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Twist in annexation issue
County objects to officials request
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With the continued cycle of requests to annex property into Dawsonville and Dawson County's objections to such moves, one city council member's seat may hinge on the issue.

Monday night, the city reviewed three new annexation requests for properties on Stillwater Lane in the Pigeon Creek Estates subdivision.

One of those is for 2.04 acres under contract to be bought by City Councilman Chris Gaines as his primary residence.

"My request annexation into the city is rather simple," he said. "I have worked very hard to make a life for my family and found a house that we fell in love with in a neighborhood that borders the city."

However, the county has objected to the annexation, which could put Gaines' council spot in jeopardy.

"I ... have filed the proper paperwork, paid the fees and opened myself up to the feelings of being persecuted for simply wanting to join in a municipality that I see is in a critical stage of its life and that I can make a great positive impact on our community," Gaines said.

According to the councilman, should the request stall in the fight between the city and county, he is prepared to make a decision that is best for his family and the neighborhood.
"If this process finds itself off tracks and delayed, then I will reluctantly resign my position on the city council due to the rule that any council member must always live within the city limits, which I agree with," he said. "We love the neighborhood and have known many of the current residents for years. The last thing I want is to have a negative impact on them."

Gaines' neighbors, while not completely opposed to the idea of annexing the subdivision into the city, came to the called city council meeting Monday night to request an "all or nothing" stance regarding the annexations.

"Spot annexation, I think, as we all know, creates a lot of problems," said Joe Gaines (no relation to the councilman), who lives in Pigeon Creek Estates. "Every time this council takes on another annexation, whether it is downtown or three or four miles down the road, is ... more responsibility for the city."

Joe Gaines said that he was concerned over the reasoning behind the annexation, not who was annexing.

"Usually, the first course of action is to raise taxes, or in the case of the city, create tax," he said. "[Dawsonville Mayor] James [Grogan], you said you don't want to tax inside the city and because you live inside the city and you don't want a tax, and I understand that.

"But the problem is ... when you take on all of these responsibilities ... eventually, you're going to have to pay the piper. That's just economics."

In Joe Gaines' opinion, the annexation has no real purpose or value to the city - outside of annexing for a councilman's needs.

"I understand Chris [Gaines] wants to buy a house here, and I understand that completely ... but ... in the past administration, there were several ... debacles," he said.
"What happens is ... this council, whether it is this administration or the previous administration, loses credibility and the people in the city start questioning these actions. They say: ‘Oh, that's part of that good ol' boy network. They take care of their own.'"

Joe Gaines' objections over perceived issues echoed the county's own contention noted in an Oct. 16 letter to the city.

Georgia code prohibits "any person in government from engaging in business with the government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of governmental duties," according to County Attorney Joey Homans.

The letter went on to note that "public men and women, above all others, must act in good faith."

And it's this good faith that Joe Gaines questions is being shown.

"I realize this is a new council and you are all doing an excellent job, but you've got to realize that you have to live with those decisions made," he said.

One city council member applauded Joe Gaines for his stance, one not often taken at annexation requests.

"I appreciate what you have said. I think it took a lot of guts to do that," said Councilwoman Angie Smith. "I also appreciate that your points were well thought out."

Previously, county commissioner and outspoken opponent of city annexations Gary Pichon gave his views on the city's flurry of annexation requests.

"At the heart of this problem is this constant annexation by the city," he said. "If you look at the map, we're slowly going to be consumed by the city and we're not going to have any say in that."
These objections come after three previous annexation requests in the Gold Creek subdivision earlier this month.

If the matter is not resolved following the city's Nov. 3 regular meeting, it will go to arbitration.

Staff writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.