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Lake Lanier Islands awards contract for well

Water source planned to supply resort, possibly other towns in area

POSTED: March 16, 2013 12:20 a.m.

The Lake Lanier Islands Authority Board of Directors on Friday approved awarding a design contract to develop a Flowery Branch groundwater well that could provide nearly 1 million gallons a day to the resort.

The $280,000 contract was awarded to Rochester and Associates for the design, construction and permit applications for the well and related systems. The Infrastructure Committee, headed by Craig Dowdy, approved the recommendation on the contract at its Wednesday committee meeting.

Board members also approved the extension of a letter of intent through the end of the year so the board would have more time to purchase the well property. The exact purchase price is still unclear because the appraisal from the State Properties Commission hasn’t come back yet. Executive Director Bill Donohue said it’s expected by the end of this month.

The board is working with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to buy the land, rehabilitate the well and connect it to the islands’ infrastructure. The plans also include building a water treatment facility. The state awarded the authority more than $4.4 million for the project last year.

The primary customer would be the 1,500-acre Lake Lanier Islands Resort, although the cities of Flowery Branch, Buford and Gaines-ville were approached for a possible partnership.

The well is expected to yield about 860,000 gallons per day, which is well above the current need. It allows for future growth and well as a surplus supply to go to other area water providers. However, all three cities said they didn’t have an immediate need for more water.

“At this point, I don’t anticipate having an immediate partner from any of the water utilities,” Donohue said.

The water to the resort is supplied by Gainesville, which could lose more than $300,000 in annual revenue once the well system is set up.

Grier Todd, chief operating officer, also updated board members on the push to create a community investment district, a self-taxing entity. Todd said the deal was about 98 percent complete and he hopes to wrap it up by April 1.

Revenue would be collected by assessing a tax of 4 or 5 mills on commercial property owners within the district area, which would go to pay for streetlights, signage and landscaping along the Lake Lanier Islands Parkway. In Hall County, 1 mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value, with property assessed at 40 percent.

Grier said the CID would raise around $400,000 to $500,000 a year. To establish the district, a business has to recruit 51 percent of commercial property owners in the district area and 75 percent of the appraised property value.


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