October 16, 2019–10:09 a.m.
On Tuesday, the Bartow County Health Department informed Budgetel Inn on Carson Loop near Cartersville that they were being shut down and that its tenants were being given 24 hours to vacate the premises.
WBHF Radio in Cartersville spoke to Budgetel General Manager Tisha Prater about the shutdown.
“Code enforcement and the health department came through and did an inspection and unfortunately they found cooking appliances in the rooms and too many belongings,” she said. “But people live here, they have babies and they have to have their stuff. And then some rooms have roaches and flies, but if the people leave their doors open there are going to be flies. There’s nothing we can do about it. So, they suspended our permit and gave everybody 24 hours to get out.”
Budgetel is an extended stay hotel and many of the tenants are low income, like Robert Overstreet.
“I’m living on a limited income,” he said. “I’m a 29-year Army vet, I’m 74-years old and I’m handicapped,” he said. “I’ve been here for almost seven months. I’ve been on waiting lists at different apartments and it’s almost impossible to find a place for me to go that is within my budget.”
Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said the issues with the hotel go back as far as a year when the drug task force did a sweep.
“They were made aware through the sting operation of some of the conditions that some of the folks were living in at the hotel,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is, there were several children living in this hotel. We cannot tolerate that as a community and a society that cares about kids. Something had to be done so the health department was really active in trying to correct the situation. I think they have given the ownership plenty of opportunities to correct their actions, and it just didn’t happen.”
Taylor added that people in the community including faith-based organizations, the Bartow County School System, and the Bartow County Division of Family and Children Services were trying to prioritize assisting families with children first.