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Flowery Branch councilman quits to run for county commission
craig lutz 0608
Craig Lutz


Flowery Branch City Councilman Craig Lutz talks about resigning his post to run for the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Flowery Branch Councilman Craig Lutz resigned his post Thursday night in his bid for a seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Lutz, who announced Jan. 21 that he would seek the commission post, said in a prepared speech before City Council that state law requires him to give up his post once he qualifies to run for the commission seat.

Qualifying is set for April 26-30. The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is May 6.

"As I committed previously, I intend to pay for the special election to fill my remaining term because I do not feel it is right for the citizens of our city to carry the financial burden of the special election," Lutz said.

"I do regret, however, that there will be a significant amount of time that the seat will be vacant. I commit to continue to work with the mayor and council over the next several months until this position is filled."

Council members didn’t delve into how or when a special election would be held, instead offering their support for Lutz generally and in his campaign.

"You’re going to be missed. It’s been a privilege to work with you," Mayor Diane Hirling said. "You’ve contributed a lot to Flowery Branch."

City Attorney Ron Bennett said outside the meeting that council would have to pass an ordinance calling for a special election.

Lutz, who plans to seek the office now held by Commissioner Bobby Banks, said his "decision to run ... was provoked by the lack of cooperation between the county and the municipalities."

"It was compounded by a breaking of promises to the citizens, but it was enabled because of the new members that have been added to this council."

In the middle of his first four-year term, Lutz had a wish list of issues he would like the council to address, including the trash ordinance, ethics reform, water and sewer rates, zoning code updates and future annual budgets.

"Do what you can do to hold the line on the (tax) rate," he said.

In other business, the council:

  • Voted to hire Reynolds InLiner of Tucker to repair a 1,027-foot stretch of 12-inch sewer pipe that feeds into the city’s sewer plant off Atlanta Highway. Reynolds said it could do the work for $45,498, with city officials having estimated the work costing as much as $60,000.
  • Voted to pay a $500 fine to the state Environmental Protection Division for a Jan. 28 sewer spill. A grease blockage at a sewer line in a subdivision caused the spill of about 1,000 gallons, some of which poured into Flowery Branch Creek.
  • Heard from City Manager Bill Andrew on the city’s finances. He said he foresees the city ending the budget year June 30 with $240,000 in additional revenue, up from a projected $150,000 to $180,000.Andrew suggested that the additional money be used at some point for road improvement projects.
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