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Board rejects request for additional funds

POSTED: May 2, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Commissioners last week said the $84,000 the county contributed to a watershed assessment on Lake Allatoona and the Upper Etowah River is enough.

The board received a request last month to contribute between $5,000 and $8,000 to cover additional costs incurred during the assessment.

In a 3-1 vote, the board rejected the request, saying they saw no additional benefit in sending funds to cover a cost overrun for the assessment.

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Gary Pichon made a motion to pay $6,500 toward the study. The motion died for lack of a second.

"Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is the direct beneficiary, but we are also a beneficiary of the results of this. I still think we've incurred this debt," he said.

The request for additional funding came years after the board signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2005 for First Collaborative in Georgia to conduct the study.

Water withdrawal permits and wastewater discharge permits are not considered by EPD without a watershed assessment and protection plan, according to Planning Director David McKee.

Having the assessment in place means developers would not be required to have their own assessment conducted, which potentially could be an incentive to choosing Dawson County for development.

An individual study could cost between $1 million and $3 million.

As of the vote, Dawson County's contribution was $84,000 that included man hours, fuel and miscellaneous supplies.

The additional cost incurred was $52,000, and all involved in the IGA have been asked to compensate the overage.

In addition to Dawson County, Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth, Fulton, Lumpkin and Pickens are counties within the watershed.

Not all members have provided cash to the project and some have dropped out for various reasons, McKee said.

Staff requested the board consider using contingency funds to pay the additional cost.

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