BOC holds second public hearing on budget

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Dawson County BOC

 

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners held a work session and the second of three public hearings on the proposed 2019 budget of $27,130,089 Thursday. Commissioners will hold the final hearing Thursday Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

The proposed budget includes 23 new employees –19 full-time and four part-time — at a cost of a little over $932,000.

During the work session, commissioners voted to table the consideration of annexations until the Oct. 18 meeting.

KARE for Kids Board Member Tom French presented a request to use the several county facilities’ parking lots to park cars during the Mountain Moonshine Festival. Those lots requested include the Justice Center, Sheriff’s Office, K Long Building and Voters’ Registration (Sunday only).

Family Court Treatment Services Director Debbie Mott presented an application grant for supplemental funding for creation of the Dawson County Family Treatment Court. Mott is seeking $67,642 in funding from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. To be approved the county must provide $7,516 in matching funds. If approved, Mott said Treatment Services would use the funding to create the Dawson County Family Treatment Court, hire a full-time case manage and buy office furniture, equipment and supplies.

Department of Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson asked commissioners to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) that would create a local collective operating group to disseminate warnings for specific emergency alerts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the designated agency in the Department of Homeland Security that implements the policy of public alerts on a national level. IPAWS is the platform used. However, FEMA recognizes that most alerts and warnings come from the state or local level, therefore there is a need for an authorized group of individuals to disseminate those alerts.

Thompson also presented a request to apply for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant that would allow the department to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus. FEMA will provide 90 percent of the total cost. Dawson County would provide the other 10 percent.

Director of Public Works Director David McKee asked commissioners to consider acceptance of Marketplace Parkway into the county road maintenance program.

Marketplace Parkway, formerly Gordon Moss Road, was developed as a commercial subdivision by Hendon Properties. The developer has built and posted maintenance and performance bonds for the roadway. Staff has performed all required inspections and has deemed the road completed.

 

 

 

 

 

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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BOC to vote on adjustment to coroner’s budget

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Coroner Ted Bearden

DAWSONVILLE, Ga – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on Coroner Ted Bearden’s request for funding for one additional deputy coroner position beginning on Oct. 1 when it meets in a regular session Thursday at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

The position has been approved for the 2019 budget, but Bearden told commissioners during last week’s work session that a 30 percent increase in the number of calls since last year had forced him to hire a deputy coroner this year and pay him out of his own pocket. He did not ask to be reimbursed for his out of pocket expense, but did request commissioners approve funding for the fourth quarter of this year, approximately $3,876.

He also asked that the coroner’s budget for Other Services (morgue-transportation) be increased by $8,000. He pointed out that the expense had been budgeted for $25,900 in 2017 but only $19,000 this year.

Counties are required by state statute to pay for burial or cremation of indigent deceased persons. Bearden requested that the county only provide cremation service because the reimbursable expense to counties is only $2,000. “There is no way to bury someone for that amount,” he said.

Thursday’s meeting will also see commissioners vote on a conditional use permit requested by Herman Goforth to allow for multiple accessory structures to be built on a 2.744-acre tract. The property is located on Lumpkin Campground Road near Hwy. 53.

Another request commissioners will have to vote on is one made by Public Works Director David McKee who has asked for a professional services exemption for Wakefield Beasley and Associates. The company provided the preliminary civil engineering design for the Veterans Memorial Park ballfield dirt relocation and storm water management plan, which was incorporated into the full design plans for the construction of the new Senior Center building.

The county is in the beginning stages for relocation of the current pavilion, playground and update of the walking trail and unused ball field directly across from the Senior Center. McKee asked for the exemption so Wakefield Beasley & Associates can complete its preliminary work on these designs and plans. The cost is not to exceed $53,915.

McKee said the exemption would save the county the expense of hiring a new firm to become familiar with the site, draw up preliminary plans, and create the complete plans/specifications for for construction services.

Commissioners will also vote on the 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting calendar which accommodates a couple of holidays — July 4 and Thanksgiving — which fall on Thursday. Meetings those weeks will be held on Tuesday. The proposed calendar also accommodates the Association County Commissioners of Georgia Annual Conference in April 2019. Additionally, no meetings are scheduled for the weeks of New Year’s and Christmas.

 

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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Coroner Bearden requests budget update

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Coroner Ted Bearden appeared before the Dawson County Board of Commissioners during last week’s work session to request an increase in funding for this year’s  budget.

Bearden told commissioners, “There is going to be a shortfall. There is just no way around it. That is based on the caseload. We are still running over 30 percent higher number of cases than the same time last year.”

He attributed the increase to drug-realated deaths and deaths of a violent nature.

The county has added a deputy coroner position in the 2019 budget, but Bearden said he has already hired a deputy coroner and has been paying him out of his own pocket. He asked the county to pay the salary and benefits starting Oct. 1.

“It would be a big help to us if we could go ahead and do that,” he said.

Public Works Director David McKee will ask that commissioners grant a professional exemption to Wakefield Beasley and Associates in an amount not to exceed $53,915 to complete the design, plans and specifications necessary to complete the renovation project at the Veterans Memorial Park.

The old pavilion at the park is to be torn down to accommodate a parking lot for the new senior center that is under construction. McKee explained that in losing the old pavilion a new design plan will have to be done to accommodate the drainage that will be lost there. Wakefield Beasley has been involved in the design of the senior center from the beginning.

McKee said the exemption would relieve the county of the expense for a new firm to become familiar with the site, draw up preliminary plans, and create the complete plans/specifications for an IFB for construction services.

Commissioners discussed the proposed 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting calendar which will include a couple of minor changes to accommodate Independence Day and Thanksgiving, which fall on Thursday. Those meetings will be held on Tuesday. The proposed calendar also accommodates the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Annual Conference in April. Additionally, no meetings are scheduled for the weeks of New Year’s and Christmas.

Also on the agenda was a discussion about the reappointment of Chief Voter Registrar Glenda Ferguson to Chairman of the Board of Elections & Registration. That is expected to be approved at the next voting session.

Items discussed during work sessions can be voted on at the next regular meeting.

 

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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Coroner seeks increase to cover morgue expense

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Coroner Ted Bearden will request an additional $8,000 for his 2018 budget to cover morgue expenses and $3,876 to cover the fourth-quarter salary and benefits package for a deputy coroner when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets for a Thursday work session at 4 p.m.

Bearden says his office was budgeted $25,900 for morgue expenses in 2017 but that was reduced to $19,000 this year.

The coroner also said he was forced to hire a deputy coroner this year in order to maintain an immediate response to cases, but has paid the additional expense out of his own pocket. He is budgeted for the position in 2019 but is asking commissioners to cover the cost for the next three months.

Public Works Director David McKee will ask that commissioners grant a professional exemption to Wakefield Beasley and Associates in an amount not to exceed $53,915 to complete the design, plans and specifications necessary to complete the renovation project at the Veterans Memorial Park.

The company was the original firm involved in the design to move dirt from the ball field across from the Senior Center and begin a plan on a necessary storm water management design of a new Senior Center Building. This new project is directly related and correlates with the Senior Center project.

McKee said the exemption would relieve the county of the expense for a new firm to become familiar with the site, draw up preliminary plans, and create the complete plans/specifications for an IFB for construction services.

Commissioners will discuss the proposed 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting calendar which will include a couple of changes to accommodate Independence Day and Thanksgiving, which fall on Thursday. Those meetings will be held on Tuesday. The proposed calendar also accommodates the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Annual Conference in April. Additionally, no meetings are scheduled for the weeks of New Year’s and Christmas.

Commissioners will also consider the reappointment of Chief Voter Registrar Glenda Ferguson to Chairman of the Board of Elections & Registration.

Items discussed during work sessions can be voted on at the next regular meeting.

 

 

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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BOC continues to hear budget requests

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – On the second day of county budget hearings, it was time for the public defender’s office, elections and voter registration, extension service, finance department and public works to present their requests.

Director of Elections and Registration Glenda Ferguson requested a decrease of $9,875 since 2018 is a non-election year and fewer part-time personnel will be needed.

Extension Agent Clark MacAllister asked for a slight increase of about $5,000 to replace an antiquated analog phone system and a copier and fax machine.

Brad Morris in the Public Defender’s office requested an increase of $17,638 primarily to fund the hiring of two additional personnel.

Commissioner Sharon Fausett wanted to know if defendants are required to prove that they are indigent before they receive taxpayer funded legal representation.

Morris said there is a standardized state form defendants are required to complete to determine if they qualify as indigent.

“Is it that they don’t pay anything at all,” Fausett asked.

Morris explained the defendant must pay $50 for an interview and there is some payback through probation fees. “The judge can also order them to pay some attorney fees,” he said.

Finance Director Vickie Neikirk’s budget request was for an additional $33,000, most of which was to pay for the Board of Commissioners-approved county employee pay raise combined with an increase in group insurance.

Public Works Director David McKee asked for the largest total increase, but it would be spread over several diverse functions that fall under the Public Works Department umbrella – Administration, GIS, Roads, and the Transfer Station. An increase in his administrative budget comes from the movement of the stormwater management position from the planning and development department to public works. It is more of a shifting of funds than an actual increase for the county.

If approved, the transfer station would get an increase of $122,052 but that does not affect the general fund budget since it is covered by the revenue-bearing solid waste fund which currently has a balance of $1,796,130.

Roads department would get an increase of $74,907 while administration would receive an additional $63,397. The GIS/Engineering budget would be reduced by $9,875.

McKee requested the addition of two new positions in the roads department and that three part-time positions be combined into two full-time positions to create a four-man mowing crew. The crew’s responsibility would be mowing 40 hours a week during the growing season then switch to cutting back limbs and assisting in cleaning the county right of ways. McKee said a full-time mowing crew could help transform public works from being reactive to proactive.

“For example, this week, we were paving, finishing up some LMIG (local maintenance improvement grant) work and getting ready to move over to Biscayne subdivision,” he explained. “Yesterday, I received eight mowing calls and seven were substantiated. What do we do? We pull somebody off a crew and send them over to mow or I go do it or we take somebody who needs to be hauling solid waste and we go do that.”

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond welcomed the addition of a full-time mowing crew. He pointed out the crew would be beneficial since it would allow other public works crews to get more road work done and reduce the need to bid road work out.

McKee also asked for one new position to work at the transfer station.

 

 

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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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.

 

 

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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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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