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The Local Agenda: County denies Lula's claims on wastewater plant costs
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Hall County is denying the city of Lula’s claims that the county broke its promises to help pay the construction costs of a wastewater treatment facility.

Lula filed a civil complaint against the county in the Superior Court of Hall County in March, claiming that the county government was in breach of a 2006 agreement to help pay for building the Lula facility, which was also funded with federal stimulus grant money.

The county is seeking to have the complaint dismissed and is arguing that Lula is misrepresenting what the county owes the city, according to the county’s written response to the Lula complaint.

Attorneys representing the county claim that federal grant money Lula received to help build the facility should be counted in the cost-sharing agreement, something Lula is arguing against.

According to a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority document, Lula received a $6 million federal subsidy and $2.6 million in low-interest loans for the plant.

Lula and Hall attorneys are at odds on whether the 2006 agreement signed by both parties before construction allows for the grant money to be considered in dividing the costs.

Lula argues such a deduction was not part of the original signed agreement.

But county attorneys wrote, “Proper interpretation of the agreement requires a credit for the grant money (Lula) received for construction of the wastewater plant.”

The county is also claiming the city is seeking payment beyond the original agreement.

Hall County states that the city has requested project costs of more than $10 million, which is “almost double the amount specified in the agreement” of $5.8 million.

With the county’s answer to the lawsuit, the case is now in discovery phase where each side can gather evidence before it’s determined whether the issue will go to trial.

Comment opens on permit for wastewater discharge

Public comment is now open as the Georgia Environmental Protection Division considers reissuing a permit to allow the city of Gainesville to release treated wastewater into Flat Creek.

In order to discharge treated water into Georgia’s waters, the city of Gainesville must have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

The Gainesville Public Utilities Department currently has such a permit to release 12 million gallons per day into the creek, but it’s nearing expiration.

Those who wish to comment upon or object to the proposal are invited to submit in writing via email at with the subject line “NPDES permit reissuance, City of Gainesville, Flat Creek WRF (Hall County)” or mail to 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30354.

County tax assessors board to attend 3-day training course

Members of the Hall County Board of Assessors are attending a training course in Athens at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government this week.

The three-day course, which is recommended by the Department of Revenue for county tax officials, focuses on legal and economic changes faced by assessors and appraisers, including an analysis of recent updates in property tax laws.

The Board of Tax Assessors is a five-member body, appointed by the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which is responsible for the preparation of the annual tax digest.

Aaron Hale covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:


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