Dawsonville officials are looking to resolve a service area dispute with the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority that both sides have said could end up in court.
City Attorney Dana Miles drafted a letter last week addressing claims from the authority’s general manager, Brooke Anderson, that the city was drilling wells outside its water and sewer territory.
The city’s May 28 letter, written in response to a letter from the authority, urged the utility to steer clear of “engag[ing] in a turf war.” It also proposed a meeting on the issue June 7.
The city and authority have separate customers and service areas.
The disagreement stems from water and sewer service for a proposed motorsports park in western Dawson County.
Anderson has said the property in question is between Hwys. 136 and 183, which puts it in the authority’s service area.
According to a May 3 letter from Anderson to the city, which was obtained through an open records request, “the motorsports property is within the service area delineated for the authority in the agreements between the city and the authority.”
Anderson went on to “demand that the city cease and desist from further attempting to provide water service to the motorsports property.”
According to the city’s May 28 response, officials were “surprised to receive such confrontational letters from Mr. Anderson.”
“While we do not know whether the EWSA Board approved Mr. Anderson’s letters before they went out,” the city’s response continued, “we hope that these letters are not indicative of how the board would like to see issues resolved with the city in the future.”
The authority’s five-member board did not review the letter, according to Anderson. However, he said the message represented “the voice of the authority, not the voice of Brooke Anderson.”
According to the city’s letter, previous issues “such as those raised by Mr. Anderson’s two letters were discussed in person and almost always resolved short of a letter-writing campaign or the need for involving attorneys.”
According to Anderson’s letter, “the relationship between the city and the authority has always been strong, but the city’s actions in this regard seriously jeopardize this relationship.”
The May 3 letter was reportedly the fourth from the authority to the city about the service area dispute.
In the most recent correspondence, Anderson wrote that the city’s annexing of the motorsports property in 2006 did not “provide for the extension of service.”
According to Anderson, the city and authority entered into a contract in 1989 that limited Dawsonville’s water and sewer service area to a boundary that circled its perimeter. The authority’s service area, he said, lies outside the circle.
The city’s letter stated “there are meritorious reasons for the discussions between the city and Atlanta Motorsports Park on water service.”
It continued, “Concisely, we are not aware that EWSA can provide water to Atlanta Motorsports Park at a satisfactory point and at a satisfactory rate as required by the agreement between the city and EWSA.”
The city’s letter suggested the two parties to “sit down and talk” rather than “continue writing letters back and forth.”
To that end, the city invited Etowah attorney Linda Dunlavy and authority chairman Linda Townley to visit with Mayor Joe Lane Cox and Miles on June 7.
“It is our hope,” the letter continued, “that with this small group of four people we can engage in a realistic and open discussion of issues that would allow Mayor Cox and Chairman Townley to take back meaningful recommendations to the Council and EWSA Board.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, it was not clear whether authority officials had agreed to the meeting.