County budget approval postponed two weeks


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Approval of Dawson County’s $27.1 million FY 2019 budget will have wait a few more weeks after commissioners made several recommendations, including the elimination of one new position in the fire department, hiring the position of public information officer and extending library hours during Thursday’s third public hearing.

Commissioners voted to table budget approval while Chief Financial Officer Vickie Neikirk calculates the impact the recommendations will have on the final budget.

Chris Gaines

The proposed budget called for hiring a new fire training officer at a cost of approximately $61,000 annually. District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines recommended that current personnel provide the training in addition to their normal roles. He also proposed awarding the department an additional $15,000 of overtime pay to compensate officers for the additional responsibilities. The savings would be approximately $46,000.

“By allocating those resources, it would be a little more efficient,” Gaines said.

The county is attempting to address important needs that have existed for a long time but could not be addressed due to the recession and recovering economy.

Julie Hughes-Nix

“We’re trying to plug as many holes as possible and still be responsible with the citizens’ money,” Gaines said. “My goal and my desire is to go into next year’s budget with the mentality of how can we not ask more of the citizens when it comes to property taxes.”

County commissioners have long felt the need to improve communications with the public and District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes-Nix recommended the county hire a public information officer to perform those responsibilities.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett asked for a breakdown of cost to provide extended hours for the Dawson County Library’s satellite office on Hwy. 53. “I don’t think it speaks very well of us when people come and it is closed,” she said.

Shron Fausett

The satellite office is currently opened on Mondays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

No citizen rose to speak in opposition to or in favor of the budget.

Commissioners voted 3-1, with Dist. 2 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby opposed, to postpone several requests for annexation of property into the city of Dawsonville for two weeks.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

  • A request to accept a 2019 Victims of Crime Act Grant funds in the amount of $74,088.84. No county match is required;
  • A request to apply for a Department of Natural Resources Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant to repair/replace the fishing pier at War Hill Park. The minimum fund grant that can be applied for is $25,000. The maximum grant if $100,000 and the county will have to provide a 50 percent match;
  • A request to hire a legal assistant. The position is already included in the 2019 budget, but the request is to fill the position this year at an additional cost of $6,956.20 for five pay periods through the end of December;
  • A Service Delivery Strategy Agreement;
  • A request by Michael Turner, executor for the estate of Kenneth K. Turner to have property located at the intersection of Perimeter Road and Allen Street annexed into the City of Dawsonville. The Dawsonville Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue on Oct. 8. The Dawsonville City Council will hold a public hearing on Oct. 22 and the annexation could be awarded final approval on Nov. 5;
  • A request by Board of Tax Appraisers Chief Appraiser Elaine Garrett to approve a contract for the services of an additional appraiser for the current year and next tax year.




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Commissioners table decision on alcohol ordinance


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on modifications to the county’s alcohol ordinance Thursday then tabled a final vote until the May 17 meeting.

County Attorney Lynn Frey has worked been working on changes as directed by commissioners, including licensing, permit fees, disciplinary issues, microbreweries and administrative issues and incorporated them into a revised new ordinance. No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to the changes during the public hearing

Commissioners approved an addendum to the 2018 budget to allow $6,463 to be added to the Juvenile Court due to an increased case load and a requirement that every child have an attorney. The increase will come from the county contingency.

Commissioners approved the bid of $56,306 from Don Jackson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram to purchase an F-700 dump flatbed for the Public Works Department. A bid was also approved to accept offers submitted by Griffin Contracting as the primary contractor and Allied Paving as the secondary contractor for milling machine rental services for one year with two optional renewal terms.

The county has contracts with heavy equipment movers to transport machinery from site to site, but if a mover is not available, staff must drive equipment, causing undue wear and tear on equipment as well as additional salary and mileage. Commissioners approved bids received by Tractor and Equipment (TEC) trailer in the amount of $79,350 for the Roads Department.

The Georgia Department of Community Supervision’s (DCS) Misdemeanor Probation Oversight Unit (MPOU) has reviewed the contract for probation supervision and rehabilitation services, which was executed by and between Dawson County and Northeast Georgia Probation Services Inc. (NGPSI) in 2017 and requires a modification to the contract’s period of service.

The modification was reviewed by Trial Court Administrator Reggie Forrester and signed by Chief Judge Andrew Fuller and was approved unanimously by county commissioners.

Heather Tierney was unanimously approved for reappointment to the Parks & Recreation 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 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



County Names Finalists for In-House Attorney


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The two finalists for the position of staff attorney for Dawson County are Hiawassee City Manager Richard H. Stancil and M. Lynn Frey III, former in-house attorney for the City of Brunswick from 1998 until 2011.

Frey has over 35 years’ experience in civil practice, including litigation, local government, contracts, employment law and insurance matters. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in religion in three years at Emory University then attended the University of Georgia Law School, graduating with a degree in Juris Doctor, Cum Laude.

He served the City of Brunswick until 2011 when the City chose to outsource it’s legal services and he went into private practice

Stancil served as Hiawassee City Attorney from 2007 to 2009 and City Manager from 2007-2016.

Prior to working with the City of Hiawassee, He worked for a general practice law firm. He is experienced in civil and criminal litigation, corporate and nonprofit law, administrative representation, personal injury and real estate. The firm represented clients ranging from real estate, health care banking to commercial development.

Cumming attorney Joey Homans has served as Dawson County Attorney for the past 20 years. County Commissioners decided to hire an in-house staff attorney late last year.

County Manager David Headley said recently that the decision is “mainly an efficiency and economics issue.”


Headley Lone Finalist for County Manager Job


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners announced at Thursday’s regular meeting that Dawsonville City Manager David Headley is the lone finalist to become the next Dawson County Manager.

Headley, who has more than 30 years of local government experience, served as the county’s director of public works for 10 years before being named as City Manager in December 2015.

The county is required to run an ad in the local newspaper for two weeks before Headley is officially awarded the job.

A Marine Corps veteran, Headley holds an associate’s degree in civil engineering theory and principles from Ferrum College and a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


Commissioners Approve Grants for K-9 Unit and Family Connection


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners moved three time-sensitive items from the work session agenda to the special called meeting Thursday so they could vote on them before the first public hearing on the proposed millage rate.

The Board unanimously approved ratification of the 2017 K-9 grant from the sheriff’s office. The grant, in the amount of $112,204, goes to fund K-9 personnel.

Commisssioners also approved a request by Nancy Stites of Dawson County Family Connection to apply for a continuing grant from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. The grant provides funding for substance abuse prevention services.This year’s contract ends September 30, 2016.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities released a Request for Proposal for similar services on July 14 with an application deadline of August 12. The amount requested is $141,507 ($20,000 over 2012-16 contract amount of $121,507.) There are no matching funds required.

Rachel Burton of the Planning and Development Department asked for and received approval of a permit for the Revenuers Run 5K/10K on August 13, 2016 from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM. The race will begin and end at City Hall. The north bound lane of GA 9 from Perimeter Road to just south of Herman Rice Road will be closed during the race. Staff is awaiting comments from GDOT and will submit upon receipt.

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