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Oakwood City Council gives first approval to tax rate
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Other business

In other action Monday night, the Oakwood City Council voted:

• To approve rezoning 18.19 acres of city-owned property off Main Street and Flat Creek Road near downtown from agricultural and single-family residential to planned commercial development.

The plan is to eventually see the land developed as part of the Town Commons part of the city’s 2030 plan.

“We don’t have a development planned that’s active,” City Manager Stan Brown said.

• 4-1 to reauthorize speed limits for roads throughout the city, based on Georgia Department of Transportation studies.

Councilman Ron McFarland was the lone nay vote, saying he opposed a 30-mph limit for a nearly-half mile stretch of Railroad Street running in front of City Park near downtown.

DOT studies have justified the speed, Brown said.

“I guess if somebody gets killed out there, we’ll say, ‘Well, we couldn’t do anything about it,’’” McFarland said.

Oakwood — Oakwood residents likely will see the same tax rate when tax bills go out Dec. 2.

City Council gave its first OK Monday night to a rate of 2.658 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

The final vote is set for 4 p.m. next Monday.

Taxes will go to support a proposed 2014 budget, which is set for a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and adoption at 7 p.m. Nov. 11.

All the actions will take place at the Oakwood City Hall, 4035 Walnut Circle.

Next year’s budget, which takes effect Jan. 1, does call for a first-time user fee for the South Hall city’s sewer customers.

The city is proposing a $2.67 million budget for sewer operations next year. Revenue sources include $1.9 million in Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan proceeds, $250,000 in connection fees and $175,000 from the general fund.

Another $245,000 would be raised by the new sewer fees.

“Long term, we’ve got a note that will be about $1 million a year worth of payment we’ll need to make to GEFA,” City Manager Stan Brown has said.

“The only way we’re going to do that is through revenue coming in through the sewer fund. So, if we can’t do it through new connections, we’re going to have to pay it through user fees.”

Oakwood doesn’t own a sewer plant or operate a sewer system itself, but relies on Gainesville and Flowery Branch to provide service. The other cities also generate sewer bills for Oakwood.

Under the plan, Oakwood customers on Gainesville sewer would pay an additional $2 per month on their base rate, raising it to $10.40 per hundred cubic feet, or 748 gallons, from $8.40.

The Oakwood add-on for Flowery Branch customers would be based on usage.

Businesses that use up to 7,000 gallons of Flowery Branch sewer would see a base rate of $97.30, up from $40.53; and businesses that use more than 7,000 gallons would see their rate increase to $13.90 per 1,000 gallons, from $5.79.

The add-on would be as high as $22 per month for residential customers using between 2,501 and 4,500 gallons per month.

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