Hall County and Gainesville approved an agreement Monday to provide sewer service to the Ga. 365 corridor after the county spent nearly a year changing its mind on how to provide service to that area.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners began considering options for sewer service at the 518-acre Gateway Industrial Centre under development on Ga. 365 in North Hall and the corridor area nearly a year ago. The county agreed to provide sewer to the industrial park. That was supposed to happen within 36 months of when the first tenant, Georgia Poultry Lab, closed on its 10-acre site there. Hall has to provide 500,000 gallons per day of sewer capacity within 36 months of October 2012.
The intergovernmental agreement between Gainesville and Hall states the county will pay $640,000 for its share of existing pipelines and proposed improvements to the discharge point, at the intersection of White Sulphur and Howard roads. The city will treat 750,000 of gallons per day for the industrial park and any other developments that may spring up in that area.
“I hope it leads to great expansion in that area because I think that will be (the) next big commercial industrial development area,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said. “I think both Gainesville and Hall County will benefit from that.”
Commissioners also approved continuing to pursue a permit to construct a water reclamation plant on the Oconee River, which could service both sides of Ga. 365, said Ken Rearden, Public Works and Utilities director.
Hall paid Gainesville $10.6 million from special purpose local option sales tax collection for 1 million gallons per day in wastewater treatment capacity and paid $4.1 million to help build pump stations and sewage transmission mains at the city’s Limestone pump station in 2002.
Because Hall paid $14.7 million “upfront,” the city will kick back part of the customer revenue that’s collected.
The agreement states Gainesville’s sewer rate to customers will be $7.39 per 100 cubic feet of water, on Jan. 1, 2014, the same rate it is now. Of that, the county will get $4.01 per ccf back.
The county will own and operate all facilities and equipment upstream of the discharge point, and Gainesville will own and operate everything downstream from that point.
The part of the agreement that stated Hall would pay for Gainesville’s costs if the county backed out was removed before the deal was struck.
“I just want to say thank you to the county commission for working with us, staff-to-staff and body-to-body,” Councilman George Wangemann said. “I think this is a great kumbayah moment, for lack of a better term.”
This is the fifth vote the county has taken on providing sewer to the Ga. 365 area. In November, the county commission approved building its own sewer system.
The board had three choices: build its own system, partner with Lula or partner with Gainesville.
Commissioner Jeff Stowe and Chairman Richard Mecum joined the board in January, and the commissioners reconsidered the previous decision and voted again, to go with Lula.
The county walked away from those talks in July, voting to build its own system, saying it would be cheaper.
Talks started again shortly after, but the board voted again Sept. 12 to re-explore all its options.
Talks between the county and Lula continued, but by the middle of last week, county officials were sitting down with Gainesville, and a meeting was called Friday to vote on the agreement.