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Friday May 27th, 2016 8:15AM

Clarkesville stalls aquatic center annexation

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLARKESVILLE - A request by the Habersham County Commission for Clarkesville to annex into its city limits met with opposition from a Clarkesville resident Monday night.<br /> <br /> Habersham County Manager Phil Sutton explained that the county is seeking to help Clarkesville solve an issue with split polling places, which he said leads to lower voter turnout in some elections when voters have to go to both a city precinct and a county precinct.<br /> <br /> "If the city council were to annex the Ruby Fulbright Aquatic Center, it would be in the city," Sutton said. "You could use the county precinct as your city precinct and never have to worry about changing voting arenas."<br /> <br /> But resident Bob Kilgore, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in November, took issue with Sutton's claims, saying the county stands to gain more than the city through the annexation.<br /> <br /> "You've heard an easy fix," Kilgore said. "My question is, in these hard economic times, how is the city going to replace $6,000 in water fees which they pay? Over a four-year period, that's $24,000."<br /> <br /> By being in the city limits, the county would pay a lower water rate, amounting to about $500 per month.<br /> <br /> "If you break it down as I did ... it would be a decrease to all the residents of Habersham County of about 34 cents," Kilgore said. "It would be an increase to the citizens of Clarkesville for better than $6.35. I, as a taxpayer, don't want to pay $6.35 so the people of Habersham County can use that facility."<br /> <br /> Kilgore said people his age don't mind voting at city hall for a city election, then driving to the aquatic center to vote in a county, state or federal election.<br /> <br /> "If you're looking to make the city fiscally responsible, you can't do this annexation," Kilgore concluded.<br /> <br /> Councilman Franklin Brown made the motion to table the annexation issue for one month, with Councilman Tommy Burgess seconding and all council members present voting in favor. The matter will be discussed at the council's July 7 meeting.<br />
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