CPA firm Rushton Company declares Dawson County is in good financial shape

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Chris Hollifield of the certified public accounting firm of Rushton Company presented the results of the firm’s 2017 audit during Thursday’s Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session and declared the county to be in “good financial shape.”

Highlights of the audit included these statements:

  • Government assets exceed liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $86.8 million
  • Government’s financial position improved during 2017;
  • At the end of the fiscal year, the total fund balance was $8.2 million or 36 percent of total general fund expenditures including transfers to other funds. Fund balance increased by $767,000;
  • Government’s total indebtedness decreased by $96,000.

Expenditures by function showed Public Safety at 44 percent, followed by Public Works 17 percent and General Government 17 percent.

Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Danny Speaks requested Board approval to apply for a Georgia Trauma Commission Grant used to reimburse 911 agencies for the purchase of trauma related equipment used to equip 911 ambulances.

Fleet Maintenance Director Shannon Harben asked commissioners to approve the disposal of four heating and air conditioning units at the Detention Center. He also presented a list of other county-owned items to be placed into the 2018 GovDeals Surplus Sale.

Public Works Director David McKee gave a presentation on the proposed Fleet Maintenance/Public Works Complex with a recommendation the design/build contract be awarded to Charles Black Construction for an amount not to exceed $2,644,127. Four evaluations were received and reviewed for technical responses to establish a high-score prosper and Charles Black received the highest score.

Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman presented a Special Event Business License Application for Carol Stream Amusement Inc. to operate a carnival in the front parking lot of North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall from June 28 through July 15 between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Streetman also presented the site plan for John Megel Chevrolet to construct a used car lot on its property which was required by a zoning stipulation.

The Board also will consider the proposed 2018 Land Use District Map presented by Streetman and the reappointment of Joey Bearden to the Department of Family and Children Services.

Items discussed during work sessions are generally voted on during the next regular meeting.

 

 

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Humane Society will attempt to buy land it currently leases from Dawson County

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Carolyn Bowen, president of the Dawson County Humane Society, will ask county commissioners to consider selling the 5.3 acres of land on which the animal shelter is built when the Board of Commissioners meets in a work session Thursday at 4 p.m.

The Humane Society has leased the land from the county since 2005 for $1 a year and the county leases the land from the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority for the same amount. The lease agreement is for 50 years.

However, Bowen said in order to receive funding to continue to build and improve the shelter, the Humane Society needs to own the land. Bowen added the Humane Society has a major benefactor who has significant concerns that the organization does not own the land under the building in which the trust has invested.

Late last year, commissioners appointed a committee to conduct a study of current compensation and to make recommendations for future compensation for board members. After reviewing compensation of 10 comparable Georgia counties, Tara Hardwick, chairwoman of the committee, will present a recommendation at Thursday’s meeting

Dawson County Emergency Services Fire Chief Lanier Swafford will present a proposal for an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the city of Johns Creek for apparatus storage.

Swafford also will ask commissioners to consider approval of a grant application. The Chesney Fallen Firefighters Memorial Grant Program is offered by the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation (GFBF) in memory of Gwinnett County career firefighter Brant Chesney, who lost his life Dec. 27, 1996, battling a fire as a volunteer with the Forsyth County Fire Department.

Grants awarded under this program are to be used by Georgia fire departments to develop a new program or enhance an existing public life safety program, dedicated to fire safety and burn prevention education.

Dawson County Emergency Services has received this grant in the past, and it was used to fund the department’s fire safety house used at schools and other events. If awarded, this grant would fund the purchase of a fire extinguisher simulator training aid. The maximum amount of each grant is $3,000 and the deadline for applications is March 30, 2018

Accounting and Budget Manager Natalie Johnson will present the 2017 Board of Commissioners’ expenses, and Public Works Director David McKee will present the disposal services agreement with Advanced Disposal/Eagle Point Landfill.

 

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

 

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Dawson commissioners to hear multiple annexation requests

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Multiple requests for annexation into the city of Dawsonville are expected to be voted on when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Dawsonville City Council has notified commissioners that the owners of several single-family dwellings on Gold Bullion Drive in the Gold Creek subdivision have petitioned the city for annexation. County Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman will present those requests to commissioners.

Dwarkesh Inc. has appealed an administrative setback variance granted by the county Planning Commission to allow a gas canopy to be placed closer than the distance required by zoning regulations, requiring the commissioners to issue a final ruling.

Norkrot Financial Inc. has requested the rezoning of 46.73 acres from Residential Agriculture (RA) to Residential Sub-Rural (RSR) to build a 30-lot single-family residential community.

Bill Ross, with Ross & Associates, will present a final draft of his Impact Fee Methodology Report to the board.  A question came up during last week’s work session regarding impact fees being charged by other jurisdictions.

Ross has prepared a table showing comparisons of impact fees being charged in jurisdictions north of Atlanta and near Dawson County.

Included in the table are fees charged to single-family homes and typical development projects such as an apartment complex, a supermarket and a general office building.  Ross says as a general rule, the jurisdictions in his study indicate they charge 3 percent of each fee.

Public Works Director David McKee will be back before the commissioners to seek approval for a professional services contract with Southeastern Engineering, Inc. for the design of a replacement for the Blacks Mill Creek Bridge. The bridge has been closed since last August 2017.

The county’s contract with Northwestern Benefits to monitor the insurance market for pricing trends for negotiating insurance costs for employee and county premiums has expired, and all renewals will expire on Feb. 28 and the county had received bids from other firms to provide the service. Staff recommends commissioners approve a contract with ShawHankins.

 

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

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Board of Commissioners overturns setback variance approval

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Commissioner Jimmy Hamby

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In a rare occurrence Thursday, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners reversed a decision by Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman to grant a setback variance for a convenience store located at the intersection of Hwy. 53 and War Hill Park Road.

Business owner Dipikaben Patel requested a 10-foot front setback variance along Hwy. 53 and a five-foot side variance along War Hill Road to allow the construction of a gas tank canopy. Streetman granted the variance, but several area residents spoke in opposition to the variance at the appeal during Thursday’s meeting and Commissioners Jimmy Hamby, Julie Nix and Sharon Fausett voted to deny it.

Hamby questioned why the owner couldn’t extend a canopy closer to the store rather than the right of way. An engineer speaking on behalf of the owner said it would be impractical since it would limit available parking space.

Speaking in opposition to the variance, Brandon Bennett said, “We do not need to have a traffic burden added to this dangerous intersection.” Bennett said the only way into the parcel is off Hwy. 53 and the only way out is onto War Hill Park Road. “We do not need a tractor trailer (carrying fuel) having to turn around at War Hill when the federal government won’t even let a fuel truck come down War Hill Road to fuel a helicopter for the Rangers.”

Also, commissioners approved a request by Brodie Allred, speaking on behalf of Norkot Financial, Inc. to rezone 46.73 acres on Moss Road from Residential Agriculture (RA) to Residential Sub-Rural (RSR) for a 30-lot single-family residential community. The vote was 3-1 with Fausett opposed.

The board took no action on several requests by residents of the Gold Creek community to have their property annexed into the city of Dawsonville, leaving the decision in the hands of the city, which is scheduled to hear the requests during the March meeting.

Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with SEI, Inc. to design the Blacks Mill Bridge replacement at a cost of $33,700 and the appointment of Angelia Brown to the Avita Community Partners.

 

 

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

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Board of Commissioners to consider Blacks Mill Bridge replacement

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Commissioners will consider a recommendation from Public Works Director David McKee regarding replacement of Blacks Mill Bridge when the board meets Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m.

The bridge has been closed for replacement since August when staff presented three options. The options included approving staff to work with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) on a surplus bridge option to offset the replacement cost.

However, the county has been informed there are no surplus bridge options available at this time. Staff has reviewed the new bridge replacement plan and believes the quickest, most cost effective solution is to contract with Southeastern Engineering Inc. (SEI).

Staff has requested funds from GDOT and was approved for up to $175,000 or 70 percent of construction costs. Staff is requesting approval of the SEI contract for professional services for the design of the new bridge structure.

The county financial contribution to the project will be provided by in-kind service and is not expected to impact the budget requiring an addition/amendment.

Dawson County historically contracts with an insurance broker firm to monitor the insurance market for pricing trends for negotiating insurance costs for employee and county premiums. The current contract with Northwestern Benefits exhausted all renewals on December 31. An extension of the contract was agreed upon which ends on Feb. 28, 2018.

Commissioners will consider a bid from ShawHankins for a one-year contract with a possible one-year renewal.

 

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

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Dawson commissioners receive SPLOST VI update

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Public Works Director David McKee

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –  The Dawson County Board of Commissioners received an update on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) VI collections from Public Works Director David McKee during a rare Tuesday work session.

SPLOST VI was initiated in 2015 and will run through 2021. Collections were expected to reach $46 million in six years. To date, Dawson County collections are $15,067,286. The city of Dawsonville receives 15 percent of collections and the county receives the balance.

Approximately 11 percent of collections are allocated to sheriff’s vehicles, 11 percent to Fire and EMS, 10 percent to Parks and Recreation, 67 percent to Public Works and 1 percent to Information Technology (IT).

McKee said a total of $11,565,649 in projects have been completed with $5,650,000 in proposed projects planned for Phase 3.

Public Defender Brad Morris requested funding for the salaries and expenses for personnel in the Public Defender’s office.

Dawson County has had a contract with the Georgia Public Defenders Council since 2005 to provide one attorney and one administrative assistant. The expenses covered by this contract ($183,738.65) were approved in the 2018 budget. The contract renews the agreement through Dec. 31.

A second request by Morris for $71,257 is required to cover half the salaries of an assistant public defender and an investigator. The other half is covered by Hall County, which is also served by the office.

Commissioners approved the repaving of the roadway of the Veterans Memorial Park and Senior Services and parking lot for the Veterans Memorial Park with SPLOST V and VI funds. The county has received two bids for the project and Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson asked commissioners to approve the low bid of Blount Construction Company in the amount of $599,141.

Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has programmed the state Route 183 bridge over Cochrans Creek for replacement during the first quarter of 2020. The closure of the road during construction, which is expected to be for a period of six months to one year, will require all traffic to be detoured. GDOT has identified the most beneficial detour to be Keith Evans Road, a county maintained road. McKee asked commissioners to approve the use of Keith Evans Road as the detour route.

Issues discussed during work sessions are expected to be voted on at the next voting session of the Board of Commissioners.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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County employees enjoy Thanksgiving luncheon

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Publix Customer Service Manager Nicholas Kirkland, Dawson County Manager David Headley and Publix Assistant Meat Manager Jim Ferrante with the 10 turkeys and two hams the supermarket provided Dawson County at a discount.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County employees do their best to serve the citizens of Dawson County, so County Manager David Headley and the county commissioners decided it was high time they returned the favor.

Headley, Chairman Billy Thurmond and commissioners Jimmy Hamby, Julie Nix, Chris Gaines and Sharon Fausett purchased the turkey and ham and served a Thanksgiving potluck luncheon at Veterans Memorial Park.

Employees could either sit down for their meal or take it to go. An estimated 125 county workers participated.

“Our employees are our most important asset, and this was just one way we are able to show our appreciation,” Headley said. “We also thank our employees for providing the many delicious side dishes, desserts and other items that helped make our gathering a success. We wish our employees and their families, and all of our Dawson County citizens, a happy Thanksgiving.”

Thurmond added, “I want to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Dawson County. I also want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.”

Publix in Dawsonville partnered with the county to provide 10 turkeys and two hams at a discounted price.

“We would like to thank our friends at Publix for the delicious meat; those who prepared it, Ricky Rexroat of Emergency Services and David McKee of Public Works; and Commissioners Billy Thurmond, Sharon Fausett, Chris Gaines and Julie Hughes Nix for taking time to help serve the meal,” Headley said.

 

 

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

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Dawson BOC meets in rare Tuesday work session

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will consider a lengthy list of agenda items during a rare Tuesday (Nov. 21) work session that begins at 4 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room. Board meetings are usually held on Thursdays, but this meeting was moved because this Thursday is Thanksgiving

Dawson County Commissioners have a busy agenda on tap  for Tuesday’s work session.

Board appointments for 2018, grant applications, an intergovernmental agreement for municipal elections with the city of Dawsonville and several funding requests will command much of the commissioners’ time.

Commissioners will consider the reappointment of Ricky Rexroat and Lanier Swafford to the EMS Advisory Council Board, Dr. Larry Anderson and Elaine Maple to the Health Board and Chad Cofield to the Parks and Recreation Board.

Judge Lindsay Burton will ask commissioners to consider additional funds for the Juvenile Court, and Public Works Director David McKee will request funding for the Lumpkin Campground Concept Improvement Plan.

Grant applications to be considered Tuesday include a FM Global Insurance Company Fire Prevention Grant Application, a Georgia Forestry Commission 50/50 Grant Application, a Department of Public Health Occupation Safety Seat Grant and an ACCG Summer Georgia Counties Internship Program (GCIP) Grant application.

Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman will present a Special Event Alcohol Permit Application by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce for a Business After Hours at United Community Bank on Dec. 14.

McKee will also present a request to abandon the portion of Powell Rd. between Amicalola Church Rd. and Colly Lane.

These agenda items are expected to be voted on at the next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

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