The Dawsonville City Council agreed Monday to refinance $5.25 million in bonds, saving taxpayers more than $2 million over the life of the loan.
"It feels great," said Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan. "This is what we should have been doing for a long time. We need to be as frugal as we can be with the citizens' money."
The city is securing a loan through the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). As collateral, the city has put up its water and wastewater treatment facility, Grogan said. The city then leases the system back from the DDA.
"The city is still operating its water system," he added. "Nothing has changed because the DDA is part of the city. It's a very positive thing."
At Monday's meeting, the city also approved Mark Sosebee Realty's request to annex 1.53 acres into the city.
The council, however, rejected Sosebee's request to rezone the property from Vacation Cottage Rental (VCR) to Restricted Industrial (CIR). The property is located at 742 Hwy. 9 North in Dawsonville, adjacent to Gold Creek Foods, LLC.
Michael Sheets, vice president/operations manager with Gold Creek Foods, spoke in favor of the annexation and rezoning during the public hearing portion of Monday's council meeting.
"We want to be good neighbors," he said. "We have plans to install a cooler to help eliminate some trailers and to create buffers with Leyland Cypress (trees) to keep dust down and noise and light."
Council member Chris Gaines questioned Sheets on how good a neighbor Gold Creek Foods has been.
"The city has an ordinance for open space to ensure health and safety (of its citizens) and to prevent incompatible use of land," Gaines said. "Are you in compliance with this ordinance?"
Sheets responded that he had never heard of the ordinance until two months ago. He also noted that a woman complained about noise coming from a wastewater pump, and within weeks, mufflers were installed and the problem was solved.
Property owner Billy Singleton was opposed to the annexation and rezoning and has spoken at two public hearings.
"I live right next to the plant, " he said. "...The odor is bad and it's not a fit place to live, but I'm too old to move."
The motion passed 2 to 1, after Mike Sosebee recused himself from the proceedings. Council members Gaines and Power voted in favor; Smith was opposed.
Nothing can be done with the property for 12 months unless it fits with the current VCR zoning, according to City Attorney Dana Miles.
In other action, the council:
Agreed to conduct a special called budget meeting on June 19 at 5 p.m. on the second floor of city hall, 415 Hwy. 53, Dawsonville.
Approved $12,800 for an 18-foot Christmas tree with multicolor LED lamps and star, and a second 4-foot extension to the current tree with multicolored LED lamps and ornaments.
Approved $325 for Class II lab license course from the Georgia Water & Wasterwater Institute.
Approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to allow the Dawson County Board of Elections and Registration to conduct elections for the City of Dawsonville. The city agrees to reimburse the County for expenses incurred.
Agreed to amend the existing downtown development area for revitalization within the city's borders. According to City Attorney Miles, the map needed to make clear what areas comprise the downtown area.
Agreed to have City Clerk Bonnie Warne research how to execute a recommendation made by the city's auditor to separate its Enterprise Funds into two separate accounts.