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Hall looking at hiring financial adviser
Officials recommend consultant for Gainesville transportation study
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Other business

Other discussion at the Hall County Board of Commissioners work session Monday:

  • The county is looking at raising health insurance premiums by 3 percent for employees and 7 percent for retirees and dental insurance premiums for employees and retirees by 5 percent. Open enrollment for county employees starts Nov. 1.
  • Officials plan to discuss at Thursday’s meeting sewer options concerning the 518-acre Gateway Industrial Center and neighboring areas off Ga. 365, including partnering with Gainesville’s Public Utilities Department and building a sewage treatment plant.
  • Officials recommended Pond & Co. of Norcross to serve as a consultant on a Gainesville transportation study. The study will cost $125,000, with $25,000 from the city and $100,000 from the Federal Highway Administration.

Jeff Gill

Hall County is looking at hiring a financial adviser, Atlanta-based The PFM Group, which has done work for MARTA and the likes of Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is set to decide the matter at its regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Still being considered is whether to pay the firm an annual fee of $25,000 or according to hourly rates of $200 to $250.

“I think you’d want to look at the entire package and determine what is best suited for the finance department’s needs and the county’s needs,” County Administrator Randy Knighton said at the commission’s work session Monday.

“It may be that the arrangement needs to be modified in some fashion where ultimately we would get our best price.”

Commissioner Ashley Bell said, “I would make the motion to approve (The PFM Group) but to let staff have the flexibility to approve a rate that makes sense.”

Jock Connell, a former Gwinnett county administrator who has served as Hall’s interim county administrator, said overall he believes Hall County “is at the point where you need somebody with a broad breadth of experience and who can look at ... debt issues.”

Also, “It’s a pretty inexpensive way” to extend Finance Director Vickie Neikirk’s staff, “without bringing on full-time employees and picking up all those benefit costs,” he said.

Neikirk said after the meeting that she foresees PFM helping the county in such matters as how to handle debt, capital projects, refinancing and cash-flow issues.

“Most of the larger counties have (financial advisers) and we felt Hall County had reached the point where it needed one,” she said.

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