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Lake Lanier Association officials pushed some of their agenda as they dined March 24 with one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ highest-ranking officers in the South.
They also sized up the man who will be the guest speaker at the group’s annual meeting, set for May 18 at Lakeview Center in Dawson County.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Todd T. Semonite is “a very personable guy and wants to do the right thing, but he’s straight up in terms of (his duties),” said Val Perry, the association’s executive vice president.
“(The corps) is going to do what they’re told. He said: ‘We’re soldiers. We’ve been doing that our entire careers, and that’s the way the Army works.’”
Perry was joined at the luncheon by association president Jackie Joseph and Tim Rainey, the corps’ operations projects manager at Buford Dam.
Perry said he talked with Semonite about issues the association has been pushing, including raising Lake Lanier’s full pool to 1,073 feet above sea level from 1,071.
“He said, ‘Although I may agree with you, we are not going to do that until we are told to do it,’” Perry said.
Those attending the annual meeting may see Semonite open up about a federal judge’s July ruling that declares withdrawal of water from Lake Lanier for drinking water an unauthorized use.
The judge gave the warring parties over that issues — Georgia, Alabama and Florida - three years to hash out their differences or get Congress to authorize the use.
Semonite’s “estimate was that the judge would extend the deadline for a couple more years,” Perry said.
Semonite has served in his post since May 1. The South Atlantic Division is one of eight corps regions in the U.S. and includes the Mobile District, which governs Lake Lanier and Buford Dam.
The lake group’s meeting also is scheduled to feature candidates for congressional offices, specifically to address Lake Lanier issues.
“We’re going to give them all a few minutes to talk,” Perry said.
The association plans to hold a political forum on June 21 featuring candidates for statewide offices, including governor and lieutenant governor.
Candidates for top state offices will be given a few minutes to speak at the event, which will take place at the Legacy Lodge & Conference Center at Lake Lanier Islands. The program is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.The association also plans to sponsor a golf tournament at the Legacy on Lanier Golf Club on May 24.