When it comes to deciding the future of water in Gainesville and Hall County, city and county officials are slowly inching along.
Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver sent a letter to Gainesville Mayor Ruth Bruner on Monday, telling the city that the commission will move forward with permitting Glades Farm Reservoir in 15 days — with or without its support.
The next day, Bruner responded with surprise in her own letter.
“We have been nothing but supportive of your efforts to develop the Glades Farm Reservoir,” she wrote, citing previous letters.
“Additionally, we have publicly stated our support many times as well as provided positive comments for the project.”
Bruner indicated that if the reauthorization of Lake Lanier doesn’t happen, the city will need alternative sources of water.
“Glades Farm being the obvious choice, we certainly hope you wouldn’t proceed without taking our community’s needs into consideration,” she wrote.
She again asked for the business plan for the reservoir, explaining that estimated costs sound “staggering” and wants to be aware of costs to the community.
Bruner also expressed concern about water supply for fiscal year 2013 and wants to move forward with the Cedar Creek water treatment plant.
Hall officials have said they need Cedar Creek Reservoir so they can sell water to other governments and help pay for the construction of Glades Reservoir. Gainesville owns Cedar Creek Reservoir, but Hall County’s sales tax revenues built the reservoir and the county still holds the permit needed to withdraw the water.
“We again request that the County provide a letter indicating to GaEPD your wishes for the Withdrawal Permits in the Oconee Basin be transferred to Gainesville,” Bruner wrote.
On Thursday, Hall County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said he hasn’t yet read her letter.
“My initial response, though, is that it’s something we can use, and we appreciate the ability to work with them,” he said.
Efforts to reach other commissioners were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.
Bruner noted that the next step is for both groups to be prepared to meet in person.
“If the staffs are to meet and discuss the issues in order to make recommendations to the elected bodies, their efforts shouldn’t be undermined by us, the Elected Officials,” she wrote. “Let’s give them a chance to do what we (both elected bodies) have asked of them.”