BOC set to consider employee salary increase during Thursday work session

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners will consider a pay raise for county employees when it meets in a work session Thursday (June 17) at 4 p.m. in the County Administration building. Human Resources Director Brad Gould will report the increase in pay would impact 101 county employees and cost taxpayers $116,000.

In Jan. 2019, commissioners approved a year-long salary study that recommended a pay raise for county employees that would make the county more competitive in attracting a quality workforce. At the time, Gould was asked to present information in June 2020 to show what an increase of 105 percent of the study’s recommended salary would cost.

Gould will then report the county’s healthcare broker NFP has presented a health and wellness program designed to improve the health of county employees and reduce the high-dollar health claims. Gould said he is also looking at other plans and reviewing the spouse/family portion of the county’s existing coverage.

Gould will also present a review of the employees’ handbook relative to the paid time off policy.

Planning Director Jameson Kinley will a recommendation for an alcohol ordinance that will allow agri-businesses such as a wedding venue to sell and dispense alcohol with proper licensing. Currently only commercially zoned properties are  permitted to sell or dispense alcoholic beverages.

Kinley will also ask the Board to consider updating the Business License Ordinance to include Agri-Business. Commissioners would be required to advertise a public hearing before voting on the update.

During the work session, commissioners are expected to vote on:

  • A land use regulation update to the Residential Agriculture lot size requirement;
  • Moving forward with a public hearing on the minimum Standard Code amendment to include mobile/manufactured homes;
  • Appointment of the Building Official as Local Government Agent for the purpose defined in Abandoned Mobile Home Act;
  • Moving forward with a public hearing for updated Planning Commission terms;
  • Reappointment of Angelia Brown to Avita Community Partners and Tina Brady to the Department of Family and Children’s Services Board.

 

 

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

Commissioners OK major road improvement plan

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga.  — Drivers who travel over Sweetwater Juno, Bailey Waters and Hugh Stowers roads should see some major improvements in driving conditions in the next six months. The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $4 million contract with Blount Construction at Thursday’s voting session.

The contract calls for the deep reclamation and paving of all three roads. The work will begin with Hugh Stowers Road along a 1.37-mile stretch from the Thompson Road intersection to Grizzle Road.

The Sweetwater Juno Road project includes 4.5 miles from the intersection of SR 53 West to the intersection of SR 183.  The Bailey Waters project is approximately 3.59 miles from the intersection of SR 136 to the intersection of SR 52.  All work is expected to take approximately 165 days, weather permitting and includes a five-year warranty. The funding source is the voter-approved special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

The Board also approved a $453,000 contract with the low bidder Townley Construction for complete turn-key culvert renovations on four structures on Bailey Waters Road and Sweetwater Juno Road. The vote was 3-0 with Commissioner Sharon Fausett abstained. Those projects, too, will be funded by the voter-approved SPLOST.

Commissioners tabled a request by the Rotary Club of Dawson County to install a granite Peace Pole in front of the courthouse until the June 4 meeting. The pole would have the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in different languages on each side. Commissioner Chris Gaines made the motion to table saying he wants more time to discuss the proposed location with Rotary Club officials.

Commissioners approved Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson’s request to accept $4,316.35 in funding raised by the State of Georgia Super Speeder Law. Fines collected under the law support the Georgia Trauma Commission statewide and 20 percent of these funds go to various EMS programs across the state.

The request for a special event license application for the Mountain Madness 15K trail run at Fausett Farms on June 20 was approved 4-0.

The Board also approved Gaines’ motion to renew the county employee healthcare plan as presented during the work session effective July 1. Commissioners will revisit an employee wellness plan on June 18 aimed at improving employees’ overall health thus reducing the amount of claims paid out.

 

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

Public Works Director asks BOC to approve major road improvements

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – Public Works Director David McKee asked commissioners to approve a contract for major road improvements with Blount Construction in the amount of $4,051,052.72 at their next voting session in May.

The request came during the Board of Commissioners Thursday work session and included Sweetwater Juno, Bailey Waters and Hugh Stowers  roads. The projects were included in the voter-approved special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST VI). Blount Construction presented the lowest of three bids. McKee said there is a need to complete full depth reclamation and paving on all three roads.

Due to the Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp on April 2, a pre-bid meeting was not held. Instead, an additional six business days were allotted for questions.

David McKee

If approved, the Sweetwater Juno Road project includes 4.5 miles from the intersection of SR 53 West to the intersection of SR 183.  The Bailey Waters project is approximately 3.59 miles from the intersection of SR 136 to the intersection of SR 52. The Hugh Stowers Road project is 1.37 miles from the Thompson Road intersection South to Grizzle Road. McKee said Hugh Stowers Road project will likely be the first to start.

All work will take approximately 165 days to complete, weather permitting, and comes with a five-year warranty.

McKee also notified the Board there is a need to complete turn-key culvert renovations on four structures on Bailey Waters Road and Sweetwater Juno Road and he requested approval of the low bid of Townley Construction in the amount of $453,000 to complete those projects. The projects are also part of the voter-approved SPLOST VI.

Brooke Anderson appeared before the Board on behalf of the Rotary Club of Dawson County to request permission to install a granite Peace Pole near the current courthouse. The pole would have the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in different languages on each side. This reaches people from many cultures in the community or visiting the community.

Board of Elections and Registration Director Glenda Ferguson asked the Board to approve a SECURE THE VOTE/CARES GRANT request to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, disinfectant/cleaning supplies, barriers, markers, etc. and a steel drop box for the county Elections Office in preparation for the June 9 General Primary/Presidential Preference Election.  The grant comes with a 90 percent reimbursement from the Secretary of State’s Office. Because Advanced Voting begins May 11, the items have already been ordered. Should the Board not approve the request, Ferguson said the items can be funded out of the Elections Office Budget.

The Board also heard a request by Emergency Services Director for the county to accept $4,316.35 in funding raised from the State of Georgia Super Speeder Law that went into effect in 2010. Fines collected under the law support the Georgia Trauma Commission statewide. 20% of these funds go to various EMS programs across the state and one of these programs is the Trauma Grant.

During the regular meeting that followed, the Board unanimously approved a contract with West Georgia Lighting in the amount of $217,000 for multipurpose LED field lighting at Veterans Memorial Park and the Peace Pole project presented during the work session.

 

 

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

 

BOC will consider major road improvements during Thursday work session

News

David McKee

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – Public Works Director David McKee will ask the Board of Commissioners to approve two major road construction projects when it meets in a work session Thursday (May 7) at 4 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

Both projects will be funded by the voter approved special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

McKee wil request commissioners to award a contract to Blount Construction in an amount not to exceed $4,051,052.75 to complete a full-depth reclamation and paving on three collector roads — Sweetwater Juno Road, Bailey Waters Road and Hugh Stowers Road from Thompson Road to Grizzle Road. The SPLOST VI resolution allotted $21,200,000 (67%) to Public Works for road projects.

Due to the Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp on April 2nd, a pre-bid meeting was not held. Instead, an additional 6 business days was allotted for the question timeframe. The county received three bids on this project. Blount Construction was the low bidder.

McKee will also present a request to the Board to approve a contract with Townley Construction in the amount of $453,000 to complete turn-key culvert renovations on four structures on Bailey Waters Road and Sweetwater Juno Road.

Chief Registrar and Board of Elections & Registration Chair Glenda Ferguson will ask for commissioners’ approval to apply for a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Grants to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for the upcoming election.

The grant became available in April and comes with a 90% state reimbursement. Due to urgency of the purchase, Ferguson said she has already located and purchased 100 face shields to be delivered between April 29 and May 6 for poll workers and staff ($278.19) without grant approve. She indicated that if the grant is not approved, the expense can come out of General Supply budget.

She also said she has reached out to Chastain Supply for sanitizer refills and bottles, gloves and masks and is now waiting on pricing for these items.

Drop boxes are not mandatory, but strongly suggested. Ferguson said her office has received several calls inquiring of a drop box, especially for ADA accessibility. Due to the critical time limit to receive any PPE equipment for the Advance Voting start date of May 18, this is a time sensitive item that will be installed by the Facilities Department for about $300.

Brooke Anderson and Sharon Hall will ask the Board to consider approval of the installation of a Rotary Club of Dawson County Peace Pole in front of the courthouse.

One of Rotary’s six areas of focus is Peace. Rotary clubs across the world have installed Peace Poles to promote peace in their communities. “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is written in different languages on each side of the pole. This reaches people from many cultures in the community or visiting the community.

Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson will inform the Board that EMS has received a Trauma Grant in the amount of $4,316.35.  There is no county match required, however, commissioners are required to approve acceptance of all funds.

 

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

 

 

Lighting for multi-purpose ballfield and COVID-19, discussed in BOC meeting

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – County commissioners considered a request by Parks and Recreation Director Matt Payne to purchase lighting for the multi-purpose field at Veterans Memorial Park during the work session Thursday (April 16).

The county received bids from West Georgia Lighting ($217,000), Cory Clark ($221,000) and Over and Under Lighting ($228,187). Staff recommended commissioners approve the contract with low bidder, West Georgia Lighting.

“We found that West Georgia has a pretty good reputation,” Payne said. “My old employer Forsyth County Parks and Recreation said they have a standing contract with them for their lighting and they gave me a great recommendation.”

Payne added the new lighting will provide unlimited opportunities for the county.

“We will be able to expand our football program and move a lot of our soccer programs, if needed, over there. It gives us so much flexibility to do so many different things.”

Commissioners approved a contract with Vertical Earth on June 20, 2019 to construct a new pavilion, playground and multi-purpose field. This contract also included all site work, including the new senior center building but did not include the sports lighting for the multi-purpose field.

Dr. Larry Anderson provided a COVID-19 update during the work session.

Anderson aid the county pandemic committee meets every Wednesday at 10 a.m. “We found the need to know where are these people in the county that are COVID positive,” he said. Georgia Department of Health officials previously withheld that information but has now agreed to release it to Dawson County.

“Now, the 911 call center will get the address of everyone who has tested positive so we at least will know where these people are,” he said. “We identified one hot spot that had a close association of 10 positives in the county and so we’re working to keep that contained. So that should end up not being a threat to the county if everything goes well.”

Commissioners held a very abbreviated voting session with only one item on the agenda.

By a unanimous vote, they voted to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the county extension office.

 

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

 

 

 

 

David Pressley, candidate for Dawson County Board of Commissioners

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga.–  David Pressley and Emory Dooley are candidates for Dawson County Board of Commissioners in District 4. Fetch Your News interviewed both candidates to give readers a better perspective on their campaigns. FYN will publish both interviews today. This is how David Pressley responded to our questions.

What is your age and occupation?

37. I’m a commercial Audio, Video, and Controls Technician.

How long have you lived in Dawson County?

Four years

Education?

A.S. in Computer and Electronics Engineering and B.S. in Electrical and Electronics Communications Engineering

Government experience/Public service?

I spent 9 years in the Army, and about 1 year in the FBI.

Why are you running for this position?

3 main reasons: I want to reduce residential property taxes, manage spending to enable a reduction in residential property taxes, and work with the Board of Commissioners to manage growth appropriately.

What qualifies you to serve on the county’s governing body?

I’ve saved the Army over $5 million by reducing fraud, waste, and abuse. I’ve designed policies and streamlined procedures that saved tens of thousands of man-hours of unnecessary labor. I can bring that same mindset of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars to Dawson County. I take the position that taxes are not charity or donations. The people that pay them are not given the option to not pay or to negotiate the terms. While I can’t really see a way forward to eliminating all taxes completely, I believe it is very important to keep in mind where this money comes from when looking at every dollar being spent.

What are the 2 greatest challenges Dawson County faces in the next 4 years?

Managing growth and not placing the tax burden of that growth onto the families of Dawson county.

How will you meet those challenges?

I will work with the Board of Commissioners to stick to the growth plan and do our due diligence if we need to change the growth plan. With regards to taxes, the priority is to reduce unnecessary spending to the greatest extent possible. That doesn’t mean we always go with the cheapest option. It means taking a critical look at exactly what we’re getting for the money we’re spending and making intelligent decisions to get a good deal for the county.

Name one area where you feel the Board of Commissioners has done a great job of serving the citizens of Dawson County.

Honestly, I think relative to some of our neighboring counties, the BoC has done a good job with budgeting, but I do think there’s room for improvement.

Name one area where they have failed to do a good job of serving the citizens.

Maintaining roads and bridges. We’re moving in the right direction now, but I think we can do better than we have in the past.

Emory Dooley, candidate for Dawson County Board of Commissioners

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Emory Dooley and David Pressley are running for the Dawson County Board of Commissioners in the District 4 June primary. Fetch Your News interviewed both candidates to give readers a better perspective on the two candidates. FYN will publish both interviews today. This is how Emory Dooley responded to our questions.

What is your age and occupation?

I am 36 years old, and I am the general manager at my family’s Dawson County-based business, 400 Waste & Scrap LLC.

How long have you lived in Dawson County?

I grew up in Silver City, located in North Forsyth County, and have lived in Dawson County for 10 years.

Education?

I graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science.

Government experience?

I have served as vice-chairman of the Dawson County Planning Commission since January 2017.

Public service?

I am a member of Concord Baptist Church.  I served as the chairman of the board for the United Way for Dawson County in 2019, and I am currently serving as co-chair.  In 2019, the United Way for Dawson County raised and distributed over $80,000 to 15 organizations and programs that directly benefit residents of Dawson County.  I also served as a past board member for Kare for Kids, Inc., a local non-profit who helps provide Christmas gifts and clothing for the underprivileged children of Dawson County.

Why are you running for this position?

After much prayer and deliberation, I decided that this would be the best way for me to contribute to the community.

What qualifies you to serve on the county’s governing body?

My education, community involvement, and small business background combine to give me a well-rounded knowledge base from which to draw when performing the duties of this office.

What are the two greatest challenges Dawson County faces in the next 4 years?

The two greatest challenges are managing growth and maintaining/improving our current level of county services without increasing property taxes.

How will you meet those challenges?

We must manage growth by first ensuring we do not become overburdened with high-density residential developments that encumber our services and infrastructure.  Attracting more low impact, light industrial, and technology-based businesses can help balance our tax base.  By correctly managing our growth, we avoid the burden of rapid expansion on our community services.  With the exploration of alternate funding for county expenses, combined with frugality in our current expenditures, we can avoid a sacrifice of service effectiveness while bolstering our ability to offer competitive pay, proper equipment, and effective training for county employees without increasing property taxes.

Name one area where you feel the Board of Commissioners has done a great job of serving the citizens of Dawson County.

I was pleased to see the Board of Commissioners lower the property tax millage rate. Fiscal responsibility is one of my top priorities, and this is a trend that I hope to continue.

Name one area where they have failed to good job of serving the citizens.

While past experiences provide learning experiences and teach valuable lessons, I prefer to look forward.  With my background, I will to bring a different perspective to the board and help ensure that every decision is the best possible choice for Dawson County.

 

Governor Kemp’s shelter in place order halts vote on county emergency order

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – Moments before the Board of Commissioners was set to adopt a county emergency order related to the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp issued his shelter in place order making any vote unnecessary.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond had just completed the reading of the county’s proposed emergency order when County Attorney Jeff Strickland informed the Board he had just received a copy of the governor’s order which states, “No county or city shall adopt any similar ordinance while this order is in effect.”

Billy Thurmond

Surprised by that development, Thurmond said, “Then it is my interpretation that no further action is needed by this Board.” Commissioners unanimously agreed and no vote was taken.

Cities and counties all across the state have already passed local emergency ordinances in response to COVID-19 pandemic and some local officials have complained the governor’s executive order actually lessens the restrictions they adopted.

In November 2019, Dawson County voters approved an education special purpose local option sales tax (ESPLOST) referendum that authorizes the issuance of $10 million in Series 2020 general obligation bonds. School Board members approved a resolution to levy a millage rate sufficient to repay the principal and interest. County government is required pass a resolution to to include the school millage rate in the total tax millage rate. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

In other votes, the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a mutual aid agreement with the United States Army Garrison, Fort Benning  that allows a systematic approach to expedite local and regional mutual aid assistance, information sharing and emergency aid. The agreement allows mutual aid capabilities to be deployed without approval from Army headquarters, when a request from civil authorities for assistance with imminently serious conditions.

Commissioners also approved a request to write off a bad debt owed to the county Transfer Station by Rakestraw Sanitation in the amount of $9,898.76. After several attempts to collect the debt, staff decided it is in the best interest of the county to write off this bad debt due to high cost of pursuit of legal action.

The Board also approved the appointment of Jennifer Wright to replace Edwin Looper on the Department of Family and Children Services Board.

 

 

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

 

Billy Thurmond talks about re-election campaign

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – In discussing his decision to campaign for a second term, County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “I enjoy trying to make the county better. I’ve served the citizens of the county over 40 years and I still have the desire to do that. I think I’m providing a good service so I want to continue my serve to them.”

Thurmond, began a decades-long career with Dawson County, working in the Parks and Recreation Department before he received EMT training and started working in public safety where he served many years before being named Director of Emergency Services He retired in 2015 and ran for the Board of Commissioners.

Thurmond said the county has made a number of improvements during his first term as chairman, including communications and facilities and equipment. He also said the county has become more productive and cost-efficient.

“When I ran for this job first thing I told the people I wanted to do is improve communications with the citizens, as well as the staff and our community partners,” he said. “We’ve updated our website. It’s more user friendly. We have updated our newsletter. We’ve hired a public information director. We’re putting information out on all forms of media. I feel like we’ve done a good job as a board making the county a lot more transparent for our citizens.”

By slowing the employee turnover rate, Thurmond said county operations have become more productive and cost-efficient.

“In the five years prior to me becoming chairman we had a 105% turnover ratio,” he said. “We’ve worked diligently to maintain a quality workforce. Everybody knows a good quality workforce is more productive. You’re not productive if you’re constantly replacing someone, if you’re spending a whole lot of money in recruitment and training. This past year, 2019, we only had a 19 percent turnover.”

As for the upgrade in facilities, he stated, “We’re coming on line with a brand new public works facility, a brand new fleet shop. A lot of the things we needed to do in fleet department, we had to contract out because we didn’t have the facility or the equipment. This will allow us to do a lot more stuff in house which will be more cost efficient.”

Thurmond also said the county has become more proactive in seeking out grants.

“In the last three years, we’ve gotten some pretty good grants,” he said. “We got the SAFIR grant for $1 million for fire personnel. We got the community development block grant for $750,000 for the Senior Center. By going down that road, we have been able to – for the first time in 15 years – lower the millage rate this year.”

The General Primary Election Day is May 19. Candidate qualifying to run in the election is May 2-5 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and May 6 from 9 a.m. until noon. Candidates must qualify at the Dawson County Elections Office, 96 Academy Avenue.

 

 

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

 

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – The $29.9 million 2020 budget Dawson County Commissioners adopted in October grew by more than $900,000 during Thursday’s regular meeting.

The Board voted 3-0 – with Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix absent due to an illness in her family – to amend the budget by $836,000 to fund a pay raise for county employees. The increase was based on a salary study conducted by Management Advisory Group late last year. The Board also voted to approve upgrades to employees’ defined benefit and defined contributions plans that will add an additional $70,000 to this year’s budget.

Commissioners accepted a staff recommendation to award Jarrard & Davis a legal services contract at a rate of $200 per hour for attorneys and $100 per hour for paralegals. The contract is for one year with four one-year renewal options.

Each election year, local government is required to set qualifying fees for candidates who plan to run for elected office. The 2020 fees are set as follows: Sheriff $1,779.86, Probate Judge $1,491.65, Tax Commissioner $1,491.65, Magistrate Judge $1,491.65, Clerk of Court, $1,491.65, County Commissioner $288, Commission Chairman $360, Surveyor $10, Coroner $108, Board of Education $99.

Following public hearings, the Board unanimously approved Tim Stowers’ request to rezone 10.5 acres on Harmony Church Road from Residential Agricultural to Residential Sub- Rural and Michelle Taber’s request to rezone 2.67 acres on Frank Bruce Road from Residential Agricultural to Residential Sub-Rural.

Commissioners had a very busy slate of agenda items to consider during the 4 p.m. work session.

Court Administrator Jason Stephenson led off by advising commissioners Hall County had under billed Dawson County for the cost of one Administrative Assistant and a law clerk for each Superior Court Judge for several years. The amount that was improperly billed totals $15,200.

Other work session issues discussed include:

— The potential sale of a 77.67 acre tract of land located along Shoal Creek to Caballero Holdings, LLC for $311,111. The Tax Assessor’s Office appraised the property at $647,074. An appraisal performed by J & T Smith, Inc. valued this property at $1.1 million.

— A request by Public Works Director David Mckee to award a debris removal and disposal contract to Graham County Land Company. The contract will not have any cost to the county unless the company is called to report during a disaster such as a winter storm. The contract, if approved includes removing and disposing of vegetation in rights-of-way; hazardous tree removal; vehicle removal; freon management; electronic waste removal.

— A request to award a debris monitoring contract to Debris Tech, Inc. The contract, if approved, would fast-track federal and state disaster relief funding and allow county staff to work in other needed areas.

— A request  by Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson to renew a statewide Mutual Aid agreement with GEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to provide assistance and support in managing a disaster that occurs within Dawson County and other participating agencies.

— A request to accept a 50/50 Georgia Forestry Commission Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant that requires a $5,000 county match.

— A request to apply for a 50/50 Georgia Emergency Management Performance Grant to cover a portion of the cost for RAVE emergency alerting, weather siren maintenance, and Crisis Track damage assessment. The grant is $15,568.00. Dawson County’s match is $7,784.

Items discussed during a work session are not typically voted on until the next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

 

 

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

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

City, county officials call for $45 million TSPLOST

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — In a special joint called meeting Tuesday, the Dawsonville City Council and Dawson County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution calling for a voter-approved referendum on collection of a $45 million transportation special purpose local option sales tax (T-SPLOST).

The question to be placed before voters on the May 19 general primary election ballot would read:

“Shall a one percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district consisting of Dawson County for a period of time not to exceed five years and for the raising of not more than an estimated amount of $45 million (forty-five million) for transportation purposes.”

City and county officials submitted separate lists of road projects they will include in the TSPLOST if it is approved.

Dawson County Public Works Director David McKee said, “Staff spent the better part of a year-and-a-half looking at various projects to be included in the respective lists.

The most expensive is an on-going, every-day road improvement program with a cost of approximately $10,500,000. Next most expensive is the storm water culvert rehabilitation project with an estimated cost of$7,000,000.

McKee said, “We maintain about 91 miles of storm water culverts. Of those 91 miles, you can imagine a lot of them are failing. This will allow us to start a program to align those pipes so when it does rain, we don’t have roads to collapse.”

The county would receive approximately 91 percent of the tax collected, or $40,950,000. The city would receive nine percent, or $4,050,000.

Road projects the city would like to include in the TSLPOST with estimated costs in parenthesis are:

Main Street from Hwy. 53 to Main Street Park repair ($162,000)

Maple Street repair ($360,000)

Pearl Chambers Drive, Court and Way repair   ($250,000)

Richmond Drive repair ($95,000)

Jack Heard repair ($91,000)

Memory Lane repair ($105,000)

Stegall Place repair ($98,000)

Stonewall subdivision repair ($200,000)

Rain Hill subdivision repair ($40S0,000)

Existing Asset Road Improvement Program ($29,000)

Burt’s Crossing Drive, Winding Court, Ridgewater repair (($260,000)

** SR 53 at Allen Street intersection improvement ($1,000,000)

** Intersection improvement SR 9N at Perimeter Road ($500,000)

**Intersection Improvement SR 9S at Perimeter Road ($500,000)

Total of city projects $4,050,000

 

Road projects the county would like to include in the TSLPOST with estimated costs in parenthesis are:

Shoal Creek Rd. rewiden and rehabilitate ($1,300,000)

Shoal Creek bridge replacement ($3,500,000)

Dogwood/Nightfire rehabilitation ($1,000,000)

Lumpkin Campground Rd. corridor improvement ($5,000,000)

Elliott Road widening ($1,000,000)

Cowart Rd. rehabilitation SR 53 to county line ($1,500,000)

Grizzle Rd. widen and rehabilitate ($1,200,000)

Frank Bruce Rd./Seed Tick Rd. ($1,500,000)

Old Henry Grady rehabilitate ($800,000)

Gold Mine Road improvements ($1,400,000)

Hubbard Road Improvements ($1,200,000)

SR 53 at Dawson Forest Rd. intersection improvements ($1,500,000)

Country Crossing Subdivision rehabilitation ($550,000)

Existing asset stormwater culvert rehabilitation ($7,000,000)

Existing asset road improvement program ($10,500,000)

*SR 53 at Allen Street intersection improvements ($1,000,000)

*Intersection improvement SR 9N at Perimeter Rd. ($500,000)

*Intersection improvement SR 9S at Perimeter Rd. ($500,000)

TOTAL $40,950,000

 

 

 

 

 

New retirement plan under review by BOC

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will hold its final work session of the year Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Government Center Assembly Room, 25 Justice Way. The meeting will be followed by a voting session at 6 p.m.

During the work session, Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond will lead a discussion about a defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plan for county employees. It is a plan the county terminated in 2012 due to its expense.

Chief Financial Officer Vickie Neikirk will present 2020 Qualifying Fees for local offices. The fees are: $1,778.86 (Sheriff), $1,491.65 (Probate Judge, Tax Commissioner and Clerk of Court) $360 (County Commission Chairman), $288 (County Commission), $99 (Board of Education), $10 (Surveyor).

Several important zonings are expected to be voted on during the voting session.

Ridgeline Land Planning, LLC has requested to rezone property located at Hwy. 9 and Dawson Forest Road CHB (Commercial Highway Business) to CHB (Commercial Highway Business) and RMF (Residential Multi-Family) for the construction of a 140-unit attached townhome community. The issue was tabled Nov. 21 to await the result of a development of regional impact (DRI) study.

Jim King has two rezoning requests before the Board. The first is a request to rezone 78 acres located at Hwy. 400 near Kilough Church Road from RA (Residential Agricultural) to RMF (Residential Multi Family).  The Planning Commission recommended denial.

King also requested the rezoning of 40 acres located at Hwy. 400 North near Kilough Road from RA (Residential Agricultural) to CHB (Commercial Highway Business). Planning Commission recommended approval.

The Board will consider a request by Public Relations Manager Laura Fulcher to purchase Zencity — an artificial intelligence software technology system — that will track residents’ social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to learn how residents feel about county issues.

The system which would cost taxpayers $18,000 the first year, has already attracted opposition. A Facebook poll conducted by For the Love of Dawson shows 96 percent of 164 respondents say they do not want the county to purchase the system.

Commissioners will also hold a public hearing on a Land Use Resolution update.

One item that is not on the agenda is a renewal of the contract for County Manager David Headley. The county manager is on a year-to-year contract that is usually voted on before the end of the year.

Other agenda items include consideration of:

A 2019 Salary Study;

Request for Impact Fees for Library;

Revised Dawson County Employee Handbook;

The sale of approximately 300 acres on Dawson Forest Road;

FY 2020 Public Defender Intergovernmental Agreement between Dawson and Hall counties;

Family Connection request for a Fiscal Agent;

The appointment of a member to the Board of Tax Assessors;

The appointment of a vice chairman to the Board of Commissioners.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

BOC will consider employee compensation study Thursday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will hold a 4 p.m. work session Thursday (Dec. 5) in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room, 25 Justice Way in Dawsonville, followed by a voting session at 6 p.m.

During the 6 p.m. voting session Dr. Donald Long of the Management Advisory Group will present the final results of a Compensation and Classification Study conducted for the Board of Commissioners.

The study found that of the 332 employees covered in the study that 119 receive compensation that is below the proposed market minimum. It also found that if a full-range of equity adjustments are implemented that compensation would increase for 219.

The study offered three options for the Board’s consideration.

In option 1, the estimated annualized cost calculation at 100 percent of the market average would cost $917,180.

Option 2, the estimated annualized cost calculation at 105 percent of the market average would be $1,434,592.

Option 3, the estimated annualized cost calculation at 110 percent of market average would be $2,054,061

Leslie Clark of the Dawson County Library System will seek direction from the Board on how to access impact fee funds to purchase new materials for the main library and the Library Annex.

Commissioners also are expected to vote on an application for an alcohol license for the retail package sale of beer and wine for Uk Thakar.

During the 4 p.m. work session, commissioners will hear a proposal from Brooke Anderson, General Manager of the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority (EWSA) regarding its proposal to sell 300 acres of land at the corner of Hwy. 9 and Dawson Forest Road.

EWSA, which entered into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the county concerning the disposition of the land, approved a purchase contract with DR Horton at its Board meeting on Nov.14, Per the IGA, the Authority will present the recommended proposal to the Board of Commissioners for final approval.

Public Defender Brad Morris will request approval of the FY 2020 IGA between Dawson and Hall counties. The counties have shared the cost of two employees of the public defender’s office since 2005.  The cost to Dawson County is $83,563.20 and the amount has been approved in the 2020 budget.

Public Relations Specialist Laura Fulcher and Planning Director Jameson Kinley will ask the Board to consider the purchase of Zencity, a data-driven decision making tool for local government that reportedly gathers feedback from citizens to help commissioners better understand the concerns of citizens in order to make more informed decisions. The cost is $18,000 for the first 12 months of service.

Family Connection Coordinator Nancy Stites will present a Dawson County Community Partnership, Inc./Family Connection fiscal agent request to the Board. Family Connection coordinates programs such as mentoring, school-based health clinics, Stewards of Children training and underage drinking prevention.

The Board will also consider the appointment of Tom Camp or Tim Goodyear to the Board of Tax Assessors.

Commissioners also will discuss the appointment of a vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2020 and a revision of the Dawson County Employee Handbook

 

 

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

 

 

ABL Management: “Sheriff acted in bad faith”

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Sheriff Jeff Johnson’s refusal to pay ABL Management $52,060.88 for inmate food services forced Dawson County commissioners to pick up the tab or go to arbitration. During an executive session last week, the Board decided to pay up. The amount, however, will come out of sheriff’s budget.

According to a Demand for Arbitration filed by ABL Management, Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson is more than 120 days past due on his payments to the company.

ABL claims Johnson “has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious and has caused (the vendor) unnecessary trouble and expense.”

The sheriff has said some of the invoices went missing. One county official questioned that. “I don’t know if I buy that. I know if I had missing invoices that totaled more than $52,000 I would have been all over that wanting to know where they are.”

The company sent Johnson a “final notice” more than a month ago. The Board of Commissioners received the Demand for Arbitration Nov. 5. The Board sets the Sheriff’s Office budget each year but the Sheriff’s Office has sole responsibility for operating within that budget.

 

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

 

 

Commission Chair candidate drops bombshell at BOC meeting

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Renee Duren – a recently announced candidate for Dawson County Commission Chairwoman – potentially saved county taxpayers thousands of dollars in lost grants and funding opportunities Thursday when she warned commissioners that Dawson county had already violated state rules and regulations once and was about to do so again.

Duren’s announcement came during a the Board of Commissioners’ public hearing on the rezoning request by Ridgeline Land Development to construct 140 townhomes near the intersection of Dawsonville Hwy and Lumpkin Campground Road. She said the Planning Commission violated the rules and regulations of the state of Georgia under Rule 110-12-3 by voting to recommend approval of the project to the Board of Commissioners.

She also cautioned commissioners that if they went ahead with a vote during the regular meeting as planned, it would be a second violation.

Local governments are required to follow applicable procedures identified under Development of Regional Impact (DRI) when a project meets or exceeds the applicable threshold of 125 units. Governments are required to submit applications to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for review and may not take an official vote on the project until the review is complete

According the DCA website, the application was submitted Nov. 15 and is still under review.

“Failure of local governments to wait until the DRI process is completed before taking final action will result in a mandatory meeting with the regional commission for the first occurrence,” Duren said. “The second occurrence can result in suspension of Qualified Local Government status for up to one year. Loss of that status will disqualify our county for certain grants and funding opportunities.”

Duren closed her presentation by admonishing the Board to “please consider taking the necessary steps to comply with the rules and regulations of the state of Georgia.”

Commissioners agreed to postpone the vote.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

BOC will vote on Ridgeline Land Development townhomes

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County commissioners will vote on a controversial rezoning request Thursday (Nov. 21) that could add 140 townhomes near the heavily-traveled intersection at Hwy. 53 and Lumpkin Campground Road.

The voting session begins at 6 p.m., following the work session.

Ridgeline Land Planning, LLC has requested rezoning the property from Commercial Highway Business to Commercial Highway Business and Residential Multi-Family. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.

In the only other zoning application before the Board, Bentley Corners LLC has requested rezoning 1.679 acres located at Elliott Family Parkway Residential Agricultural to Residential Sub-Rural. Both rezoning applications were submitted before the Board voted to implement a moratorium.

Under the New Business portion of the meeting, commissioners are expected to vote on:

A special event business license application for Kathy Roos TNT Fireworks;

A request for proposals for consulting services for the 53 Overlay District and 400 Corridor District Update;

A local maintenance improvement grant application for road improvements;

A request for additional funding for increased attorney fees in juvenile court;

Appointments of Jere Allen to the Development Authority and Tony Passarello as an alternate to the Planning Commission.

Key items that will be considered include:

A presentation of the 2019 Salary Study by Management Advisory Group President Dr. Donald Long;

A request for impact fees for library materials  by Chestatee Regional Library System Director Leslie Clark;

A request to accept Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency K9 Grant Award;

A request to accept Georgia Trauma Commission EMS Trauma Related Equipment Grant;

A request to apply for Georgia Forestry Commission Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant;

A presentation of FY 2021 Georgia Department of Transportation / Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 Transit Contract;

A presentation of FY 2020 Legacy Link Contract Addendum No. 2.

 

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

 

Back to Top

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!