The Hall County Board of Commissioners is holding an all-day meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future of the county — in Augusta.
Last month, commissioners voted to cancel their first work session and voting meeting in October because they and several department heads would be attending a conference of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia in Augusta.
The Legislative Leadership Conference begins on Wednesday in the Richmond County city on the border of Georgia and South Carolina.
From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hall County commissioners will be hearing reports from their department heads covering finance, human resources, planning and zoning, public works and public information, according to county spokeswoman Katie Crumley.
The agenda for the Wednesday meeting states the purpose is to “discuss the future growth of Hall County, strategic planning and to hold an executive session meeting.”
Executive sessions are closed to the public and deal with land acquisition, personnel matters and potential or active litigation. No votes will be taken after the executive session Wednesday.
Commission Chairman Richard Higgins said the meeting was a good learning opportunity for commissioners and offered them a distraction-free opportunity to plot a general course forward for the county.
He said the commission or county administration wasn’t trying to hide anything from the public.
“It’s not like we’re going to vote on anything or make any earth-shaking decisions, it’s just talking about what our plans for the future are,” Higgins said. “... It’s not like we’re hiding anything.”
Written minutes will be taken for the meeting, according to Hall County Clerk Lisa Ritchie, but no video or audio recording will be taken.
The meeting is open to the public, but Augusta is two-and-a-half hours from Gainesville.
It’s the second all-day meeting commissioners have held outside of the county. The first took place earlier this year at the ACCG annual conference in April in Savannah.
“They found that very beneficial, so there was some talk at that time about having another one the next time there was an event like this,” Crumley said of the October conference in Augusta.
The slate of discussions on Wednesday includes transportation special purpose local option sales taxes, sewer projects, personnel, county permitting and the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The aim of these discussions is to not just “react to what’s going on,” Higgins said, but “plan on where we’re headed.”
In addition to all five commissioners and Crumley, Interim Administrator Jock Connell, Assistant Administrator Marty Nix, Interim Assistant Administrator Lisa Johnsa and four department heads are attending the meeting. Those department heads are Finance Director Zach Propes, Planning Director Srikanth Yamala, Human Resources Director Bill Moats and Public Works Director Ken Rearden.