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

 

 

 

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City, county officials call for $45 million TSPLOST

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

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BOC will consider employee compensation study Thursday

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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

 

 

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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

 

 

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Commission Chair candidate drops bombshell at BOC meeting

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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BOC will vote on Ridgeline Land Development townhomes

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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

 

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500 new residential units on planning commission agenda

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Zoning requests on Tuesday’s (Nov. 19) Planning Commission meeting could add as many as 260 townhomes and 240 detached dwellings to Dawson County if they are ultimately approved by the Board of Commissioners. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room, 25 Justice Way.

Planning Director Jameson Kinley said Monday that Ridgeline Land Planning, LLC is requesting property near the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and Hwy. 53 be rezoned from Commercial Highway Business to Commercial Highway Business and Residential Multi Family to accommodate a 140-unit attached townhome community.

Also Jim King has requested 78 acres at Kilough Church Road and Ga. 400 be rezoned from Residential Agricultural to Residential Multi Family  to accommodate 120 townhomes and 240 detached dwellings. King has also requested that 40 adjacent acres be rezoned from Residential Agricultural to Commercial Highway Business.

In other business before the Planning Commission, Bentley Corners, LLC is requesting a rezoning of 1.679 acres of property located at Elliott Family Parkway from Residential Agricultural to Residential Sub-Rural.

Pacific Group, Inc. is requesting zoning stipulations update of 98 acres of property located at Dawson Forest Road West from previous zoning approvals.

Jeffrey Cahill is requesting a rezoning of 17.15 acres located at Auraria Road from Residential Agricultural to Residential Rural Estate.

 

 

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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