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Proposed Glades Reservoir getting more expensive
Commissioners to discuss additional $1.5 million in funding for contractor
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Hall County Board of

Commissioners work session

What: Discussion on additional funding for proposed Glades Reservoir

When: 3 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville

The cost of the proposed Glades Reservoir in North Hall has already exceeded $15 million, and taxpayers will likely soon pump more money into the project on consulting fees and additional environmental studies.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will meet for a work session Tuesday to discuss approving an additional $1.5 million in funding for AECOM, a firm contracted by the Army Corps of Engineers, to complete an environmental impact statement.

An additional $150,000 is being earmarked for a study to determine if the endangered northern long-eared bat has habitat in the project area.  

The bat is in danger of becoming extinct because of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed many bat populations, and was listed as an endangered species in April by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A draft environmental impact statement for Glades Reservoir will have to account for these protections.

The DEIS was scheduled for release in March, but was pushed back when the USFWS proposed protections for the bat after significant and severe population declines and loss of traditional habitats.

And a final EIS had been scheduled for release in the fall, with a permitting decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coming in December.

The currently adjusted timeline now schedules the DEIS for release in July or August, with a 45-day public comment period to follow.

A final EIS will come in March 2016, with a decision from the Corps of Engineers on whether the reservoir can be constructed scheduled for May or June of next year.

Commissioners will also consider extending a consulting agreement with Joe Tanner & Associates for an additional $140,000 when it meets today.

Funded through special purpose local option sales tax revenues, these additional payments will drive the cost of the proposed reservoir to nearly $17 million so far.

AECOM alone has received more than $4 million while Joe Tanner & Associates has received about $770,000.

And in April 2014, a lease agreement was extended that shifts the responsibility for permitting and construction of the reservoir to the county, and commits the county to paying $4.5 million to Glade Farm within 120 days of receiving the necessary permit for construction.

If approved, the total projected cost for the reservoir is about $130 million.

Supporters of the proposed 850-acre Glades Reservoir in the Upper Chattahoochee River Basin say it will add about 40 million gallons per day to the water supply of Northeast Georgia.