SPLOST, LOST Collection Exceed Projection

News

County Manager David Headley

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – County Manager David Headley delivered some welcome news during the Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session Thursday. The county has made great gains in collection of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). Both have performed above expectations.

Bearden said revenue from both is up 17.6 percent over the same month in 2016 and 12.58 percent for the year. Last month’s collection came in 26.2 percent over projection.

Total SPLOST VI collection for the year is $16,281,296. September SPLOST collection was $682,219 while LOST collection was $600,343.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond has stressed the importance of reaching SPLOST and LOST collections during his first year in office. “If we keep on the current pace, we might reach the projected amount of sales tax we put into the 2017 budget,” he said. “That will be the first time that has happened in the last several years. In fact, I’m glad to hear we might actually beat the projections.”

Public Works Director David McKee requested Board approval to apply for the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) from the state Motor Fuel Tax collections. The grant requires a match of 30 percent. This year the amount allotted to Dawson County is $413,739.21. Dawson County’s 30 percent match would total $124,121.76. Total budget for 2018 LMIG projects is $537,860.97.

Sr. Services Director Dawn Pruett

The funds will be utilized to repair the following roads: A.T. Moore, Mt. Vernon, Pelican Court, Biscayne Dr., Keys Court, Sandcastle Ct., Bay Drive, Harbour Drive and Seabreeze Way.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett will present a continuous grant application for the Board’s approval. The grant is with the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) to provide public transportation for Dawson County citizens.

If approved, the grant will continue to pay a 50 percent match with federal funding for administrative and operating budget.

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Author

Sheriff Prepared to Sue County Over 2018 Budget

News

Sheriff Jeff Johnson

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — First-year Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson wants a bigger slice of the 2018 county budget than commissioners approved last month and he is prepared to take them to court to get it.

Johnson’s attorney Joseph Homans sent County Attorney Lynn Frey an email requesting additional legal fees for the sheriff regarding the petition for mandamus he intends to file in Superior Court should the county not approve the budget submitted by the sheriff in July.

According to the petition, that request was for $8,961,406. In September county commissioners approved a budget of $8,273,080.

The petition states, “The budget approved by Respondents constitutes abuse of discretion as Respondents failed to fulfill their duty to adopt a budget making reasonable and adequate provisions for personnel and equipment necessary to enable the Sheriff to perform his duties.”

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond

As of Tuesday (Oct. 24), Homans said he had nothad a response from the county.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “We are looking at it with our attorney right now. We will discuss it in executive session on Thursday and I will be able to say more about it then.”

The sheriff’s budgeting process is unlike any in state government. Commissioners control the budget, but sheriffs are constitutional officers, elected by the citizens. Their budgets cannot be cut unless the sheriff agrees.

Commissioners contend the budget they approved reflects an increase over the 2017 budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Commissioners Approve FY 2018 Budget

News

Chairman Billy Thurmond

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners approved a FY 2018 budget of $25,516,312, an increase of 4.98 percent over last year’s budget during Thursday’s meeting.

Chairman Billy Thurmond made it clear from the start of the budget process that one of his goals would be to set a realistic budget that did not overestimate the amount of revenue the county would receive.

Commissioners faced several hurdles in balancing the budget. A wage and salary study last summer indicated that county employees were underpaid. To rectify that situation, commissioners approved a salary increase that totaled about $1.08 million. The amount the county pays for employee healthcare also rose by approximately 18 percent.

To help balance the budget and to maintain the 8.138 millage rate, commissioners reduced the fund balance (reserves) by $1.4 million.

The new budget includes $7.3 million for the Sheriff’s Office, an increase of about $500,000 over last year, but stops short of the $8.1 million Sheriff Jeff Johnson requested. During several meetings with commissioners, Johnson said $7.3 million is not enough to allow him to fulfill the duties of his office.

The dispute does not necessarily end with the adoption of the budget. Sheriffs are constitutional officers, elected by the citizens. If push comes to shove, the sheriff can take his appeal through the court system.

Asked today if he and his attorney, Joey Homans, plan to exercise that option, Johnson said, “We have some evaluation to do.  We will probably decide by the end of next week.”

 

 

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Author

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle Visits Dawsonville

News

From left Sen. Steve Gooch, Bill Elliott and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former NASCAR great Bill Elliott — better known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville —  and a large contingent of community leaders welcomed Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to Dawsonville Wednesday morning.  Cagle is in the midst of a 17-stop bus tour of north Georgia to promote his campaign for governor.

You have to wonder if Elliott gave the Hall County Republican some inside tips on how to make a quick pit stop because after spending a little quality time with Dawson County community leaders and a quick stump speech, Cagle sped off to Pickens, Gilmer, Gordon, and Whitfield counties.

Before getting back on the road, Cagle visited with Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, Commissioners Jimmy Hamby and Chris Gaines, Mayor James Grogan, County Manager David Headley, Sherriff Jeff Johnson and Chamber President Christie Hayes.

Former Commission Chairman Mike Berg introduced the lieutenant governor who didn’t need much of an introduction since he once represented the county as State Senator and has been lieutenant governor for eight years.

Cagle’s said he would focus on transportation, jobs, education and providing broadband to rural areas of Georgia

Cagle said, Georgia needs a transportation plan to accommodate a population growth of about 4.5 million people in the next 15 years.

“We have to get busy with a two-year strategic plan built around transportation that is able to go under, go over, go around, whatever is required to prepared ourselves for the kind of growth that is coming.”

On jobs, Cagle said he wants to build a world-class workforce second to none. “As I woke up this morning there were 150,000 jobs available today and out of that 150,000, 25 percent need four-year degrees but 75 percent need industry certification or a two-year degree. So, I want to make sure we are aligning education with what industry needs.”

On education he said, “The college and career education network I created reshapes the way we deliver education, giving our kids more options.”

Cagle also repeated his pledge of 500,000 new jobs during his first term in office and $100 million in tax cuts in the first 100 days.

Cagle said he understands how important broadband access is to education and to attracting business to Georgia and he fired a salvo over the heads of broadband internet providers.

“We’re going to have best in class as it pertains to rural broadband,” he said. “I’m going to set a standard that I expect every single provider in this state to reach. I know we have a problem with last mile so we’ll be looking at technology that will allow us to provide that. But I’m not going to accept any excuses. The providers are going to get in gear to make this a reality or we’re going to find someone that can. It’s just that simple.

Asked if the state school board members should be elected or appointed, he said, “Many people believe that the superintendent should be appointed almost like a cabinet position. I don’t believe that having an elected state school board is going to fundamentally improve education.”

On what has been a highly controversial religious freedom bill, Cagle said, “I and the other candidates have signed a pledge that if there is a federal mirror Xerox copy of what is already federal law that comes to my desk, I will sign it. There are a lot of social issues out there that are very divisive. As a born-again Christian, with a strong belief in religious freedom, I don’t want anyone trampling on that. As governor, I am also not for discrimination. So we’re not using this in a way that will cloak ourselves in a way that allows us to discriminate. So, these are balancing acts. We’ll do it in a way that doesn’t cost us business.”

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Author

County Set to Begin Property Revaluation Process

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County is about to undertake a massive property revaluation and equalization project that could take up to two years and cost more than half a million dollars. County commissioners will discuss the project during Thursday’s work session which begins at 4 p.m.

Equalization is the process of bringing about conformity to a common standard so the property of one shall not be assessed at a higher or lower percentage of its fair market value than the property of another. Some 15,000 parcels, 12,000 residential homes 1,800 commercial/industrial properties and 200 pre-bill mobile homes will be included in the project.

This will be the first time the county has contracted the work. Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions and Services (GMASS), the only company to bid on the project, submitted a bid of $588,300.

Chairman Billy Thurmond will ask the Board to consider approval of a professional services agreement with Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) in the amount of $1,000 to prepare and submit a Community Development Block Grant regarding Senior Center Expansion. If approved, funding would come from the Grant Fund Contingency for potential grants.

Finance Director Nancy Neikirk will ask the Board to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $869,006, most of which is related to the reimbursement the county received for the 2015 winter storm clean up ($652,994). Approximately $36,000 is related to the 2016 compensation increase approved after the 2016 budget was adopted. About $48,364 is for Risk Management’s Special One-time Return for Safety. The remainder is attributed to donations received in 2016 as well as carryover of donations from the prior year.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • Presentation of Fire House Subs and Chick-fil-A Dawsonville Fund Raising Opportunities to Support Dawson County Emergency Services;
  • Presentation of a request to surplus three fire apparatuses;
  • Presentation of Scrap Tire Storage and Disposal Draft Ordinance;
  • Presentation of Dawson County Rotary Club request to contribute handicapped accessible playground equipment for the playground at Rock Creek Park;
  • Presentation of FY2017 Legacy Link addendum;
  • Presentation of FY2018 Legacy Link contract;
  • Presentation of a revised travel policy;
  • Re-appointment of Susan Roof to the Library Board.

Commissioners do not vote on agenda items during a work session. The purpose of a work session is to discuss items that may be voted on at the next regular meeting.

Author

Commission Will Have to Amend 2017 Budget to Implement Employee Pay Raise

News

Vickie_NeikirkDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Chief Financial Officer Vickie Neikirk told the Board of Commissioners during Thursday’s work session that implementation of the salary study approved earlier this month would require an increase in the 2017 budget of $374,441.

The salary study calls for a 2% cost of living allowance (COLA) for all employees, placement into range with a moderate progression and a payroll effective date of April 8, 2017.

Fleet Services Director Shannon Harben recommended the Board amend the current Take Home and Vehicle Policy to eliminate future verbal agreements or special conditions. Those verbal agreements currently in effect would still be honored.

Harben also requested Board approval to dispose of surplus items to be sold with the proceeds to be put in a vehicle replacement fund per current policy.
Public Works Director David McKee presented commissioners with a request to issue a purchase order to Bobcat of Atlanta for a Bobcat Excevator in the amount of $64,876.48 through a cooperative agreement with National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA).

Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford asked the Board to approve a contract with Lux Mitigation and Planning Corp., the most responsibe, responsible bidder, in the amount if $18,000 for preparation of the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond read a presentation declaring April as LifeLink National Donate Life Month.

The Board is considering the appointment of the following to the Long Range Planning Committee: Gary Pichon (Chairman), Ronnie Adkins, Teri Tragresser, Jane Graves, Hugh Stowers, Jo Brewer, Tim Costley, Mandy Power and Dick Scharf.

Work sessions are held every two weeks for the purpose of allowing commissioners to discuss and debate issues that can be voted on during the regular sessions which are also held every two weeks.

Author

Commissioners to Discuss Drug Treatment Services Grant at Thursday Work Session

News

david-mckeeDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will consider a request to allow Drug Treatment Services to apply for a state grant in the amount of $279,514 when they meet in a work session Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room.

Treatment Services Director Debbie Mott says in fiscal year 2018, the county plans to bring HELP Program under Treatment Court as a mental health court track and would like to make one application for state funding. A match of $31,057 would be required from county funds.

The enhanced funding would be used to continue three counselor positions, to attend the state conference, to employ surveillance officers for home visits and drug screen collection, drug testing and supplies, and a desktop and iPad.

Public Works Director David McKee will ask the Board for a letter of support addressed to the Georgia Department of Transportation to install access controls at the intersections of Kilough Church road and SR 400, and the west side of the intersection of the North Georgia Premium Outlets and Home Depot/Walmart intersection. All improvements will be made within the existing Right of Way, and the work will be completed and fully funded by GDOT or their contractors.

GDOT has a grant available for counties to fund unforeseen emergencies. Last winter’s storm damaged a wing wall off Dawson Forest Road and along Blacks Mill Creek that could qualify for the funding. McKee will ask Board Chairman Billy Thurmond to send a letter to GDOT, requesting the funding. County Staff has acquired engineering quotes and prepared cost estimates for design and construction. The total estimated cost is $180,000.

McKee also will ask the Board for authorization to purchase a side arm mower and utility tractor mower utilizing a state contract to replace two Kubota tractors and a John Deer side arm mower. Total cost for the equipment is $210,000 and, if approved, will be purchased with SPLOST VI proceeds.

County Attorney Lynn Frey will ask the Board to consider renewal of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Dawsonville authorizing the county to organize and implement all municipal elections. The IGA is drafted and adopted each odd year and any even year when a special election is called.

Author

Commissioners Table Comp Plan for Two Weeks

News
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Commissioners decided they need more time to study the classification and compensation plan proposed by the Archer Company. The issue was tabled until the next regular meeting on March 2.
More than 400 county employees have left for greener pastures in the last six years, costing taxpayers nearly $1.5 million to hire and train their replacements. The study compared Dawson County pay scale to Forsyth, Hall, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Pickens counties and the cities of Gainesville, Canton and Cumming. King said the county’s 100 percent turnover rate is “unheard of.”
The board must still consider several options, including a 2 percent, across-the-board pay raise to all employees, bringing everyone up to the average minimum, bringing everyone up to time in service and class or adopt all or any part of the plan.
Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said on Monday, “The plan would bring stability to the workforce, increase productivity and be more cost-efficient for taxpayers. He also said he understood the reason the issue was tabled. “Commissioners decided they needed more time to study it and I can understand that.”
The Board also tabled a proposal by Paladin Company. The Royston-based company had proposed paying the county $100 per month to place two antennas atop the Courthouse Building to enable it to provide wireless internet to approximately 400 homes in the county.
Commissioners voted 3-0 with Commissioner Julie Nix abstaining to deny a rezoning request to allow a package store to be built at Harmony Church Road.
Everything else on the agenda was approved unanimously.

Author

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top