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County holds off on sewer study
Staff to look at doing some of the work in-house to save money
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In other business:

Hall County Commissioners will vote on Thursday on a plan to resurface more than 20 miles of road on 44 county roads. The cost, which would be paid through the Special Local Option Sales Tax, would run $2.8 million dollars.

In response to an open meetings and records bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, Hall County commissioners are set to vote on a resolution setting guidelines for boards and committees that work on behalf of the county. Hall County government has nine such boards and committees, including Keep Hall Beautiful, Hall County Planning Commission and Hall County Tax Assessors board. The proposed resolution aims to give guidance on proper meeting notice and meeting records.

With an eye toward trimming costs, Hall County government chose to postpone an agreement with a contractor on a new South Hall County wastewater rate study.

Sewer costs for South Hall residents have been a big issue in recent years, and the county is looking for ways to pay off debt on the wastewater system. Two sewer studies have been conducted to find ways to cover the costs of the debt, the cost of operating it and maintenance. However, the rate structure — a $42 flat rate — has remained in place.

A $35,000 proposal for a new study from CDM Smith, which prepared the rate study for the county in 2010, went before the Hall County Board of Commissioners in the work session on Tuesday. However, County Manager Randy Knighton asked to postpone the proposal to see if some duties of the study can be done in-house on the cheap.

“This, of course, is a very important issue,” Knighton said. “I want to confer with staff before we move forward with this.”

Phyllis Mercer, a resident of Village at Deaton Creek who has been active on the sewer rate issue, called on the county keep costs on the study low.

“Over the years, we’ve had two rate studies with two different consultants that have cost us about $200,000,” she said. “While I don’t want to trivialize the work that needs to be done on this study, it’s difficult for me to realize why you don’t take the same Excel spreadsheets, plug in new numbers and come up with some valid data.”

The South Hall resident said she doesn’t oppose a study, but suggests instead the county build on what it’s already done.

“I want to make sure we have some clear direction,” said Mercer, who advocates a plan that charges customers based on water usage rates and doesn’t put the burden on low-volume users like herself.

“Otherwise,” she said, “you’re wasting our money.”

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