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The Local Agenda: Gainesville City Council has full agenda
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City Council members are scheduled to consider several items at their meeting this evening. On the agenda are raising city water and sewer prices, adopting a West Gainesville-Hall County opportunity zone, setting the 2014 property tax rate for the Gainesville Board of Education and changing the ordinance on annexations initiated by the city.

Water rates for city service would increase by 3.5 percent and wastewater sewer rates would rise by 1.75 percent and the account service fee would go from $4 to $4.25.

The “per unit” water charge for residents living in Gainesville would go from $2.44 to $2.53 and from $7.26 to $7.39 for sewer. The percentage change is the same for Hall County residents, but water rates are twice the city rates.

County “per unit” rates would increase from $4.88 to $5.06 for water, but sewer rates would match the city rate of $7.39. The city of Oakwood sewer rate, which isn’t subsidized, would go from $8.16 to $8.40 per unit.

Creating another opportunity zone in the city is on the consent agenda for the meeting. It would allow companies that move into or expand in the zone to get a $3,500 tax credit for each new job created.

The first phase of the zone would include 805 acres and 409 parcels of land around the Lakeshore Mall, Atlanta Highway, Browns Bridge Road and within Industrial Park West. The zone includes county property as well.

Gainesville has a downtown/midtown opportunity zone that was created in 2010 and wants to create more zones to go into place by the end of the year. Zones approved by Dec. 31 are retroactive to the start of 2013.

An issue that’s been controversial is the city’s plan to annex 115 “island properties” in Hall County. The City Council held public hearings and voted on its plan in December, but abandoned the process after the county objected. An arbitration sided with the city, but it will consider amending the ordinance to resemble state law.

Georgia regulations require a public notice be published in a local newspaper if a local government starts annexation.

Gainesville Police Department gets public safety grants

The city’s police department was awarded two traffic enforcement network grants from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grants don’t ask for matching city funds.

The department received $20,000 in recognition of its work as the coordinating agency for the North East Traffic Enforcement Network. The network includes law enforcement agencies in the 11 neighboring counties of Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, White, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, Hart, Franklin, Banks and Jackson.

The agencies help enforce seat belt, speeding and impaired driving laws.

Sarah Mueller covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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