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Commissioners reject long-term hydrant contract
Propose 5-year agreement with Etowah water
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County commissioners last week said they were not comfortable approving a long term contract with the local water and sewer authority for hydrants.

"Five years won't bind the next board coming up with a 25-year contract," said Dawson County District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby. "I'm not real comfortable with a 25-year contract."

Hamby made the motion to amend the initial proposal presented by Etowah Water and Sewer Authority to a five-year term with the amount to be paid for hydrants at $3,500 each.

The authority's proposal called for a 20-25 year intergovernmental agreement with the cost of hydrants at $5,000 each.

Hamby said the county has determined the cost of hydrants to be $3,200 each, which is 9 percent less than the $3,500 cost that he proposed in his motion.

"Nine percent over the next five years is fair," he said.

The commission voted 3-1 to approve Hamby's amendment. District 2 Commissioner James Swafford voted in opposition to the measure.

The matter now goes back to the Etowah board of directors, which was set to meet Tuesday afternoon.

General Manager Brooke Anderson said he plans to ask his board to vote down the amended agreement put forth by the county.

"We were disappointed in the vote. We believe the way the agreement was drafted with staff provided a good partnership between the county and Etowah," he said. "We believe $5,000 was fair and very reasonable to the county."

The agreement was intended to bring more fire hydrants to the underserved areas of the county.

"As the authority replaces and extends water mains to improve or provide domestic water service, the county will provide for fire protection by paying a fixed cost per fire hydrant to be installed, which includes a proportionate amount to upsize the water main for fire flow requirements," Anderson said last week before the vote.

"This partnership will allow both entities to work together to provide the highest possible service to the citizens."

Anderson said the commission's refusal to accept the initial proposal shows the county is not "interested in providing the highest quality of fire protection to the citizens."