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Glades Reservoir agreement up for renewal
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While a federal permit needed to proceed with the Glades Reservoir project remains in limbo, local governments and authorities are extending the time frame for negotiations with Glade Farm LLC about payments and other proposed amendments to a lease management agreement.

The Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority on Monday approved extending the terms outlined in a 2010 “letter of intent” until July 31, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote on whether to extend the agreement when it meets Thursday.

The proposed 850-acre Glades Reservoir in the Upper Chattahoochee River Basin is projected to add about 40 million gallons to the water supply of Northeast Georgia at an estimated $130 million cost to Hall County.

Hall County has spent more than $8 million on land for the Glades Reservoir, primarily paying with special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

Glades is eligible for up to $40 million in funding from the Governor’s Water Supply Program, and Hall County has applied for about $14.5 million in direct investment.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, meanwhile, is negotiating the terms of a contract for consulting services related to Glades.

And a final environmental impact statement is scheduled for completion later this year, with a decision on whether the project will proceed likely to come in March 2015. Design and construction of the reservoir is expected to take five years.

The latest agreement between the Development Authority, Hall County and Glade Farm sets the negotiating parameters when and if a federal permit is acquired.

The agreement includes promises from Hall County to reimburse Glade Farm up to $3.5 million for costs associated with acquiring the permit.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted in closed session in September 2010 to approve about $3 million in payments to Glade Farm.

The agreement also shifts the responsibility for permitting and construction to the county, and commits the county to paying $4.5 million to Glade Farm within 120 days of receiving the necessary permit.

Other details that remain to be negotiated include the cost of additional land needed to build the reservoir, location of easements and pipelines, and issues regarding recreational use access.

Development Authority officials said the latest agreement has been extended previously, and that it makes little sense to begin negotiating the aforementioned items until a permit is issued.

Because most of the county commissioners were not around when the latest agreement and negotiating terms were signed, they said they needed to look at the agreement before commenting.

But a few details emerging from a county work session prompted Murrayville resident Doug Aiken to question the wisdom of promising so much to Glade Farm while allowing it to continue to make money off the land while the county waits on a permit.

“I’m concerned, as a citizen, what’s going on with this project,” Aiken said. “Y’all need to look deep into this.”