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County sewer, road maintenance demands reflected in budget requests
More personnel needed for culverts, repair
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Hall County Public Works Department

Road maintenance division

FY 2015 budget: $2.8 million

FY 2016 request: $2.975 million

What’s new: Spending proposed for new tandem dump trucks, mowers and six new full-time personnel to manage culvert repairs.

Sewer/utilties division

FY 2015 budget: $994,000

FY 2016 request: $1.184 million

What’s new: More than $600,000 in additional revenue is projected from sewer connection and tap fees as new growth comes to South Hall.

The Hall County Public Works Department is comprised of several divisions, but residents are likely most familiar with road maintenance and the sewer utility, if only because that’s what most affects their day-to-day lives.

Department Director Ken Rearden said the road maintenance division is focused on keeping culverts and ditches clean, as well as improving landscaping and removing hazardous vegetation along roadways.

The division does handle some minor pothole filling, but special purpose local option sales tax revenue pays for all major road repaving, patching and new construction for county streets and thoroughfares, and this work is contracted out.

Rearden said that SPLOST VII money is being prioritized to acquire right-of-way to widen Spout Springs Road.

The proposed budget for the road maintenance division in the 2016 fiscal year, which begins July 1, is about $2.975 million, up from about $2.8 million in the current year.

Rearden said most of the difference is represented in a $115,000 budget reduction made this year to help balance the county’s finances.

Spending priorities for the next year include acquiring new tandem dump trucks (Rearden said some have logged more than 250,000 miles), as well as additional mowing tractors.

The division is also seeking six new full-time personnel dedicated as a culvert and ditching crew.

“We’re having to pull people from other operations to do any culvert and ditching repair,” Rearden said.

Meanwhile, the sewer utility division, which manages the Spout Springs wastewater plant, plus pump stations, gravity sewers and force mains, is projecting more than $600,000 in additional revenue related to new connection and tap fees in the next fiscal year.

“There’s a lot of growth happening in South Hall,” Rearden said, adding that he projects sewer connection fees alone to top $1 million in 2016.

Total revenues for the division are estimated at about $2.4 million, up from about a $1.8 million projection this year.

Rearden said he also expects three to four new industrial buildings in the Gateway Industrial Centre off Ga. 365 in North Hall to link up to county sewer infrastructure in the next year.

Total expenses for the sewer utility in 2016 are estimated at about $1.184 million, up from about $994,000 this year.

“We try to operate as efficiently and as effectively as possible,” Rearden said.

County officials cautioned that while departmental budget requests represent spending priorities, the process is still in its infancy.

“We don’t have the tax digest at this point, so it’s very preliminary as far as what this budget will look like,” said spokeswoman Katie Crumley.

Administration will meet with department heads and the Board of Commissioners over the next month or so to refine the overall county budget as property tax revenue estimates begin to take shape.

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