At its final meeting of 2017 this week in Clermont, Joint Municipal Association members agreed to invite Hall County government to one of its meetings in the coming year.
Also, at the suggestion of Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan, the group decided to scale back the number of meetings in 2018 to three from its usual four meetings a year.
Formed in 1988 to foment better ties among the municipalities, JMA expanded in 2004 to include Hall County government and rebranded itself as the Joint Local Government Association. However, in 2010 the municipalities decided to exclude Hall County and return to their original format as the JMA.
Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said the group should try to get back to having a set of goals of what the organization wants to accomplish.
“It’s great to get together and fellowship, but it would be nice to know we’re trying to work for something for the upcoming year,” Brown said. “Also, I don’t know that it would be a bad idea for one of those meetings during the year we invited the county and have something that’s a joint type meeting.”
Brown said that while it’s important for the JMA to keep its structure as a municipal association because the cities have have different needs than what the county has, he advocated for at least one meeting with county officials.
“There are some issues that I think there’s some benefit to having one of those meetings a year where we do have something that’s a common topic that could bring us all together,” Brown added.
Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley indicated Tuesday that a joint meeting would be welcomed.
“To my knowledge, we have not received an invitation at this point,” Crumley said. “However, the county would certainly be receptive to such a meeting.”
Dunagan pitched a three annual meetings format, citing difficulties at times in lining up speakers.
“It’s a nice event always, but it can get a little monotonous at times,” Dunagan said. “If we needed a special meeting for something, we can discuss it. There’s no problem with that.”
JMA members also include the cities of Braselton, Buford, Flowery Branch, Gillsville and Lula.