Corps of Engineers to rethink huge dock permit fee increase

News

Rep. Doug Collins

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said he is encouraged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers response to his concerns about a proposed increases in dock and land-based facility permit fees.

On June 6, the Corps announced it would increase the cost of permits in the South Atlantic Division effective Jan. 1 2019. Under the revised fee schedule, permits would have increased from $400 to $835 and re-issue permits would have increased from $175 to $835.

On Aug. 26, Collins sent a letter to the Corps demanding a thorough explanation of the anticipated cost increases. It was the second time the Hall County Republican had registered his objection to such a large increase.

Now, the Corps has announced it will pause and reassess the increase along the shorelines of Federal reservoirs and waterways in the South Atlantic Division.

Collins issued the following statement Monday: “I’m very encouraged that the Corps took our concerns seriously and made the decision to hold off on increasing permit fees. Residents of the Ninth District living on or near Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell — and those throughout the southeast living near Corps waterway — will no longer be hit with significant and unexpected fee increases come January.

“I want to thank Major General Holland for meeting with me today to discuss my concerns and explore ways in which the Corps could accomplish their intended goal without placing an undue burden on individuals and families living throughout the southeast. I look forward to continuing to engage with the Corps as they study this issue.”

 

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 votes to join lawsuit against federal government

Business

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday (July 19) to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government to recover money the county is due under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.

The PILOT program allows the federal government to make payments to local governments in lieu of paying property taxes on federal lands within eligible counties.

Late last year, Kane County, Utah filed litigation against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to recover the balance of funds created by underpayments to the counties. The court ruled those underpayments must be paid and the case was certified as a class-action lawsuit, which allows other counties that were under paid to opt into the lawsuit at no cost to the counties.

There is no cost to the county to join the lawsuit and the county could recover thousands of dollars owed to its taxpayers.

“There is no downside to and there is a good possibility the county could obtain a modest amount by way of the class action,” County Attorney Lynn Frey said last week.

The U.S. Forest Service and Corps of Engineers owns more than 9,000 acres in Dawson County and has been receiving payments under that program since 1999. In 2017, the county received a check for $21,990 and has been advised it will receive a check for $25,835 this year. Should commissioners opt into the class action lawsuit, Frey estimates the county could recover between $3,500 and $5,000.

The federal government can still appeal the court’s decision, but Frey says he has seen no indication it will do so.

In other decision, the Board of Commissioners approved:

  • An alcohol license for Pokeyaki to serve beer in its restaurant at 145 Forest Blvd. Suite 450;
  • The transfer of a retail package alcohol license permit for Dawson Fine Wine and Spirits at 46 Blue Ridge Parkway;
  • A request by the Development Authority of Dawson County (DADC) to accept the bid of AHC Contracting for the purpose of integrating the economic development activities through the co-location of DADC within the Chamber of Commerce office at a cost of $12,470 plus $2,000 for moving expense;
  • The site plan for Piedmont Properties for construction of Dawsonville Self Storage with the stipulation the buffer be expanded. Once the building plan is complete, it must come back before the Board of Commissioners for approval;
  • The capital investment element of the county’s Comprehensive Plan;
  • Retaining the Athens-based law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley to represent the county in multi-district opioid litigation to recover expenses incurred by the county arising from the ongoing opioid crisis.

 

 

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 may participate in litigation against the federal government

News

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners could vote as early as this afternoon’s meeting whether to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government to recover money the county is due under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.

The program allows the federal government to make payments to local governments in lieu of property taxes on federal lands within eligible counties.

Late last year, Kane County, Utah filed litigation against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to recover the balance of funds created by underpayments to the counties. The court ruled those underpayments must be paid and the case was certified as a class-action lawsuit, which allows other counties that were under paid to opt into the lawsuit at no cost to the counties.

County Attorney Lynn Frey has reviewed that lawsuit and said he will present his findings to the Board of Commissioners during today’s (July 12) work session.

The U.S. Forest Service and Corps of Engineers owns more than 9,000 acres in Dawson County and has been receiving payments under that program  since 1999. In 2017, the county received a check for $21,990 and has been advised it will receive a check for $25,835 this year. Should commissioners opt into the class action lawsuit, Frey estimates the county could recover between $3,500 and $5,000.

“There is no downside to participation and there is a good possibility the county could obtain a modest amount by way of the class action,” he added. “My recommendation is to opt in and become a party to the litigation.”

The federal government can still appeal the court’s decision, but Frey says he has seen no indication it will do so. Commissioners have until September to decide.

 

 

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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Collins Praises Corps for Heeding Public Input

Politics, State & National
My chief concern is that residents near Lakes Lanier and Hartwell have a platform for communicating their interests to the Corps, and we continue to make progress on this front.”

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District has made a decision to allow private floating facilities on Lake Lanier to use security cameras. The USACE repealed the prohibition on cameras after a 30-day comment period during which feedback overwhelming supported the use of cameras. Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has consistently asked the USACE to seek and consider public comments as it makes decisions regarding northeast Georgia’s lake communities.

“I applaud the Corps’ decision to accept public comment and respond accordingly by allowing Lake Lanier residents to install security cameras on their property. My team and I have tirelessly worked to make our neighbors’ voices heard on the issues that impact them every day. My chief concern is that residents near Lakes Lanier and Hartwell have a platform for communicating their interests to the Corps, and we continue to make progress on this front,” said Collins.

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dougcollins.house.gov  twitter-icon facebook-icon youtube-icon

Washington, D.C. Office:
1504 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-9893
District Office:
210 Washington St. NW, Suite 202
Gainesville, GA 30501
Phone: (770) 297-3388

Lake Level Six Feet Below Full Pool

News

ATLANTA – The water level at Lake Lanier continues to drop and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has declared that a Level 1 drought exists in Dawson, Lumpkin, White and 50 other north Georgia counties.

The lake level has dropped more than 10 feet since the start of this year. On Dec. 31, 2016, the lake was at 1,075.18, more than four feet above full pool level of 1,071 feet mean sea level. By late June, it had plunged nearly eight feet to 1067.78.  Since then, it has dropped two more feet to 1065.35 as of Saturday.

The current drought is not nearly as severe as the one in 2007 but officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPD and local business and government leaders are concerned. After all, Lake Lanier is the engine that drives the economy of many lake counties.

EPD Director Richard Dunn said, “Water utilities have already taken action to ensure that water supplies are generally good, and practicing effective water conservation will help provide sufficient supplies through the coming months if dry conditions persist.”

In June, Army Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Manager Nick Baggett said the Corp would initiate low-level management action plans if the level drops to 1,066 feet, or five feet below full pool.

Now that the lake has fallen below that level, it is unclear whether those plans have been initiated.

Boat ramps the Corps operates are usually the first to go. “We’ve got dozens of boat ramps around the lake that the corps manages and at certain elevations, the boat ramps start to be unusable.”

Baggett said recently that the lake isn’t at a crisis point yet but he urged officials, as well as people who either live on the lake or use it for recreation, to keep an eye on its water levels and use caution.

 

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