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Dawsonville council approves business start-up grant
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A plan for providing starting funds to new Dawsonville businesses has passed one of the final hurdles to becoming a reality.

The Dawsonville City Council passed a resolution during its Monday regular meeting that would allow $25,000 of the city's money to pay for new, qualifying businesses' rent for a year.

"The grant program will be administered by the Downtown Development Authority. It is required by state law to only be used to fund projects," said City Attorney Dana Miles. "Projects are defined, by state law, as something that fits the DDA's guidelines. We have suggested some in the draft, but it will be up to them to come up with a definite set."

The grant resolution, according to Miles, is in accordance with the council's requests from the April 20 work session and is currently in draft form.

"It's an honor to be part of the grant process that will be available for the local businesses and future business owners of Dawsonville Downtown Development areas," said Downtown Development Authority Secretary/Treasurer Seanie Zappendorf. "We hope to continue to assist in the revitalization of the downtown area and see more businesses succeed here."

Previously, Councilwoman Angie Smith said she was in favor of the program as it stood, but that she wanted to make sure that all parties involved knew what the program was about before being saddled with it.

"It's my opinion that, if we are going to put this program on the DDA, before we approve it, the DDA needs to be fully aware and know exactly what they are doing," she said. "From my conversations with some members, right now, they are not."

The council voted during its May 18 called meeting to table the resolution until the DDA had a chance to review the guidelines.

"I think the guidelines are good, as far as I was concerned, and I was the one who requested to table it due to that," Smith said Monday, going so far as to even make the motion to approve the resolution. The motion was carried unanimously.

Zappendorf said that she hopes that this grant and other "under-used" grants the city has, such as the Façade grant, which allows funds from the city to fix up shop fronts by the property owner, will be used by more new businesses once word gets out that they are available.

"It's been a blessing to see the Taylor House purchase because we have not only a new business in town, but also property owners, which the grants are available to commercial property owners, and those that give their tenants permission to apply."

Currently, the Façade Grant new applications are awaiting final adjustments by City Clerk Bonnie Warne and Miles, according to Zappendorf.


In other news:

- The city council heard from Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism and Development President Christie Haynes. The council voted unanimously to continue an agreement for the city to pay $1,000 per month in partnership with the chamber.

- The city council heard from Joe Rothwell and Caleb Daniels with the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission regarding designating the Dawsonville Cemetery as a historic cemetery.

- The city council voted to allow a franchise ordinance with the Sawnee Electric to allow the EMC to "install, construct, maintain and operate" within the Dawsonville city limits.

-The city had its first public hearing regarding its $4,110,880 FY16 proposed budget. The city will hold its final public hearing and vote during its June 18 called meeting.

 

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