Family Connection Coordinator Rebecca Bliss gets OK to seek $160,500 Partners in Prevention Grant


DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Dawson County Family Connection Coordinator Rebecca Bliss’ request to apply for a Department of Behavioral Health and Disabilities (DBHD) Partners in Prevention Grant during Thursday’s voting session.

Family Connection has used the grant to fund its underage drinking prevention program the last 10 years. However, DBHD requirements have changed. Now counties must be considered high risk to apply for the grant. Since Dawson County is no longer a high risk county, it no longer qualifies.

Bliss explained that Family Connections would like to partner with neighboring Lumpkin County which is a high-risk county, to be eligible to receive the grant. The grant is $160,500 a year for five years with no county match. If approved, the funding would come to Dawson County but would fund a Partners in Prevention program in Lumpkin County.

“Dawson County would not reap direct benefit but would reap some benefits,” Bliss said. “We would benefit in that we would be able to keep our prevention specialist position.”

She also noted that Dawson was once a high-risk county and without the program, it would be in danger of slipping back into the high-risk category.

The county noted that if the grant is approved, it would be necessary to implement an intergovernmental agreement with Lumpkin County.

This item was moved from the earlier work session due to it being time sensitive. Bliss must apply for the grant by April 9.

Commissioners also unanimously approved:

  • A special event permit for the Dreamland Amusement Carnival to be held at the Outlet Mall from April 29 through May 9. The event will take place from 5pm until 11pm Monday through Friday and from noon until 11 pm on Saturday and Sunday;
  • A 4H Rabies Clinic application for a parade and assembly permit for an event that will take place May 1 from 10 am until 1 pm;
  • Moving forward with a public hearing on an update to the county’s Mobile Home Ordinance;
  • Moving forward with a public hearing on a Vape Ordinance update;
  • The appointment of Karen McCord to the Department of Family and Children Service Board;
  • The appointment of Steve Sanvi to the Planning Commission to replace Emory Dooley (Term: April 2021 through December 2024);
  • The 2021 Local Maintenance Improvement Safety Grant.

During the earlier work session, Emergency Services Director/Fire Chief Danny Thompson went before the Board during Thursday’s work session to discuss recruitment and retention of paramedics and the need to purchase a new fire truck.

Thompson said the county is losing paramedics at an alarming rate to hospitals, private emergency services and other counties that offer greater salaries and benefits.

Thompson told commissioners that three full-time paramedics have left the county in the last couple of weeks and that he has seven full-time firefighter/paramedic and six part-time firefighter/paramedic vacancies but has only received one application in the last six months.

He presented the Board with three options to consider that would cost between $75,592 and $207,276.

Thompson then asked commissioners to consider the purchase of an ambulance and equipment at a cost of $395,000. The department has $240,000 available from impact fees and will need an additional $155,294 to make the purchase. Thompson said he has five ambulances and three have logged more than 130,000 miles.

Commissioners do not typically vote on issues during work sessions.

During the work session, commissioners also heard a presentation of an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Dawsonville and Dawson County concerning trail infrastructure for pedestrian access between Main Street Park and the library.



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