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Gainesville, Hall to hold joint meeting on sewer service

POSTED: September 23, 2013 12:10 a.m.

The city of Gainesville and Hall County have called a joint meeting today at 4 p.m. to discuss an intergovernmental agreement about sewer service.

The county has deliberated over how best to provide sewer to the Gateway Industrial Centre and the Ga. 365 corridor for nearly a year, negotiating with Gainesville and the city of Lula, while alternatively deciding to build its own system.

Hall needs to provide the 518-acre industrial park in North Hall with sewer capacity within 36 months of when the first tenant closed on its property there. Georgia Poultry Lab closed its site there in October 2012.

Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett said last week it had met with Hall County officials about providing sewer capacity to the Ga. 365 area, but had just talked concepts.

The county had been in talks with Lula officials since February, after the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved using Lula’s wastewater treatment plant, but creating its own sewer infrastructure from a county-built plant up the Ga. 365 corridor to Ga. 52.

However, the commission walked away from talks in July after the parties failed to reach an agreement. In a July 25 press release, Commissioner Billy Powell said it would be cheaper for the county to do it itself.

“This is a decision we’ve made carefully and thoughtfully and we feel it’s a wise investment that will benefit Hall County citizens in the near and distant future,” Powell said.

The vote of the commission in February to go with Lula was 4-1, with Powell voting against. He said he favored going with Gainesville because the city operated one of the best sewer systems in the state and it offered no upfront cost to county taxpayers.

Despite talking with Lula, Richard Mecum, Hall County board chairman, said the county has been talking with Gainesville “all along.”

Mecum said the commission was ready to vote on an agreement with Lula when a new proposal “popped up.”

“We had somebody come in with an offer,” he said. “And made some changes in their original proposal.”

There were three original proposals that Hall County has considered during a nearly yearlong search for the best option to give sewer capacity to the Ga. 365 area. One option was for the county to do it itself, one was from Lula and one was from Gainesville.

Hall County has voted on the decision to provide sewer to Gateway four times since November. The commission voted in November to build its own North Hall treatment plant. The commission approved the proposal by a 4-1 vote last year, with Powell opposed.

Gainesville’s proposal earlier this year was to enhance its pipeline from station 26 to White Sulphur Road and then build pipe infrastructure along the Ga. 365 corridor to a north pump station at the industrial center, The Times reported in January. Gainesville would finance the cost of the infrastructure and water capacity and would use debt service payments to pay off the project’s expense. If the county opted out in the next 10 years, it would have to repay its portion of the costs the city incurred.


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