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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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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County Commissioners consider changing meeting schedule

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — In the past Dawson County commissioners have held meetings four times a month but that could change to twice monthly if they decide to adopt the proposal discussed at Thursday’s work session.

Currently, the Board holds work sessions on the first and third Thursday each month and a voting sessions on the second and fourth Thursday. During the work sessions, they discuss issues that will be voted at the voting session. But that has resulted in voting sessions that, at times, have lasted less than 15 minutes.

Chairman Billy Thurmond said rather than bring staff and citizens together for two very short voting meetings each month, it would be more efficient to hold work sessions and voting meetings on the same night.

If approved, future work sessions will be held at 4 p.m. followed by an executive session at 5 p.m. if necessary and a voting meeting at 6 p.m.

“Chairman Billy Thurmond he proposed the change, “In an effort to make meetings more efficient and more productive.”

Planning Director Jameson Kinley asked commissioners to authorize the hiring of an Alcohol Licensing Administrator at a pay range between $17 and $26.35 per hour. The position is currently frozen.

He also asked for $8,100 to hire Ross and Associates to conduct the land use resolution update the Board had requested. The department put the update out for bids. Ross and Associates was the sole bidder.

Commissioners heard a request by the 4H Rabies Clinic to hold the 5th annual parade and assembly on April 27.

Chief Financial Officer Vickie Neikirk requested Board approval to create a general fund contingency of $100,000 in the 2019 budget. Dawson County has had a contingency in the past but it was not included in the 2019 budget.

Generally, department heads would ask for money for their department and if she believed it to be in the county’s interest, she would present it to County Manager David could authorize the expenditure before presenting it to the Board as part of his County Manager report.

Other agenda items discussed include:

  • A request from MLH Farm/Uncle Shucks to hold a corn maze, sunflower maze and possibly a Christmas tree sale at their new location;
  • A request to surplus/demolish the Transfer Station weigh station modular office;
  • A presentation of the 2019 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) VI;
  • A presentation of a three-party agreement between Dawson County, City of Dawsonville and Dawson County Humane Society on animal control;
  • A presentation of the pay schedule for Constitutional Officers;
  • A presentation of a board appointment to the Tax Assessors 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dawson County Planning Commission reelects officers for 2019

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In the first meeting of 2019, the Dawson County Planning Commission met and elected officers for the new year. All of the officers will remain the same as 2018.

Jason Hamby was reelected chairman, Emory Dooley was reelected vice chairman and Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley was reelected secretary. All votes were unanimous.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a variance request by Ben Trail on behalf of Milton Bouchillon for an existing barn on property on War Hill Park Road. The applicant is adding acreage to the site and the barn, which was built more than 40 years ago, is not in compliance.

Staff recommended approval and the commission voted 5-0 to grant the approval.

 

 

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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Citizens will have one more chance to provide input into the county’s future growth Thursday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will hold one final public hearing on the proposed 2018 comprehensive plan when it meets in a voting session Thursday (Jan. 10) at 4 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room.

The plan is one of the county’s most important documents because it serves as a road map to future growth. It was developed after months of gathering public input at citizen meetings and in an online survey.

The state requires that a county’s comprehensive plan be updated every five years in order to be eligible for state grants and be approved by the Department of Community Affairs.

This plan has received DCA approval and could have been adopted in December, but commissioners wanted to hold one public hearing to give citizens one more chance to provide input.

Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley will present the plan.

Other items on Thursday’s agenda include:

  • Presentation of Georgia Trauma Commission Grant Application Request by Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson;
  • Presentation of IFB #330-18 – 15-Foot Rock Gravel Spreader Award Request by Public Works Director David McKee;
  • Presentation of Professional Exemption for Medical Director Services for the Dawson County Detention Center by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Sole Source Purchase Request for Computer Aided Dispatch System Upgrade by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Purchasing Policy Ordinance and Purchasing Card Program Policies and Procedures Update Recommendation by Purchasing Manager Melissa Hawk;
  • Presentation of Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Dawsonville for Municipal Elections by interim County Attorney;
  • Presentation of Revised Intergovernmental Agreement with Pickens County Regarding Fire Protection for the Wildcat Community by Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond;
  • Presentation of Board reappointments to the Chestatee-Chattahoochee Resource Conservation & Development.

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Hamby, Headley honored for outstanding achievement during Thursday work session

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners had a busy work session agenda Thursday, but took time out to honor two individuals for very special accomplishments – County Manager David Headley and District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby.

Hamby will be retiring from the Board at the end of the month following eight years in office. The Board presented him a plaque in honor of his dedicated service to Dawson County and held a reception for him following the meeting.

County Manager David Headley was named as the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Appointed Official of the Year recently. The region covers 13 counties and 51 municipalities. “We’re proud of David and his recognition as Official of the Year,” said Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond.

Public Works Director David McKee addressed the Board on several issues. The first was a course aggregate contract bid submitted by Vulcan Materials in the amount of $161,664. The current contract has expired and all renewal year options have been exhausted. The department has a full-time paving crew on staff to perform the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant work and several miles of other road work and parking lot repairs.

The current contract to purchase hot asphaltic mix has also exhausted all renewal years and Mckee asked the Board to accept contracts with Baldwin Paving, Blunt Construction and CW Matthews Contracting to provide the product. Each company offered the low bids on the various items required.

Mckee brought another long-standing issue of the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and SR 53 before the Board. He pointed out the county has partnered with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to install a right-hand turn lane along the Lumpkin Campground mainline. SR 53 traffic will not be changed. Upon completion, GDOT will adjust all traffic signals. The project qualifies for SPLOST VI funds, Impact Fee funds or General Fund.

Commissioners also discussed a highway beautification project. The county has been looking for ways to landscape areas along the GA 400 Corridor that are within the GDOT right-of-way for 10 years. The project requires special encroachment permits, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the long-term maintenance of this corridor. In September, the project was bid and two bids were received with a total bid cost was $116,246.85, which is $69,556.85 over the total grant amount. The project is not SPLOST VI eligible, and additional funding will have to come from another source such as the general fund. McKee asked the Board for direction on the project.

GEBCorp Regional Client Manager Ryan Reynolds presented commissioners with options for a county employee retirement plan

Planning & Development Director Jameson Kinley presented a review of the 2018 comprehensive plan.

The purpose of the plan to provide guidance for everyday decision making by local government officials and other community leaders. It represents the efforts of the government, the residents and various stakeholders by identifying the critical issues and goals for the communy. The plan has been approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The Board can amend the plan at any time.

Commissioners unanimously approved a request by Kinley to add a summer intern to work on Geographic Information System issues within Planning and Development. The position is fully funded by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson asked for Board approval to apply for the annual Georgia Forestry Commission 50/50 grant program. The maximum allowed on this grant is $10,000.00. Thompson said the grant is needed to purchase replacement fire hoses, nozzles and scene lights. This grant will not be awarded until spring of 2019.

Commissioners unanimously approved Thompson’s request to apply for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Injury Prevention Program. The program is designed to provide funding to public safety agencies in Georgia. DPH provides Dawson Fire/EMS with six convertible and four high-back booster child safety seats monthly to issue to citizens. The grant requires no county match.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett asked the Board to approve the annual contract with Deanna Specialty Transportation, Inc. to provide specialty transportation within the county. The company reimburses the county for senior client rides.

Commissioners also discussed the following board appointments/reappointments:  Tax Assessor Board, Jim Perdue; Department of Family and Children Services Board, Nancy Stites replacing Vickie Porter; Planning Commission John Dooley Chairman, Jason Hamby, John Maloney, Tim Bennett and Neil Hornsey.

 

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 reappoint Headley county manager

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – David Headley was hired as Dawson County Manager two years ago. Thursday, the Board of Commissioners showed their appreciation for the way he has managed the day-to-day operation of the county by unanimously reappointing him for another year.

Dawson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “David has done a good job. He’s shown good leadership skills and he has the staff working together and going in the right direction. We’re proud of the way he has taken care of the county’s business.”

As county manager, Headley supervises nine department directors and more than 200 county employees, implements board policies and assists the chairman with annual budget preparations.

“If you were to ask me what our biggest accomplishments were in the last two years, or what I’m most proud of, it would be the people we have hired,” Headley said.

He has demonstrated the ability to identify highly-experienced, highly-qualified individuals to serve citizens.

When Lanier Swafford resigned as Public Safety Director, Headley hired Danny Thompson, a veteran firefighter with 29 years fire and emergency services experience along with 26 years’ experience as a paramedic.

Thompson also is a Certified Emergency Manager who has commanded in high rise fire situations and received the 300 Club of Atlanta award for life-saving efforts while serving with the Sandy Springs Fire Department.

He also hired Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley who has a number of unique qualifications, including a specialized background in Geographic Information Science.

Kinley has worked closely with the planning department the last two years and has the ability to take Dawson County to the next level with technology. Headley said Kinley will use his GIS skills to analyze data and help give the Board of Commissioners and committees more updated and accurate information so that better decisions can be made for the citizens.

Headley also hired Matt Payne, who has nearly a quarter century of experience in parks and recreation operations, to be Dawson County’s Parks and Recreation Director.

From 1995 until 1999, he served as athletic director for the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department. After that, he worked as athletic director for the City of Cumming, where he was responsible for all aspects of athletic programming and maintenance and operations of the city swimming pool.

“There is an old quote that says, if you want to run fast you run alone. But if you want to run far you run together,” Headley said. “Our employees are running together and that should make the citizens feel good about the way things are being run.”

From an operational standpoint, Headley said, “The county has made big strides as far as how open the budget process has become. In the past, when department heads presented their annual budget requests, they made them to the chairman and county manager. But for the past two years, all commissioners and citizens have been welcome to attend.

“In the past, that has been pretty much a closed-door process,” he said. “Commissioners have not been involved in it. The chairman met with the department heads and he determined what needed to go forward. He presented the budget and they voted on it. But, we have opened the door to communications we never had before.”

Headley has 28 years of county government experience with 16 of those years in county government management. Most recently, he served as the Dawsonville City Manager.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife, Sandy, and their two daughters reside in Cumming.

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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