Dawson commissioners receive SPLOST VI update

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Public Works Director David McKee

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –  The Dawson County Board of Commissioners received an update on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) VI collections from Public Works Director David McKee during a rare Tuesday work session.

SPLOST VI was initiated in 2015 and will run through 2021. Collections were expected to reach $46 million in six years. To date, Dawson County collections are $15,067,286. The city of Dawsonville receives 15 percent of collections and the county receives the balance.

Approximately 11 percent of collections are allocated to sheriff’s vehicles, 11 percent to Fire and EMS, 10 percent to Parks and Recreation, 67 percent to Public Works and 1 percent to Information Technology (IT).

McKee said a total of $11,565,649 in projects have been completed with $5,650,000 in proposed projects planned for Phase 3.

Public Defender Brad Morris requested funding for the salaries and expenses for personnel in the Public Defender’s office.

Dawson County has had a contract with the Georgia Public Defenders Council since 2005 to provide one attorney and one administrative assistant. The expenses covered by this contract ($183,738.65) were approved in the 2018 budget. The contract renews the agreement through Dec. 31.

A second request by Morris for $71,257 is required to cover half the salaries of an assistant public defender and an investigator. The other half is covered by Hall County, which is also served by the office.

Commissioners approved the repaving of the roadway of the Veterans Memorial Park and Senior Services and parking lot for the Veterans Memorial Park with SPLOST V and VI funds. The county has received two bids for the project and Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson asked commissioners to approve the low bid of Blount Construction Company in the amount of $599,141.

Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has programmed the state Route 183 bridge over Cochrans Creek for replacement during the first quarter of 2020. The closure of the road during construction, which is expected to be for a period of six months to one year, will require all traffic to be detoured. GDOT has identified the most beneficial detour to be Keith Evans Road, a county maintained road. McKee asked commissioners to approve the use of Keith Evans Road as the detour route.

Issues discussed during work sessions are expected to be voted on at the next voting session of the Board of Commissioners.

 

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Thurmond, Gaines Take Place on Board of Commissioners

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners welcomed two newcomers to the first meeting of the new year Thursday. New Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond presided over the work session and special called meetings and Chris Gaines took his seat as the new commissioner representing District 2.

First order of business during the work session was for the new Board to consider a request by Public Defender Brad Morris to renew an intergovernmental agreement with Hall County to share the cost of two employees in the Public Defender’s office equally. The contract has been in place since 2005. The expense required to fund the IGA ($70,059.13) has been requested and approved in the 2017 budget.

Morris also presented a request that the county renew a contract with the State of Georgia to fund the cost for one attorney and one administrative assistant as State employees in the Georgia Public Defender’s Council.
The contract covers the two employees’ salaries and cost of employment as set forth in Attachment B to the State Contract, and a 5 percent management fee ($180,186.32).:

Next, Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford presented a request for his department to apply for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER). The grant program was established to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies safely and meet National Standards.

The grant is 100% covered for the cost of salary and benefits for two years.The only cost the county would incur would be the cost of uniforms and gear (approximately $2,000.00 per employee per year). At the end of the two years, the grant offers three options – employing agency assumes responsibility of the cost; apply for a hardship extension to the grant if local funding is limited; termination without penalty.

After two years, the cost for 6 employees would be $231,702 plus benefits. The cost for nine employees would be $347,553.

Commissioners will appoint a vice chairman at the next regular meeting and is expected to renew the contract with Danielle Yarbrough.

During the special called meeting that followed immediately after the conclusion of the work session, commissioners appointed new members to the county’s Planning Commission.

Commissioner Sharon Fausett appointed Jason Hamby to the commission with Haynes Johnson to serve as alternate.

Commissioner Gaines appointed John Maloney with Jeff Looper to serve as alternate.

Commissioner Jim Hamby appointed Tim Bennett with Joan Gibbs to serve as alternate.

Commissioner Julie Nix appointed Neil Hornsey with Mike Miller to serve as alternate.

Chairman Thurmond appointed John Dooley but has not named an alternate. All appointees terms will run concurrently with the commissioner who appointed them.

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