Habersham School Buses Will Become Covered With Stop Arm Cameras


Under a plan announced Tuesday, all Habersham County school bus routes soon will be covered by stop arm cameras to record drivers who disobey the buses’ stop signs.

Currently, only about 10 percent of the buses in the fleet have stop arm cameras, and three of those are inoperable.

0:20 {WALKER: “This new program would actually cover every route bus, and we run generally about 100 to 110 daily, so that means every kid is protected. And it also brings in brand new and upgraded internal cameras that we already carry inside those school buses.”}

That’s Habersham County Schools Transportation Coordinator Stephanie Walker.

Walker says the system price replacing the interior bus cameras for the fleet and found that cost alone would be $250,000 to $280,000. COVID delayed that purchase, meaning the county stands to save a substantial expense upon contracting with BusPatrol after termination of the contract with the current camera provider at the end of 90 days.

The board took no official action in Tuesday’s work session, but overwhelmingly expressed its support of the enhanced safety that will be afforded by changing to the new provider.

It’s a first-of-its-kind agreement, but the City of Baldwin now has inked a deal with Cornelia Fire Department for automatic aid on confirmed structure fires.

Baldwin Fire Chief Joe Roy says for years Cornelia leaders have been reluctant to sign such an agreement, but the continued discussions have resulted in a document that is acceptable to both cities.

0:18 {ROY: “The automatic aid agreement that we have just agreed to do with the City of Cornelia is a great benefit to both cities. It’s something that we have tried to work toward several times in the past and just couldn’t come to the right agreements. It has finally passed.”}

But what does that mean to homeowners and those with businesses? In a nutshell, Cornelia would automatically send a fire engine and personnel to Baldwin on any confirmed structure fire. Likewise, Baldwin would do the same for Cornelia.

Already, Baldwin has automatic aid agreements with Banks County and Habersham County.

Baldwin Mayor Joe Elam says he believes the agreement with Cornelia will save property and lives.

There’s a new fire chief in Demorest - albeit temporarily. 

The unanimous vote to appoint Johnathan Knight as interim chief last night night came during a brief called meeting for that purpose.

Knight has a long history in fire service in his native Habersham County, including several years at Clarkesville Fire Department before joining Demorest.

And, the Habersham County Commission will hold a called meeting at noon today at the Habersham County Administration Building for the sole posted purpose of entering closed session to discuss personnel. Speculation centers around the possibility it could be about naming a replacement for outgoing county manager Phil Sutton. 

The Administration Building is located at 130 Jacob’s Way, Clarkesville.

The public portions of the meeting will be live-streamed on www.habershamga.com.