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8-19-05 City & County Agree on Dahlonega Yahoola (Tommy Craig Permit) Reservoir Project

DAHLONEGA NUGGET: Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough and Lumpkin County Commission Chair Steve Gooch signed a contract - that, at this point, splits the $ 14 million loan for the Yahoola Creek reservoir and surrounding property……The signed agreement was hand-delivered to GEFA…..

AVOC

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August 16, 2005

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City & County Agree on Dahlonega Yahoola (Tommy Craig Permit) Reservoir Project

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

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After years of struggling with financing and other issues, the City of Dahlonega, Lumpkin County and the GA Environmental Facilities Authority have reached agreement according to the August 4, 2005, edition of the Dahlonega Nugget.

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This project started out with a lot of promise and dreams.  Covington’s Tommy Craig helped obtain the Corps of Engineers 404 Permit.   The original plans included a considerably large recreation area.   A change in Governors and local officials changed the complexion of the deal.   The County and City wanted the State to take it over and sell them water.   However, the State held the two governments to its GEFA debt.

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It is an example of consultants'  proposals meeting reality and the debt having to be paid long after the consultants are gone.

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This project is a good case study for local governments considering entering into long term water projects with considerable debt repayment liability.

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SEE:

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10/24/01 - STATE BUYING DAHLONEGA-LUMPKIN COUNTY RESERVOIR

3-25-04 Jasper County Struggling With Water Issues-Newton Contract

3-11-05 Reservoirs, Consultants, Cost Overruns, Governors, and Attorney Tommy Craig

3-31-05 Walton & Oconee Need to Talk With Dahlonega-Lumpkin about Reservoir

6-22-05 Financial Strain for Lumpkin County Yahoola Creek Reservoir

7-12-05 Reservoirs, Consultant Tommy Craig, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County and State

http://www.cityofdahlonega.com/index.html


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The Dahlonega Nugget

http://www.thedahloneganugget.com/

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August 4, 2005

GEFA loan signed, details to be worked out later

By Sharon Hall

Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough and Lumpkin County Commission Chair Steve Gooch signed a contract Tuesday morning that, at this point, splits the $ 14 million loan for the Yahoola Creek reservoir and surrounding property.

The signed agreement was hand-delivered to GEFA (Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority) after being signed, just in time to meet GEFA's deadline.

 

Two issues, tax equity and use of SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds, has kept the two governments from signing the GEFA loan.

Tax equity issues were settled after the county consulted with an attorney July 20 and was told the city's position was correct - the county would have to set up an unincorporated tax district to pay for any part of the reservoir project with ad valorem taxes, since the city already pays county taxes.

Last week the county agreed to "include the city in any future SPLOST [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] negotiations, in accordance with state law."

The city wants to use SPLOST funds to build a new water treatment facility.

Under a new Georgia law, cities can receive SPLOST funds up to its percentage of the county's population. The decision was ratified at Monday's city council meeting.

The agreement to sign the GEFA loan will keep the reservoir and surrounding property in the hands of the city and county, and out of the hands of private developers.


8-5-05 Yahoola Negotiations Continued In Lumpkin County

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The Dahlonega Nugget

http://www.thedahloneganugget.com/

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August 4, 2005

Reservoir negotiations continuing

By Sharon Hall

While the City of Dahlonega and Lumpkin County have now signed the GEFA (Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority) loan agreement for the Yahoola Creek reservoir, details of who will own and be financially responsible for what assets are ongoing.

In the latest round of meetings (July 28, 29 and Aug. 1) the city made a counter proposal to three offered by the county July 22.

Issues the city addressed in its counter proposal included water allocation, distribution of profit from sale of the property surrounding the reservoir after debt on the land is paid off, a guarantee the city could use SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds to construct a new water treatment plant, management of the reservoir, purchase of additional acreage by the city and cost of the land where the water treatment plant would be located………..

"Since day one the county's and the water authority's intention was to have half the water. For us to reduce our allocation back down to 2.1 mgd wouldn't be economical," commission chair Steve Gooch said……….

Marvin Martin (District 4) agreed. "Any profit would all come back to benefit both the residents of the city and county anyway," he said, "for libraries and parks and projects such as that."

The city's proposal also asked for approximately 51 acres on the Wimpy Mill side of the reservoir for construction of the new water plant. Only about 20 acres are needed for the plant, and the city asked that the plant's footprint be included in the cost of the plant while the city would pay for the remaining acreage.

"You give them ice cream and they want chocolate on it," Martin quipped.

Other commission members agreed that if the city wanted title to the acreage, all of it should be paid for by the city.


The county did give the city assurances a new water treatment plant could be funded by SPLOST. Other issues surrounding the plant - how much allocation of capacity the county would receive, what the cost of treated water would be, ownership and management of the plant - are still under negotiation.


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