GAINESVILLE - Hall County Commissioners Thursday night received petitions from angry residents who want to stop the stink from a Gainesville area landfill and who oppose the county's proposed new south Hall sewer rates. They also passed a resolution opposing Gainesville's annexation of 'island' county properties inside the city during their three-hour meeting.
Commissioners got a 200-signature petition from residents who are fed up with the food compost smell coming from a supposedly inert landfill off Athens Highway on Monroe Drive.
Commissioners accepted Ashley Bell's motion to notify the state Environmental Protection Agency the county does not want the waste there. President of the Gainesville/Hall County NAACP, Phyllis Brewer, told commissioners the compost posed a health risk possibly caused by disregard of the county's code of ordinances.
Brewer and other residents wanted a letter signed by County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver a year ago authorizing the compost rescinded.
South Hall sewer customers lined up to oppose the county's proposed new sewer rates at the first reading and public hearing on them.
Phyllis Mercer from Deaton Creek presented a 600-signature petition opposing the rates, stating they are not fair because they are not based on usage.
"A stated goal is that you want to charge on consumption, but in reality the proposal charges on capacity and commodity," Mercer said.
Her husband John called the fixed capacity charge the 'elephant in the room.'
Public Works Director Ken Rearden said goals included fair rates based on consumption, with new rates reducing annual sewer bills for 58 percent of the county owned system's households.
NORTH HALL SEWER
Hall County Commissioners looked at options to build a North Hall sewer plant to serve the Highway 365 corridor and decided to build a $3.2-million county plant instead of partnering with either Gainesville or Lula.
Commissioner Scott Gibbs made the motion saying it would allow the county the most independence and profit.
"We will be able to control our own growth, our own destiny, of what locates in that area and what ties onto that sewer," Gibbs said.
The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Billy Powell casting the dissenting vote, favoring the Gainesville option.
Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling for opposition to Gainesville's proposed annexation of 115 county properties properties inside the city.
Attorney Abb Hayes represents 'S.C. Gainesville, GA, LLC', owners of the Big Lots shopping center on Browns Bridge Road.
"This annexation, if it goes forward, will result in a $16,000 annual increase to my client in city taxes," Hayes said.
The resolution calls for the county planning director and county attorney to take action to pursue the commission's objection. Gainesville holds a planning meeting and a city council meeting next Tuesday on the annexation.