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The Local Agenda: Hall County to accept Gainesville's sludge
Laurel Park to be expanded for barbecue competition
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Despite the occasional high-profile disagreements between elected officials of Hall County and the city of Gainesville, there is rarely any mudslinging involved.

A recent agreement between the two local governments, though, does have them exchanging sludge.

On Thursday, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement that would let the city dispose of "dewatered sludge" from water treatment facilities into the county landfill.

Sludge is the solid material removed during the water treatment process.

As part of the agreement, the county will charge the city a tipping fee for disposal. Gainesville will also provide lab results showing the sludge is deemed "non-hazardous."

Laurel Park to get expansion for BBQ competition

Laurel Park is set for an upgrade to prepare for a state championship barbecue competition by the Gainesville Jaycees.

The Hall commission approved a request for $80,000 to construct a new special events area at the park.

The construction will include installation of water and electricity access for RV parking sites. The upgrades will be used to house other events in the future as well, according to county documents.

The money will be funded from impact fees collected from new development.

The barbecue championship, planned for November, could draw nearly 2,000 people from surrounding communities.

Commissioners OK junkyard expansion

Hall commissioners approved the expansion of an auto junkyard on a 12-acre tract on Athens Highways last week.

The Hall County Planning Commission initially recommended a denial of a similar request in September because of perceived difficulties in enforcing code inspection. The property's owner, Gregg Kettyle, did not have the business license of the property either, according to county documents.

However, a revised expansion was approved on Thursday, with representatives of Kettyle and the county government praising the process of working together.

Hall County urges registration for first government academy

Registration is open for the first Hall County Government Scholars' Academy, which will be held April 17 to June 2.

Each of the eight sessions will focus on a different aspect of local government and will include tours of many facilities.

"We want to encourage citizens to be active in their local government," County Administrator Randy Knighton said. "Participants will gain an intimate understanding of how their tax dollars are spent and what issues face Hall County government."

There is no cost to participants. Applications are available at www.hallcounty.org.

Aaron Hale covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:
ahale@gainesvilletimes.com
facebook.com/TimesAaronHale
@HaleGainesTimes

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