DAWSONVILLE - In the coming weeks, the city of Dawsonville could see its population grow, if by just a little.
Officials are looking to annex islands, or pockets of land surrounded by the city but not technically part of it.
In a 4-0 vote Monday night, the Dawsonville City Council directed staff to contact the affected property owners to see if they're interested in becoming Dawsonville's newest residents.
The first phase would involve three or four properties. Subsequent efforts to clean up the pockets of unincorporated land could include more than 200 tracts.
To councilman James Grogan, it's a no-brainer.
"It's just darn confusing," Grogan said. "It's confusing to the people, and it's confusing to me.
"Some people think they're in the city, and they're not. I think there's a lot more people that want to be in than there is out."
During a work session last week, Mayor Joe Lane Cox cautioned the council to refrain from annexation unless there is unusually strong interest.
Citing problems other cities have had with annexation, Cox asked how the city will benefit
"What are we going to get that we're not getting now?" he said.
City Councilman Calvin Byrd agreed.
"Since the city doesn't have an ad valorem tax, there's not much to benefit on that end," Byrd said.
In the end, though, Byrd said he thought "it would be good if we could clean it up."
A rezoning fee of $500 would apply for those owners who want their property to be incorporated. The City Council is considering reducing that fee.
Cox did not vote on the matter Monday night. Per city guidelines, the mayor does not vote except in the case of a tie.
Because of the sometimes contentious nature of annexation and the legal costs that could be involved, Cox told the council he didn't think it was worth it.
"Let's not start spending a bunch of money and making folks mad," the mayor said. "I know that's what it will do from reading what Flowery Branch and Oakwood and some of these other towns have done."
Recent efforts at annexation in Hall County have proved unpopular and unsuccessful.