Chamber of Commerce wants commercial impact fees reduced

News

Commissioner Sharon Fausett

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Impact fees dominated much of the discussion at the Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session last week.

Chamber of Commerce President Christie Moore made a presentation and requested commissioners consider reducing impact fees on road projects and fire protection categories to 25 percent. Moore said impact fees are the reason at least one company declined to open a business in Dawson County.

“We’re not here to speak about the residential side,” she said. “We’re here to speak to the commercial side of things. We can’t calculate how many businesses we’ve lost (as a result of impact fees). We can only calculate what we have received. So far only $73,000 has been collected from commercial impact fees. Our concern is not the large businesses like the Olive Gardens of the world. They’re used to impact fees. But it really can hurt some of our attempts to attract other organizations that we really want in our community.”

Moore provided the example of one large fitness center that had planned to build a new facility in the community but backed out when it was learned the impact fee would be $51,000.

Commissioner Chris Gaines

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett challenged the notion that the impact fee was the sole reason the company backed out.

“What would have been their tap fee,” she questioned. Moore said she didn’t know. Fausett said, “But you know it would have been a lot more than that right.”

“It certainly would have been,” Moore said and that is another entity we’ve been advocating with.”

“(Impact fees) are nothing compared to that (tap fee),” Fausett added. “It just seems to me like this is all being blamed on impact fees and I disagree with that.”

District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines said the announcement that Northeast Georgia Medical Center will open a new hospital at GA. 400 and Hwy. 60 in Lumpkin County will create new opportunities.

“We’ve all continually said we want to diversify our economic base beyond just retail,” he said. “I think we have a great opportunity of attracting commercial office space when it comes to the medical aspect that is going to be ancillary to the hospital. It seems to me (impact fees) are a barrier we’re putting in place that we do control. I think we need to take a good look at this to make sure we don’t miss out on some high paying jobs that can revolve around the new hospital.”

Items discussed during a work session are typically not voted on until they come before the Board in a 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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Tourism industry sets new record for economic impact

Business

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Numbers released last week at Tourism, Hospitality & Arts Day at the State Capitol show that the state’s tourism industry, and the tourism industry in Dawson County, generated a record-breaking economic impact in 2017.

The day brings hospitality and arts industry professionals from around the state to downtown Atlanta to celebrate the economic impact that the tourism industry has on the state of Georgia. By attending Tourism Day at the Capitol, Dawson County Chamber President Christie Moore and Tourism and Events Director Dustin Heard helped spread the word of the tremendous impact that tourism has on the local economy and met with legislators to encourage continued support of the state’s tourism industry.

Dawson County attracted $52.39 million in direct tourism spending in 2017, generated $2.48 million in state tax, $1.47 million in local tax and supported 507 jobs. Moore said each Dawson County household would need to pay an additional $462 per year to replace taxes generated by tourism’s economic impact.

The state’s tourism industry generated a record-breaking $63.2 billion in economic impact in 2017, an increase of 3.8 percent over last year, according to the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

Moore and Heard were among the tourism leaders that presented Governor Kemp with a check representing the $3.2 billion in state and local tax revenues generated by tourism-related expenditures in 2017.

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 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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Dawson Chamber, Office of Tourism receive  Tourism Partnership Champion Award

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism Development, along with the six other communities that make up Hospitality Highway, received the Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Partnership Champion Award during the 2018 Governor’s Tourism Conference on Wednesday, August 29. The award is given to an alliance that collaborates to increase visitation and tourism expenditures in Georgia.

The Hospitality Highway partnership which is made up of the destination marketing offices for seven communities along Georgia 400 (Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville, Dahlonega).

The partnership was given the award for its collaborative effort displayed in creating the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail. The Farm Trail brochure was made available to the public in May of 2018 and promotes the great variety of agritourism destinations that are open to the public along Georgia 400.

“We were so honored to receive the Tourism Champion Award for Partnership.” said Christie Moore, President of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism Development.

“The Hospitality Highway partnership is one of our greatest tourism assets as it allows us to collaboratively market our community and leverage our dollars as a group to reach much larger audiences than we could reach individually.”

The idea to create the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail originated in Dawson County. “In 2016, the Dawson County Agricultural Committee was seeking a way to better promote their local agritourism destinations,” Moore said. “They were interested in creating a farm trail but wanted a fresh, creative take on the idea.”

After researching trails around the state, Moore determined there were no trails in Georgia that connected urban to rural areas. This led to the idea of creating the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail along GA 400.

“The partners of Hospitality Highway quickly took the initiative to create the trail since it would be an innovative way to better serve their agricultural destinations (which often are left out of printed collateral due to their seasonal nature) and strengthen the brand of Hospitality Highway,” Moore said.

Through the support of the partnership, the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail- Georgia’s Only Urban to Rural Agricultural Trail was launched with printed and digital brochures that highlight 118 diverse destinations throughout Hospitality Highway’s seven communities.

“We are very proud of the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail and were thrilled to lead the process of creating the brochure so that we can better market our local agritourism destinations like Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and the Amicalola Regional Farmers Market,” Moore said.

Copies of the Hospitality Highway Farm Trail brochure are available at the Dawson County Welcome Center, as well as, online at dawson.org or hospitalityhighway.com.

(Pictured above left to right): Deputy Commissioner Kevin Langston, Georgia Department of Economic Development; Courtney Randolph, Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber and Visitors Bureau; Jennifer Cruce, Visit Sandy Springs; Janet Rodgers, Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau; Dotty Etris, Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau; Christie Moore, Dawson County Chamber and Office of Tourism Development; Commissioner Pat Wilson, Georgia Departments of Economic Development; Chairwoman Rashelle Beasley, Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

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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Mayoral candidate forum scheduled Feb. 13

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Mayor Mike Eason

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Dawson County Performing Arts Center at 1665 Perimeter Road to introduce the candidates in the upcoming special election for Mayor of Dawsonville.

The format will allow citizens to submit questions to be asked of the candidates — current mayor Mike Eason and former Mayor James Grogan — at info@dawson.org. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The deadline to register in this election is Feb. 20. Election Day is March 20 when polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. To register to vote, change your address or view a sample ballot, visit www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Former Mayor James Grogan

Advanced voting begins Feb. 26 with all voting taking place at the Dawson County Board of Elections office at 96 Academy Avenue. Advanced voting will be held Monday through Friday through March 16 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

This special election is to fill the unexpired term of mayor. The candidate that is elected will serve as mayor until December 2018.

 

 

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

News

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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Farmers Market slated to open in April

Business

 

DAWSONVILLE, GEORGIA- April 10, 2017:

Beginning this spring, a new farmers market will be open in Dawson County.

The Amicalola Regional Farmers Market is scheduled to open on Friday, April 28. The market, located in the Tractor Supply parking lot, will be open Friday afternoons from 3:30 until 7 p.m. The market is launched by the Amicalola Regional Agriculture Committee, a program of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.

“Our Agriculture Committee has worked diligently for more than a year on bringing a market together that will offer fresh, local produce to our community,” Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes said. “Our committee is looking forward to introducing this opportunity to our community. We hope visiting the market become a Friday night tradition for many local families.”

Making the market as locally grown as possible was a top priority for the committee. Vendors who participate in the market must show their produce is grown in Dawson County or a county that touches Dawson (Forsyth, Hall, Gilmer, Fannin, Lumpkin). Local artisans offering handmade arts, crafts, soaps, honey and baked goods will also be at the market. Nonprofit organizations are also invited to sell baked goods.  The committee has waived all vendor fees for the first year in order to encourage a wide variety of producers to participate.

Market Manager and Dawson County Extension Agent Clark MacAllister said he is looking forward to Dawson County having more options for fresh produce. “We are excited to expand the opportunities in Dawson County for customers and vendors at our new farmers’ market location,” MacAllister said. “The Amicalola Regional Farmers Market will help connect local farmers with those seeking fresh food and farm-related products.”

Vendor spaces are still available. For an application to participate, contact MacAllister at clarkmac@uga.edu or call 706-265-2442.

The Chamber will kick-off the opening of the market with a ribbon-cutting ceremony shortly before the market opens on April 28th at 3:3 0 p.m. Tractor Supply is located at 6921 Highway 53 East. For more information, visit http://fb.me/amicalolafarmersmarket or call the Chamber at 706-265-6278 for more information.

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The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce represents over 450 members in the North Georgia region.  The organization exists to fulfill the mission of “cultivating a successful economic environment and a desirable quality of life for our businesses and community.”  Located just north of the intersection of Georgia 400 and Highway 53, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism Development provides a Welcome Center and visitor and business information to visitors and local citizens and businesses.  To plan a trip or learn more about business and tourism in Dawson County, please visit www.dawson.org.

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Christie Haynes Presents Chamber Update

News

Christie Haynes Chamber of Commerce President

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes presented an update of the Chamber and Office of Tourism Development activities at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

Among the highlights:

The county’s revenue from the hotel/motel tax continues to grow. In 2015, the tax generated $386,297. That grew to $430,876 in 2016 and continues to grow month over month in 2017;

9,381 visitors to Dawson County stayed at Amicalola Falls Lodge from January through July of this year;

Five new stores have opened in North Georgia Premium Outlets in 2017 and an Old Navy store will be opening soon;

The recent ‘Shine Pedlars Metric and Half-Metric continues to grow with 244 cyclists participating this year, an increase of 59 percent since 2016;

There have been 34 ribbon cuttings in the first seven months of 2017 compared to 30 all last year;

The Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year;

Eighteen young people graduated from the Chamber-sponsored Leadership Dawson in April.

Haynes continues to be honored for her work with the Chamber.

In 2015, she was only the second recipient of the Young Alumni Award from the University of Georgia. Within two years of graduation she became the youngest president of a Georgia chamber. She is a 2012 UGA 40 Under 40 honoree, and is a past president of the School of Public and International Affairs Alumni Board.

This year, she received the coveted Georgia Certified Chamber Executive award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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