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County says Gainesville has until May 10 to apply for bus funds
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Richard Mecum, Hall County Board of Commissioners chairman, said the county won’t lose the grant funds to operate the Red Rabbit fixed-route bus service if the Georgia Department of Transportation receives an application by May 10.

Mecum read from what he said was a letter from GDOT at the commission’s meeting Thursday evening. The Times has requested the letter through the Open Records Act.

Jessica Robinson, Hall County grants manager, said the county has to execute the contract the county approved in March for the new Red Rabbit buses. Commissioners said Wednesday they wanted the city of Gainesville to apply for the bus funding.

Hall County commissioners declined about $400,000 in grant funding to operate the bus service on April 10. The Federal Transit Administration pays 50 percent of the operating cost for Red Rabbit, and the city and county split the rest 50-50. The service will stop July 1 unless the city agrees to take it over.

Mecum said the county is still involved in helping Gainesville apply for the grant funding.

“What we’re involved in is giving information to the city,” he said. “And working with them on their application.”

Robinson said the county will shift the buses to Gainesville through an intergovernmental agreement when the city submits its application for the operating funds.

In other business, the commissioners voted to approve the Lanier Islands Community Improvement District, despite resident Pamela Puckett’s request that the commissioners remove it from the consent agenda. She said she is concerned that residents won’t have a voice in what improvements are made to the area.

“The residents have no voice on the borders to what improvement might be put in front of our houses, “ Puckett said.

Puckett said the board overseeing the district will not have any residents on it. The CID had to have 50 percent plus one of the commercial and industrial property owners agree to the CID, and those owners had to make up at least 75 percent of the district’s total property value. The district will run roughly between the Lake Lanier Islands resort to the west and Hog Mountain Road in the east.

Puckett said the boundary was extended 2 miles to include a rock quarry near Black Jack Road so the district could reach the required property value criterion.

The commissioners approved the consent agenda unanamiously.

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