Boy Scout Troop 422 honored at county commission meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – During Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioners presented a certificate to Blake Wood and Boy Scout Troop 422 in recognition of their work to install a Little Lending Library at the Margie Bowen Senior Center.

Little Lending Libraries promote the free exchange of books on a “take a book, leave a book” premise.

Development Authority of Dawson County Chairman Brian Trapnell gave commissioners an update on his group’s activity, including a pending $100,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant application. “This is an exciting opportunity for us,” he said. The grant is for 2020 and Trapnell said he should know if the application is accepted by Sept. 30.

Trapnell said recommendations for the ARC grant include future placement of infrastructure, plans for industrial, commercial and retail marketing and formalization of incentive packages for retail, commercial and industrial marketing.

Commissioners also approved two rezoning requests but denied a third. They approved a request by Jim King on behalf of Charles Turner to rezone 4.3 acres at the intersection Ga. Hwy. 400 and Blue Ridge Parkway from Commercial Planned Community Development to Community Highway Business for the construction of a used car lot.

They also approved a request to rezone 6.06 acres on Price Road near Toto Creek from Residential Sub-Rural to Commercial Highway Business for the construction of a vehicle and RV storage facility.

The Board denied a request by Jan Butterworth to subdivide a 10 acres of her land from Residential Agriculture to Residential Sub-Rural. Butterworth wanted to gift four acres to her child. Planning Director Jameson Kinley, however, said a subdivision of less than five acres is prohibited under the RA zoning. The vote to deny was 3-1 with Commissioner Tim Satterfield opposed.

Commissioners tabled a vote on a vape ordinance for one month to gather more information.

In other business, the Board approved:

  • A funding request to purchase additional fire hydrants;
  • Consideration of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Georgia Emergency Management Agency concerning a new grants management system;
  • Consideration of construction of services for the Senior Center;
  • The 2019 county surplus list;
  • Annexation request C2 -000024.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Commissioners hit pause button on vape ordinance

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – County commissioners were prepared Thursday to end the sale of flavored vape products and prevent vape shop owners from having their business license renewed. But the compelling and passionate argument of dozens of consumers and vape shop owners caused them to reconsider – for now.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to table an ordinance that would have put four specialty vape shops out of business and impacted thousands of their customers.

The proposed ordinance would define a specialty vape shop as one whose sales of alternative nicotine products and vapor products, combined, exceeds 25 twenty-five percent of sales.

Those who pleaded with commissioners came from Dawson, Cherokee, Paulding and Gwinnett counties. One man came all the way from Warner Robins. Many repeated the same theme: Vape products get smokers off cigarettes. Another man who smoked cigarettes for 40 years said flavored vape products were the only way he could quit. Other smokers said without flavored vape products they were afraid they would go back to cigarettes.

Jamie Wheatley, owner of The Vaperz Den, said, “The proposed vapor ban would push people back into a more harmful choice. There is something in this ordinance that no specialty vapor shop could operate in this county. There are four that it would force out of business.”

Wheatley continued, saying, “We know the underage thing is a big deal. We’re the ones that card at the door. You can’t walk into any one of these specialty vape shops without being of age. I would like to ask if there is a way we could table this ordinance and schedule some one-on-one meetings with you guys to educate and inform you about what it is we do and come to some sort of compromise that we can continue to do business.”

Their comments obviously had an impact on commissioners.

Julie Hughes-Nix who made the motion to table a vote on the proposed ordinance said,

“I appreciate your comments. Everyone up here is listening to you because we care. I want to learn more. I think we need to do a better job of checking into what we need to do here.”

Her words were interrupted by a long, very loud applause. “So my recommendation to this board is that we table this and go back to the drawing board.”

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “There has been a lot of information brought forward tonight that needs to be investigated.

 

 

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

 

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Commissioners meet Thursday at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners have another busy schedule Thursday with the work session at 4 p.m., followed by a voting session at 6 p.m.

During the work session, commissioners will hear a request from Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Lumpkin County concerning Emergency Radio use.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett will present addendum number 1 for the FY 2020 Legacy Link Contract for Nutrition Program Services.

Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk will ask the Board to consider a replacement for her department’s copier.

Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley will present a discussion of impact fees.

County Clerk Kristen Cloud will give a presentation of the Board of Commissioners meeting schedule.

Commissioners will consider the reappointment of Nancy Stites to the Department of Family and Children Services Board.

Board Chairman will present the proposed FY 2020 budget for discussion.

During the 6 p.m. voting session, commissioners will present a certificate of recognition to Boy Scout Troop 422 and Blake Wood for their Eagle Scout project.

Development Authority Chairman Brian Trapnell will give an update on the Development Authority activity.

There will be several rezoning requests for the Board to rule on.Jan Butterworth has requested the rezoning of 10.3 acres located at Holcomb Road from RA (Residential Agriculture) to RSR (Residential Sub-Rural). The purpose is to subdivide the land in order to gift 4 acres to her child.

Jim King on behalf of Charles Turner request has requested the rezoning of TMP 107-319-007 from CPCD (Commercial Planned Community Development) to CHB (Commercial Highway Business).

The law firm of Miles, Hansford and Tallant, LLC has requested the rezoning of property located at the northeast intersection of Price Road and Toto Creek Park Road from RSR (Residential Sub-Rural) and CHB (Commercial Highway Business) to CHB (Commercial Highway ) for the purpose of construction of a boat, RV and vehicle storage facility.

Commissioners will also hold the first and only public hearing on a proposed county vape shop ordinance.

The Board will get an update on the Land Use Resolution Fee Schedule that was tabled at the Sept. 5 meeting.

 The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has extended service on several secondary roads in Dawson County — Herman Sosebee, Overlook Circle and Cleve Wright Road. Due to the reconfiguration of the Highway 9 and Dawson Forest Road project, a hydrant will be placed between the two roundabouts. There will be a line upgrade to 12 inch going from Perimeter Road to Highway 9 South and terminating in front of the new subdivision.

Thompson will ask commissioners for funding in the amount of $27,092 for the proposed addition of eight new fire hydrants in the above listed service delivery areas.

 

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

 

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BOC expected to approve rollback millage rate Thursday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County citizens will receive some good news when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets at 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 22).

Following a public hearing, the commissioners will announce the 2019 millage rate will be set at 8.0890, a full rollback from the 8.138 mils the county has collected for at least the previous five years.

Commissioner Chris Gaines said Wednesday, “It’s not a big number, but it’s a first step in letting our citizens know that we are trying to rely more on sales taxes than on property taxes.”

The 2019 total budget is set at $42,520,137. The General Fund is $6,111,870 which is balanced with the aid of $655,609.

Commissioners are also expected to approve an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority (EWSA) that will transfer approximately 305 acres of land adjacent to the intersection of Dawson Forest Road and SR 9.

EWSA President Brooke Anderson once said the land currently serves no purpose. Gaines said the county still owes about $1.3 million on the land. EWSA will pay off the remaining debt and the county will also get some additional tap fees.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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McGriff appointed to Georgia Mountains Regional Commission

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Betsy McGriff

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Betsy McGriff to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

McGriff  is the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Director. She is a native of Bulloch County and holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Georgia Southern University. Both the city and county governments must approve the appointment. She was approved by the Dawsonville City Council at its last meeting.  McGriff replaces County Manager David Headley in that position.

The Board also approved Henry Grady Highway as the detour route for SR 136 while a new bridge at Toto Creek is built. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has designated the bridge as functionally obsolete. Construction is expected to begin in late 2020 or early 2021.

Michael Reuter’s request to rezone 11.29 acres at 244 Norma Road from Residential Agriculture to Residental Sub Rural was also approved. Reuter said he planned to keep six acres for his own residence and sell the remaining five acres. Under current zoning restrictions, no more than three houses could be built on the remaining acreage.

Dan Mueller speaking on behalf of BTD asked to rezone 33.52 acres at Lumpkin Campground Road from Residential Agriculture to Commercial Industrial Restricted. Commissioners granted the request unanimously. Mueller said the purpose of rezoning is to accommodate the expansion of the industrial facility. He said phase one of the expansion would add about 250 employees and phase two could add up to 450.

Commissioners also approved an amendment to Chapter 22 of the Dawson County Fire Safety & Prevention Ordinance.

Danny Thompson was unanimously approved to the EMS Advisory Council, replacing Lanier Swafford who now works for the state.

McGriff

Chairman Billy Thurmond also indicated he would send a letter of appreciation to Swafford thanking him for his many years of service.

 

 

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

 

 

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Sheriff Johnson has sole authority to give employees a pay raise

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson has had the budget and the authority to give his employees a well-deserved pay raise for the last two years but chose not to do so.

As a constitutional officer, elected by the citizens of Dawson County, Johnson has sole discretion over how he manages his budget. Board approval is not required.

But on July 2 Johnson did come before the Board to request approval of a 15 percent across-the-board pay increase for employees. In a passionate plea to the Board he said, “In a time when law enforcement agencies are aggressively competing for staff through increased pay, benefits, signing bonuses, recruiting bonuses, etc., DCSO continues to fall further and further behind in these areas.”

But at last Thursday’s meeting, Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond explained to the sheriff that he can give his employees a pay raise any time he chooses.

Johnson has had serious budget management issues in the past. In 2017, his first year in office, he initiated a lawsuit against the Board in an effort to have them increase his budget. The lawsuit failed and, at the end of that year, the sheriff discovered he had $526,565 left over in his budget. That money had to be returned to the county fund balance.

Again in 2018, the Board allocated more money to the sheriff’s budget than he actually spent. At the end of that year, Johnson had $200,995 left over. In two years, Johnson wound up returning $727,560 to the county fund balance.

2020 is an election year and Johnson has not yet announced whether he will seek reelection. Two candidates — Jeff Perry, a veteran parole officer, and Marcus Sewell, Chief Investigator for the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office — have announced they will campaign for sheriff. Johnson’s opponents are expected to attack the sheriff for what they perceive to be his fiscal mismanagement.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Board of Commissioners will hold rare Tuesday meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Etowah Water and Sewer Authority General Manager Brooke Anderson will bring some welcome news to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session Tuesday (July 2). The meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the Government Center.

In an effort to support the expanding opportunities offered to the senior citizens of Dawson County, Anderson will offer a $10,000 donation on behalf of Etowah Water & Sewer Authority toward the construction of the new senior center.

Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson will appear before the board to request a pay raise for his staff. The sheriff says his office struggles with staffing, recruitment and retention.

Dawn Pruitt will request commissioners approve the 2020 contract with Deanna Specialty Transportation, Inc. for senior center rides. Deanna contracts with the Department of Human Services to oversee funding and reimburses the county. Reimbursement rates: Regular ($7.75), Wheelchair ($11.75), Hourly ($35) and Daily Field Trips ($200).

The Board will also consider the appointment of Carroll L. Turner to the Library Board.

During the 6 p.m voting session, commissioners are expected to consider

An alcohol license transfer retail consumption on premises of beer and wine for Point Bluff LLC d/b/a Crave Hot Dogs;

A special event business license application for Carol Stream Amusements Inc. Carnival;

 A special event business license application for North Georgia Premium Outlets Food Truck Events;

 A special event business license application for Papa Pat’s Corn Maze;

Emergency Services Pay Compensation Proposal;

A request for proposal for a salary study for Dawson County Award;

A settlement agreement with ALA Riley Place LLC with respect to a stop work issued on June 3 for the Riley Place Subdivision.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Developers last-minute changes to Etowah Village plan leads to another delay in vote by BOC

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga – Developers of the controversial Etowah Village announced during Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners that they have made major changes to their rezoning application. But they came unprepared to present a visible display for the public to view.

Commissioner Sharon Fausett

“We have revised our plan based on comments we received at the last public hearing as well as your comments,” said architect Jim King, speaking on behalf of Etowah Village.

As a result, District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett motioned to table a vote on the project until July 18. Her motion was unanimously approved.

The revision included taking out everything west of the Etowah River and changing the public entrance on Hwy. 53 from a public entrance to a gated emergency vehicle-only entrance and only emergency personnel will have a key.

King said by eliminating everything west of the river, the overall density of the project will be reduced from 2.8 units per acre to 2.4 units.

Fausett took King to task for not being prepared. “It’s really bad you don’t have anything the people can see,” she said. “People need to know that this is gone. This is left. This is still here but it’s being shifted to here. This is such a huge project whether you are for it or against it you would still like to have all the information.”

Fausett said later she was not told about the changes until just before the start of the meeting.

Planning Director Jameson Kinley said the revised project would include 338,000 square feet of retail space, 243,200 square feet of Class A office space, a convention and performing arts center, a site for a future fire station, a cultural center and public awareness of Chinese arts and gardens, four-story hotel, 800 units of multi-family housing (apartments), 180 units of single-family attached homes, 205 units of single-family detached homes, a 350 unit continuing care center and 156 acres for parks and green space.

Fausett said the delay will give the public time to understand the changes.

“If you don’t give people time, it’s like you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes. I want to give the public time to digest this.”

Commissioners did approve PR Acquisitions, LLC’s request for an update of the Master Plan for 338 apartments. The original plan was approved in 2006. The owner Michael Moore told commissioners he is simply asking that conditions included in the original zoning that are no longer relevant go away. Moore proposed that Harry Sosebee Road be aligned to tie into a future traffic circle at his cost.

Judd Hughes request to rezone property located at Harry Sosebee Road and Hwy. 53 from Residential Agriculture (RA) to Residential Multi-Family (RMF) was approved 3-1 with Commissioner Tim Satterfield opposed.

Other items approved during the voting session include:

  • An update of the land use resolution;
  • A Dawson County food drive conducted by the Public Defender’s Office;
  • An Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation easement for the new Public Works Complex;
  • A request for No Thru Truck Traffic on Blacks Mill Road;
  • Improvements for Red Rider Road;
  • Reappointment of Gail Smith to the Library Board;
  • Assignment of contract to Professional Probation Services.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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