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Cool Springs Park still on the table
Commissioner Lutz proposes a scaled-back option which cuts irrigation, bathrooms
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners will continue to talk about plans for baseball fields at Cool Springs Park in northwest Hall.

On Thursday night, Commissioner Craig Lutz told the group that at the upcoming commission meeting, he wants to go back to the topic by amending the Feb. 24 vote to build competition baseball fields for an estimated $1.57 million.

"We're still moving forward with the park, but I want to take out components that would involve recurring costs," Lutz explained Friday. "There's the cost to build and the cost to run the park, and I want to take out the parts that would drive up the latter part until we can afford it."

Lutz wants commissioners to consider a scaled-back option for the fields, which would not include bathroom facilities, irrigation or other amenities. The operating cost of the amenities is not included in the special purpose local option sales tax funds already collected for the park.

"SPLOST has already been earmarked for it and isn't going anywhere," Lutz said. "I don't want to increase this burden while revenue is down. We can spend the capital for the additional facilities later."

Lutz already proposed an amendment to the commission's Feb. 24 vote during the board's March 11 meeting, but Chairman Tom Oliver immediately refuted the motion.

"We've already voted for Cool Springs, and now we're going to come back and revisit it?" Oliver asked at the March 11 meeting. "We're telling this community that what we vote and what we say doesn't hold merit because we're going to change it?"

Lutz asked the chairman to maintain Roberts Rules of Order, which govern commission meetings, and get another commissioner to second his motion before discussing the matter.

Oliver asked Interim Hall County Attorney O.V. Brantley about the legality of bringing the matter back before the board.

Brantley said Lutz could bring up the amendment as long as another commissioner agreed to offer a second but said Oliver is the parliamentarian and can choose whether to accept the motion.

"I'm not accepting this motion. Next," Oliver said, putting an end to the debate.

Lutz reopened the debate Thursday by asking to amend the March 11 minutes by striking out some of the conversation between Lutz and Oliver.

"There shouldn't have been a discussion on my motion until it had a second motion, so a lot of things occurred out of order of the rules," Lutz said Friday.

"Those things were said, but they don't need to be part of the official record of Hall County unless it's done in order."

The change stalled on a 2-2 vote Thursday, with Commissioner Scott Gibbs and Lutz voting for the change and Commissioner Billy Powell and Oliver voting against it. Commissioner Ashley Bell was not at the meeting.

"The rules say you can amend it, so I'm OK with it," Gibbs said Friday. "If the notes alter the way the meeting is interpreted, the change doesn't bother me one way or the other as long as it's allowed."

The March 11 minutes are still unapproved and will sit on the agenda for a vote at the next commission meeting.

"It's a shame that we're not willing to move Hall County forward and create a comfortable atmosphere for Cool Springs instead of this back and forth chaos," Oliver said Friday. "It does concern me that rather than working in his own district, he's tearing down another commissioner's district. I find that very unprofessional."

Powell, whose district includes the park, asked the commissioners to consider building the ballfields after they voted to halt work on a plan that would include a playground, skate park and walking trails.

"I'm ready to move on with all of this," Powell said Friday. "We've discussed Cool Springs and made a decision. Let's build it and build it correctly with the proper facilities."