Commissioners will hire ‘community healthcare’ intern

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept an Association of County Commissioners Georgia (ACCG) grant to fund the hiring of an intern who will coordinate a “community healthcare” discussion, coordinate and co-lead groups and analyze and interpret data collected in surveys.

The grant will pay the intern, who will work under the direction of Commissioner David Miller, $10 per hour for up to 200 hours. The county’s total contribution to the grant will be $250. Miller, who brought the idea to the board, thanked board members for their support.

Commissioners also approved a request by the Lumpkin County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA) to deed the ground water well at Blackburn Park over to LCWSA for use as a water source for the Ga. 400 system with the caveat that if the Georgia Environmental Protection Division does not approve the well as a water source, ownership will revert back to the county.

Commissioners denied a request by the owner of Barefoot Hills Hotel to waive penalties, interest and non-payment fees accrued on rentals between March through October 2017.

The board unanimously approved:

  • A lease agreement for the Adult Learning Center;
  • A canoe launch sublease with Appalachian Outfitters (Comm. Stringer recused himself); and
  • A canoe launch sublease with Hall’s Mill Enterprises (Comm. Stringer recused himself).

Resolutions approved unanimously by the board include:

  • Dissolution of the Airport Committee;
  • Appointment of Airport Authority members Larry Odom, Gene Gawthrop, Archie Bowling, Jimmy Berrong and Chris Dockery;
  • Appointment of Lumpkin County Library Board of Trustees member Kaye Campagnoli;
  • Appointment of Hospital Authority members Leland Cox and Larry Charles;
  • Appointment of Public Building Authority members W. Franklin Youngblood and Daniel Harding; and
  • Appointment of Upper Etowah River Alliance member Dr. Robert Fuller.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACCG intern grant would facilitate Lumpkin County healthcare discussion

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Commissioners are expected to vote on an Association of County Commissioners Georgia (ACCG) grant that would fund the hiring of an intern to coordinate a “Community Healthcare” discussion when the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners meets Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The grant would pay an intern $10 per hour for up to 200 hours to coordinate and co-lead “Community Healthcare Discussion” groups and analyze and interpret data collected from surveys. The county’s only financial contribution would be $250 and the intern would work under the direction of Commissioner David Miller, who suggested the study during a recent meeting.

Commissioners must also vote on a request by the Lumpkin County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA) to use the ground water well at Blackburn Park as a source of water for its Ga. 400 water system.

Several key contracts will also be on the agenda, including one with Atlanta-based Mauldin & Jenkins to provide the county audit at a cost of $41,000. Mauldin & Jenkins has provided that service for Lumpkin County since 2007.

Another contract to be considered is with Bachman & Associates for the schematic design phase of the Chestatee Regional Library System at a cost of $35,280.

Also up for a decision Tuesday is the 2018 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) work plan that was presented to commissioners at the annual retreat. The plan is a guide for the use of funds approved by commissioners based on the program as approved by the voters.

The program is designed to ensure programs stay within budget and provide time for staff to research and make sure all projects submitted are SPLOST eligible. All projects presented will fall within the guidelines of the original program approved by the voters.

Commissioners will vote on a request by the owner of Barefoot Hills Hotel to waive the penalties, interest and non-payment fees for March through October 2017 rentals.

Resolutions to be considered include:

  • Revisions to the county Animal Ordinance;
  • Revisions to the alcohol beverage catering fees and special event fees;
  • Revisions to the alcohol and drug testing policy;
  • Appointments to the Park and Recreation Advisory Board;
  • Appointments to the Department of Family and Children Services Board; and
  • Appointments to the Joint Development Authority of Lumpkin, Dawson and White counties.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Small-lodging, short-term rental property is the hot-topic issue at commissioners’ work session

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Commissioner David Miller

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – A discussion about the land use plan that applies to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property and variance requests dominated the discussion at the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners work session this week.

Planning Director Larry Reiter asked for clarification on the interpretation of regulations in the residential growth categories that pertain to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property due to ambiguous wording.

Reiter said current regulations require all “non-commercial” character areas to have a minimum of two acres in order to operate a small-lodging, short-term vacation rental business. However, there are three different definitions of “small lodging” in the code.

However, in 2012, the Board of Commissioners granted a variance to the two-acre requirement with the caveat that the business not be located next to a family with children. Since then, the Planning Commission has reviewed 20 variance requests to the two-acre minimum, most of which were approved without opposition.

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield

Recently, concerned property owners in two different subdivisions have expressed opposition to the variance and the Planning Commission will hear three such requests in February. Staff is in the process of revising the land use code and has asked for direction from commissioners.

Regarding the variance requests to be heard this month, Commissioner Bob Pullen recommended sticking with the two-acre minimum requirement until the board has had time to change it.

Commissioner David Miller said he believes the two-acre minimum is reasonable. “However, I believe there must be accommodations made for specific circumstances,” Miller said. “Rather than mandate the Planning Commission to some predetermined directions from commissioners, I think we should let you guys do your work. If members of the public disagree with your decision, then they do and should have the right to appeal.”

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield said, “The two-acre requirement should be a red flag. If it’s less than two acres, then (Planning Commission) needs to take a hard look at this. If you live out in the country somewhere and nobody lives near you, and nobody objects then I can see why the Planning Commission would have granted those variances. On the other hand, if you choose to live in a community surrounded by a whole bunch of people where all your actions impact those other folks, and they don’t think it’s a good idea, then the Planning Commission should take that into consideration when it grants or doesn’t grant the variance.”

The board will take Planning Department’s requests into consideration and vote on the issue in a future meeting.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Board of Commissioners will review land use plan for short-term vacation rentals at today’s meeting

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Planning Commission will ask commissioners for guidance in making proposed revisions to the county’s land use plan that regulates small-lodging, short-term vacation rentals when the Board of Commissioners holds its working session Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.

Planning Commission members say they have received an increasing number of requests for variances to the land use plan which requires a minimum of two acres to operate a small-lodging, short-term vacation rental business.

In three years, the commission has received 20 requests for variances on property less than two acres and all have been approved without opposition. However, planning staff reports that recently, residents of two subdivisions have voiced opposition to requests and another request is on the Planning Commission agenda in February in one of the subdivisions that has voiced opposition.

Commissioners will also consider a resolution to pay per diem to the chairman and members of the Lumpkin County Planning Commission in the amount of $100 and $75 per meeting. In presenting the resolution for consideration, staff queried other Georgia municipalities to determine the average amount of per diem paid. Dawson, White, Hall and Forsyth counties pay an average of $94 per meeting.

The board will consider a request to waive late penalties, interest and non-filing fees in the amount of $2,304.95 due for the months of March through October 2017 for the Barefoot Hill Hotel, formerly Barefoot Lodge and Hiker Hostel.

Commissioners will also discuss adoption of the 2018 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Work Plan, an annual guide for the use of funds approved by the board based on the program approved by voters.

Commissioners will also discuss the appointment of members to the library board, hospital authority, public building authority, development authority, joint development authority of Lumpkin, White and Dawson counties, Upper Etowah River Alliance and the audit committee.

County contracts to be discussed include the lease for the Adult Learning Center, disaster debris removal, Canoe Georgia, Inc., canoe launch with Chestatee River Adventures and probation management services for Magistrate, Probate and Superior Court.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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City/County Officials Host GMRC at Camp Merrill

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City/county officials from all across north Georgia attended the GMRC meeting at Camp Frank D. Merrill last week.

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners and the City of Dahlonega hosted the monthly meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) Thursday in the dining facility at Camp Frank D. Merrill, the US Army Ranger facility.

The GMRC serves local governments of the Georgia mountains region by improving the quality of life through economic development, community planning, information technology, and workforce development to support and enhance the region’s prosperity.

Named for the famous Ranger General of World War II in the Burma Campaign, Camp Merrill is the home of the US Army’s 5th Ranger Training Battalion, where Ranger candidates receive mountain warfare training.

Lumpkin County staff and elected officials attend GMRC meeting.

Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery welcomed city and county officials from all across north Georgia. County Manager Stan Kelley, a former Army Ranger, Commissioners Bob Pullen, David Miller, Rhett Stringer and Bobby Mayfield attended along with Fire Chief David Wimpy and Public Works Director Larry Reiter.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Michael Hack briefed the audience on the rigorous training regimen ranger candidates undergo in order to accomplish their mission of providing logistical support, training, mobilization, deployment, supporting, sustaining and reconstituting forces.

Roseann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia, explained how the center provides students with a unique opportunity to discover the arts, history, music and nature of southern Appalachia through community engagement, service learning, undergraduate research and creative activities. The center is located on the Dahlonega campus across the street from Price Memorial Hall in the Historic Vickery House.

Lumpkin County Mayoral candidate Sam Norton (right) receives recognition during Small Business Week for his Picnic Cafe.

Dahlonega City Councilman Sam Norton, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election, was given special recognition by Congressman Doug Collins’ office for during Small Business Week for the small business he started in Dahlonega called Picnic Café.

The GMRC also held a Workforce Development Board Meeting in the second floor conference room of the Lumpkin County Administrative Building in Dahlonega.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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Library Will Celebrate Centennial in November

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Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary in November. The library was opened by the Ladies of Lumpkin County Home and School Improvement (now the Woman’s Club) with the generous donation of a book collection by the Matthew F. Stephenson family.

In recognition of the date, Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough and Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery have proclaimed Nov. 4 as Lumpkin Library Centennial Day.

Commissioners passed a series of resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting, including one that authorized the sale of  several items, including a 2010 Ford E-350 van, 1995 Ford F-350 pickup truck, a 500-gallon water tank and a John Deere Model 350C as surplus items and provided for their sale on govdeals.com.

Other resolutions passed include:

  • An amendment to change the fees charged for various services, including administrative, buildings and building regulations, animals and foul, parks and recreation and ambulance. The new fees will become effective Jan. 1, 2018;
  • An amendments to the county sign ordinance;
  • Introduction of legislation in the 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly to create a Lumpkin County Airport Authority;
  • An amendment to the county alcohol ordinance that grants any person who has been issued a State license to manufacture and/or sell distilled spirits the right to manufacture and/or sell distilled spirits in the county until such time as it is determined the county has such authority.

Commissioners also approved the following:

  • An amendment to the contract with Legacy Link approved in May 2017 to include an allocation of funding to Lumpkin County of $8, 272 for operation of the Senior Center as well as congregate and home-served meals. No county match is required;
  • A contract with Parker Traffic Markings for an Off System Safety Project that includes striping and signage in the amount of $76,156. GDOT will provide 70 percent of the funding and the remainder ($22,846) would be funded out of SPLOST funds;
  • Renewal of a one-year contract with Mark Robinson Hauling to operate the transfer station for a fee of $16,200;
  • Renewal of a lease that allows Ninth District Opportunity to operate a Head Start Program at the J.B. Jones Pre-School, a county-owned facility. In exchange for providing the facility at no charge the county receives credit for an in-kind contribution valued at $152,900.

Lumpkin County Finance Director Allison Martin reported to commissioners that all Title III funds received under the federal Secure Rural Schools Act since 2009 ($126,131.80) have been spent.

The county decided that 15% of the funds received would be used for Firewise Community activities in and the remaining 85% would be used on road improvement projects. Martin reported the funds were spent on Firewise education classes and advertisements, Firewise educational materials, Firewise trailer, tent, computer, projector, display boards, search and rescue operations on National Forest Land, Neighborhood cleanup days and a county-wide fire survey.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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BOC Decides on Road Resurfacing Projects Tuesday

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Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Old Dahlonega Highway, Seabolt Stancil Road and Lakeview Drive are among the roads Lumpkin County Commissioners are expected to approve for inclusion in the 2018 Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) Road Resurfacing list when they meet in a work session and special called meeting Tuesday starting at 4 p.m.

County staff has proposed funding seven additional roads with the LMIG grant and two additional roads that would be completed with in-house labor. The total cost for resurfacing all 12 roads is $1,347,335.The list must be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Once approved, GDOT would provide $549,041.72 in funding and the county would be required to provide a 30 percent match.

The county is nearing completion of its fueling station on Barlow Road and commissioners will vote on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the City of Dahlonega that would allow the city to use the station.

Commissioners also will vote on a request by the Finance Department to be allowed to invest county funds in the highest yield financial instruments prior to approval by the board then report back to the board with the results rather than trying to call special meetings or time opportunities to regularly scheduled meetings. The process of investing and reporting back has been used by the county in the past and has historically produced high return on the investments.

In a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that would make access to the Lumpkin County Administration Building ADA compliant, commissioners agreed to a fund a parking and sidewalk project. Bids on the project were due on Aug. 28. The only bidder was North Georgia Concrete for $165,066.85.Commissioners will vote on that project Tuesday.

September 29 marks the 85th anniversary of the Dahlonega Lions Club. Commissioners will honor the non-profit organization for its dedicated service to the county with a proclamation declaring Sept. 29 as Dahlonega Lions Club Day.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Commissioners to Make Several Board Appointments Tuesday

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Tuesday’s Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. could be a very short one. Commissioners may have to postpone until next month a couple of board appointments that were on the agenda.

Cheyenne Thornton, who was expected to be reappointed to the Tax Assessors Board has moved to White County and will need to be replaced. An appointment to the Department of Family and Children’s Services may also need to be postponed until next month.

However, Sean Phipps should be reappointed to the county’s Planning Commission representing Seat 7. Commissioners are also expected to approve the reappointment of C.L. Grizzle to Seat 4 and Murl D Jones to Seat 7 on the Water and Sewerage Authority.

Commissioners will decide on an update to the county’s travel policy. The county staff has experienced issues with obtaining refunds for rooms and conferences not cancelled in a timely manner and also with requests for room upgrades and employees asking to arrive early or stay longer. On some occasions staff has been successful in having employees pay the extra charges. Most often the issue occurs with elected officials and staff is unable to make them comply. Staff believes a policy upgrade could end these issues.

Commissioners must also decide on a bid for security fencing around the county fueling station. Two bids were received. All State Fencing was the low bidder at $23,789 but offered an incomplete bid package that included only general liability insurance and their workers were not covered by workman’s comp. Stembridge Custom Metals entered a bid of $39,650 but is fully covered by insurance and its representative attended the pre-bid meetings.

Commissioners are also expected to vote on an addendum to a Georgia Department of Transportation contract to include verbiage required by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. All existing contracts awarded with FTA funds after December 26, 2014, must be amended to reflect current references to and requirements of the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Grant Guidance regulations.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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