By Kay S. PedrottiA relatively small corner of eastern Lamar County, once known as ‘Baggerley,’ is cut off from the rest of the county by I-75 and bracketed on the other side by High Falls Lake, residents told the Lamar board of commissioners last week.’We’ve been left behind for 21 years,’ said property owner Fern Gentis. ‘We just want to know that we won’t be left behind forever.’The area comprises about 20 homes, but only parts of 12 properties right next to the lake are considered in a 100-year flood plain, said field appraiser Chad Littlejohn with the Lamar tax assessor’s office. The residents there have Jackson addresses but pay an annual average of $500 for each parcel to Lamar County, Littlejohn said.’The values of the property are in the lakefront land,’ said Littlejohn.’We pay county taxes but we don’t get county services,’ Gentis continued. The only access road involves driving across a creek feeding into the lake, she added.’It’s bad enough when it’s dry,’ she continued. ‘When it’s flooded, we just can’t get home. Many were isolated in the flood of 1994 because the only way out was to walk the woods to I-75, and then where would you go? We need all kinds of support from the county ‘“ sheriff’s patrol, animal control and most of all a solution to the creek problem. Emergency services would not always be able to get across the creek to us.’She praised their commissioner, Robert Heiney, who has visited the area and talked to the residents.’There are no quick solutions,’ said Heiney at the meeting. ‘I threw out some ideas with the residents, just as thoughts, but we need time to work on this.’He said a way to pay for an engineering study is one thing to consider, which would be needed in order to fix a creek crossing without damaging the lake environment.’We need more strategy and planning, but I assure you this is at the top of the list I think about every day. Please be patient with us,’ Heiney added.One resident nodded and said she had lived there for 15 years: ‘I’m patient.’Heiney said more information would be gathered and he would continue to work with the residents.
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