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The Local Agenda: Commissioners work through busy agenda

POSTED: December 4, 2012 12:18 a.m.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners had a full plate of items to discuss at last week’s meeting.

Commissioners held a public meeting on sewer rates, with a handful of residents from the Village at Deaton Creek neighborhood speaking against the proposal, which would change the sewer rates from a monthly flat fee of $42 to a variable fee based on usage.

Residents said the county would lose money under the current proposal and the plan penalized low-volume
users.

The board approved an ordinance amending the law to include a new license for alcohol consumption at locations that have a banquet hall or similar facility and a catering license.

It also approved entering into an agreement with Free Chapel Worship Center to allow the county to access the drive from the Hall County Government Center to McEver Road in exchange for allowing the church to use the center’s parking lot on weekends, with the condition that the county nail down the cost of its landscaping obligation.

Off the agenda, commissioners agreed to send Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division a letter clarifying the zoning of a landfill on Old County Dump
Road.

Board Chairman Tom Oliver sent two letters to EPD in 2011 that allowed the landfill’s owner, Kenneth Cronan, to start composting food waste earlier this year.

Area residents have complained of sickening smells from decaying food, and county officials said last month that the landfill’s zoning prohibits food waste.

The Newtown Florist Club, an environmental justice organization, plans to petition EPD to impose fines and
penalties on Cronan, a news release from the group said.

The club is also checking to see whether it can ask for help from Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gainesville weighs move to self-insurance

The city of Gainesville is seriously considering moving to self-fund Workers’ Compensation insurance after recently conducting a feasibility study on the issue.

The City Council discussed the results of the study during its work session last week. The city, with about 700 employees, is now insured through the Georgia Municipal Association, but the city could see “significant” savings by moving to self-insure, said Cindy Mallett, Gainesville Human Resources and Risk Manager.

The city’s insurance committee also priced vendors for claims administrators and excess insurance carrier and indicated a preference for PMA Management Corp. and New York Marine. The item is not on the agenda for today’s

City Council meeting, but council members could consider it before the end of the year. If approved, the change could take effect Jan. 1.

Another New Year’s resolution broken

It’s nearly time to make New Year’s resolutions again, but someone broke a resolution last week that caught our attention.

Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz declined to provide comments to Times reporters for 10« months, citing a New Year’s resolution to not talk with us, that is until he decided last Thursday to provide comments to a new reporter.

Sarah Mueller covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her::

smueller@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/TimesSarahMueller

@SMTheTimes

 


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