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7-19-07 Walton’s Hard Labor Creek Reservoir still having challenges

It is hoped that the other Oconee commissioners will closely examine this deal. It is problematic for Oconee County and Mr. Davis cannot just “spin it” into a good solution. Sooner or later, reality will become involved.

AVOC

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July 18, 2007

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Walton’s Hard Labor Creek Reservoir still having challenges

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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As Oconee Citizens were questioning the proposed agreement with Walton County, a county official said that was only the first draft and would be changed.

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Monroe and other parties in Walton County are still resistant to this $ 350 Million Project.  The Walton Tribune reports today on the delay with the Agreement and the City of Monroe’s plans to look for an alternative.

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Oconee Citizens and Commissioners need to be concerned about something in the Walton Tribune (July 18, 2007) article:

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“…We hope to get a draft back to the Walton County Board of Commissioners in the coming weeks,” Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis said.   I have had some talks with (Walton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Little) on an individual basis…”

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Mr. Davis’s private conversations, without the press and other commissioners present, tend to set a course of action in motion before the public hears about it.

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It is hoped that the other Oconee commissioners will closely examine this deal.   It is problematic for Oconee County and Mr. Davis cannot just “spin it” into a good solution.Sooner or later, reality will become involved.

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Oconee Chairman Melvin Davis likes “individual conversations” for policy making

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SEE:

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6-25-07 Oconee-Walton Water Agreement raises concerns of citizens on tax & other issues

    http://www.oconeecountyobservations.blogspot.com/  (Lee Becker)

6-15-07 Oconee County is moving into a huge commitment that will be around for grandchildren

6-6-07 Oconee 'delegates' taxing authority with Walton Agreement

6-4-07 Oconee to sign 50 year contract with Walton on $ 353 million reservoir project

3-7-07 Oconee to join Walton Reservoir on split Vote – 3 to 2

3-6-07 Various thoughts and comments on the Oconee Water Decision

3-16-07 What the Oconee 3-2 (Melvin Davis) vote on Hard Labor Creek Means

1-6-07 Oconee Water needs and plans need public discussion and input –large impact on future

1-20-07 Oconee Commissioners seem determined to incur big and lasting debt for Fast Growth


7-18.07 Monroe Officials are hoping for alternative to HLC

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The Walton Tribune

http://www.waltontribune.com/story.lasso?ewcd=fc0ff49a3ad54c9c

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July 18, 2007

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Walton County waiting on water deal

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By Robbie Schwartz

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WALTON COUNTY — With plans to break ground on the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir in the fall, contract negotiations between officials from Walton and Oconee counties remain ongoing.
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“We are reviewing the draft that was sent to us and each of our board members has taken a look at it and offered comment on it. We hope to get a draft back to the Walton County Board of Commissioners in the coming weeks,” Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis said.
“I have had some talks with (Walton County Board of Commissioners Chairmen Kevin Little) on an individual basis and I feel like all of parties involved are amenable to reviewing the options of the organizational structure that will oversee the reservoir.

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“This is in no way a fight between the two boards on this matter. We want to just take a look at the options that best serve our interests and Walton County’s interests. Anytime you enter into an agreement of this magnitude, the needs to be a mutual agreement that is beneficial to both sides.”
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Negotiations continued up to within an hour before the Walton County Board of Commissioners approved the initial draft of the intergovernmental agreement in late May. Included in the contract was a section on the establishment of an
advisory committee, which has been at the center of the current round of negotiations. .
The initial proposed agreement said this committee would provide oversight and advice with respects to the acquisition of land, construction, implementation and operation of the project. Walton would have three members on the committee and Oconee two and while the group is charged with making recommendations to the WCWSA on a variety of aspects of the project, the advisements are not binding.
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“What we’ve set up is basically an operational document. Oconee is participating and obviously wants to have some input into the management of the project. What we have referred to as an advisory committee in actuality a management board, and we are working with Oconee County to try and hammer out the membership of the board and the duties they will have,” Walton County Attorney Kirby Atkinson said.
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Little said the two sides meet again July 19 to iron out the “little things” that remain. Once Oconee County has approved the contract with changes, the Walton County Board of Commissioners will take a look at the new version and vote again on the document.
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Last week the Monroe City Council approved a measure that directs its engineer to look into an alternative to the Hard Labor Creek project.
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City officials have said Jack’s Creek, located east of the city, would be a cheaper and more productive water source.
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Councilman Wallace Beall, who made the motion, said he is concerned about a lack of water in the future and believes the city could protect itself from a water shortage and sell water if it created its own reservoir at Jack’s Creek.
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“We got to the point where we weren’t sure we were going to have enough water,” he said. “We would have been in trouble with our water situation. My thought is if we have water down the road, other people are going to be able to buy it from us. It is always better to have too much than too little.”

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— Managing Editor Brian Arrington also contributed to this report.


7-10-07 Walton Water & Sewer Authority seeking water from Monroe

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The Walton Tribune

http://www.waltontribune.com/story.lasso?ewcd=5f541698d94235fe

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July 8, 2007

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Monroe doubtful to meet county’s water needs

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By Robbie Schwartz

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MONROE — Shortly after moving their watering restrictions to Level III Tuesday night during a work session, Monroe City Council members began discussing what to do with a request for more water by the Walton County Water and Sewerage Authority.
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“Do we have another one million gallons per day to sell?” councilmember Nathan Little asked. “I am all for supporting the county, but not if it impedes on serving our own residents.”
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The request was filed with the city in May by the WCWSA asking to purchase a supplemental water supply during the months of July through September this year and June through September of 2008. In exchange, the county water authority would be willing to help pay for the installation of a second raw water main from the Alcovy River to the city’s water treatment plant and a “peak rate” that would be paid for the requested water to help with compensation for additional operational and labor costs.
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During the meeting, Rodney Middlebrooks, director of the City of Monroe’s Water and Gas Department, said the city is currently having to withdraw water from the reservoir because the river, the main source of the city’s water, is below state requirements allowed by the permit issued.
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The city is pulling 3 million gallons per day from the Alcovy but is dipping into the reservoir for 1.8 million gallons per day to meet demand and contractual obligations.
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Middlebrooks did point out water usage was down compared to last year — 4.8 million gallons a day this year compared to 6.5 million last year — a sign residents were heeding water restrictions.
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The water director, because of the current drought, was reluctant to support the county’s request for an immediate request of additional water.
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The council is expected to take up the matter during its regular meeting Tuesday.
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If immediacy is not the issue, city officials indicated they might be able to work out a deal for the installation of the second raw water line, which could take as long as six months to get on line.
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The city’s engineering firm of Hofstadter and Associates Inc., in response to the county’s request, recommended that the city compromise on the line, charging $ 1.85 per 1,000 gallons beyond the 2 million gallons per day, if the county funds the installation of the line.
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If the city funds the installation of the line, the rate was recommended to be set at $ 3 per 1,000 gallons.
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The city and county are currently in a contract which expires Sept. 13, 2009, and any agreements reached would expire at that time.
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The formal request filed by the WCWSA also asked for copies of the most recent calibration test data and certification for existing master meters as the county studies its current unaccounted water totals. The request was made because the county has identified irregular meter readings during certain periods of time that suggest water could be “backfeeding” into the city’s system.


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