Commissioners want more information on the replacement or relocation of water tank

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson and Pickens county officials have been looking for ways to improve the efficiency of Fire Station 8 in the Wildcat community.

The station is located in an extremely remote and mountainous section of Dawson County near the Pickens County line. It has been operated as a joint venture between the two counties. The initial memorandum of understanding (MOU) called for Pickens to pay the cost to build the station and Dawson to provide the equipment and train personnel.

There are no fire hydrants in the community. The closest is approximately six miles away at Fausett’s Lake. When a firefighters arrive at the scene of a fire, they fight the fire and if more water is needed, they have to drive back to Fausett’s Lake to refill then return.

Commissioners have discussed relocating the old water tank which is approximately 14 miles away to a location near the fire station.

But, Dawson County Fire Chief/EMA Director Danny Thompson appeared before the Board of Commissioners work session Thursday to say that no vendor had been located who would provide a price quote for relocation. Thompson pointed out that even if a vendor could eventually be found, the operation would be costly and there is no guarantee of structural integrity once the tank was on the ground.

So the discussion turned from relocation to replacement. Thompson said a reasonable estimate to purchase a new 20,000-gallon water tank and have it installed would be approximately $35,360.

He added that Pickens County had already spent $10,000 to construct a concrete pad for the tower.

Chairman Billy Thurmond called for more discussion between the two counties on how the cost would be split.

“If you’re asking this Board to fund $35,000 for a water tank that is a joint venture, I don’t know what the Board thinks, but I think there should be more play from Pickens County before we consider spending taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Commissioner Julie Nix said, “The question is how much is all this going to cost and then we should split the cost.”

In other business before the Board:

  • There was a presentation of a request for funds to renovate the Chamber of Commerce office for Economic Development;
  • Planning Director Jason Streetman presented a proposed site plan for Dawsonville Self-Storage facility;
  • Streetman also presented a request to adopt an update to the Capital Improvements Element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioners do not vote during work sessions but the items discussed are placed on the agenda for the next voting session.

 

 

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GDOT officials answer questions about roundabout planned for Dawson Forest Rd. and State Route 9

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Those who attended the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) public information session at Riverview Elementary School Tuesday came away with a better understanding of the purpose of the proposed double roundabouts at the intersection of State Route 9 and Dawson Forest Road.

GDOT officials were on hand to answer questions and listen to suggestions. They also handed out packets that contained a comment card so additional comments could submitted.

Those who could not attend the meeting can still provide comments online until May 30 at www.dot.ga.gov/PS/Public/PublicOutreach. Additionally, questions can be directed to Heidi Schneider at HSchneider@dit,ga.gov   or by calling 68-518-3677.

GDOT officials say the purpose of the project is to enhance traffic operations and reduce crash frequency. It is based on a feasibility study that determined two, single-lane roundabouts are the most favorable intersection control alternative.

The total length of the project is approximately six tenths of a mile. The two roundabouts will be constructed independent of each other. They would consist of 140-foot diameter, 20-foot circulating lane, a 15-foot wide truck apron and 70-foot diameter center island. Curb and gutter would be installed along the outside of the roundabouts with a mountable curb along the inside for the truck apron.

The project is approximately one-quarter mile from Riverview Elementary and 700-feet from Dawson County Fire Station 7.

Northeast District Communications Director Katie Strickland said the project will be let in July 2019 and is expected to take 18-24 months to complete.

County Commissioners Julie Nix attended the meeting and said she enthusiastically supports the project.

“I’m excited about it. This will make it so much safer for everyone. Riverview was built in 2010 and we started hearing from parents of students in 2011 about how dangerous that intersection is. It has taken a long time to move it forward, but when (State Rep.) Kevin Tanner was elected, he was able to get the project fast tracked.”

Fire Chief/EMA Director Danny Thompson said he supports the project but does have some concern about the congestion that could be created in front of the fire station in the morning when school buses and parents are dropping off students at Riverview and in the afternoon when they pick them up.

 

 

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 FYNTV.com 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 FetchYourNews.com

 

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Commission Approves Variances for Dollar General

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Following a public hearing Thursday, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners granted two variances to allow Hibbymo Properties Nix Br., LLC, to move forward with development of a Dollar General store at the intersection of Harmony Church and Nix Bridge roads.

The 1.73 acre property is zoned Commercial Community Business (CCB) which restricts buildings to a maximum of 5,000 square feet and requires five parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. The variances will allow Hibbymo to construct a 9,100 square foot store with 33 parking spaces instead of the 46 that would otherwise be required.

Commissioner Sharon Fausett was on vacation and did not attend the meeting. Commissioners Chris Gaines, Jimmy Hamby and Julie Nix all voted to allow the variances but added several conditions proposed by Gaines.

The conditions included: ensuring the entrance is on Harmony Church Road, lighting doesn’t bleed off the property, no merchandise sold outside the store, gating around the dumpster area and the development meets or exceeds Ga. 400 corridor guidelines.

A total of six area residents rose to speak in opposition to the development but their objections were based mostly on a Dollar General store being built in that area. But the property has been zoned commercial for many years and the decision to allow a Dollar General to be built was made months ago. Thursday’s public hearing was only for the variances.

Judy Clack noted that the Dawson County Planning Commission recommended denial of the variances. She also expressed concern about the added strain the development will place on traffic at the intersection of Harmony Church and Nix Bridge roads, especially with the tractor/trailer deliveries to the store.

Michael Rickey expressed concern about the diminished property value of homes in the area and said the preference is “to put something in the area that is more fitting to the area.”

Others expressed concern about the possible increase in crime in the area.

 

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Commissioners OK County Employee Pay Raise

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Hoping to slow the exit of county employees leaving for higher-paying jobs in surrounding counties and reducing the high-cost of training their replacements, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to adopt an enhanced pay plan created by the Archer Company.

The new pay scale will take effect April 8.

Archer conducted a study that showed Dawson County had a experienced a 100 percent employee turnover in the last six years, costing taxpayers about $1.5 million. The company created a plan that compared Dawson County job classifications to Forsyth, Hall, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Pickens counties and the cities of Gainesville, Canton and Cumming.

Several options were presented for the Board’s consideration. Commissioners chose the option that gives employees a 2 percent across-the-board pay raise, brings current employee salaries up to the minimum salary for their job classification and has an option for longevity with county.

“I’m really proud of the board for taking this step,” Thurmond said. “Our employees are our greatest asset. Over time this will save taxpayers money due to the high cost of training replacements.”

In other business, the Board unanimously approved:

  • Increasing the bulk garbage rate at the transfer station to $44 per ton and a minimum of $5 per load weighed;
  • Renewal of the probation services with Northeast Georgia Probation Services, Inc;
  • A request to place Little Lending Libraries on County Government Property;
  • A request for a budget increase for the Legacy Link Local Match and
    Board of Commissioners expenses and
  • Training funds of $2,600 for new members of the Development Authority. That vote was 3-1 vote with Commissioner Julie Nix opposed.

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Commissioners Select Julie Nix as New Vice Chair

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Julie Nix, now in her fourth term, was named vice chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners Thursday and Danielle Yarbrough was reappointed to new term as County Clerk.

The Commission’s busy agenda included proclaiming Jan. 20 as Raymond Parks Day in honor of the Dawson County native and stock car racing legend Raymond Parks, who dominated the sport into the late 1950s. He owned the car that won the first NASCAR title in 1948 and the first premier series title in 1949. His team produced two premier series wins, two poles, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 18 events.Parks was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday.

Commissioners also held the first of two public hearings on a request by the Purchasing Department to update the county’s purchasing policy which required county commission approval and two public hearings for any departmental purchase of $15,000. The new policy, if approved, would increase the level of purchase to $25,000.

The Board approved a request by Perry Betterton to rezone two acres from RSRMM (Residential Sub-Rural Manufactured/Moved) to RMF (Residential Multi-Family) for an existing duplex.

Under New Business, the Board also approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with Hall County for the Public Defender’s Office, the 2017 State Contract for the Public Defender’s Office, the 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant and the appointment of Mike Ball to the Industrial Building Authority Board.

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Julie Nix: Career Public Servant, Not a Career Politician

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — After 16 years on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, some people may consider Julie Nix a career politician. But they would be wrong.

“I’m a career public servant,” she said. “And I believe serving others is a good thing.”

Nix, served the public as a school teacher for 30 years before entering the world of politics to follow in the footsteps of her father, who served two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and one term in the state senate.

Why would Nix seek a fifth term in office considering the rough and tumble world politics has beecome?

“With two commissioners leaving the board at the end of this year, I realized that the board would be very inexperienced if I left,” she said. “The two who will remain have a total of only eight years experience. Plus, I got a lot of encouragement from a lot of folks who wanted me to run again.”

Nix said the county is in good shape financially. “We have some beautiful buildings, including a library and government center, all of which are already paid for. The county is not in debt for any of it. I believe we have used the taxpayer money wisely and I will continue to do that.”

With a population boom headed to Dawson County, Nix said if she’s re-elected, she will focus on the infrastructure the next four years. “I’ll pay special attention to our roads. SPLOST VI has money designated for paving roads like Dawson Forest and Kelly Bridge Road. So, I want to continue to implement the SPLOST-financed projects.”

One glaring need, Nix said, is more affordable housing.

“We need affordable housing so that people who work here can live here,” she said.

Because of Dawson County’s sound financial condition, she says there is no need for a tax increase.

“I will absolutely not vote for any tax increase,” she said.

Nix has two grown sons, Wyatt and Ryan, and two grandchildren.

 

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