The Dawson County Board of Commissioners last week voted to approve a proposal that will bring fire hydrants to an area of the county with inadequate fire protection.
Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford, at the board’s Aug. 24 work session, presented a price proposal for fire hydrants from the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, which is preparing to upgrade water lines on Kilough Church Road this year.
According to Swafford, the authority bid out the cost to upsize the lines, as well as the cost for seven hydrants, and came back with a unit price of $3,965 for each hydrant, which they asked the county to cover.
The board voted unanimously Sept. 7 to accept the proposal, which will cost the county $27,755 and will come from the county’s contingency fund.
The Kilough Church Road upgrade is part of the EWSA’s long term plan to upsize water lines in certain areas of the county.
Swafford said that the proposal comes with no intergovernmental agreement, no contract, no connection fees, line upsizing fees or administrative fees, which the commission objected to in a similar proposal last year.
In May 2016 the commission voted against a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the EWSA in which the authority would install 12-inch water lines along Nix Bridge and Kilough Church roads if the county would pay $5,000 each for hydrants and sign a 25-year contract with the water authority.
Etowah responded with a few tweaks to the authority's original proposal, but did not accept the county's negotiation.
EWSA General Manager Brooke Anderson said Aug. 28 that the authority is currently installing 12 inch lines on Nix Bridge Road, but that no tees or valves were installed for fire hydrants.
Swafford said in his initial presentation that he would like to remind the commissioners that there are 11 other locations in the county that are currently ready for hydrants to be installed.
“We did go ahead and find out what the unit price would be to go ahead and stud those hydrants on existing lines, and it came in $40 cheaper than the new installation at $3,925,” Swafford said.
District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett at the Sept. 7 meeting asked why the price was lower for hydrants to be installed after lines were already in the ground, rather than while they were being put in.
Swafford said he thought that the price was quoted cheaper for the other 11 hydrants because some of the infrastructure was already installed at those locations.
Those hydrant locations are: one in the Country Crossing subdivision, four in the Northwoods subdivision, two in Sexton Corners off Kilough Church Road, two in Dawsonville Heights off Hwy. 9 and two off Nix Bridge Road.
District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines motioned to approve the pricing proposal for the seven initial hydrants, and to have the commission pay as they had the funds to install future hydrants.
Swafford said that he and the County Manager had decided on a protocol for dealing with hydrants as EWSA continues to upgrade its lines.
“Each time they do a new project, our staff will meet with Etowah staff and we will determine if ideally, if we had an endless pot of money, this is where we would put hydrants,” Swafford said.
Swafford said that that way, when EWSA bids the project they will include a line item for fire hydrants, which they can take to the county to decide if there is money they would like to spend on hydrants.
“Nothing we have done has bound the county to buy them at any given time, we’re simply providing this commission with options,” Swafford said.
“It is one of my high priorities when we talked about SPLOST VII planning to include dollars for fire hydrants. We’ve got to find a way to fund them. They’re going to continue to grow and improve their water system and their board has made it plain and clear that they’re looking to this board to provide the fire protection on those upgrades and we’ve got to have funding to do that.”