Fausett, Satterfield, Armstrong take oath of office

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Probate Court Judge Jennifer Burt administered the oath of office and the loyalty oath to three of Dawson County’s elected officials Thursday.

Burt has been the county’s probate judge for nearly a quarter of a century.

“I’m looking forward to what 2019 has to offer,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of great things coming up for the New Year. We have a great group of commissioners and one great one (Jimmy Hamby) who will be leaving us. We’re going to miss him. He’s done a wonderful job.”

Tim Satterfield is the new member of the Board of Commissioners. He is certainly no stranger to Dawson County. Tim was elected following a stellar 41-year career as firefighter and in emergency services. He was accompanied by his mother Reba Satterfield. Who held the Bible that he placed his hand on while being sworn in.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett took the oath of office for the second time and she was accompanied by her grandson Blake Fausett. “This is why I do what I do,” Fausett said, speaking of her grandson.

District 3 School Board member Karen Armstrong was also sworn in for her second term.

School Board Chairman Will Wade was scheduled to be sworn in Thursday, but he and his family were out of town for the holidays, so he was administered the oath of office earlier.

 

 

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

 

Hamby, Headley honored for outstanding achievement during Thursday work session

News

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

 

County budget approval postponed two weeks

News

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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Scott Allen withdraws from District 3 commissioners race, Tim Satterfield will take office in January

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Scott Allen, who qualified to run for the District 3 seat on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, announced this week that he is no longer a candidate.

His withdrawal from the race means that Tim Satterfield, a 41-year fire service veteran, will become the District 3 commissioner in January.

Allen made the announcement on his Facebook page, stating, “I have learned the job of Dawson County Commissioner needs 100 percent of me. At this time, I am unable to dedicate that much of my time to this office. So I am officially withdrawing from the race.”

Former Sheriff Billy Carlisle announced his intentions to run for the post, but he too withdrew after learning that Satterfield entered the race.

The District 3 post is held by Jimmy Hamby, who has decided not to seek a third term in office.

Elections Superintendent Glenda Ferguson said today that Allen filed an affadavit of withdrawal early enough that his name will not appear on the election ballot.

Fausett will return for second term on Board of Commissioners

Election 2018

Sharon Fausett

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Qualifying ended at noon today (Friday, March 9). The field is now set for the May 22 General Primary election.

District 1 Dawson County Commissioner Sharon Fausett and Will Wade, the at-large commissioner on the Board of Education, can breathe a little easier today. Both candidates were assured of a return to their respective positions today when no other candidate qualified.

Tim Satterfield

The County Commission District 3 post, where incumbent commissioner Jimmy Hamby chose not to seek another term, will have two candidates, however. Former Deputy Fire Chief Tim Satterfield will campaign for the post. He will face Scott Allen.

District 3 Board of Education member Karen Armstrong will also face a challenge from Joe Stapp, a psychotherapist who is running for the first time.

The state level race has incumbent District 9 State Representative Kevin Tanner (R), of Dawsonville, pitted against Mark Hajduk, of Cumming.

Scott Allen

 

 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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Board of Commissioners overturns setback variance approval

News

Commissioner Jimmy Hamby

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In a rare occurrence Thursday, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners reversed a decision by Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman to grant a setback variance for a convenience store located at the intersection of Hwy. 53 and War Hill Park Road.

Business owner Dipikaben Patel requested a 10-foot front setback variance along Hwy. 53 and a five-foot side variance along War Hill Road to allow the construction of a gas tank canopy. Streetman granted the variance, but several area residents spoke in opposition to the variance at the appeal during Thursday’s meeting and Commissioners Jimmy Hamby, Julie Nix and Sharon Fausett voted to deny it.

Hamby questioned why the owner couldn’t extend a canopy closer to the store rather than the right of way. An engineer speaking on behalf of the owner said it would be impractical since it would limit available parking space.

Speaking in opposition to the variance, Brandon Bennett said, “We do not need to have a traffic burden added to this dangerous intersection.” Bennett said the only way into the parcel is off Hwy. 53 and the only way out is onto War Hill Park Road. “We do not need a tractor trailer (carrying fuel) having to turn around at War Hill when the federal government won’t even let a fuel truck come down War Hill Road to fuel a helicopter for the Rangers.”

Also, commissioners approved a request by Brodie Allred, speaking on behalf of Norkot Financial, Inc. to rezone 46.73 acres on Moss Road from Residential Agriculture (RA) to Residential Sub-Rural (RSR) for a 30-lot single-family residential community. The vote was 3-1 with Fausett opposed.

The board took no action on several requests by residents of the Gold Creek community to have their property annexed into the city of Dawsonville, leaving the decision in the hands of the city, which is scheduled to hear the requests during the March meeting.

Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with SEI, Inc. to design the Blacks Mill Bridge replacement at a cost of $33,700 and the appointment of Angelia Brown to the Avita Community Partners.

 

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Commissioner Hamby will not seek re-election

News

Comm. Jimmy Hamby

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby will not seek a third term on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

“I’ve done two terms and that is enough,” Hamby said Tuesday. “I lost my son a year and a half ago, and I want to try to spend more time with my family.”

Hamby, who has built a reputation for keeping a tight rein on taxpayer dollars, said, “I’ve tried to keep the people I represent in mind, and I hope whoever takes my place does the same. I’ve always felt like it was the people’s money I was in charge of and not mine.”

Hamby said he would miss helping to shape the future of the county but added he plans to stay active and involved in county affairs.

“I’ll definitely miss it, but people can still call me and I’ll do my best to help them if I can,” Hamby stated.

Asked about the future of Dawson County, Hamby said, “Here’s the way I look at it: You can’t get much better than Dawson County and the quality of life we have here. I think we’re in good shape as far as our leadership. We have a good board of commissioners and good people working for the county.”

As far as the growth that is headed for Dawson County, Hamby said. “I don’t want to stop the growth, but I want to see it done to the benefit of everybody who lives here.”

District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes-Nix said she would miss Hamby.

“Jimmy always works to provide the very best service possible to the citizens of Dawson,” Hughes-Nix said. “He has been a great steward of taxpayer dollars and has earned the respect of the community and local officials. His commitment to protecting our quality of life is beneficial for the future of Dawson County. It has been a privilege to work beside him.”

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Commissioners say no to major residential development

News

Dist. 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to deny a zoning application by Dawson Forest Holdings to build 177 single-family homes and 95 townhomes near Hwy. 53 and Elliott Road during Thursday’s commission meeting.

Dawson Forest Holding attorney Joshua Scoggins, of Miles, Hansford and Tallant, threatened to sue the county if commissioners voted to deny the application. However, commissioners stood their ground and sided with area homeowners who have repeatedly voiced strong opposition to the development.

Commissioners tabled decisions on approval of a budget for the Development Authority of Dawson County and the Impact Fee Methodology Report.

A revision of the Animal Control Ordinance that prohibits the use of tethering as the primary means of animal confinement was unanimously approved.

Commissioners also approved a request by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Lanier Swafford to apply for a Georgia Trauma Commission Non-Competitive EMS Equipment Grant in the amount of $5,371.91. The grant requires no county match.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby surprised many in attendance when he announced that he would not seek re-election. Hamby will end his second term as commissioner December 31.

FetchYourNews will have a report Tuesday, Jan. 23, on Hamby’s decision.

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Tim Satterfield will run for county commission

News

Tim Satterfield received the “Hero” award from Bill Kokaly, a representative of U.S. Congressman Doug Collins in September.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former Dawson County Deputy Emergency Services Chief Tim Satterfield announced today (Feb. 12) that he is a candidate for the District 3 seat on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

In a phone interview with FetchYourNews, Satterfield said, “I just feel like I have some more to give back to Dawson County. I have a passion and a desire to help create a safe, clean community for citizens to live, work and play in.”

Satterfield retired last month, following a stellar 41-year career. He gained national recognition while specializing in canine search and rescue and has taken part in more than 50 state- and federal-level missions, including water search, arson, bomb disaster search and work with missing and abducted children. He was state coordinator for the urban search and rescue team and was one of the first of 12 team members in the U.S. to be certified in child abduction response. His K-9 unit received the Marguerite Brock Rescue Award from the Emergency Management Association of Georgia.

In September, 9th District Congressman Doug Collins presented Satterfield the “Hero” award as “someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during their career to help citizens in and around their communities.”

Satterfield said he recently viewed a television program that listed the safest communities in Georgia. “I believe Johns Creek was number one,” he said. “I would like to see Dawsonville and Dawson County on that list. I feel like if we have a clean, safe community where people can live, work and play, we will be able to attract more desirable type businesses.”

Satterfield believes the county can obtain grants to help accomplish those goals and reduce the cost to taxpayers. He stated, “I did some (grant writing) when I worked in fire services, and I believe my experience in that could be helpful.

When Satterfield retired in September, County Manager David Headley said, “Knowing Chief Satterfield, both on the job and in his personal life, his hand is always stretched out to serve others. He is someone who has given his life to something other than himself and truly is a hero.”

Satterfield will run for the position being vacated by Commissioner Jimmy Hamby who has announced he will retire at the end of his term.

 

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Billy Carlisle to run for county commission

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Veteran law enforcement officer Billy Carlisle announced today that he will run for the Dawson County Board of Commissioners this summer.

He will run for the District 3 seat. Dist. 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby has announced he will not seek a third term next year.

Carlisle, 56, began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in 1987. During his time as sheriff, he was able to grow the department from 30 employees to 115. He was also instrumental in helping to bring several programs into the county, working with children. Through his leadership, many programs were developed for the senior citizens as well as the adults of Dawson County. He retired in December 2016 after 20 years as sheriff.

Asked why he wanted to get back into government after just one year in retirement, he said, “I still have a desire to serve the community and our citizens. I’ve always enjoyed helping people.”

Carlisle said the county is in good shape right now.

“I would like to help us grow in the right direction,” he said. “We need to attract more industry and more jobs. We have plenty of retail right now. I would like to see us stay up to date on technologically and attract more high tech jobs.”

Carlisle said the relationship between the sheriff’s office and county government is not good right now.

“Both sides need to understand it is a give and take relationship, and they need to work together for the benefit of the citizens,” Carlisle added.

The dispute between Dawson County and Sheriff Jeff Johnson heads to Superior Court on Tuesday, Jan. 30. Johnson claims the $8,273,080 budget approved by the Board of Commissioners is not adequate for him to perform his duties.

However, Carlisle said it is more expensive to run the sheriff’s office without using the county’s Purchasing Department. “The county has a very experienced purchasing office already in place. If the sheriff won’t use that department, he has to hire his own people to do that job and that is just an added expense.”

Carlisle said during his term as sheriff, he relied on the county’s Purchasing Department and procedures.

Qualifying for elected offices will take place in March with the election set for July.

Carlisle and his wife, Cathy, are members of Lighthouse Baptist Church where he is a member of the church’s security team and she serves in the children’s nursery.

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

County employees enjoy Thanksgiving luncheon

News

Publix Customer Service Manager Nicholas Kirkland, Dawson County Manager David Headley and Publix Assistant Meat Manager Jim Ferrante with the 10 turkeys and two hams the supermarket provided Dawson County at a discount.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County employees do their best to serve the citizens of Dawson County, so County Manager David Headley and the county commissioners decided it was high time they returned the favor.

Headley, Chairman Billy Thurmond and commissioners Jimmy Hamby, Julie Nix, Chris Gaines and Sharon Fausett purchased the turkey and ham and served a Thanksgiving potluck luncheon at Veterans Memorial Park.

Employees could either sit down for their meal or take it to go. An estimated 125 county workers participated.

“Our employees are our most important asset, and this was just one way we are able to show our appreciation,” Headley said. “We also thank our employees for providing the many delicious side dishes, desserts and other items that helped make our gathering a success. We wish our employees and their families, and all of our Dawson County citizens, a happy Thanksgiving.”

Thurmond added, “I want to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Dawson County. I also want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.”

Publix in Dawsonville partnered with the county to provide 10 turkeys and two hams at a discounted price.

“We would like to thank our friends at Publix for the delicious meat; those who prepared it, Ricky Rexroat of Emergency Services and David McKee of Public Works; and Commissioners Billy Thurmond, Sharon Fausett, Chris Gaines and Julie Hughes Nix for taking time to help serve the meal,” Headley said.

 

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Commissioners Question Property Revaluation Process

News

Chief Appraser Kurt Tangel

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Chief Tax Appraiser Kurt Tangel’s request for county commission approval of a two-year, $588,300 county-wide property revaluation sparked a flurry of questions from commissioners during Thursday’s work session.

The county’s last revaluation was conducted in-house in 2006 and Commissioner Julie Nix wanted to know why it could not be done in-house again.

Tangel said, “It can be done in house.” But, he pointed out, it could take up to five years to complete since the number of homes in the county has doubled in the last three years. “The staff we have is just trying to keep up with what we have going on now,” he said.

“(GMASS) has a larger knowledge of doing projects like this. I don’t have the number of staff with the same level of knowledge that I can rely on to do all those things.”

The county has 15,000 parcels, 200 pre-bill mobile homes, 1,800 commercial/industrial improvements and 12,000 residential homes.

If approved, the project would be done in two phases. Phase 1 would be revaluation of residential and agricultural properties and would be completed the first year. Phase 2 would revalue commercial and industrial properties.

Tangel said county staff contacted 487 vendors through Georgia Procurement Registry and Vendor Registry and GMASS was the only company to submit a bid.

Commissioner Jimmy Hamby said, “Just having one bid is what concerns me. We don’t have anything to compare it too.”

Tangel said the majority of GMASS staff lives in Dawson and nearby Pickens County and he speculated, “That may be why some other companies didn’t bid on it.”

He added that many of the companies that do this type work are located in south Georgia which would require them to add the cost of travel, hotel accommodations and meals over a two-year period to their bid.

The purpose of a revaluation is to ensure equity and uniformity of assessment. While adding new construction is part of the process, the process also involves reflecting market changes (up or down) in property values.


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.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

 

Commissioners to Revisit Impact Fee Program

News

Dawson County Board of Commissioners

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will have a full slate of issues to decide during Thursday’s regular session which begins at 6 p.m.

Bill Ross of Ross and Associates will give a presentation on what Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman calls a “complete re-write” of the county’s development impact fee program. The process, Streetman said, will involve preparation of a new Impact Fee Methodology Report, a new Capital Improvements Element, an updated Fee Schedule, possible update of the Impact Fee Ordinance, modernization of the computer assessment program and a revised Administrative Procedures Manual.

Under the Georgia Development Impact Fee Act (DIFA) local governments may impose fees on developers to help finance the expansion of their infrastructure systems.

Commissioners will also decide on a request by Chief Tax Appraiser Kurt Tangel to spend $588,300 on a county-wide property revaluation that is expected to take up to two years. The last revaluation was done by county staff in 2006 which led Commissioner Julie Nix to ask why it could not be done in house again.

Tangel said due to the growth in the county since 2006, it could take his staff up to five years to complete. “The staff we have is just trying to keep up with what we have now,” he said.

The project was sent out for bids, but GMASS was the sole bidder, something that troubled Commissioner Jimmy Hamby. “Just having one bid is what concerns me,” Hamby said. “We don’t have anything to compare it to.”

But Tangel blamed the lack of bids on the fact that many companies that do property valuations are located in south Georgia and they may have felt that they would not be competitive after adding travel, overnight hotel accommodation and meals to a project that could take two years to complete.

The county has 15,000 parcels, 200 pre-bill mobile homes, 1,800 commercial/industrial improvements and 12,000 residential homes.

Commissioners will hold the first of two public hearings on forward on an updated Environmental Health Fee Schedule.

There will be two zoning requests for commissioners to decide.

Steele Buffalo Butchery is requesting a special use permit to allow butchering, processing and slaughtering of naturally processed products on its property located on Harmony Church Road (Hwy. 136) five miles east of Ga. 400.

Commissioners must also vote on a request by Richard Bourgeois to rezone seven acres from Residential Suburban to Residential Agriculture to allow for greater agricultural uses on seven acres located on Grizzle Road near the intersection of East Windsor Way.

Other issues set to be decided include:

  • Consideration of Fire House Subs and Chick-fil-A Dawsonville Fund Raising Opportunities to Support Dawson County Emergency Services;
  • Consideration of a request to surplus three fire apparatuses;
  • Consideration to move forward with Public Hearings on June 1, 2017 and June 15, 2017 regarding the Scrap Tire Storage and Disposal Draft Ordinance;
  • Consideration of Dawson County Rotary Club request to contribute handicapped accessible playground equipment for the playground at Rock Creek Park;
  • Consideration of FY2017 Legacy Link Addendum #2;
  • Consideration of FY2018 Legacy Link Contract;
  • Consideration of Proposed Revised Travel Policy;
  • Consideration of 2016 Budget Amendments;
  • Consideration of Contract with GMRC Regarding Community Development Block Grant Application Services for Senior Center Expansion;
  • Consideration of the re-appointment of Susan Roof to the Library Board.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle Visits Dawsonville

News

From left Sen. Steve Gooch, Bill Elliott and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former NASCAR great Bill Elliott — better known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville —  and a large contingent of community leaders welcomed Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to Dawsonville Wednesday morning.  Cagle is in the midst of a 17-stop bus tour of north Georgia to promote his campaign for governor.

You have to wonder if Elliott gave the Hall County Republican some inside tips on how to make a quick pit stop because after spending a little quality time with Dawson County community leaders and a quick stump speech, Cagle sped off to Pickens, Gilmer, Gordon, and Whitfield counties.

Before getting back on the road, Cagle visited with Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, Commissioners Jimmy Hamby and Chris Gaines, Mayor James Grogan, County Manager David Headley, Sherriff Jeff Johnson and Chamber President Christie Hayes.

Former Commission Chairman Mike Berg introduced the lieutenant governor who didn’t need much of an introduction since he once represented the county as State Senator and has been lieutenant governor for eight years.

Cagle’s said he would focus on transportation, jobs, education and providing broadband to rural areas of Georgia

Cagle said, Georgia needs a transportation plan to accommodate a population growth of about 4.5 million people in the next 15 years.

“We have to get busy with a two-year strategic plan built around transportation that is able to go under, go over, go around, whatever is required to prepared ourselves for the kind of growth that is coming.”

On jobs, Cagle said he wants to build a world-class workforce second to none. “As I woke up this morning there were 150,000 jobs available today and out of that 150,000, 25 percent need four-year degrees but 75 percent need industry certification or a two-year degree. So, I want to make sure we are aligning education with what industry needs.”

On education he said, “The college and career education network I created reshapes the way we deliver education, giving our kids more options.”

Cagle also repeated his pledge of 500,000 new jobs during his first term in office and $100 million in tax cuts in the first 100 days.

Cagle said he understands how important broadband access is to education and to attracting business to Georgia and he fired a salvo over the heads of broadband internet providers.

“We’re going to have best in class as it pertains to rural broadband,” he said. “I’m going to set a standard that I expect every single provider in this state to reach. I know we have a problem with last mile so we’ll be looking at technology that will allow us to provide that. But I’m not going to accept any excuses. The providers are going to get in gear to make this a reality or we’re going to find someone that can. It’s just that simple.

Asked if the state school board members should be elected or appointed, he said, “Many people believe that the superintendent should be appointed almost like a cabinet position. I don’t believe that having an elected state school board is going to fundamentally improve education.”

On what has been a highly controversial religious freedom bill, Cagle said, “I and the other candidates have signed a pledge that if there is a federal mirror Xerox copy of what is already federal law that comes to my desk, I will sign it. There are a lot of social issues out there that are very divisive. As a born-again Christian, with a strong belief in religious freedom, I don’t want anyone trampling on that. As governor, I am also not for discrimination. So we’re not using this in a way that will cloak ourselves in a way that allows us to discriminate. So, these are balancing acts. We’ll do it in a way that doesn’t cost us business.”

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

County Employees Health Insurance Cost Increases

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to increase by five percent the amount county employees will contribute to their own health insurance plan with Northwest Benefit Corporation.

In the past, the county has paid 85 percent of the cost while employees paid the remaining 15 percent. The plan approved Thursday calls for an 80-20 split.

Commissioners said it was a very difficult decision, but as Commissioner Sharon Fausett put it, “The cost of health insurance is out of control. We need to be fiscally responsible. I don’t want employees to think we take them lightly because we don’t. I appreciate what you do but we have some very difficult decisions to make.”

Commissioner Jimmy Hamby said, “I do understand the cost coming to the county as well as the employees. But we can’t go to the taxpayers every time we need to increase something in the county.”

Commissioner Chris Gaines said, “Experts say the average split is 75-25 so we’re still well beyond what some surrounding counties are doing both in the public and private sector.”

The total cost to the county is just over $3.7 million, an increase of about $527,386 over last year.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Ross & Associates to proceed with an update of the 2009 Methodology Report for the Impact Fee implementation. The county contracted with Ross & Associates to create the report in 2002. It was updated in 2006 and again in 2009. The fees were collected through building permits and construction orders. However, impact fees have not been imposed since then.

Once the update is completed, it will come back to the board for final approval.

Commissioners also agreed to accept a $2,063 grant that will allow Director of Treatment Services for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit Debbie Mott to purchase computers, monitors, scanners, printers iPads and laptops for her office. There is no county match required. Georgia Accountability Court Funding Committee was created in 2012 and has provided local courts with critical funding necessary to support the growth of accountability courts in Georgia to reduce the prison population.

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

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