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Hall considers increasing landfill fees, landscaping interstate exits
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County commissioners discussed funding the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Centennial Gateway Initiative and the possibility of increasing county landfill rates from $34.50 per ton to $40 per ton at Monday’s work session.

Vice Commissioner Steve Gailey said the proposed hike comes after an eight-year period in which landfill rates remained constant, and the rate increase is needed to bring Hall County landfill rates up to market standards in surrounding counties.

"This isn’t going to affect the average ... citizen," Gailey said. "It’s going to affect private haulers."

Gailey added the proposed $40-per-ton rate may deter out-of-county residents from depositing waste in the Hall County landfill.

The commissioner said he would like for the commission to implement some type of plan that would assist landfill workers in monitoring out-of-county residents’ deposits.

The commission also discussed making a $30,000-per-year commitment to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce for three years to support the Centennial Gateway Initiative, which seeks to improve and beautify all seven exits from I-985 to Hall County in celebration of the chamber’s 100-year anniversary.

The plan aims to begin landscaping Exit 20 and then Exit 8 with drought-sustainable plants and flowers. In addition to county funding, the beautification project will seek funds from Flowery Branch, Oakwood and Buford cities and also receive funding through private donations from businesses in the community.

Denise Deal, chairwoman of the Greater Hall Chamber board, is the executive director of Vision 2030, which details a plan for the county leading up to the year 2030.

Deal said she hopes the new landscaping plan, which is in line with Vision 2030 and will cost roughly $150,000 to $200,000, will change the cigarette-littered appearance of exits leading into Hall County.

"You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and the hope is that we can make these improvements so that we can make a good impression to people who are coming into our community," Deal said.

The landscaping project could include statues and artwork and will be managed by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce for several years, Deal said.

The Hall County Commission will consider the landfill rate increase as well as the $90,000 commitment to the Centennial Gateway Initiative at its next board meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Georgia Mountains Center.

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