Environmental group asks BOC to support HR 158

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Joe Cook, of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, will ask county commissioners to support House Resolution 158 when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets in a voting session at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The resolution claims that nearly 40 percent of the $469 million collected for the state’s Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund since 1993 has been diverted to other funds.

HR 158 seeks to have the Georgia General Assembly create a dedicated trust fund for initiatives such as hazard waste cleanups, tire dumps and clean community programs.

Commissioners also will vote on acceptance of a partially state-funded Local Maintenance Improvement Grant that will fund $537,860.97 in road repairs. State funding in the amount of $413,739.21 will be provided by Georgia’s Motor Fuel Tax. If approved, the county will provide a 30 percent match in the amount of $124,121.76.

Public Works Director David McKee said the funds will be used to repair the following roads: A.T. Moore, Mt. Vernon, Biscayne Dr., Keys Court, Sandcastle Ct., Bay Drive, Harbour Drive and Seabreeze Way.

Commissioners also are expected to vote on acceptance of a continuous grant application to provide public transportation for Dawson County citizens. The grant, which is provided through the Federal Transportation Administration, will pay 50 percent of administrative and operating budget for the county’s transportation system if commissioners approve.

Commissioners will also consider new alcohol license permit requests by the Arellano Restaurant Group, LLC, doing business as Senor Fiesta No. 3 (retail consumption on premises of beer, wine & distilled spirits) and Southern Pie, LLC doing business as MOD Pizza (retail consumption on premises of beer only).

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING 1. Dawson County Soil Erosion Ordinance Revision (2nd of 2 hearings. 1st hearing was held on November 2, 2017) K. NEW BUSINESS
  2. Consideration of FTA/GDOT FY 19 Section 5311 Grant Application
  3. Consideration of 2018 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Application
  4. Consideration of 2017 Capital Improvement Element (CIE) Update Adoption Resolution

 

  1. PUBLIC COMMENT

 

  1. ADJOURNMENT

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SPLOST, LOST Collection Exceed Projection

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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

 

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BOC to Discuss Grant for Road Improvement

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David McKee

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Acceptance of a federal grant for road repairs will be a key topic of discussion when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets in a work session at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Government Center Assembly Room.

Public Works Director David McKee will ask commissioners for permission 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. With Dawson County’s 30 percent match of $124,121.76, the total budget for 2018 LMIG projects is $537,860.97.

McKee said 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) and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to provide public transportation for Dawson County citizens.

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

There will be departmental reports, including one by Director of Planning and Development Jason Streetman that shows total building permits issued in October rose by 14.2 percent to 40 over the previous month.   Construction of single-family new homes rose by 5.8 percent increase.

Streetman’s report shows a strong uptick in zoning applications and meetings with developers to discuss large projects. His prediction is that 2018 is going to be extremely busy.

 

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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BOC to Vote on Changes to Soil Erosion Ordinance at Thursday’s Meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will hold the first of two public hearings regarding changes to the Soil Erosion Ordinance required to ensure compliance to state regulations when they hold a regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center, 25 Justice Way in Dawsonville.

A second public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16. The changes are mostly in the wording of the ordinance and will have minimal impact on the current ordinance.

There will also be a public hearing on an update to the Dawson County Emergency Services Prevention Fee Schedule. The fee schedule imposed by the Fire Marshal’s Office has not been updated since it was approved in 2005. Changes in the fireworks law and additional services now being offered through the Prevention Office require updates.

Commissioners are also expected to vote on:

  • A request to apply for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) K-9 Grant at no cost to the county;
  • A SPLOST VI Apparatus Replacement Proposal to approve the lease purchase of fire and emergency equipment, with a maximum annual payment for seven years, not to exceed $75,035.00 at an interest rate of 2.44 percent;
  • A second Surplus Asset Disposal List for county vehicles identified as exceeding service life;
  • A request by Fleet Maintenance to approve the bid of $70,500 to replace tires on count vehicles and equipment from four individual vendors;
  • A request to approve a contract with Indent Electrical Services to provide on-call electrical services;
  • A request to approve a contract with Townley Construction Company to provide on-call plumbing services;
  • An addendum to the FY18 Legacy Link agreement;
  • A county-wide Phone Replacement System;
  • The 2018 Payroll and Holiday Calendar;
  • The 2018 Board of Commissioners Meeting Schedule;
  • A special event alcohol permit application for the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event on Nov. 14;
  • Consideration of County Manager Contract 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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BOC Considers Contract with Ga. Technical College

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford was the presenter of three of the four items on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session Tuesday.

Swafford asked the board to consider approval of a clinical contract with North Georgia Technical College in Clarkesville that would allow for EMT and Paramedic students enrolled in such programs at NGT, to engage in clinical opportunities with Dawson County Emergency Services.

NG Tech is only one of two technical colleges in NE Georgia which conduct a paramedic program. DCES has previously had a clinical contract with the school. This opportunity allows for the student to experience field opportunities while in school and allows for DCES to evaluate students and possibly recruit future employees.

Swafford also sought board approval to apply for an Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG), something the county has done for many years. Swafford said county emergency management agencies who complete the mandatory activity and reporting requirements for GEMA have been eligible to receive a 50/50 matching grant to support EMA activities such as mitigation, preparation, and response to emergency situations. The funds cover a portion of the cost for Swift Reach (Reverse 911 System), weather siren maintenance, and radar subscription for the EOC.

This year the base award formula for the EMPG grant was modified and Dawson will receive an increase $7,784 in the 2017-‘18 budget year. This is a 50/50 matching grant for a total of $15,568.

The Dawson County Fire Safety and Prevention Ordinance was adopted by the Board of Commissioners in August 2005 and has never been updated. Included in this ordinance were fees to be imposed by the Dawson County Fire Marshal’s Office. Now that changes have been made to the fireworks law and additional services are being offered through the Prevention Office Swafford asked commissioners to consider updating the ordinance.

Swafford said the only major changes the department is requesting include: Align the language of the ordinance to match that of state law concerning firework permits and inspection fees;  Address fees for CPR, First Aid, and Day Care Provider Fire Safety Classes. These fees have never been formally been adopted by the BOC.

Public Works Director David McKee gave commissioners a Phase Two SPLOST VI Road Improvement Project Budget Update. The program included four road rehabilitation projects. (Tanner Road, Kelly Bridge Road, Steve Tate, and Thompson as an alternate).  The original contract with CW Mathews was approved May 4, 2017 for the first three roads, and on Sept 21, 2017 the BOC approved the alternate of Thompson Road.

The cost that was approved at that time was only for the CW Mathews contract which did not include all expenditures needed to complete the project.  When the scope was presented to the BOC for approval, staff discussed that striping would be performed by our standby striping contractor rather than contracted as part of the road rehabilitation contractor, as such the cost needs approval from the BOC.

Striping cost is to be included in each project. Total shall include both temporary striping and permanent high build striping.  The total project cost will not exceed original approved contracted budget.  Budget to include all striping and or expenses related to completion of the project.

 

 

 

 

 

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Board to Vote on Thompson Road Work

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Public Works Director David McKee will ask the commissioners to approve $196,403 to pay for striping and related expenses for Thompson Road when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets in a voting session Thursday (Oct. 19) at 6 p.m.

Commissioners approved phase two of the SPLOST VI program in February. At that time the program included four road rehabilitation projects for Tanner Road, Kelly Bridge Road and Steve Tate with Thompson as an alternate.  The original contract with CW Mathews was approved in May for the first three roads. In September, commissioners approved the alternate of Thompson Road. The cost that was approved at that time did not include expenditures for Thompson Road.

Public Works staff wants to use its standby striping contractor for the additional work and that requires approval by the commission. The total project cost will not exceed the original approved contracted budget and will include all striping and or expenses related to completion of the project.

In other business before the Board, Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford will ask commissioners to approve a clinical contract with North Georgia Technical College to allow EMT and Paramedic students enrolled at the college to engage in clinical opportunities with Dawson County Emergency Services.

North Georgia Tech is only one of two technical colleges in northeast Georgia that conducts a paramedic program. DCES has previously had a clinical contract with the school. This opportunity allows for the student to experience field opportunities while in school and allows for DCES to evaluate students and possibly recruit future employees.

Swafford will also seek Board approval to apply for the 2017-2018 Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) application. The county has received the 50/50 grant which supports EMA activities such as mitigation, preparation and response to emergency situations. They also cover a portion of the cost for Swift Reach (Reverse 911 System), weather siren maintenance, and radar subscription for the EOC. This year the base award formula for the grant was modified and Dawson will receive increase $7,784 in the 2017-2018 budget year.

The Board is also expected to vote on a recommendation to approve the 2017 Dawson County Emergency Services Inspection, Plan Review, and Prevention Fee updates.

The Dawson County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution and ordinance adopting the Dawson County Fire Safety and Prevention Ordinance in 2005 that included fees to be imposed by the Dawson County Fire Marshal’s Office and the fee schedule has not been updated since.

 

 

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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Commissioners Approve FY 2018 Budget

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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

 

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County, Sheriff Spar Over Budget Request

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Chairman Billy Thurmond

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson and the Board of Commissioners butted heads over the sheriff’s budget request during a called meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson says he cannot provide the services required of his office on the $7.3 million budget commissioners have proposed. He requested $8.1 million. But commissioners say Johnson’s predecessor, Billy Carlisle who retired last year, provided those same services on a budget of only $6.8 million. They say the half million dollar increase they have proposed plus a significant pay raise for all county employees, including the sheriff’s office and another $300,000 for capital expenditures, is all the taxpayers can afford.

Sheriff Jeff Johnson

Commissioners will consider the arguments made by Johnson and his attorney, Joey Homans, until Thursday when the final budget is set to be adopted.

In initiating the discussion, Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “It is our goal to help you meet your needs. By no means do we want to run your department. We have no idea how to run your department. That takes money and we’re looking for every means and every way to generate the revenue.”

Commissioner Chris Gaines echoed that sentiment, saying, “I want the very best Sheriff’s Office this county can afford.”

Commissioner Chris Gaines

It is worth noting that 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. If push comes to shove, the sheriff can take his appeal through the court system.

Johnson may have been setting the stage for that when he said, “If you look at our budget, just the line items, take away the salaries and benefits, our budget was reduced. Our overall budget was reduced. That’s where we’re at. We come into this process short on staff, short on uniforms, short on equipment and short on a long laundry list of items.”

Both sides would like to avoid litigation because taxpayers would be forced to pay the legal fees of both the commission and the sheriff’s office, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Commissioner Sharon Fausett

Commissioner Sharon Fausett opened the door to future opportunities for the sheriff’s office to achieve some increases, saying, “This budget isn’t written in stone but we have to start somewhere.” She indicated that she might be open to future adjustments in the budget if revenue rose above expectations and the need was warranted.

“But I don’t want to get below the 15 percent contingency fund,” she said. “I don’t want to raise property taxes and I don’t want to borrow money. I want us to be fiscally responsible.”

Commissioners questioned why the sheriff chose to make purchases outside the county’s purchasing department where discounts and other efficiencies are available. They say that is a duplication of services that costs taxpayers more money.

Johnson explained that for big ticket purchases, in excess of $100,000, he does use the purchasing department but added, “I’m accountable to the voters of Dawson County for how I spend my money and why I choose certain contractors. But often times, the lowest bid will get you just that, the lowest quality. He cited two examples of contractors the county selected in the past that he felt failed to do live up to their contract.

Commissioners have argued in the past that the Sheriff’s Offices in Lumpkin and White counties serve a larger population but have a smaller budget than what is being proposed for Dawson, a county with a population of about 23,000.

For example, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office budget is $6.6 million and its population is 29,966 while the budget for White County Sheriff Neal Walden is only $5.4 million for a population of 28,000.

 

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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