• Wayne Tuck with Walker, Pierce & Tuck gave Flowery Branch a positive review in its financial audit for the 2014 fiscal year. “We’re able to issue an unqualified opinion,” Tuck said, explaining that’s the goal for anyone being audited. He also reported that total assets in the city’s general fund were up $92,000 from the previous year, with cash in the general fund up more than $700,000 from 2013. “It’s nothing but positive news to share here for the city,” Tuck said, “especially when compared to the prior year.”
• Council members approved the first reading of an ordinance setting 2015 election qualifying dates and fees; the two seats up for election are Damon Gibbs’ Post 1 seat and Mary Jones’ seat in Post 2. The qualifying dates are expected to be Aug. 31-Sept. 2, with a fee of $144. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 3. The second reading and expected approval of the ordinance will be during the council’s Jan. 22 meeting.
• Council members also approved the reappointment of its officers for 2015; the firm of Carothers & Mitchell will continue in the role of city attorney, while Melissa McCain will serve as city clerk. City Manager Bill Andrew was also reappointed.
Flowery Branch leaders have moved forward on increasing sewer capacity, and increasing the city’s chances for future development and growth.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city ... being able to have more service for ideally commercial and residential users,” City Planner John McHenry said Thursday.
Council members unanimously approved a contractor for the project of diverting wastewater from the Cinnamon Cove condominium complex on Gaines Ferry Road to the city’s treatment plant on Atlanta Highway.
The project, awarded to Smith Pipeline Inc., has a budget of $2.04 million. It’s mostly being funded through a $1.5 million loan through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. Funds from the special purpose local option sales tax will help pay for the rest, as well as a small amount from the city’s water and sewer fund.
“That total is right on the money with the budget,” Councilman Joe Anglin said.
Construction on the project should begin in March, with a projected completion date one year later in 2016.
“The stars are lining up just like we would like them to,” McHenry said.
The city acquired the Cinnamon Cove treatment plant in November 2008 at a time when residential development was going strong in the area. The idea behind the acquisition was to gain Cinnamon Cove’s extra phosphorus.
In the grand scheme of things, the city’s current phosphorus limit is not a lot. Flowery Branch has a permit to input 400,000 gallons of water daily into Lake Lanier. To go along with that, the state limits the city to 158 pounds of phosphorus annually.
“That’s like a human weight,” City Manager Bill Andrew said prior to the Thursday meeting. “It’s 0.13 milligrams per liter. It’s very, very, very limited.”
Acquiring the Cinnamon Cove plant gives the city an extra 107 pounds of phosphorus, expanding the city’s ability to provide sewer service to a once-again developing portion of Hall County.
Along with opening up some land for development along where the pipe will run, there’s also a possibility the increased capacity could enable the city to eventually close its spray field on Thurmon Tanner Parkway.
“Frankly, that’s a really nice piece of property that we’d like to develop,” Andrew said previously. “This will just make everything simpler not to have two different systems.”