Thurmond will ask commissioners to censure Julie Hughes-Nix


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond will introduce a resolution to censure Commissioner Julie Hughes-Nix for a breach of attorney-client privilege and executive session privilege during Thursday’s voting session.

Thurmond claims Nix sent emails to a county employee despite the fact the emails were marked confidential and attorney-client privileged.

The resolution states: “Despite this specific admonition, such communications were forwarded by Commissioner Nix in violation of the attorney-client privilege when such communications were concerning personnel issues about the very employee to whom she forwarded the communications, this employee was represented by an attorney, and this employee was taking positions adverse to Dawson County’s interests.”

Nix told Fetch Your News Tuesday, “I accept responsibility. I did inadvertently release information from executive session. I apologize to my fellow commissioners and, more importantly, to the citizens of Dawson County. I can promise that will never happen again.”

Censures are mainly symbolic. There is no loss of rights or privileges and therefore, a censure carries no more weight than a written reprimand.

The issue that is expected to draw a large crowd, Thursday is a request by Chamber of Commerce President Christie Moore that commissioners consider reducing impact fees on road projects and fire protection categories to 25 percent.

During last week’s work session, Moore said impact fees are the reason at least one company declined to open a business in Dawson County.

Moore provided the example of one large fitness center that had planned to build a new facility in the community but backed out when it was learned the impact fee would be $51,000.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett challenged assertion.

“What would have been their tap fee,” she questioned. Moore said she didn’t know. Fausett continues, saying, “But you know it would have been a lot more than that right.”

“It certainly would have been,” Moore said and that is another entity we’ve been advocating with.”


Other issues commissioners are also expected to vote on include:

  • A resolution extending the agreement with interim county attorneys Jarrard & Davis;
  • A FY 2019 public defender intergovernmental agreement between Dawson and Hall counties;
  • The FY 2019 state public defender contract;
  • 2019 Charity Boot Drives;
  • Special event business license application for a motorcycle event;
  • Acceptance of a Geographic Information System summer intern grant;
  • A new recycling agreement with Advanced Disposal;
  • A request for Highway 53 / Lumpkin Campground Road Intersection Improvement Project budget;
  • Approval of a legal services agreement to retain Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. as special legal counsel in opioid litigation;
  • A settlement agreement with Hodges-Mace, LLC to resolve a contract claim.


A resolution of censure. Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at



Dawson County surrenders operation of Fire Station 8 to Pickens Co.


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Following the resignation of 12 of 13 volunteer firefighters at Fire Station 8 in the Wildcat Community, Dawson County has relinquished operational control of the station to Pickens County.

Commissioners ratified a new intergovernmental agreement (IGA) at Thursday’s work session that also gives Pickens County responsibility for training and equipping the volunteers and providing workers compensation insurance. Pickens also will continue to provide insurance for the building and contents of the station. Dawson County will transfer title of the fire engine and other contents of the station to Pickens which will insure both the engine and tender. Existing hoses and equipment will remain at the station.

Both counties will continue to utilize the station to provide automatic aid to adjoining areas under the Dawson/Pickens County Automatic Aid Agreement.

Fire Station 8 was constructed in 2009 to provide emergency services to the Wildcat Community, a very remote community, parts of which are in Dawson and Pickens County.

Dawson County attracted strong criticism from residents of the community after a home on Burnt Mountain Road was destroyed by fire late last year. A flaw in the county’s 9-1-1 system failed to notify Fire Station 8, which was the closest one to the fire.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said he and Pickens County Chairman Rob Jones and Dawson County Emergency Services Director Danny Thomas worked together to draft the new agreement and that Thompson is working to modify the Automatic Aid Agreement between the two counties.




Dawson gets first look at Pickens IGA proposal counters with key modifications


Commission Billy Thurmond

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Officials in Dawson and Pickens counties, who have been working to re-write a 10-year old intergovernmental agreement (IGA) in an effort to get Fire Station No. 8 in the Wildcat Community operating again, exchanged first drafts Wednesday.

The station was effectively closed earlier this month when the 13 firefighters – all volunteers – refused an order by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson to participate in training to help them gain state certification and turned in their resignations.

The area served by Station No. 8 is located in both counties and the two governments entered into an IGA in 2008 to facilitate purchase of the land, construction of the building, and provide for management and training. Since the mass resignation, Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond and Pickens County Chairman Rob Jones have been working to re-negotiate the IGA.

“The meetings went very well,” Thurmond said Wednesday. “We both realize the main goal is to protect the community. To do that, we need an agreement in place that everyone can get along with.”

Dawson County received Pickens’ first draft of a new IGA Wednesday and, while there are still many issues to be negotiated, one issue that appears to be agreeable to each side is that Pickens County will assume operational control of the station.

After reviewing the draft, Thurmond said, “This is a work in progress. There probably will be more changes.” Late Wednesday, he discussed Pickens’ draft with Thompson and there were several additional areas of agreement that included, but are not limited to:

  • Pickens will maintain the fire station;
  • Pickens County shall provide insurance for the building and its contents;
  • Pickens County shall assume operation of the fire station and operate it as a substation of Pickens County Emergency Services;
  • Dawson County shall transfer title of Engine 8 and Pickens County will insure it;
  • Dawson County shall maintain the title of the existing tanker truck and insure and maintain it;
  • Pickens County shall obtain the necessary Compliance Certification for the fire station from the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council.

There are also a number of areas where Dawson County wants modifications to the Pickens proposal. They include, but are not limited to, how the counties will respond to situations where automatic aid is provided, who will provide radio equipment for the station, who will provide insurance and drivers for the tanker.

While Pickens County agrees to provide training, equipment and workers compensation insurance for volunteer firefighters, Dawson County wants Pickens to also provide cancer insurance for them just as it does now.

Where the Pickens proposal states that it will provide administrative support and leadership, Dawson wants it clearly spelled out that “All personnel will operate as to their level of certification as outlined by the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council. The newest edition of this manual shall be in effect and the Jurisdiction having Authority shall have operational control at all emergency incidents.”

Once the two sides agree on a draft, it must be submitted to the Boards of Commissioners in both counties for final approval.



Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at




Commissioners will direct attention to comp plan during Thursday’s voting session


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – After months gathering public input at citizen meetings and an online survey, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners could adopt one of the county’s most important documents at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting – the 2018 comprehensive plan.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has approved the plan which is a guideline elected officials use to plan how the county will look in the future. Counties are required to update the plan every five years in order to be eligible to receive state grants.

But Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond indicated during last week’s session he would like to hold one more public hearing to give citizens one last chance to provide input.

Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley and Adam Hazell, director of planning for the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, presented the plan at that meeting and surprised commissioners by introducing something called a character map.

In the past, the Board has utilized a future land use plan that directs how each parcel of land is to be zoned. As long as developers asked for rezoning that adhered to the future land use plan, the request was usually approved.

But Kinley and Hazell said commissioners could elect to use a character map in place of the future and use map. The character map offers additional flexibility in that commissioners could look at zoning on a neighborhood scale as opposed to individual parcels.

“If someone were to come before the county looking for a rezoning now, they would almost essentially have to fit exactly what it is on (the future land use map) versus having some options that might be available to them under the character area map,” Hazell said

Even if the Board did opt for additional public hearing, it could approve the plan Thursday and still hold the public meeting later since the plan can be revisited.

In other agenda items the Board is expected to vote on:

  • Rescinding its objection to an annexation request the city council approved on Dec. 3;
  • A contractor for work on the Lumpkin Campground Road and Hwy. 53 intersection;
  • A rezoning request for a three-home subdivision;
  • Grant applications and reappoint of members of the planning commission.


Hamby, Headley honored for outstanding achievement during Thursday work session


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners had a busy work session agenda Thursday, but took time out to honor two individuals for very special accomplishments – County Manager David Headley and District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby.

Hamby will be retiring from the Board at the end of the month following eight years in office. The Board presented him a plaque in honor of his dedicated service to Dawson County and held a reception for him following the meeting.

County Manager David Headley was named as the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Appointed Official of the Year recently. The region covers 13 counties and 51 municipalities. “We’re proud of David and his recognition as Official of the Year,” said Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond.

Public Works Director David McKee addressed the Board on several issues. The first was a course aggregate contract bid submitted by Vulcan Materials in the amount of $161,664. The current contract has expired and all renewal year options have been exhausted. The department has a full-time paving crew on staff to perform the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant work and several miles of other road work and parking lot repairs.

The current contract to purchase hot asphaltic mix has also exhausted all renewal years and Mckee asked the Board to accept contracts with Baldwin Paving, Blunt Construction and CW Matthews Contracting to provide the product. Each company offered the low bids on the various items required.

Mckee brought another long-standing issue of the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and SR 53 before the Board. He pointed out the county has partnered with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to install a right-hand turn lane along the Lumpkin Campground mainline. SR 53 traffic will not be changed. Upon completion, GDOT will adjust all traffic signals. The project qualifies for SPLOST VI funds, Impact Fee funds or General Fund.

Commissioners also discussed a highway beautification project. The county has been looking for ways to landscape areas along the GA 400 Corridor that are within the GDOT right-of-way for 10 years. The project requires special encroachment permits, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the long-term maintenance of this corridor. In September, the project was bid and two bids were received with a total bid cost was $116,246.85, which is $69,556.85 over the total grant amount. The project is not SPLOST VI eligible, and additional funding will have to come from another source such as the general fund. McKee asked the Board for direction on the project.

GEBCorp Regional Client Manager Ryan Reynolds presented commissioners with options for a county employee retirement plan

Planning & Development Director Jameson Kinley presented a review of the 2018 comprehensive plan.

The purpose of the plan to provide guidance for everyday decision making by local government officials and other community leaders. It represents the efforts of the government, the residents and various stakeholders by identifying the critical issues and goals for the communy. The plan has been approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The Board can amend the plan at any time.

Commissioners unanimously approved a request by Kinley to add a summer intern to work on Geographic Information System issues within Planning and Development. The position is fully funded by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson asked for Board approval to apply for the annual Georgia Forestry Commission 50/50 grant program. The maximum allowed on this grant is $10,000.00. Thompson said the grant is needed to purchase replacement fire hoses, nozzles and scene lights. This grant will not be awarded until spring of 2019.

Commissioners unanimously approved Thompson’s request to apply for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Injury Prevention Program. The program is designed to provide funding to public safety agencies in Georgia. DPH provides Dawson Fire/EMS with six convertible and four high-back booster child safety seats monthly to issue to citizens. The grant requires no county match.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett asked the Board to approve the annual contract with Deanna Specialty Transportation, Inc. to provide specialty transportation within the county. The company reimburses the county for senior client rides.

Commissioners also discussed the following board appointments/reappointments:  Tax Assessor Board, Jim Perdue; Department of Family and Children Services Board, Nancy Stites replacing Vickie Porter; Planning Commission John Dooley Chairman, Jason Hamby, John Maloney, Tim Bennett and Neil Hornsey.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at



Chairman Jones optimistic after meeting with Dawson County Chairman

News, Press Release

JASPER, Ga. – A press release from Pickens County could indicate a positive movement on the recent troubles and issues of Dawson County Fire Station 8.

Pickens County Commission Chairman Robert Jones and Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond met on Wednesday the 12th to discuss the recent discrepancies involving Fire Station 8 located off Monument Road. The meeting was productive in making clear the desires and expectations of both counties. The Chairmen agreed the most crucial aspect is to provide adequate fire protection for both counties’ citizens. The two men representing their respected Boards tentatively agreed to work together to solve these discrepancies and guarantee proper service to this area. The Chairmen also tentatively agreed to begin renegotiating a new Intergovernmental Agreement that will reflect the desires of both government agencies as well as the citizens in the affected community. Chairman Jones believes the meeting was in good faith from both sides and is appreciative for Chairman Thurmond’s willingness to build constructively on the partnership between both counties. Chairman Jones is optimistic in the direction this situation has taken and believes the result will be beneficial to all involved.


Blacks Mill Road bridge replacement, road repairs on agenda for Thursday county commission meeting


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will meet in a voting session Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room with infrastructure improvements among the key issues to be considered.

In 2017, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) ordered that Blacks Mill Road bridge be closed due to unsafe conditions. In February, county officials approved an IFB. Director of Public Works David McKee will ask commissioners to award a $375,000 contract to Georgia Bridge and Concrete and approve $233,700 in SPLOST VI Road and Bridge funds for the project. GDOT has approved $175,000 in state funds. $33,700 has already been spent on design and specifications.

Commissioners will also direct their attention to road repairs. Georgia’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) is a program that awards counties money from the State Motor Fuel Tax collections for road projects. The program requires a 30 percent county match. This year the amount allotted to Dawson County is $414,931.34. With Dawson County’s 30 percent match of $124,479.34, the total budget for 2019 LMIG (projects) is $539,410.47.

Roads on the proposed list include, but are not limited to, Amicalola Drive, American Way, Easy Street and Hightower Parkway.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also requesting commissioners award a contract to Everlast Construction Group, LLC. For exterior renovations at the Veterans Memorial Park gymnasium in the total amount of $235,140. In February, commissioners agreed that $250,000 could be applied from SPLOST VI funds.

Commissioners will also be asked to accept the bid of Patrol Outfitters to upfit two 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit SUVs in the amount of $23,312.10 for the Sheriff’s Office.

One zoning request is on Thursday’s agenda. Donald and Deborah Dearwent have made a request to rezone property at 3264 Hwy. 9 from Residential Sub-Rural (RSR) to Residential Agricultural / Residential Exurban (RA). The property is currently for sale and the owners would like to allow for prospective buyers to be able to use it for a bed and breakfast.

Chairman Billy Thurmond will read a proclamation declaring Nov. 15 as Hunter Adams Day.

Adams is a Dawson County High School graduate and a competitor in regional, state and national bull riding competition.

He was ranked in the Top 10 in the 2017 Junior National Bull Riders Association County Parks and is a qualifier in the 2018 Junior National Finals Rodeo. Adams has also served the community as a volunteer to work in the Dawson County Parks and Recreation’s Special Olympics ShinE Metric.



Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at






Commissioners reappoint Headley county manager


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – David Headley was hired as Dawson County Manager two years ago. Thursday, the Board of Commissioners showed their appreciation for the way he has managed the day-to-day operation of the county by unanimously reappointing him for another year.

Dawson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “David has done a good job. He’s shown good leadership skills and he has the staff working together and going in the right direction. We’re proud of the way he has taken care of the county’s business.”

As county manager, Headley supervises nine department directors and more than 200 county employees, implements board policies and assists the chairman with annual budget preparations.

“If you were to ask me what our biggest accomplishments were in the last two years, or what I’m most proud of, it would be the people we have hired,” Headley said.

He has demonstrated the ability to identify highly-experienced, highly-qualified individuals to serve citizens.

When Lanier Swafford resigned as Public Safety Director, Headley hired Danny Thompson, a veteran firefighter with 29 years fire and emergency services experience along with 26 years’ experience as a paramedic.

Thompson also is a Certified Emergency Manager who has commanded in high rise fire situations and received the 300 Club of Atlanta award for life-saving efforts while serving with the Sandy Springs Fire Department.

He also hired Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley who has a number of unique qualifications, including a specialized background in Geographic Information Science.

Kinley has worked closely with the planning department the last two years and has the ability to take Dawson County to the next level with technology. Headley said Kinley will use his GIS skills to analyze data and help give the Board of Commissioners and committees more updated and accurate information so that better decisions can be made for the citizens.

Headley also hired Matt Payne, who has nearly a quarter century of experience in parks and recreation operations, to be Dawson County’s Parks and Recreation Director.

From 1995 until 1999, he served as athletic director for the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department. After that, he worked as athletic director for the City of Cumming, where he was responsible for all aspects of athletic programming and maintenance and operations of the city swimming pool.

“There is an old quote that says, if you want to run fast you run alone. But if you want to run far you run together,” Headley said. “Our employees are running together and that should make the citizens feel good about the way things are being run.”

From an operational standpoint, Headley said, “The county has made big strides as far as how open the budget process has become. In the past, when department heads presented their annual budget requests, they made them to the chairman and county manager. But for the past two years, all commissioners and citizens have been welcome to attend.

“In the past, that has been pretty much a closed-door process,” he said. “Commissioners have not been involved in it. The chairman met with the department heads and he determined what needed to go forward. He presented the budget and they voted on it. But, we have opened the door to communications we never had before.”

Headley has 28 years of county government experience with 16 of those years in county government management. Most recently, he served as the Dawsonville City Manager.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife, Sandy, and their two daughters reside in Cumming.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at








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