During the Dec. 20 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members heard a redistricting presentation and voted to reappoint staff members, renew professional services and appoint a mayor pro tempore for the upcoming year.
The council was given a redistricting presentation by Faith Bryan from the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission (GMRC), who explained that due to the rapid growth of the city some small tweaks are proposed to take place in the way the city is divided into its districts following the 2020 census.
“Basically what happened is the City of Dawsonville has increased their population according to the state by 1184 people, and according to my numbers your population is 3838,” Bryan said. “So what I did is I went back into the mapping program and using the 2020 census blocks I went to each post and added up the population for those posts.”
Bryan said that, when she counted up the number of citizens residing in each district, she had more than a 10 percent deviation between each number, which is not allowed by law. Because of this, she made a couple of small adjustments to bring the number of citizens within each post a little closer to one another.
According to Bryan, the main change happened within the downtown area of Dawsonville, which was divided up differently on the last district map from 2018 than it is on the proposed new map. In her new proposed redistricting, each post includes between 933 and 997 citizens, leaving a 2 to 3 percent deviation between each post.
According to the maps provided, the main difference between the current districting and the proposed redistricting is that a small section of Post 3 would be redistricted to Post 2, a small section of Post 1 to Post 3 and a section of Post 3 to Post 4.
City Attorney Kevin Tallant said that the next step in the redistricting process would be a charter amendment to change the districts.
“It’ll be in February I would imagine when we’re done,” Tallant said to the council. “You will adopt a charter amendment at two different meetings so it’s a bit of a process, but we should have something for you to look at either at your first meeting Orr your second meeting in January and then we can wrap it up in February.”
Council members nominated and voted Council Member John Walden to serve as the 2022 Mayor Pro Tempore. Walden was first elected in November of 2019 as the Post 3 council member and is currently serving a term from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2023.
As the Mayor Pro Tempore, Walden will fill in for Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason should Eason be ill, out of town or otherwise absent as mayor. Walden will be taking the position over from Post 1 Council Member Caleb Phillips, who served as the Mayor Pro Tempore for 2021. Walden’s fellow council members voted unanimously to appoint him to fill the role.
Council members voted unanimously to renew several professional services provided to the city by groups and organizations. The groups included services like the city attorney and auditor, as well as two engineers in contrast to one engineer in the past.
“We’ve got all of the existing; we’re adding a second engineer that’s Civil Engineering Consultants,” Eason said. “Just because of all the growth in our community and things that we’re doing, we’ve overwhelmed Turnipseed so we’ve been using another company.”
Council members voted unanimously to renew all of the services for 2022. The professional services that were renewed included:
City Attorney: Miles Hansford & Tallant LLC
Auditor: Alexander, Almand and Bangs LLP
Engineer: G. Ben Turnipseed Engineers Inc.
Secondary Engineer: Civil Engineering Consultants Inc.
City Solicitor: Jonah Howell
Testing of Wastewater: Environmental Management Services
Geologist: A&S Environmental Services
Repair/Installation of Water and Sewer Infrastructure: Townley Construction
Airport Consultant Engineering Services: Lead Edge Design Group
Long Term Water Quality Monitoring: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc.
As part of the council’s consent agenda, council members also approved several staff appointments and the appointment of Municipal Court Judge Ronald Reemsynder, who has served the city since 2018. The staff appointments included City Manager Bob Bolz, City Clerk and Municipal Court Clerk Beverly Banister and Deputy City Clerk Tracy Smith.
The consent agenda also included the reappointment of three members of the Downtown Development Authority. The council voted to reappoint Kevin Hammond, Tasha Howell and Jamie Mccracken for another term on the DDA, which will run from Jan. 1 of 2022 through Dec. 31 of 2025.