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Matthews visits English race course

County commission chairman Jay Matthews visited an ‘agritourism day’ at the English Farm racecourse known by the Spanish name for a century-old farm. He said another event is planned for May 19, with reported racehorse training going on. The track does not yet have a business license and the first reading of the county agritourism code it would fall under is set for Lamar County’s May 21 meeting. The second reading will be held in June. Matthews stressed it would not be only for the English track, which would be the fourth or fifth such facility in Georgia if it is approved. ’It is a good venue to base a decision on. I saw it for myself. I had a good experience,’ said Matthews at a May 7 workshop. ‘There were people there drinking beer but he (Brutz English) wasn’t selling it. He does not have a ‘pot of money’ for the race winner. Matthews added that when he asked English to cut down the speakers so people could talk, he did so immediately. ’I couldn’t understand a word that was being announced anyway,’ said Matthews. ‘It was all in Spanish.’ While the public address system was simply loudspeakers on the backs of trucks, the facility has restrooms with running water and a restaurant, he said. ’There were a lot of children there,’ he said. ‘I’d take mine based on what I saw Sunday.’ Commissioner Charles Glass said he sent a copy of the county’s proposed code to County Extension Agent Wes Smith, who sent it on to the Department of Agriculture. ’Wes didn’t have any big concerns with it,’ said Glass. The Department of Agriculture is in charge of making sure horses brought together for public entertainment of any sort ‘“ including parades and rodeos ‘“ must have negative Coggins test documents. ’My vet says she’s seen more Coggins cases here because of the wet weather and mosquitos,’ said Matthews. ‘They’re doing vaccinations semiannually now. I keep my documents in the truck. It’s the horse owner’s responsibility to have them. The horses out there looked fine. People have invested a lot of money in them.’ The county also: ’¢ Proclaimed May 7 American Nursing Association Day. ’¢ Discussed closing down Cottage Road, which is in disrepair, on request of five homeowners in the area. The land would revert to their ownership. ’¢ Heard county officials are in talks with the board of education about widening Victory Lane, which handles school and sports traffic. ’¢ Discussed a seminar on federal sequestration laws and how it will impact counties during the Association County Commissioners of Georgia convention. Federal budget cuts are expected to have a trickle-down effect, cutting local funding. Sales taxes are down, mainly due to changes in the way car taxes are now figured, a decrease of manufacturing energy cost taxes to zero over the next four years and the farm GATE sales tax exemption. ’¢ Heard Lamar is eligible for a Black Caucus grant for government training scholarships. They are to be coordinated with the school system. Also, campaign financial disclosures will go back to local submissions in 2014 due to problems with the online state submission system.

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