At the Dec. 21 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members discussed lease renewals and rent changes for the city’s rental properties, a matter which will be voted upon at the next city council meeting.
According to Council Member Stephen Tolson, he, City Manager Bob Bolz and city staff have been in talks with several local businesses and properties to learn what the common rental rate for properties in the area is currently. The city’s leases include the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery and the Dawsonville History Museum, as well as several residential properties.
Tolson said that in talking to local businesses and reviewing different facilities, he and his staff learned that the average rental cost is between $6 and $8 per square foot. When renting properties, Tolson said that there are other things to consider as well, such as the common area maintenance (CAM) costs, parking lot costs or utilities like HVAC.
“The distillery is 11,700 square feet and the museum is at 23,714 square feet, so that would put the distillery on average looking at about $78,000 a year or that breaks down to about $6,500 a month,” Tolson said. “The museum would be about $158,000 a year or about $13,000 a month.”
According to Tolson, neither property currently pays CAM or other costs like the heating and air conditioning bills; rather, this is paid by the city. Because of this, Tolson recommended to the council that the rent be raised in the new lease from what it has been.
“The recommendation for the distillery is to increase the rent to between $4,500 and $5,000 a month; they’re currently paying $3,000 a month,” Tolson said. “The museum currently pays about $100 a month; the recommendation we came up with was to increase that to $500 a month plus 5 percent of revenue which I think is very fair considering that we believe next year is going to be one a heck of a year for them from a financial perspective.”
Tolson said that they believe both potential rates would be very fair, and that they would still be on the low end of the average price per square foot. He also recommended that the city’s residential properties remain at the same rates of about $750 a month.
After the presentation, Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason and council members decided to talk to the city’s renters about the rent changes before voting on the matter at the next city council meeting on Jan. 4, 2021.
During the meeting, the city council also voted to appoint Council Member Caleb Phillips as the Mayor Pro Tempore for 2021. As Mayor Pro Tempore, Phillips would fill in as the Dawsonville mayor should Eason be absent.
The council voted unanimously in favor of Phillips filling the position for 2021.