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Monday February 8th, 2016 6:21PM

Flowery Branch looks at waiving annexation fees

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
FLOWERY BRANCH - An ordinance amendment aimed at expanding the city's tax base got first reading approval from Flowery Branch City Council Thursday night.

Planning and Community Development Director John McHenry says giving the City Manager the option of waiving the annexation application fee would promote economic growth.

"The City definitely wants work with bringing good commercial properties in," McHenry said. "That's part of our growth, it's part of the comprehensive plan and its part of what we're doing with the redevelopment plan; it makes sense."

McHenry said the City Manager could decide if it was in the city's interest to waive fees but it does not uniformly apply to all businesses.

"The annexation fee is $500 and the rezoning fee is $500," McHenry added. "The rezoning fee was able to be waived in the past."

The annexation process is set up by state law to define the process and public hearing requirements and the fee schedule is part of a local city ordinance which Council can modify.

The amendment states that there are parcels the city may want to incorporate to further long term economic goals and waiving the annexation fee could allow the properties to annex.

MAYOR MILLER LOOKS AHEAD

Mayor Mike Miller emerged from the first council meeting since his Tuesday re-election saying voters felt the city is headed in the right direction without the dissention and in-fighting that marked past mayor and council conduct. Miller won a second term and so did council members Tara and Fred Richards.

"We disagree on topics but we work it out and once it comes to a vote we've worked out our differences and there's none of the public spectacles that we've had in the past," Mayor Miller said.

Miller believes the city's main goal is improving historic downtown.

"Our biggest thing is downtown, getting it redeveloped and getting some infrastructure issues taken care of down here" Miller said. "We want to get some streets cut through and we want to implement our redevelopment plan which we'll probably adopt next month."
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