BOC needs more time to finalize comp plan

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners held one final public hearing on the 2018 comprehensive plan Thursday.

The plan is one of the county’s most important documents because it provides elected officials with a road map to use in planning the county’s future. It was developed after months of gathering public input at citizen meetings and in an online survey.

The state requires that a county’s comprehensive plan be updated every five years and approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in order to qualify for Certified Local Government Status and to be eligible for state grants and programs.

Thursday’s discussion centered on whether commissioners should base their zoning decisions on a future land use map, as it has done for years, or consider the character area map approach.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said the character map offers more flexibility in zoning decisions but is less restrictive than the current future land use map.

“That’s the reason we wanted to look at both,” he said.

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Christine Moore said, “This is a document that people live and breathe every single day. The character area map to us does make the most sense because of the flexibility and control it provides and also because It allows an adaptability to our ever changing economy.”

Tony Passarello, who serves on both the Long Range Planning Commission and Comprehensive Board is Plan Commission favored the future land use map. “It is more consistent and legally supportable,” he said.

He did recognize some changes needed to be made.

As a member of the Dawson Development Authority, Passarello said one comment he hears constantly is “What we are trying to attract is business that offers higher-paying jobs and more professional growth so we can have our children who are being educated in our fine schools can stay in Dawson County. The current land use map we have has not been adjusted to make room for those types of businesses.”

Passarello also whatever plan is selected needs to “reflect the input we have received from the citizens.”

Terri Tragesser, co-chairman of the Long Range Planning Commission, said, “We have more comfort at this point in time with the future land use map. Not because we don’t believe the character area map has value. We just don’t know enough about it to feel comfortable with it. I’ve seen the future land use map in high-growth areas work very well.”

Like Passarello, however, Tragesser said the future land use map needs some changes.

“You have to put some overlays on those maps so they are more specific,” she said. “So they address things like Dawson Forest Road and Hwy. 9 intersection. That will build out with a lot of uncertainty. Right now, we have absolutely no definition in that intersection as to how it’s going to look, how it’s going to build out, how it’s going to work from a transportation standpoint. That’s the type of work that is still to be done.”

The DCA has already approved the comprehensive plan that includes the character area plan, but Hazell said only one section would need to be changed should the Board of Commissioners vote to approve the future land use map and that section has already been submitted for the DCA’s review and approval.

Commissioner Chris Gaines said, “I’d like to step back. I want to make sure we’re doing this correctly. I want to wrap my head around this from a legal standpoint personally before I’m willing to put my name on something that is the future guiding document for the county.”

The Board then directed Gaines and Commissioner Sharon Fausett to meet with the new interim county attorneys, Ken Jarrard and Angela Davis and come to next week’s meeting with additional information.

 

 

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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Citizens will have one more chance to provide input into the county’s future growth Thursday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will hold one final public hearing on the proposed 2018 comprehensive plan when it meets in a voting session Thursday (Jan. 10) at 4 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room.

The plan is one of the county’s most important documents because it serves as a road map to future growth. It was developed after months of gathering public input at citizen meetings and in an online survey.

The state requires that a county’s comprehensive plan be updated every five years in order to be eligible for state grants and be approved by the Department of Community Affairs.

This plan has received DCA approval and could have been adopted in December, but commissioners wanted to hold one public hearing to give citizens one more chance to provide input.

Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley will present the plan.

Other items on Thursday’s agenda include:

  • Presentation of Georgia Trauma Commission Grant Application Request by Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson;
  • Presentation of IFB #330-18 – 15-Foot Rock Gravel Spreader Award Request by Public Works Director David McKee;
  • Presentation of Professional Exemption for Medical Director Services for the Dawson County Detention Center by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Sole Source Purchase Request for Computer Aided Dispatch System Upgrade by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Purchasing Policy Ordinance and Purchasing Card Program Policies and Procedures Update Recommendation by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Dawsonville for Municipal Elections by interim County Attorney;
  • Presentation of Revised Intergovernmental Agreement with Pickens County Regarding Fire Protection for the Wildcat Community by Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond;
  • Presentation of Board reappointments to the Chestatee-Chattahoochee Resource Conservation & Development.

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Dawson County attorney resigns due to ill health, Jarrard and Davis receives interim contract

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –The law firm of Jarrard and Davis has contracted with Dawson County to provide legal services after County Attorney Lynn Frey announced his resignation on Dec. 20 due to ill health.

In a letter to the Board of Commissioners, Frey, who was Dawson County’s first staff attorney, said, “After a great deal of thought I have realized that I am unable to continue to serve as county attorney for the wonderful community that is Dawson County,” the letter reads. “My health has deteriorated to a degree that prevents me from providing the level of service the county deserves…I will miss a great many folks, too many to name here, and will leave with gratitude for the welcome I was given, for the many kindnesses I have been shown over the last couple of years and for the opportunity you gave me to be part of something that matters.”

Frey will be return to his former home in Darien where he served as city attorney for 13 years. He will be paid compensation of $25,000 according to an agreement ratified by the board.

The Jarrard and Davis firm serves many municipalities in Georgia, including Forsyth County where Ken Jarrard has represented the Board of Commissioners for approximately 15 years. The board ratified an interim retention agreement with the firm for a period of 60 days until permanent legal representation can be obtained.

Jarrard said “The board of commissioners has been emphatic that they want a seamless transition while they consider what next steps to take with respect to representation and we have been honored to provide that interim representation.”

Frey’s salary was $90,000 in 2018. The board recently approved a new legal assistant position with an annual salary of $30,547, though the position was never filled.

 

 

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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Commissioners will direct attention to comp plan during Thursday’s voting session

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – After months gathering public input at citizen meetings and an online survey, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners could adopt one of the county’s most important documents at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting – the 2018 comprehensive plan.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has approved the plan which is a guideline elected officials use to plan how the county will look in the future. Counties are required to update the plan every five years in order to be eligible to receive state grants.

But Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond indicated during last week’s session he would like to hold one more public hearing to give citizens one last chance to provide input.

Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley and Adam Hazell, director of planning for the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, presented the plan at that meeting and surprised commissioners by introducing something called a character map.

In the past, the Board has utilized a future land use plan that directs how each parcel of land is to be zoned. As long as developers asked for rezoning that adhered to the future land use plan, the request was usually approved.

But Kinley and Hazell said commissioners could elect to use a character map in place of the future and use map. The character map offers additional flexibility in that commissioners could look at zoning on a neighborhood scale as opposed to individual parcels.

“If someone were to come before the county looking for a rezoning now, they would almost essentially have to fit exactly what it is on (the future land use map) versus having some options that might be available to them under the character area map,” Hazell said

Even if the Board did opt for additional public hearing, it could approve the plan Thursday and still hold the public meeting later since the plan can be revisited.

In other agenda items the Board is expected to vote on:

  • Rescinding its objection to an annexation request the city council approved on Dec. 3;
  • A contractor for work on the Lumpkin Campground Road and Hwy. 53 intersection;
  • A rezoning request for a three-home subdivision;
  • Grant applications and reappoint of members of the planning commission.

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Hamby, Headley honored for outstanding achievement during Thursday work session

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners had a busy work session agenda Thursday, but took time out to honor two individuals for very special accomplishments – County Manager David Headley and District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby.

Hamby will be retiring from the Board at the end of the month following eight years in office. The Board presented him a plaque in honor of his dedicated service to Dawson County and held a reception for him following the meeting.

County Manager David Headley was named as the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Appointed Official of the Year recently. The region covers 13 counties and 51 municipalities. “We’re proud of David and his recognition as Official of the Year,” said Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond.

Public Works Director David McKee addressed the Board on several issues. The first was a course aggregate contract bid submitted by Vulcan Materials in the amount of $161,664. The current contract has expired and all renewal year options have been exhausted. The department has a full-time paving crew on staff to perform the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant work and several miles of other road work and parking lot repairs.

The current contract to purchase hot asphaltic mix has also exhausted all renewal years and Mckee asked the Board to accept contracts with Baldwin Paving, Blunt Construction and CW Matthews Contracting to provide the product. Each company offered the low bids on the various items required.

Mckee brought another long-standing issue of the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and SR 53 before the Board. He pointed out the county has partnered with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to install a right-hand turn lane along the Lumpkin Campground mainline. SR 53 traffic will not be changed. Upon completion, GDOT will adjust all traffic signals. The project qualifies for SPLOST VI funds, Impact Fee funds or General Fund.

Commissioners also discussed a highway beautification project. The county has been looking for ways to landscape areas along the GA 400 Corridor that are within the GDOT right-of-way for 10 years. The project requires special encroachment permits, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the long-term maintenance of this corridor. In September, the project was bid and two bids were received with a total bid cost was $116,246.85, which is $69,556.85 over the total grant amount. The project is not SPLOST VI eligible, and additional funding will have to come from another source such as the general fund. McKee asked the Board for direction on the project.

GEBCorp Regional Client Manager Ryan Reynolds presented commissioners with options for a county employee retirement plan

Planning & Development Director Jameson Kinley presented a review of the 2018 comprehensive plan.

The purpose of the plan to provide guidance for everyday decision making by local government officials and other community leaders. It represents the efforts of the government, the residents and various stakeholders by identifying the critical issues and goals for the communy. The plan has been approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The Board can amend the plan at any time.

Commissioners unanimously approved a request by Kinley to add a summer intern to work on Geographic Information System issues within Planning and Development. The position is fully funded by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson asked for Board approval to apply for the annual Georgia Forestry Commission 50/50 grant program. The maximum allowed on this grant is $10,000.00. Thompson said the grant is needed to purchase replacement fire hoses, nozzles and scene lights. This grant will not be awarded until spring of 2019.

Commissioners unanimously approved Thompson’s request to apply for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Injury Prevention Program. The program is designed to provide funding to public safety agencies in Georgia. DPH provides Dawson Fire/EMS with six convertible and four high-back booster child safety seats monthly to issue to citizens. The grant requires no county match.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett asked the Board to approve the annual contract with Deanna Specialty Transportation, Inc. to provide specialty transportation within the county. The company reimburses the county for senior client rides.

Commissioners also discussed the following board appointments/reappointments:  Tax Assessor Board, Jim Perdue; Department of Family and Children Services Board, Nancy Stites replacing Vickie Porter; Planning Commission John Dooley Chairman, Jason Hamby, John Maloney, Tim Bennett and Neil Hornsey.

 

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 meets in special called session Thursday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will meet in a special called session/public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 6) in the Government Center Assembly Room. That meeting will be followed at 6 p.m. by a regular voting session.

The county is required to hold a public hearing to meet the requirements for acceptance of a $750,000 community development block grant (CDBG) to assist with the construction of the new Margie Weaver Senior Center on Recreation Road. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program.

During the 6 p.m. voting session, the sheriff’s office will seek ratification of a request to apply for $112,204 in grant funding for the 2019 North Georgia K9 Task Force. Dawson County has received this funding in the past.

The Fire/EMS is also asking approval to accept a Georgia Emergency Management Agency K9 Grant Fund in the amount of $14,000 with no matching funds required. The department has received this grant for several years. It runs from Oct. 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019.

Danny Thompson was appointed as the interim EMA director in July 2018 and provided 90 days by the Board of Commissioners to obtain his Certified Emergency Manager credentials. Thompson has received that certification and is asking the Board to appoint him as EMA Director.

The Dawson County Fleet Maintenance Department performs repairs and maintenance on the Public Works’ Road Department’s equipment that are capable of being completed in-house. Other work is outsourced for performance. An IFB was released on Oct. 25 for the aforementioned service. Two bids were received on Nov. 9. The lowest, most responsive bid was offered by Townley Construction.

Legacy Link receives an increase or decrease in funding during the contract year that changes the original contract amounts. The organization is asking for an addendum that makes the following change: includes an additional $16,258 for respite care to be used during the last six months of the FY 2019 contract (January-June 2019).

Commissioners are expected to vote on ratification of the FY 2020 Georgia Department of Transportation / Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 Transit Contract for providing public transportation for Dawson County citizens. Grant will continue to pay a 50 percent match with federal and state funding for administrative and operating budget.

The Board will also choose its representative on the Development Authority of Dawson County.

 

 

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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Commissioners hold work session Thanksgiving Eve

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DAWSONVILLE Ga. – On Thanksgiving Eve, Dawson County Commissioners were asked to consider a number of grant applications during the work session.

Dawson County Chief Deputy Greg Rowan presented a request for a K-9 grant extension for the Sheriff’s Office. The county has received this grant for several years. The current K-9 grant ended June 30, 2018, and a sub-grant extension was granted through the end of the year in the amount of $56,102. It is used to cover the salary and benefits of two K-9 employees. There is no match required. Approval and signatures are all that is needed to activate.

Rowan also asked the commission for approval to apply for grant funding for the North Georgia K-9 Task Force. The sheriff’s office has received this funding in the past and is requesting approval to apply for $112,204 in 2019.

Danny Thompson

Fire and Emergency Services Interim Director Danny Thompson requested the commission accept the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) K-9 Grant Funds. This is a grant through GEMA and the Department of Homeland Security for expenses related to the K-9 program in the Fire/EMS department. The department has received this grant for several years.

The grant year runs from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019, in the amount of $14,000 with no local match required.

Thompson was appointed as interim EMA director in July 2018 and provided 90 days by the Board of Commissioners to obtain his Certified Emergency Manager credentials. He received the credentials on Sept. 28 and Wednesday, he requested commissioners appoint him EMA director.

Fleet Maintenance Director Shannon Harben asked commissioners to approve a contract with Townley Construction for repair and maintenance of the Public Works Road Department equipment. Fleet Maintenance performs all repairs and maintenance capable of being completed in-house. Other work is outsourced for performance. The invitation for bids (IFB) was released on Oct. 25, 2018. Two bids were received on Nov. 9. The lowest, most responsive bid was offered by Townley Construction. The rates are $145 per hour in shop, $155 in field plus $180 travel fee for field repair and 2 percent markup on parts.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett asked for an addendum to increase funding for the Respite Care agreement with Legacy Link. Legacy Link receives an increase or decrease in funding during the contract year that changes original contract amounts. The addendum would include an additional $16,258 for respite care to be used during the last six months of the FY 2019 contract

Pruett also sought approval of a the continuous grant with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for providing public transportation for Dawson County citizens. The grant requires the county to pay a 50% match with federal and state funding for administrative and operating budget.

Issues discussed in a work session are generally 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. 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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Blacks Mill Road bridge replacement, road repairs on agenda for Thursday county commission meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will meet in a voting session Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room with infrastructure improvements among the key issues to be considered.

In 2017, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) ordered that Blacks Mill Road bridge be closed due to unsafe conditions. In February, county officials approved an IFB. Director of Public Works David McKee will ask commissioners to award a $375,000 contract to Georgia Bridge and Concrete and approve $233,700 in SPLOST VI Road and Bridge funds for the project. GDOT has approved $175,000 in state funds. $33,700 has already been spent on design and specifications.

Commissioners will also direct their attention to road repairs. Georgia’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) is a program that awards counties money from the State Motor Fuel Tax collections for road projects. The program requires a 30 percent county match. This year the amount allotted to Dawson County is $414,931.34. With Dawson County’s 30 percent match of $124,479.34, the total budget for 2019 LMIG (projects) is $539,410.47.

Roads on the proposed list include, but are not limited to, Amicalola Drive, American Way, Easy Street and Hightower Parkway.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also requesting commissioners award a contract to Everlast Construction Group, LLC. For exterior renovations at the Veterans Memorial Park gymnasium in the total amount of $235,140. In February, commissioners agreed that $250,000 could be applied from SPLOST VI funds.

Commissioners will also be asked to accept the bid of Patrol Outfitters to upfit two 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit SUVs in the amount of $23,312.10 for the Sheriff’s Office.

One zoning request is on Thursday’s agenda. Donald and Deborah Dearwent have made a request to rezone property at 3264 Hwy. 9 from Residential Sub-Rural (RSR) to Residential Agricultural / Residential Exurban (RA). The property is currently for sale and the owners would like to allow for prospective buyers to be able to use it for a bed and breakfast.

Chairman Billy Thurmond will read a proclamation declaring Nov. 15 as Hunter Adams Day.

Adams is a Dawson County High School graduate and a competitor in regional, state and national bull riding competition.

He was ranked in the Top 10 in the 2017 Junior National Bull Riders Association County Parks and is a qualifier in the 2018 Junior National Finals Rodeo. Adams has also served the community as a volunteer to work in the Dawson County Parks and Recreation’s Special Olympics ShinE Metric.

 

 

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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