Ethics Board unanimously rejects city’s complaint against Post 4 Councilman Mark French

Business, News

City Councilman Mark French

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – It took the Dawsonville Board of Ethics less than an hour Wednesday  (Feb. 19) to unanimously reject the City’s complaint that Post 4 Councilman Mark French violated the City’s Code of Ethics.

In a complaint signed by former City Councilman Jason Power, Councilman Jacob Phillips and Councilman Stephen Tolson last November, the City charged French with nine violations of the Code of Ethics. Three of the complaints were dismissed during the Ethics Board’s first hearing in January. The rest were tossed Wednesday.

“First I want to thank the Board for its willingness to serve in this capacity,” French said. “I know it’s not easy. So I want to express my appreciation for their diligence in looking through all of the facts and coming to the true and correct conclusion.”

The complaint followed a series of emails between French, Dawsonville City Manager Bob Bolz, and Steve Sanvi, a private citizen and resident of Dawsonville. The City claimed French abused his power by directing Bolz to consult with City Attorney Dana Miles to provide a legal opinion to Sanvi’s question.

French maintained from the beginning he did nothing wrong. “I did not ask for anything improper. I asked the city manager to coordinate with the county attorney to draft a proper response to a citizen’s inquiry,” he said upon learning of the complaint.

Board Chairwoman Sheley Martin explained the Board’s decision by saying, “Based on the emails we reviewed and the complaint, it was clear to us that legal had already been consulted prior to him asking for that. We just didn’t feel like the complaint met the criteria to go forward.”

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

Dawsonville Ethics Board delays decision until Feb. 19

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – A decision in the ethics complaint filed against City Councilman Mark French will have to wait until Feb. 19 at the earliest.

Steven Leibel, French’s attorney, raised several objections at Tuesday’s Ethics Board hearing that Abbott (Abb) Hayes, the attorney representing the City of Dawsonville, was not prepared to answer. Hayes said it was the first time he had heard the objections and he asked for time to prepare a response.

Hayes agreed to provide a written response by Feb 3, Leibel agreed to file a written rebuttal by Feb. 7 and the Board agreed to reconvene on Feb 19 at 9 a.m. at City Hall.

Attorney Steven Leibel (left) City Councilman Mark French at Tuesdsy Ethics Board hearing

The City initially charged French with nine violations of the City’s Ethics Code which was sparked by a request French made of City Manager Bob Bolz to consult with the City Attorney regarding a question posed by a private citizen, who also happened to be French’s employer. Three of the nine were dismissed during a preliminary hearing last month.

During that hearing, French argued the complaint should be dismissed because the City failed to follow its own rules that require the city to serve notice of a complaint within seven calendar days. French said he was not served for nine days.

Subsequently, the City refiled the complaint but this time the complainant was listed as City Councilman Stephen Tolson.

Leibel quickly attacked the second filing. “The question is this a complaint through the City or is this an individual complaint. If it’s a City complaint then it’s illegal because the new complaint was not voted on by the City Council. If it is not a complaint by the City, and is an individual complaint by Dawsonville City Council member Stephen Tolson, then I would ask that Mr. Hayes needs to recuse himself because he is being paid for by the City and my client is not. That is a conflict of interest I see as a problem.”

In a written statement issued in January, French said the complaint was politically motivated. “It is based solely upon on political motives and not on any alleged improper action on my part,” he wrote. “The Council is well aware of my support for another candidate in the recent Mayoral election. In my opinion, the complaint is both frivolous and patently unfounded.”

Leibel asserted, “This body has an inherent conflict of interest in any case where there is an internal governmental dispute between members of the body.”

He also raised Constitutional questions about the legitimacy of Ethics Board. “Before you can even hold a hearing, there have been no policies or procedures assuring procedural due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution and the State of Georgia. You need to adopt procedures and rules that are available to participants so they know what the purview of the Ethics Board is with regard to process.”

Shelley, the attorney on the Board, questioned whether this was a City complaint or an individual complaint. Hayes did not answer directly, but said, “I do think the City has an interest in seeing the Ethics Code is properly administered when an ethics complaint is brought.”

Hayes said City Attorney Dana Miles recused himself from the hearing “because the allegations at issue here relate to him.”

 

 

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

 

Eason reelected Mayor, ESPLOST wins voter approval

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Dawsonville, Ga. – Incumbent Dawsonville Mayor Michael M. Eason easily beat back a challenge from newcomer Durant Wright in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Eason, who was appointed mayor in 2017 then won a special election in March 2018, received 276 votes to Wright’s 118.

Wright is a young business entrepreneur who manages several family businesses, including convenience stores and storage facilities.

Another newcomer, John H. Walden, ran unopposed for Post 3 on the city council. Incumbent Post 1 City Councilman Caleb Phillips also ran unopposed.

Dawson County voters approved the $48 million Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax by a vote of 966 to 284.

 

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

 

Qualifying for November city elections has ended

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Qualifying for the Nov. 5, 2019 elections in Dawson County has ended.

Based on information received from elections supervisors, the following candidates have filed election paperwork and have qualified to run for office.

The candidate for mayor (listed in alphabetical order) are:

Mayor

Mike Eason (I)

Durant Wright

City Council Post 1

Caleb Phillips (I)

City Council Post 3

John Walden

 

 

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.co

Chemical spill reported in Dawsonville’s Flat Creek

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are on the scene of a chemical spill this morning (March 23) at Flat Creek behind Robinson Elementary School.

According to a city of Dawsonville press release, the spill of ferric chloride took place Tuesday, March 20, when a 55-gallon drum ruptured at the Gold Creek Food facility. City Manager Bob Bolz said, “We were never notified.”

Bolz said the city discovered the spill two days later when city Utility Department personnel noticed discolored water in Flat Creek. On closer examination, they noticed dead fish and other aquatic life.

City officials immediately contacted Environmental Management Services, the city’s contracted company for environmental testing services. A PH test was applied, which showed the water to be very acidic. The company then notified DNR, which deployed both a fishery biologist of the Wildlife Resources Division and a representative of the Environmental Protection Division Hazardous Response Team.
The incident is under investigation by DNR.

According to the city’s press release, “Environmental Management Services has assured the city that there is no risk to drinking water.”

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said it is safe for students to attend Robinson Elementary School today, but they would remain indoors through recess to ensure no one gets into the creek, which flows behind the school.

City personnel notified all appropriate county departments of the spill.

The city’s press release also stated, “Gold Creek Foods, at the direction of EPD Hazardous Response Team personnel, began clean-up efforts utilizing Hulsey Environmental Services Thursday evening.”

 

 

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

Georgia Supreme Court hands former Mayor Grogan a decisive win against the City of Dawsonville

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — In a unanimous decision today (Feb. 4), the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that former Mayor James Grogan does not owe the City of Dawsonville any money and he is eligible to run for elected office in the future.

“All I can say is that I feel completely vindicated,” Grogan said Monday. “I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Grogan v. City of Dawsonville lawsuit was filed in Spring of 2017 after the city council voted to remove Grogan from office. Grogan sued the city in an attempt to be reinstated. The city argued Grogan’s lawsuit was meritless and the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over his appeal.

The Superior Court agreed and dismissed his claim. But the state’s highest court did not agree. “We conclude we do have jurisdiction over his appeal. And, we conclude the trial court erred in granting relief to the City on its “money-had-and-received counterclaim.”

The city claimed – and Superior Court also agreed – that Grogan owed the City funds totaling about $25,000. Again the Supreme Court disagreed.

“Of the approximately $25,000 the City claimed Grogan owed, about $10,700 was in salary paid to Grogan. The remaining amount of approximately $11,300 that the City sought to recoup was the value of health, disability, and dental insurance premiums paid for Grogan, a life insurance policy in Grogan’s name, payroll taxes paid on Grogan’s behalf, and amounts paid for certain business expenses. Outside of his salary, there is no indication that Grogan received money from the City. Grogan does not argue, and so we do not address, whether the City could ever recover only for money paid directly to the defendant.”

Until Monday, Grogan said he worried the lower court ruling might make him ineligible to run for elected office in the future.

But the Supreme Court’s decision states, “OCGA 21-2-8 requires a conviction and sentencing for a criminal offense before someone is disqualified from office. Nothing about Grogan’s removal shows that he was charged with, much less convicted of, a criminal offense.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Mike Eason named Dawsonville’s interim mayor

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Mike Eason is sworn as Dawsonville interim mayor as grandson Caleb looks on.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Mike Eason, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for 31 years and the state’s first inspector general, was appointed interim mayor of the city of Dawsonville at Monday’s city council meeting.

Eason earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration/criminal justice from Brenau University and also served as Cumming’s chief of police from 2005 to 2009.

Eason will replace James Grogan, who was voted out of office by city council for alleged violations of the city charter. He will serve until voters choose the next mayor in a special election. Council approved a resolution to schedule the special election for March 20

Council also held two public hearings on key issues. The first would reduce the mayor’s compensation from $2,000 per month to $600 per month and clarify compensation outside the first regular meeting of the month.

The second would amend sections of the city’s charter to create district posts for council members and make the removal of city officials consistent with state law. Both require a second public hearing.

Council was scheduled to vote on an request by Gold Creek residents to reduce the fee for combined annexation requests but the applicant withdrew the request for the time being.

A bid was awarded to Cumming-based Rakestraw Sanitation for garbage and solid waste collection at a cost of $9.85 per month.

Council unanimously agreed to pay $320 each plus mileage for two newly elected council members to attend mandatory training.

Council also approved changing the time for regular meetings and work sessions in 2018 to 7 p.m. on the first Monday each month.

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

News

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

 

 

 

 

AMP Owner Called for Zappendorf Resignation

News

AMP owner Jeremy Porter

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Atlanta Motorsports Park owner Jeremy Porter said he suggested Seanie Zappendorf step down as a member of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) as soon as he learned about the complaint filed against her by Carlita Parks.

Parks’ complaint to City Manager Bob Bolz that Zappendorf misrepresented herself as a city employee is the basis for a formal ethics complaint. Zappendorf is not a city employee, but was a member of the DDA when she questioned Parks about her complaints against AMP.

The race track was involved in a controversial zoning issue at the time and Zappendorf’s questioning of Parks could be seen as a conflict of interest since she and her husband, Ron, own Discover Parts, a racing parts store that leases property at the track.

An email obtained from city officials confirms that Porter wrote City Councilwoman Angie Smith on May 2 stating:

“I wanted to bring an issue to your attention that affects both AMP and the City of Dawsonville in the hope that we can work together to find a resolution.

“Please find attached a copy of a letter that was sent to Bob Boltz (sic) by Carita Parks who is a nearby resident of the AMP track. In her letter, Mrs. Parks describes the actions of one of our tenants, Seanie Zappendorf, who appears to have interfered in both City of Dawsonville and AMP business while making false claims to be acting in an official capacity for both parties. (Giving Mrs. Parks a card with city of Dawsonville on it, when in reality it is the DDA / Stating she is an investor in AMP). I am not certain her actions were malicious, however I believe it does require action on our part.

“Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor, nor has she been given permission to act on our behalf in any way under any circumstances.

“I am extremely alarmed that any local resident should feel as if they are being given a ‘warning’ by a representative of AMP or the DDA. I would like to, with your permission, inform Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor and that her actions are not endorsed by us. I would also urge you to use this opportunity to provide reassurance to Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf does not have any authority with the City of Dawsonville when it comes to assessing sound levels.

“My suggestion is to ask that Mrs. Zappendorf step down from the DDA. However, I would welcome your feedback on how to directly address this resident’s complaint and Mrs. Zappendorf’s actions.

“I would also be interested to discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Zappendorf resigned from DDA six days later and AMP has withdrawn its request for modifications to its zoning stipulations.

City Council is expected to appoint a three-member ethics commission Monday to hear the complaint.

Cost Continues to Mount as City Hires Another Attorney to Pursue Impeachment of Mayor

News

Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The effort to impeach Mayor James Grogan took center stage at Monday’s Dawsonville City Council meeting as council voted to hire Gwinnett County attorney Tony Powell to push for impeachment.

Prior to that vote, Councilman Mike Sosebee made a motion to abandon the impeachment effort, but it died for lack of a second.

Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel attended the meeting, but did not speak. After the meeting, however, he said, “It’s unfortunate. This is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money. It could take up to a year and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The city paid attorney Abbott Hayes approximately $6,000 to conduct the investigation that led to the impeachment effort. Powell said his fee is $260 an hour.

In May, council voted to impeach Grogan 3-1, with Sosebee opposed. However, he remains in office, pending an appeal.

Council members have accused the mayor of — among other things — charging the city for attending meetings that were not pre-approved by the council and changing an application fee for water and sewer from a business rate to a slightly less expensive residential rate without council approval.

In other business, council tabled a request to amend existing zoning stipulations on property owned by Len Reeves at 280 Maple Street South, appointed Beverly Bannister deputy city clerk and approved an annexation ordinance for the purpose of setting an application fee for annexations and changing fees for zonings.

Council also appointed Tim Costley, Misty Moore and Kevin Hammond to serve on the Downtown Development Authority.

The mayor announced that the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded Bonnie Warne and the City of Dawsonville the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting. The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. Its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: James Grogan To Run for Mayor Again in 2018

News

James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. —  James Grogan, who lost his appeal last week to remain mayor of Dawsonville, announced today that he will run for mayor again in 2018. Fetch Your News will have a statement from the Grogan later today.

Commissioners Welcome New Staff Attorney

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners welcomed new staff attorney Monroe Lynn Frey III to the county at Thursday’s work session.

County Manager David Headley said Frey will be paid $85,000 a year to start and the salary could increase to $90,000 following a six-month probation period. Frey has expressed an interest in hiring a secretary or paralegal which could cost up to $50,000 annually.

Chip King of the Archer Company presented the results of a county employee classification and compensation study his company conducted. The study was first conducted in 2014 but only partially implemented.

The new study covered all 425 employees in 140 job classifications and compared the results to 10 north Georgia cities and counties.

Chairman Billy Thurmond noted that in the last six years, the county has lost more than 400 employees to the public sector or to neighboring cities or counties, costing taxpayers between $1 and $1.5 million.

King called called the county’s 100 percent turnover rate “unheard of.”
He recommended the county adopt and implement the plan to achieve internal equity and market place competitiveness.

David McKee provided a SPLOST VI update. The tax is expected to raise $46 million. The county’s share is 85 percent while the City of Dawsonville will receive 15 percent.

Thus far, the county has collected $9.1 million and spent $4.4 million.
Phase one projects completed include $2.3 million on road projects, $943,019 for a fire truck debt payoff and truck purchase and $707,590 for ambulance purchase.

Phase II projects planned include $5.7 million for road projects on Kelly Bridge, Tanner and Steve Tate, $1.5 million for design and build of the Public Works facility and $564,000 for sheriff’s vehicles.

Steve Fortmann, owner of Royston-based Palladin Wireless proposed a lease with Dawson County that would allow Palladin to place two antennas on the Courthouse in order to provide wireless internet service to customers who are either under served or experiencing unreliable and high cost internet service.
Palladin would pay the county $100 per month for the right to install the antennaes on the courthouse roof. The service would cost customers between $39.99 and $79.99 per month.

Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford appeared before the board to request approval to partner with the Georgia Firefighter’s Burn Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and KARE for Kids to conduct “Boot Drive” fund raisers for each organization.

Swafford also requested approval to apply for the 2017 Georgia Trauma Commission Grant Program to assist local 911 zoned provider ambulance services to improve the level of trauma care they provide.

Qualifying for City Election Begins Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Qualifying for the Nov. 7 City of Dawsonville Municipal General Election will begin Monday August 21 and continue through Thursday, August 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Dawson County Board of Elections Office, 96 Academy Avenue, Dawsonville, Georgia.

Two seats on city council will be contested in the November election, one seat is currently held by Angie Smith. The other is held by Mike Sosebee. Candidates for either of the two seats must pay a $180 qualifying fee.

Dawsonville municipal elections are non-partisan and candidates run city wide campaigns.

Election Day is Nov. 7 and polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

For information on qualifying, call 706-344-3640.

 

 

 

James Grogan Returns as Dawsonville Mayor Monday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – James Grogan will return to the office of Mayor of the City of Dawsonville effective immediately, pending an appeal in the Superior Court of Dawson County.

City Council voted 3-1 last Monday, with Councilman Mike Sosebee opposed, to impeach Grogan for alleged violations of the city code. But Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel filed the appeal on Wednesday and said that Grogan would return to his duties as mayor in time for Monday’s 5 p.m. work session.

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available.

Grogan has served as mayor since 2010. He was reelected in 2015. His current term is schedued to end in 2019.


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 www.fetchyournews.com

Commissioners Authorize GDOT Letter of Support

Business, News

Jimmy HambyDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) could begin work immediately on access controls where Ga. Hwy. 400 intersects with Kilough Church Road and the North Georgia Premium Outlets after Dawson County Commissioners voted last night to authorize a letter of support for the project.

The Right In Right Out Left In (RIROLI) access controls will be fully funded by GDOT and should cause minimal inconvenience to motorists since the work will all be done within the existing Right of Way.

Commissioners Sharon Fausett and Chris Gaines missed last night’s meeting while attending training. Their absence required Chairman Billy Thurmond, who usually votes only in the case of ties, to vote on all issues.

The three-person Board voted unanimously to apply for a GDOT grant to fund the repair of a wing wall off Dawson Forest Road along Blacks Mill Creek damaged in last year’s storm.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a side arm mower and utility tractor mower to replace three tractors that are no longer serviceable at a cost of $210,000. The equipment will be purchased with SPLOST VI proceeds.

In addition, commissioners approved a Drug Treatment Services request to apply for a state grant in the amount of $279,514 to bring HELP Program under Treatment Court as a mental health court track. A county match of $31,057 is required from county funds.

The Board also agreed to renew an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Dawsonville authorizing the county to organize and implement all municipal elections and another IGA with with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority regarding the Taffer Road Gravity Sewer Line.

Commissioners authorized two resolutions to be sent to the City of Dawsonville, one expressing opposition to the city’s purchase of the airport located in Dawson County and it’s future operations and another expressing opposition to a request by Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) to relax noise and light restrictions.

During the Public Comments period, Jonathan Wolfe asked commissioners to revisit the Paladin Wireless issue. Paladin is a Royston-based wireless internet provider that has proposed placing antennas on the roof of the courthouse. The company said that by doing so it can provide internet access to 400 customers who do not have access.

But commissioners tabled the issue last month to give the company time to provide additional information they requested and Chairman Billy Thurmond said the company has not yet responded.

District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby expressed real concerns about liability issues and whether county taxpayers would be responsible to pay for any damage to the roof or injuries to Paladin personnel who have access to the roof.

Hugh Stowers spoke to the Board about improving communications with its citizens. Mr. Stowers pointed out there are some major projects on the horizon and that citizens need to be fully informed.

Commissioners to Vote on Ga. 400 Access Controls

News

Dawson County CommissionersDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County commissioners will decide on three requests by the Public Works Department when they meet in regular session today at 6 p.m. Two of those will come at no cost to the county.

The state has requested a letter of support to install Right In Right Out Left In (RIROLI) access controls at the intersections of Kilough Church Road and Ga. Hwy. 400 and Walmart/Home Depot North Georgia Premium Outlets and Ga. Hwy. 400. All improvements will be made within the existing Right of Way.
The letter is a formality. This is a state project that can begin without Board approval. The work will be fully funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and will all be performed within the right-of-way.

Public Works Director David McKee has notified the Board that a wing wall off Dawson Forest Road along Blacks Mill Creek has been damaged and needs repair. GDOT has a grant available to fund unforeseen emergencies and the Board will vote on whether to apply for the grant. County staff has acquired engineering quotes and prepared cost estimates for design and construction. The total estimated cost is $180,000.

Two major pieces of equipment utilized by the Public Works Department need to be replaced The Board will vote on purchasing a side arm mower and utility tractor mower at a cost of $210,000. If approved, the equipment will be purchased with SPLOST VI proceeds.

Commissioners are expected to vote on a request to allow Drug Treatment Services to apply for a state grant in the amount of $279,514. The county plans to bring HELP Program under Treatment Court as a mental health court track and wants to make an application for state funding. A match of $31,057 would be required from county funds.

The enhanced funding would be used to continue three counselor positions, attend the state conference, employ surveillance officers for home visits and drug screen collection, drug testing and supplies, and a desktop and iPad.

The Board is also expected to vote on renewal of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Dawsonville authorizing the county to organize and implement all municipal elections. The IGA is drafted and adopted each odd year and any even year when a special election is called.

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