Officials with the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority are moving forward with a $2.5 million expansion of water service into northern and western Dawson County.
Clouding the matter is a disagreement between the authority and the city of Dawsonville over which entity will provide water to the site of the proposed Atlanta Motorsports Park complex.
The authority’s recent expansion efforts would include the site, which is on the county’s west end.
The city and authority — which have separate customers and service areas — have yet to discuss the matter. They have, however, exchanged letters addressing the issue.
In a 4-0 vote last week, the authority agreed to the first phases of a project to expand its service at Hwy. 183 and Keith Evans Road.
Contractors soon will put water lines and pumps on the property. Construction of a water storage tank at the site could be approved at the authority’s board meeting next month.
Dawsonville Mayor Joe Lane Cox said the authority’s plan is not realistic, given the area’s sparse population.
“Who’s going to pay for this?” Cox said. “Where are they going to get the customers? If every one of them took [water service], there’s not enough in that area to pay for it.”
The authority’s general manager offered a different view.
“There’s a lot of interest for putting more businesses in that part of the county,” Brooke Anderson said. “We’ve been working with homeowners as well ... who are interested in hooking in [to the authority’s water service.]”
Cox said the city is looking at “providing water where water is needed.”
He said the city could provide water and sewer to the site of the proposed motorsports complex, which along with some surrounding property was annexed into the city in 2006.
According to Atlanta Motorsports Park construction documents, which city officials approved March 8, a water line running through the property is “proposed by the city of Dawsonville.”
Anderson said preparing to provide water for that area of the county has been a work in progress.
“We’ve had the property since 2008 ... with the long-term desire to use that as a water tank location to service that area,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, the city and authority entered into a contract in 1989 that limits Dawsonville’s water and sewer service area to a boundary that circles its perimeter.
The authority’s service area, he said, lies outside the circle.
In a May 28 letter to the authority, the city voiced doubts over the authority’s ability to “provide water to Atlanta Motorsports Park at a satisfactory point and at a satisfactory rate as required by the agreement between the city and EWSA.”
The correspondence, which came in response to several letters from the authority, suggested the two parties “sit down and talk” rather than “continue writing letters back and forth.”
No date has been set, but city and authority officials plan to hold a meeting in the next couple weeks.
Said Cox: “We’re going to wait until we have this meeting and see where it’s at. I hope it’s something we can agree on.”
Anderson said the authority is “going to move forward.”
“We’re going to serve the area that has been entrusted to us to serve, and we’re going to do it right,” he said.