GAINESVILLE - Hall County, for the present, won't be building its own wastewater treatment plant to serve the Gateway Industrial Park on Highway 365. Instead the County will buy sewer capacity from the City of Gainesville to take care of it in an intergovernmental agreement reached Monday afternoon.
County Commissioner Billy Powell supported a previous sewer proposal from Gainesville and also supported the county building its own plant. This agreement differs from the previous proposal
"We're paying the capital cost for the infrastructure that comes from the park and we're maintaining control and ownership over the infrastructure," Powell said. "Gainesville is not going to finance any of it for us like they were before and they've just given us a straight rate to treat the sewerage."
Powell added the Gainesville agreement would allow the county to meet the deadline to have sewer ready by early 2015. He credited the city and county staffs for doing the heavy lifting that led to the agreement, approved unanimously and signed by commissioners and council members.
Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix said his staff was directed a couple of weeks ago to review all the sewer options for the Highway 365 Gateway Industrial Park.
"It has long been identified as a prime location for economic development," Nix told the joint session. "We're looking forward to a possible partnership with the City of Gainesville on this important matter and we hope it will provide a platform for future partnership and opportunities between the city and the county."
Nix also credited Hall County Public Works Director Ken Rearden and head of Gainesville Utilities Kelly Randall for working out the agreement's details.
City Manager Kip Padgett said the Commission contacted the City after its last meeting and the City and county staffs went to work on it. He said it's going to help the city too.
"It will allow us to use some of our treatment capacity," Padgett said. "We've got some treatment capacity we're not using now and it allows us to use the capacity at our Linwood plant."
Padgett outlined the agreement, calling it a partnership and a product of team work. The city will treat up to 750,000 gallons of waste water a day along the State Route 365 Corridor, with the discharge point at the intersection of Howard Road and White Sulphur Road.
The County will pay the City $640,000 for improvements downstream of the discharge point. This will allow the County to use the treatment plant capacity and system upgrade improvements purchased by a previous commission for the corridor. Everything upstream from the discharge point at White Sulphur and Howard Road will be owned, installed maintained and operated by Hall County. Everything downstream from the discharge point will be the City of Gainesville's.
The City will amend its current pump station contract to make the necessary improvements to treat the county's waste water and will be ready when the county wants to connect. The county and city would also enter into a separate contract for the city to provide industrial pre-treatment services.
Meeting observers called it a historic gathering of city council members and county commissioners with the joint approval by both bodies.