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Hall County to reimburse Flowery Branch for upgrading sewage station

POSTED: March 7, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Hall County Board of Commissioners proposed to reimburse Flowery Branch up to $75,000 for upgrading the city’s Martin Road Elementary sewer pump station Monday.

Last week, Flowery Branch City Council approved the $12,000 purchase of a 10,000 gallon sewage container to relieve the strain placed on the pump station caused by recent development on Martin Road and Winder Highway.

County Administrator Jim Shuler said the new Ingles Supermarket, which is slated to open in coming months on Winder Highway, is serviced by Hall County sewer and water and could cause the Flowery Branch pump station near Martin Road Elementary to overflow if a holding container was not purchased quickly. Shuler said that since it is Ingles, one of the county’s customers, that is burdening the city’s Martin Road pump, county officials agreed to reimburse Flowery Branch for all the costs and labor associated with the upgrade.

Shuler added that the holding container will allow the Martin Road sewer line to process more sewage for anticipated development in the area.

Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew said the upgrade could take place by the end of February. County commissioners will consider approving the reimbursement at Thursday’s board meeting.

Also at Monday’s county commission work session, Beth Grimes of Gainesville government audit firm Bates, Carter and Co. presented her 2007 audit report for Hall County government.

Grimes concluded that county revenue for the 2007 fiscal year general fund totaled $84,747,335, which equates to $789 per Hall County resident. Hall County government general fund expenditures for 2007 totaled $84,367,663.

Property taxes generated 30 percent of the county’s governmental funds revenue in 2007, while special local option sales tax generated 21 percent of county revenue.

Thirty-four percent of the county’s expenditures for governmental funds in 2007 were designated for public infrastructure projects, while 27 percent was spent on public safety. Nine percent of the county’s 2007 governmental funds were spent on general government and Hall County spent 7 percent of those funds on judiciary services.

Grimes said Hall County actually underspent $960,000 based on the 2007 fiscal year budget.

"They spent less than they budgeted, which is good for government because it’s usually the other way around," she said, adding that overall, the county is in a healthy, strong financial state.

Grimes said the largest expenditure for the past fiscal year was the $36 million spent on land acquisition and construction for the new county jail on Calvary Church Road.

Tom Oliver, chairman of Hall County Board of Commissioners, said the audit revealed that Hall County’s residential property tax digest was reduced by 3 percent last year, while the county’s commercial property tax digest was increased by 2 percent. He added the commission aims to draw more retail development to Hall County within the next year to diminish the county’s dependence on a residential tax base.

"The upcoming year could be the year of retail for Hall County," Oliver said. "We could see more retail growth this year than we’ve seen in a long time."

Oliver said the commission will establish the 2009 fiscal year budget within the next month. Oliver said major county projects for the next year could include the Mulberry basin sewer project, the construction of new fire stations, increasing capacity for the Spout Springs sewer plant and the appointment of a new state court judge.



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