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Gainesville public works lays out past, future accomplishments at work session

POSTED: March 15, 2013 12:32 a.m.

Gainesville City Council members heard a presentation from David Dockery, director of Public Works, and discussed a proposed agreement with the town of Braselton during its work session Thursday morning.

Public Utilities is made up of eight divisions. Street maintenance is the largest division, with 30 employees. The staff is responsible for the upkeep of the streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters. The division has three details of inmate laborers who pick up litter and sweep the streets.

Dockery said the department has accomplished a lot during the 2013 fiscal year, including improving the city’s roadway infrastructure, evaluating all intersections, with 13 expected to be upgraded by the end of the year, making street names on signs more visible, and cleaning storm drainage structures.

“So far this year, we’ve devoted 8,000 hours to drainage system maintenance,” Dockery said. “We’ve inspected 208 storm water inlets. We do this in order to minimize street flooding, to make sure storm water flows off the streets in a quick and timely manner.”

The department’s fiscal year 2014 goals include evaluation of at least 10 intersections, several of which will be associated with the New Holland retail and office space development under construction near the intersection of Limestone and Jesse Jewell parkways. Goals also include a plan to construct, repair or replace at least 1,500 feet of sidewalk, although Dockery said he and Rusty Ligon, Community Development director, have considered revisiting the plan soon with the planning division.

“My thing is, when somebody calls me, I need to be able to say ‘We have a sidewalk plan and eventually we will get to yours,’” Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras said.
Council members also discussed the possibility of using alternative fuel for the city’s fleet, something that Dockery said he is looking at.

Dockery also updated the council on the cemetery, where Tommy Hunt has replaced Vince Evans, who retired last year, as cemetery superintendent.

Airport hangar tenancy is trending up, and Gainesville hired Airport Manager Terry Palmer last year.

Donald Dye, assistant director of the Gainesville Public Utilities Department, gave council members a draft agreement between Gainesville and Braselton.

If both governments agree, some residential, commercial and industrial users of Gainesville’s water and Braselton’s sewer services would be billed and payment collected by Gainesville. The city would give Braselton the sewer system payments on a quarterly basis, minus 3 percent for Gainesville taking over the entire billing system.
Braselton can provide sanitary sewer service to its users but can’t force nonpayers to bring their account current or pay outstanding charges because it can’t turn off the service. Gainesville, however, can turn off its water or sewer to convince customers to pay their bills.

Gainesville’s billing software system is limited, so that tiered or block rates can’t work with the computer program. Braselton would adopt a single unit charge per 100 cubic feet that would be applied to all of the water consumed. One ccf is equal to 748 gallons.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton off Thompson Mill Road would see a cap of 400 ccf per month that a 3 percent charge would apply to in exchange for allowing Gainesville to install an antenna on the elevated storage tank at 5527 Thompson Mill Road.

The Gainesville City Council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.


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