The commissioners approved three new resolutions proposed by Commissioner Ashley Bell at Monday’s work session.
- The first is that when property is donated to the county, if any county-funded improvements to the property are required as part of the gift, the commission should have a cost estimate before voting to accept it.
- The second is that the commission publicly announce the estimated operating cost of all facilities that are to be built by SPLOST fund once plans are finalized.
- The third is that any alterations made to county employee contracts must be approved by the commission.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners listened to thoughts from a former commissioner before approving a review of Gainesville’s Water and Wastewater Differential Study.
Jimmy Echols, who served on the commission in the early 1990s, told the board he backed a county review because of what he considered a history of unfair rates to county residents.
The county would pay $7,800 to have consulting firm Camp, Dresser & McKee review Gainesville’s most recent differential study to determine if users are paying an accurate amount for the services and assets they use. That differential study assessed the fair Hall County customer rate to be 2.13 times that of city customers; county users currently pay two times what city customers pay for water.
Echols said the current water system is unfair because there are no other providers in the area.
“They are an unregulated monopoly,” Echols said. “They have no accountability to their customers.”
Echols said hopes the county will change the current arrangement before the massive Hagen Creek and Cane Creek developments are built in northeastern Hall.
“The tap on fees for that development would probably be up around $15 million,” Echols said. “Are you going to let them control that? I hope you won’t.”
“We have no voice in the water rates and no voice in where they run lines to.”
Commissioner Bobby Banks said he thinks the county review is a waste of taxpayer money.
“Anytime the city gets to step on us, they do,” Banks said. “Until somebody holds them accountable, we will still be stepped on.”
After the meeting, Commissioner Ashley Bell, whose district includes Gainesville, said he hopes the two governments can work out their differences.
“I don’t like the adversarial nature that some folks are taking with the city,” Bell said. “I hope with all the opportunities we have ... we can put this turf war aside and come up with a comprehensive strategy to provide water to Hall County.”