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.
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
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.
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
DAWSONVILLE, 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.
DAWSONVILLE, 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.
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.