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Hall would allow Jackson to provide water to Belmont area

POSTED: June 25, 2009 11:18 p.m.

Commissioner Bobby Banks said Jackson County may provide water to the Belmont community, a Hall County neighborhood where wells have run dry.

"We’ve got Is to dot and Ts to cross, but we will get those folks water some how, some way," Banks said.

The Jackson County Water and Sewer Authority would be able to provide water to the Belmont community, which sits near the Jackson County line, cheaper and more quickly than the city of Gainesville — on a few conditions.

For example, the Jackson utility will not be willing to extend water lines if there is a real possibility it would be named in a Gainesville lawsuit.

Gainesville has plans to expand its water lines to areas of the Belmont community by 2012, based on a first-come, first-served priority list of planned water extensions.

Gainesville Public Utilities Director Kelly Randall has said working with Jackson County would be a violation of a 3-year-old agreement between the city and the county.

In January 2006, the two entities agreed that Gainesville would provide water service to residents and businesses of unincorporated Hall County on a first-come, first-served basis. If the county needed the city utility to extend a water line earlier than Gainesville’s planned construction schedule, the county could ask for it as long as the county paid for it.

Gainesville estimates the cost of the 3.33 miles of water lines to be about $1.3 million. Jackson County has an early estimate of $450,000 for the project.

Banks said at the current rate, he would rather see Jackson County provide water for the community than the city of Gainesville.

"Why are they so much more than Jackson County?" Banks said. "Are they trying to make money off county tax payers?"

Other business

Due to a tie vote, the Hall County Board of Commissioners will discuss accepting Old Claude Peck Road at the next work session.

Commissioners Steve Gailey and Ashley Bell voted to accept it, while Bobby Banks and Billy Powell voted against it. Commission Chairman Tom Oliver was absent.

Old Claude Peck Road is a narrow stretch of road about one-fourth of a mile long and 14 feet wide that once was part of Claude Peck Road. When Claude Peck Road was realigned, a sharp curve was removed, which is now Old Claude Peck Road.

The county intended to abandon it, though for unknown reasons it never happened. The road is still a county road, though it hasn’t been maintained by the county in years.

Many of the property owners on the road want it put back on the county’s maintenance list, though few neighbors are willing to give the required right of way.

Gailey backed accepting the road at the meeting and deciding how to repair it at a later date.

"In my opinion it’s still a county road," Gailey said. "We’ve cut lots off of it."

Powell said he didn’t want to do anything until the right of way was acquired.

"I think there is a position that if we accept it we also have to maintain it," Powell said. "Why should we pay money if they’re not willing to give us the right of way?"



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