Public hearing on FY 2018-19 budget Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga — The Dawsonville City Council will hold a public hearing on the fiscal year 2018-19 budget Monday in the G.L. Gilleland Council Chambers on the second floor starting at 7 p.m.

The proposed spending plan calls for $5,755,543 in both revenue and expenditures. That represents an increase of $726,777 since last year. Council will vote on the budget June 18.

The major revenue sources are projected to be the local option sales tax ($998,100), water and sewer fees ($193,207), electric franchise fees ($145,000) special purpose local option sales tax ($138,000) motor vehicle title ad valorem tax ($100,000) and alcohol excise tax ($100,000). Major expenditures include administrative ($1,953,925) and capital outlay ($647,000).

Council will also hold a second reading of petitions of annexation into the city limits for property located at 324 and 372 Howser Mill Road.

Other items on the agenda include consideration of:

  • A contract for city inspector at a range of $40 to $55 per inspection;
  • A contract for Phase 1 Main Street Park. Staff recommends accepting the low bid of T.W. Phillips in the amount of $1,454,169.54;
  • A request by Pete Smith of SDC Gwinnett, LLC to continue to construct driveways in Rainhall with 1 foot 6 inch apron, although new requirements call for 3-foot apron. Smith states that the subdivision was 80 to 85 percent complete when the new requirement was approved; and
  • A request to issue a request for proposal for paving, patching and leveling of city streets.

 

 

 

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Eason defeats Grogan in special election 195-120

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Mayor Mike Eason, a 31-year special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the state’s first inspector general, defeated former Mayor James Grogan 195-120 in a special election Tuesday.

Eason, 67, was appointed mayor last December after Dawsonville City Council removed Grogan for alleged violations of the city’s charter.

Eason said, “I appreciate everyone getting out to vote whether they voted for me or not. It means a lot to me knowing I have the support of the citizens. I plan to serve all the citizens, not just the ones who voted for me.”

Eason, who will take the oath of office April 9, said the city is working on a resolution to regulate the city’s speed limit. Another priority, he said, is working with the Downtown Development Authority on the comprehensive plan.

Grogan said he plans to call Eason to offer his congratulations and support.

The former mayor said he does not know what his future plans are right now. “It won’t be political,” Grogan said. He added that he was surprised by the outcome. “I got so much positive feedback from the citizens during the campaign, I was totally shocked,” he said.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Former Mayor Grogan upbeat despite court ruling

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan was surprisingly upbeat Wednesday despite the fact that Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller ordered him to pay the city $25,060.88, the salary and benefits he received from the city while he appealed his impeachment.

Grogan said he was disappointed but not surprised by the judge’s ruling and he remained optimistic.

“We have an election coming up Tuesday that can make that go away,” he said.

Grogan is running to regain his seat as mayor in Tuesday’s special election against the man who replaced him, Mayor Mike Eason.

He was voted out of office last May by three city council members who allege he violated the city charter.

He said the reason for his optimism is the feedback he has received from the voters.

“I’ve gone door to door and I haven’t heard a single negative comment,” Grogan said. “I feel like the citizens will do the right thing and return me to office. They have heard all this stuff before, and they know I’ve tried to do the right thing and stay above the fray. I believe they are going to vote me back in office.”

 

 

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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City council plans major change in future elections

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – With little or no public information or involvement, the Dawsonville City Council is prepared to make a major shift in how future city elections are conducted.

City council members — including two who were recently voted out of office – are expected to approve the change from an at-large system of electing city council members to a vote by district during Monday’s city council meeting.

According to the Georgia Municipal Association, only 19 percent of Georgia’s more than 500 cities choose their council members by district.

City Council did hold one public hearing on the issue at its work session recently. The second public hearing is set for Monday. However, there has been no town hall meeting or formal effort to gather public input on the issue, so it is unclear if Dawsonville citizens are even aware of the change that is about to take place.

Asked if such an important change should be decided by city residents in a referendum, Councilman Caleb Phillips said, “I don’t know if it should or shouldn’t. I haven’t talked to anybody who thought it was a bad idea. That’s the way our government works.”

Stephen Tolson

But former Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg said, “When you change the way people elect their government without any input from the citizens, you have a kind of socialism.”

Two new city council members – Stephen Tolson and Mark French – will take the oath of office Monday. FetchYourNews asked both if the decision should be left up to voters to decide. Both chose not to answer.

Tolson said, “I appreciate your asking, but just to ensure a good relationship with the current city council members, I have promised them I would not comment on that.”

French said he would prefer to wait until after he took the oath of office to respond. He did say, however, “I have not been requested by anyone to remain silent regarding the proposed amendment. A request of that nature, in my opinion, is certainly not appropriate.”

Council will also vote on a resolution to reduce the mayor’s pay from $2,000 to $600 a month.

City Manager Bob Bolz explained that the mayor, who once served as mayor and city manager, has fewer responsibilities now that the city has a full-time manager.

 

 

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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City proposes massive pay cut for next mayor

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Former Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – After Dawsonville’s City Council held the first public hearing on slashing the mayor’s pay by 70 percent from $2,000 to $600 a month Monday, former mayor James Grogan accused council members of trying to keep him from running in the March 20 special election.

“It’s a punitive action to keep me from running,” Grogan said Tuesday. “It all revolves around their ongoing effort to discredit me and keep me from wanting to run. I’m disappointed in what is going on with council.”

City council impeached Grogan in May, alleging that he had violated the city charter and policies. Grogan has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

He filed an appeal in Dawson County Superior Court, but Judge C. Andrew Fuller ruled the appeal had been improperly filed. At that point, Grogan chose to discontinue his appeal and announced he would campaign for his old job in the next special election.

City Mgr. Bob Bolz

“My heart is still in serving the citizens of Dawsonville, and I believe, ultimately, it is their decision and not some random judge to decide,” he said at the time. “So, instead of continuing the fight through the legal process and to prevent city council from spending any more of your tax payer funds frivolously on legal fees, I am here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.”

City Manager Bob Bolz says the proposed reduction in pay is not punitive but reflected the new responsibilities of the job.

“When the late Joe Lane Cox was mayor, he also fulfilled the responsibilities of city manager,” Bolz said. “That carried forward into Mayor Grogan’s tenure.”

Now that the city has a full-time city manager, Bolz said, the responsibilities have changed and council felt the pay should change as well.

A second public hearing on the issue is set for Dec. 18.

 

 

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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UPDATE: James Grogan Issues Statement About His Plans to Run for Mayor in 2018

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James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – James Grogan announced today that he is giving up his appeal to remain mayor of Dawsonville in order to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and will, instead, run for mayor in a 2018 special election.

Grogan was voted out of office by City Council members Angie Smith, Caleb Phillips and Jason Power following a report presented to council on May 1 that outlined a number of alleged violations of city code by the mayor. Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel appealed council’s action, but earlier this month, C. Andrew Fuller, Chief Judge for the Northeast Judicial District ruled the appeal was improperly filed.

Today (Oct. 31), Grogan issued the following statement:

“Obviously I am not pleased with the decision of the judge, however, it is very important to note the ruling did not side with the city council’s decision or their action. It was simply a technicality on a complicated issue that has never happened before in the state of Georgia. My heart is still in serving the citizens of Dawsonville and I believe ultimately it is their decision and not some random judge to decide.

“So instead of continuing the fight through the legal process and to prevent city council from spending any more of your tax payer funds frivolously on legal fees, I’m here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.

“This morning I have stopped my appeal and I am announcing that I will rerun for Mayor in the special election in March and to serve you with all my heart. I have been serving you for many years and we have seen many great things happen in this city under my leadership. So, instead of three power hungry city council members and a random judge deciding the direction our city should take, and whether I should continue to serve you, I have decided to put the decision back where it belongs, with the citizens of Dawsonville.

“You and only you will decide whether I should be allowed to continue to be your leader. So please vote for James Grogan for Mayor in 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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Dawsonville Police Department? Could Happen!

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City Manager Bob Bolz

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In a slide presentation to city council Monday, Dawsonville City Manager Bob Bolz presented reasons why the city should consider forming its own police department, what the potential cost would be and how it could be funded.

Bolz began by pointing out a rise in crime statistics in Dawsonville and other north Georgia cities similar in size to Dawsonville. He also said that only 22 of north Georgia’s 103 cities do not have a city police department.

Bolz suggested the start-up cost associated with the formation of a new police department could be paid from the city’s surplus funds and would include a salary and benefit package for a police chief ($80,338), one part-time deputy ($12,000), police-outfitted Dodge Charger ($30,000), officer equipment, including service weapon, uniform, bulletproof vest, hand-held radio and taser ($3,800) and office equipment ($2,000).

Potential funding sources, he said, include LOST and SPLOST funds, an increase in city revenue related to growth and development, rural city grants and renegotiated service agreement with the county.

No decision was made at the work session and council indicated they wanted to study the proposal. Comments made by Councilman Caleb Phillips and Councilwoman Angie Smith seemed to indicate they would favor creating a city police department while Councilman Mike Sosebee seemed less favorable.

 

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Four Candidates Qualify for City Council Race

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Councilman Mike Sosebee will seek reelection in Nov.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Qualifying for the 2017 city-wide, non-partisan municipal elections ended Thursday with two incumbents and two new candidates entering the race for city council.

Incumbent Angie Smith will seek her second full term in office. She was appointed to the board in 2012 and won her first election in 2013. Mike Sosebee has served on and off city council over the past 30 years.

The newcomers are Stephen Tolson, who lists his profession as healthcare administrator and Mark French, an office manager.

The election is scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 7 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. All city voters will vote at the Dawsonville precinct, Dawson County Board of Elections Office; 96 Academy Avenue in  Dawsonville.

If you have any questions about your voting status, go to “My Voter Page” @ http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do or call the Elections & Voter Registration office at 706-344-3640.

Fetch Your News will post profile articles on all the candidates in the coming weeks and provide the most comprehensive news coverage of all the races.

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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