Georgia Bureau of Investigation changed policies and procedures for background checks, throwing a spanner into the works. "It was a mess," said Case. But he said heavenly orbs are now in line for the license to be at last bestowed. "It just took some time," he said.


The mayor said that now that Trenton's referendum approving distilled alcohol by the drink had passed, the town would be reworking its liquor ordinance and taking a fresh look at its fee structure for selling and serving.

What are all these presents for? Trenton Police Commissioner Sandra Gray and Police Chief Chief Christy Smith are amassing gifts for the town's elderly in its "Silver Bells" drive (photos left and below). The gifts will be delivered on Wednesday, Dec. 20, after lunch. Anyone who would like to help may call Chief Smith at City Hall, (706) 657-4167, or cell, (423) 645-3122.


But back to that budget: The $1,641,100 proposed Trenton 2018 budget contains $20,000 for legal fees, $641,495 for police and $48,000 for the Dade County Public Library. The library contribution is the same amount as last year--the mayor said Trenton is already paying more than its fair share. Both Trenton and Dade County have in fact increased their portions of library support considerably since, in 2012, the ​​Dade Board of Education abruptly ducked out from under. The BOE has since then in small increments resumed contributing to the library's support but has never restored its full share of funding.

The Trenton budget will be voted on at the city commission's Dec. 11 regular meeting.


(Workmen on Friday remodel a corner of the Dade library for a recording studio.)

Speaking of the Dade Public Library, construction is now underway for a grant-funded small recording studio inside the library. Library manager Marshana Sharp says soundproofing is the next stage, and that should take longer than the present phase of painting and decorating, but that she hopes to have the facility up and running by the first of the year. She said interest has already been fierce and she expects the studio to be booked heavily enough that she may have to have a waiting list. Besides recording music, she expects people to use the studio to record YouTube programming and last messages to their families in lieu of old-fashioned testaments.

The Dade Industrial Development Authority (IDA) met briefly on Monday. The agenda was light--the chief piece of business was approval of $100,000 to pay off a renegotiated bill from Norfolk Southern for the railway crossing on Vanguard Road. Which sounds like a major chunk of change but the original estimate had been several times that and the board seemed inclined to pay it before anybody changed their mind. "And write 'paid in full' on the check," one board member advised executive Peter Cervelli. Is that legally binding? the board asked its legal advisor, County Attorney Robin Rogers. No, but he'd do it anyway, said the lawyer

Otherwise, said Cervelli, "There's no major expense on the horizon" and finances look unaccustomedly rosy.


Cervelli showed the board examples of signs by Victory Sign, which has submitted a $6549 proposal. As previously reported, IDA is in the market for signs to guide truckers into Trenton's industrial park, particularly the new area which houses Vanguard, in such a way as to prevent them from getting stuck at railway crossings blocked by stopped trains--a consummation that happens in Dade not infrequently.

He asked board members to consider the signs and render any feedback later; but they coughed up opinions on the spot. Member Larry Case said red faded in the sun and George Nelson said the lettering was too small. "When you're coming down the highway, 12-inch letters are not very big," he said. Sharon Moore and attorney Rogers asked whether the company names could be removed or rearranged. "Who gets to be on top?" said Ms. Moore.

Cervelli said the city and county will also be given a chance to review the signs--for one thing, they need to comply with Trenton's sign ordinance--and then the industrial park tenants will also be given a shot.


Attorney Rogers apprised the board of two legal matters: Lake Region needed to dip into bond issue funds this month, requiring board attention; IDA had issued bonds--i.e. guaranteed a loan--for equipment as well as real estate for the company, and Lake Region needed the money right away. Approval was granted.

The other matter was that title to one of its buildings had accidentally been registered to Lake Region. As part of its tax abatement package, IDA assumes ownership of companies' buildings and acts as their landlord so that no property taxes need be paid, deeding the buildings back over when the tax abatement period expires. Now a title company had dropped the ball and recorded the deed to its de facto owner, potentially jeopardizing the company's tax-free status. The board approved taking action to correct the situation.

Cervelli also brought to the board's attention a proposed lease of 10 acres adjacent to

Vanguard to Beltline Energy for solar power generation. Under a Georgia Power solar energy deal, Vanguard would make about $20,000 off its cooperation with Beltline and IDA be paid about $615 per acre a year for the land--not a lot of money, pointed out Cervelli, but IDA has been unable to sell or lease the land for anything else and anyway Georgia Power has been a good partner to local economic development. "It's enlightened self-interest," said Cervelli, because with new industry the energy company could hope to sell a lot more electricity.


​​Cheap lightbulbs!

Actually, said Larry Case, his understanding was that Georgia Power wanted to sell less. "They're afraid they're not going to be able to meet the demand," he said. To, er, shed light on the assertion, Case--patriarch of Case Hardware on South Main--said his store would be participating in a Georgia Power program this season whereby it would sell LED lightbulbs for $1 a pop. That's way below the going price but the long-lasting, energy-efficient bulbs are offered cheaply enough that the store will make a decent profit on them.


​​Case said candelabra lights and higher-wattage LED bulbs would sell for more, perhaps $1.99, but still at a good savings. He said the bulbs should be available sometime soon, perhaps next week.

On the subject of lights, readers may have noticed glowing Christmas trees, snowflakes and reindeer rearing up all over Trenton. The Planet could not resist snapping a few examples of holiday cheer to light up these pages. At right is a Trenton city decoration.


At left is a night view of Gross Furniture on North Main. Below is The Lily Pad/Quilter's Garden, across the street and a little north. The Lily Pad's decor is always a traffic stopper, but now, with its titanic red Santa and mega-illuminated summerhouses, the place is visible


from outer space and may be bringing Trenton tourist biz from Alpha Centauri!

And since we're featuring store windows here, The Planet also cannot resist showing off the accidental dada poetry produced by one local emporium's burned-out letters. Do you, too, try to pronounce the resultant nonsense words as you drive by? D'veth uph macy and a happy New Year to you and yours!


All of this prompts The Planet to remind readers--don't forget this Saturday's Christmas events!


Saturday's Small Business Expo, cosponsored by the Greater Dade Business Owners Association and the Dade Chamber of Commerce, starts at 10 a.m. at Dade High School. It offers local small business owners an outlet to strut their stuff, and local consumers an opportunity to do their Christmas shopping, well, locally! This saves gas and time, boosts the local economy, and allows residents the chance to participate in their community and rub elbows with their neighbors. What's not to like? Plus, as this poster indicates, there are prizes and giveaways!

At 4 p.m., Christmas in the Park begins on the Trenton square. Vendors, refreshments and entertainment will be geared especially toward children and the Dade Public Library will be ​​open in case things get cold. Then the annual Christmas parade will rev up at 6 p.m., going south from the industrial park past the square to Moore Funeral Home. Larry Moore is in fact this year's grand marshal.


Moore is not just the present purveyor of his family business, the funeral home, but the former longtime sole commissioner of Dade County. He says he originally sought the post because, visiting Atlanta, he saw things like parks and ballfields that gave the community a place to go, and he wanted Dade to have places like that, too.

Anyway, Dade historically turns out in force for the Christmas parade and this year should be a good one. Weather is expected to be on the nippy side--highs in the 40s, ​​low in the low 20s--but at least no rain is predicted.


Until next time, this is: The Trenton Runaround!


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