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Sosebee, Smith new council members
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Dawsonville has two new city council members Angie Smith and Mike Sosebee.

On Nov. 6, residents of Dawsonville cast 1,421 votes for the five candidates running for two open city council seats. Mike Sosebee netted the highest number of votes with 489 (34.41 percent) followed by Smith at 428 (30.12 percent). The next closest contender was Frank Craft at 217 (15.27 percent). Alan Metzel captured 174 votes (12.24 percent), and Tom Schaide picked up just 113 votes (7.95 percent).

Both winners agree the greatest need is revitalizing downtown Dawsonville.

The greatest challenge to the city, in my view, is how to create and sustain a vibrant downtown business district in the current economic environment, Smith said.

The city also faces a potential water rate increase and possibly an energy excise tax.

The fact is that the water rates, as they are now, do not cover the cost of the water that we use, Smith said. The water department is run very efficiently and the city has been good stewards of their equipment and processes up to this point. It is the goal of every good business to provide a good service or quality product at a cost that is reasonable and still competitive to surrounding businesses providing the same service or product. Smith noted that the energy excise tax is not a new tax, but simply a reallocation of funds directly from the state to the City of Dawsonville.

The Georgia General Assembly passed HB 386 earlier this year, which means the state and local sales and use taxes on energy used in manufacturing will be phased out over a four year period, beginning Jan. 1, 2013. In turn, to make the law revenue neutral on local governments, the state is allowing local governments the option of creating a four-year, phase-in excise tax that mirrors the exemption from state sales and use taxes. A county or city may elect, by ordinance, to phase in a maximum two percent excise tax to replace the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing over the same four year period, according to the Georgia Municipal Association. Youre not increasing anyones taxes, said Dawsonville City Attorney Kevin Tallant, during a recent special called meeting. It balances exactly with the states roll back.

Council member Mike Sosebee said water rates will be based on the city engineers analysis of the current structure and the councils vision for growth. He does not see any impact from an energy excise tax, but said more study is needed. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. at Dawsonville City Hall. You may check the citys website for an agenda before the meeting. Go to HYPERLINK and click Minutes on the left side of the screen.