It was business as usual for Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason after he was officially sworn in to the office at the beginning of a city council meeting Monday night.
After a quick photo with his family, he was back up on the bench to conduct the rest of the meeting.
Eason, who has served as acting mayor since December, beat out former Mayor James Grogan in a March special election with 61.5 percent of the vote.
Eason will serve out Grogan’s unexpired term, which runs through December 2019. Grogan was removed from office in October of last year.
In a mayoral forum hosted by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce in February, Eason said he wanted to see steps taken to make downtown Dawsonville a destination and not just a place people pass through.
Eason said that the first step to developing downtown and aiding business would be to get the trucks off the roads, even if that meant a Hwy. 53 bypass around the city.
“You don’t want to have families walking down sidewalk with 18 wheelers going by every two minutes,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of business here and the biggest problem we have is people can’t get to them. Until we can solve that problem and find them a place to park and walk up and down our streets, our businesses are not going to thrive.”
Eason was formerly the City of Cumming police chief and Deputy State Inspector General. He worked as a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for over 30 years.
He has lived in Gold Creek since 2012.
Speed limit resolution
At Monday night’s meeting, the council voted to approve a resolution that will be sent to the Georgia Department of Transportation asking them to lower speed limits in the city for the safety of school-aged children.
The resolution states that since the population in the
city has doubled in the past ten years and that portions of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 53
that pass through the city are increasingly populated with pedestrians and
school children, the mayor and council are asking that speed limits be reduced
from 45 mph to 35 mph in areas that are in need of both sidewalks and
The areas include from Hwy. 9 North just north of First Baptist Church south through the intersection with Hwy. 53; from Hwy. 9 South near Dawsonville Florist to the courthouse roundabout; from Hwy. 53 East at Acorn Road to the intersection at Hwy. 9; and from Hwy. 53 West from Creekstone Lane until the 25 mph speed limit near Maple Street.
City Attorney Dana Miles suggested that the city’s
resolution be forwarded to the board of education and the county commission to
ask them to join or create similar resolutions.
“If you go to GDOT with resolutions from your school board, your city and your county, I think it speaks to the community’s unity on this issue, which is so important to our children,” Miles said.
Cemetery lot cost increase
The council also voted to increase the city’s current price for cemetery lots in Memorial Garden from $750 to $1,250 to help with the cost of perpetual care.
Public Works Operations Manager Trampas Hansard presented a request to increase the rates to bring the city closer to rates in surrounding counties.
The city of Cumming currently charges $1,675 per lot, plus 15 percent for perpetual care, while Dahlonega charges $2,000 and Big Canoe $2,000 as well.
There are 1,345 remaining plots at the cemetery, and there are $200,000 in the cemetery fund currently for upkeep. Hansard said that a paving project and a new lawnmower will be coming from those funds.
The council approved spending $2,500 to have the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission create a concept plan for the farmers market the city is planning on Allen Street.
The city recently purchased two pieces of property along the street and plans to demo the homes to make way for paved pavilions.
Once the concept plan is created, it can be handed over to engineering firm for construction plans. The money will come from SPLOST funds.
City Manager Bob Bolz said that demolition of the homes on the farmers market property will begin after April 30, and that the project should hopefully be completed by mid-summer.