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Hall government academy will start this spring
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Hall County is rolling out its first "Government Academy" this spring.

Residents can learn about how government is run in classes taking place 6-9 p.m. Mondays from April 9-May 21.

"This is a great way to develop a partnership with our residents, educate the public about our services and procedures, encourage residents to be active in their local government and foster an atmosphere for questions and discussions," said Nikki Young, Hall County spokeswoman.

The program's cost to the county is $2,000.

"I don't think it will cost that much," Young said. "The catering for the opening and graduation night dinners is the main cost for the program, and I'm hoping to get that sponsored by a local restaurant."

In other business, the commission:

• Voted to approve a resolution that would allow the county to tap into a 75-cent charge Georgia places on users of prepaid wireless phones.

The county could begin to share in what Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix has said is $20 million of the state's revenues from the prepaid wireless tax in 2012. The result could be $400,000, which would go to the county's 911 center.

• Directed staff to find out the cost of a Nov. 8 special election to fill the state House seat being vacated by James Mills, who is leaving the Georgia General Assembly in October for a job on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Commissioner Craig Lutz also asked staff to find out whether the state will help pay for it.

• Heard from Commissioner Ashley Bell, who recently returned from a trip to Israel.

He left Sept. 5 for a 10-day trip funded entirely through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and featuring meetings with Israeli leaders and members of the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians plan to seek statehood recognition from the U.N. Security Council today.

"To a lot of people that makes sense, but the reality is that unless ... the Israelis and Palestinians are talking together, then there can be no solution," Bell said. "So I ask ... that we pray for Israel, because (today) is a critical day."

— Jeff Gill