FCWA moves forward with the sale of “Old Quarry Property”

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) board moved forward with the sale of the “Old Quarry Property” that had been put out for the bidding process in October.

At the Nov. 15 meeting, the FCWA board members opened sealed bids that had been placed on the Old Quarry Property. This property, located on Old Quarry Road, was posted for sale on both the Fannin County Development Authority website and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Economic Development website.

The minimum bid was set at $160,000 with bid increments of $1,000. A winning bid of $276,000 was awarded by the board to T.G.F. Properties.

Fannin County, Georgia, Fannin County Water Authority, FCWA, Zach Ratcliff, Kay Kendall, Old Quarry Property, Development Authority, TVA Economic Development, Anita Weaver, Blue Bird Road, Dry Branch

The property located on Old Quarry Road includes an 8 acre pond.

The responsibility of proceeding with the purchase is now placed on the winning bidder. Chairwoman Anita Weaver explained, “They (T.G.F. Properties) know that they have to close by December 30, and they pay all of the closing costs.”

Weaver also clarified a motion that had been passed in the previous month’s meeting.

According to minutes from the meeting, “A motion was made by Jackie Self to sell the Kubota Excavator for $42,000 and the 2015 Ford Work Truck for $20,000 back to Fannin County and lease them back on an as-needed basis.”

Clarifying that the county had not agreed to purchase the equipment, Weaver stated, “Basically, what we wanted to do was offer it to the county if they were interested in it. I understand that they are not at the present time, interested in either one of the equipment … the truck or the trackhoe.”

If FCWA chooses to move forward with the sale of this equipment, both pieces could be sold through a bidding process.

Progress on the River Crest Lane extension is nearing completion. Representatives from T. Stanco, Inc. reported that water testing would be conducted shortly after the meeting, and that all piping had been installed. Once the samples were deemed acceptable and reported back, meters would be put in place.

Kurt McCord with Carter & Sloope Consulting Engineers updated the board on the progress of the Blue Bird Road extension. McCord reported that plans for the project were 70-75 percent complete. A materials inventory list is also near completion and bidding on materials can begin soon.

Once the plans for the Blue Bird Road extension are finalized, the permitting process can begin. That process is expected to take approximately two months. FWCA hopes to start this project by March 2018.

 

 

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Fannin County Water Authority Opts to Sell Old Quarry Property

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) opted to sell land and equipment to fund future projects in our area.

At their regularly scheduled meeting held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, discussions continued about the Blue Bird Road addition and Dry Branch Expansion.

The Blue Bird Road project is currently underway. Plans are being finalized and permits are being obtained to begin construction. The project is estimated to begin in late February or early March of 2018.

Carter & Sloope Consulting Engineers were present to discuss possible money saving options with this project. One suggestion that was presented was the possibility of connecting to the Hidden Valley Drive water system. This would eliminate the need for a new Operating Permit.

Board members also voted to move forward with expansion in the Dry Branch area. This project is estimated to cost $200,000 and the funds are currently available through SPLOST.

In an executive session the Board voted on the sale of equipment to the county, with the option of leasing it back from the county on an as needed basis. Board member Zach Ratcliff abstained from voting on this matter.

Fannin County, Georgia, Fannin County Water Authority, FCWA, Zach Ratcliff, Kay Kendall, Old Quarry Property, Development Authority, TVA Economic Development, Anita Weaver, Blue Bird Road, Dry Branch

The property located on Old Quarry Road includes an 8 acre pond.

The county is expected to purchase a 2015 work truck for a price of $20,000 and a Kubota Excavator for $42,000.

Ratcliff noted that the excavator was purchased to complete the Riverwalk project and is no longer needed.

Board member Kay Kendall explained that, “FCWA is moving away from doing our own construction.”

It was also unanimously decided in the executive session that FCWA will sell their land known as “The Old Quarry Property.”

This property, located on Old Quarry Road, is posted for sale on both the Fannin County Development Authority website, and the TVA Economic Development website.

The minimum bid is set at $160,000 with bid increments of $1,000.

FCWA asks that the following instruction be followed in order for successful bids to be considered:

All bids are to be received no later than 4:30 PM on November 14, 2017. Bids are to be submitted to the Fannin County Water Authority, 400 West Main, Suite 101 B, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513 and are to be clearly marked as “Property bid” so the same will not be opened with general mail. Bids will be opened in the “old business” section of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Fannin County Water Authority on Wednesday November 15, 2017, which meeting is held in the Fannin County Courthouse, Commissioners’ Conference Room, located at 400 West Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513, commencing at 2:00 PM. The successful bidder should be prepared to provide proof of funds within ten business days of being notified as to being the successful bid; and to close no later than noon on December 29, 2017. All closing costs to be paid by the successful bidder. Any questions, should be directed to Anita Weaver, Fannin County Water Authority Chairman at 706-632-4503.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Ratcliff Opts Out of Pay

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The Fannin County Water Authority convened on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at the Fannin County Courthouse.

Following the call to order, Chairwoman of the Water Authority Anita Weaver took the opportunity to clarify last month’s vote on compensation for board members and chairpersons. She stated that they “talked to several different surrounding counties and communities to see how they do it,” and, ultimately, the decision was made to pay a flat rate each month versus reimbursement for expenses turned in.

Fannin County Water Authority, Anita Weaver, Larry Chapman, Ed Hawkins, Zach Ratcliff, service area

Fannin County Water Authority holds meeting to discuss service area.

This flat rate would be $100.00 per month to each board member and $150.00 to the chair. Out of town expenses are the exception to this new payment plan and would be reimbursed after verification of expenses.

Board member Zach Ratcliff, Fannin County Public Works Director, opted out of receiving payments stating that he “is already on the payroll of the County” and felt it would be in conflict.

FCWA has been working with cities throughout the county to update and define service areas.  A map was presented of the final outlines for review. Members of the FCWA unanimously voted on approval of the new outlines.

Clearly defining the service area will allow different entities to have first right of refusal in new developments. This map will also allow for standards voted on by FCWA to be in place before offering service to any particular area.

City and County to Work Together in Developing Water Infrastructure

News

Blue Ridge’s Mayor Donna Whitener met with Fannin County Water Authority on August 19th.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss coordination between the Water Authority and the City of Blue Ridge in order to reduce the costs of laying new water lines and building pumping stations.

Specifically, Mayor Whitener wanted to find out where the Water Authority will be laying lines from Blue Ridge city limits towards McCaysville along the Hwy. 60 axis.  Mayor Whitener says that Blue Ridge needs to find a way to exchange water with McCaysville in the event of an emergency.  She also believes that Georgia’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) will soon ask for that.  She said that EPD is starting to push the issue that Blue Ridge isn’t working through the Fannin’s Water Authority and will eventually want to see all three Fannin municipal water providers, McCaysville, Morganton and Blue Ridge, work through the Water Authority.

Currently, Blue Ridge is under a lot of pressure to repair its water and sewer infrastructure.  There are complaints from downtown businesses.  The Orchard Blvd. area still does not have the proper piping for full fire service, though this project is underwork.  The city upgraded its sewer facilities, but it anticipates it will have to spend much more to buy a system to cool the discharge before it goes back into the water supply.  “Our water budget is as much as our general fund,” said the Mayor.

Mayor Whitener also said that the city will soon need to pull water from Lake Blue Ridge.  Currently, the city draws all of its water from the Toccoa.  The city has a permit for 1.2 million gallons per day.  The city has an average daily draw of 1 million gallons.  After reaching 1.2 million gallons per day, it must start drawing from the lake.  Ellijay has also approached Blue Ridge about drawing water from the lake in the near future.

Mayor Whitener said new businesses and residences coming to the city will quickly increase the average draw.  New apartments, two new housing complexes with two more on the way, and Blue Ridge Assisted Living, and potential restaurant, hotel and condos at the marina will push the average draw to its limits.

Mayor Whitener also wanted to make sure that the city and the Water Authority use the upcoming expansion of Hwy. 5 to increase water lines and potentially lay sewer lines along Hwy. 5.  Mercier Orchards’ has approached the city about getting a sewer line to its Hwy. 5 property, especially since Mercier is looking to build a hotel and restaurant on its property.

Mayor Whitener wants to see stricter regulations regarding rules that weren’t put into place when subdivisions were developed.  The city is spending much money and time fixing lines in Mountain Tops that were improperly constructed by the developer.

Larry Chapman, Vice-Chair of the Water Authority also wants stricter regulations.  Mr. Chapman stated that right now Fannin County has 31 private systems permitted by the EPD and he doesn’t want to see anymore.  Mr. Chapman is a Georgia-licensed engineer with 46 years of engineering experience with wastewater treatment and distribution.  He was appointed to the Water Authority in March.

Blue Ridge’s meeting with the Water Authority marks the first time a city water authority has had an expansion planning strategy meeting with the Water Authority.  Board member Stan Helton invited Blue Ridge to attend future Water Authority meetings and hopes to see representatives from McCaysville and Morganton there as well.  Until this summer, Mr. Helton was Chair of the Water Authority.  He stepped down after becoming Fannin County Board of Commissioners Chairman-Elect.

 

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April 2 Commission Meeting: Architect, Water Authority, Mystery Businesses and Rebukes

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Fannin County Board of Commissioners met on April 5th.  The meeting was at an unusual time slot for the Commissioners; it was the first Tuesday instead of the second Tuesday of the month.  At the last meeting, the Commissioners said that they needed to meet a week earlier so they could award the bid for designing Fire Station #1 and discuss personnel matters.  Besides those two topics, other items discussed were the Fannin County Water Authority, mystery companies coming to Fannin County, media portrayal, Tax Assessors’ office, scholarship proposal and a rebuke to people offering all the answers.

Fannin County Board of Commissioners awarded R Design Works the contract for designing Fire Station #1/ EMS center that will be built on Windy Ridge Road.  R Design Works, out of Morganton, GA, is owned by Rick LaRossa.  He has designed several Fannin County buildings:  Fannin County Development Authority, Mercier Orchards and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  Currently, he is designing the City of Blue Ridge’s new welcome center.  David Goodspeed was the other main competitor for the bid. Goodspeed Architecture is new to building for Fannin County.  He does have experience with building schools, government buildings and fire stations in Florida, from where he moved to Fannin County.  The projected difference between the two bids was around $2,000 with Goodspeed’s being the lowest.  The Commissioners decided, though, to go with R Design Works because of its history of designing buildings in Fannin County.  The third Fannin architect’s, Milan Vancura, bid was more than 1% higher than the other two, which would have resulted in greater expense.

At the previous meeting, Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee suggested that Fannin County government needs to review its personnel policy because there are loopholes in it.  At the end of this meeting, April 5th, the Commissioners met in Executive Session to discuss the policy.  They returned from the session and reported they will review the policy on their own over the next few weeks and will bring it up again at a meeting in the near future.

The Water Authority was back in the public comments section at the Commissioners meeting (read here for more information about the Water Authority dispute).  Joe Webb asked that the Water Authority’s budget summary for 2015 be unbundled so that the division between SPLOST funds and other revenue sources funding the Water Authority can be clearly seen.  Mr. Webb says that citizens and officials need to know this information so that informed decisions can be made regarding the SPLOST 2016 ballot.  Mr. Webb’s comments turned an unexpected corner when Mr. Johnson said that we shouldn’t be co-mingling meetings either.  Mr. Johnson said that Water Authority topics don’t need to come to the Board of Commissioners’ meetings because the Commissioners’ only oversight of the Water Authority is in making appointments to the water authority.  Mr. Johnson asked if people had problems with the Water Authority, why didn’t they go to the Water Authority meetings.  Stan Helton, Chairman of the Water Authority, brought up the clear division between the Water Authority and the Board of Commissioners through an example.  He said that if people have problems with the Blue Ridge City Government or the Mccaysville City Government, they don’t bring their grievances to the Board of Commissioners because the cities are independent entities, just like the Water Authority is an independent entity.  Mr. Helton also said that he received Mr. Webb’s open records request and is processing it.

There are mystery companies coming to Fannin County.  One is more chicken houses, six to be exact.  Another is Redi-Mix.  A third group is the companies, yet unknown, who will rent facilities in the 20,000 square foot multi-use facility coming to Mccaysville.  No hint about two companies.  And, then, the great teaser about one company that pleases the Commissioners so much that tickled pink Commission Chairman Bill Simonds winked as he was talking about it.  Elaine Owens of the Fannin Sentinel asked Mr. Simonds what the company is.  Mr. Simonds said everyone in town knows, but that you wouldn’t hear it from him.  The audience looked expectantly toward another Commissioner to let the cat out of the bag.  Mr. Johnson took on the task and  drew a giant question mark on a piece paper, held it up and said that it was the name of the company.  FetchYourNews also tried to wrestle the secret from the Chamber of Commerce members to no avail.  But, a reason for the secrecy was given and that is that tax rebates and other government goodies that will make Fannin’s sweeter to the mystery company is still under negotiation.

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran reported on the Tax Assessors’ progress toward assessing and citing all land parcels in order to meet a state mandate.  Out of 49,932 parcels in the county, the assessors have cited 33,381 parcels.  New assessment notices will be mailed on May 13.

Fallout from the exchange between the Tax Assessors’ office and the Board of Commissioners at the Feb. 23 meeting still continues.  At the meeting the Commissioners forcefully questioned Ms. Cochran about how the Tax Assessors compile bids and make purchases.  In Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Sosebee said that he had been inaccurately portrayed by the media and that he never denied the Tax Assessors’ office the ability to purchase and repair vehicles; his disagreement was over how the office went about acquiring bids for vehicles.  Mr. Sosebee felt that the accusations made in an editorial were unfounded and told the reporter not to contact him by phone.

During the Public Comments section, Joe Webb floated the idea of the county providing around $5,000 a year to assist with student loans of Fannin children who have come back to the county to work after they finish college.  He says that the low salaries typical of Fannin jobs dissuade home-grown college graduates from returning here to work.  He believes a small stipend for a few years that goes directly to paying off the loans people to look for their first jobs in Fannin.  Mr. Webb proposes that the money could come from economic development or rural development grants.

Finally, it was time for the Commissioners’ comments.  The topic of Mr. Johnson’s usually joking but pointed comments was people’s comments about how to run a government.  He said that the biggest misconception about leading a government is that decisions are clear cut.  This leads some people to make accusations about officials’ decisions when the people only have half the facts.  Mr. Johnson said that he knows he is not the smartest person in the room, but he tired of others trying to be the smartest person in the room.  He finished with, “Think you’ve got all the answers; show us some results of what you have done.”

The Board of Commissioners will not be meeting next Tuesday, April 12th, which would be their regularly scheduled date.  Their next meeting will be on April 26th, the fourth Tuesday in April.

 

 

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Helton Responds to Webb’s Water Authority Comments

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Appointment of a new member to the Fannin County Water Authority invoked an unexpected reaction from Fannin County citizen Joe Webb at the latest Board of Commissioners meeting.  Mr. Webb asked the Commissioners to speak out-of-order.  Mr. Webb brought up several topics about the Authority including irregular financing, potential SLOPST funding and authority appointment processes.

Mr. Webb said that Water Authority has not correctly accounted for its revenue streams and refered to its 2012 and 2015 audits.  He also said that Water Authority use of funds must be clear since the Water Authority will be asking for more financing on the SPLOST 2016 November ballot.

Helton-300x275

Stan Helton, Fannin County Water Authority Chairman

FetchYourNews.com asked Water Authority Chairman Stan Helton to respond to Mr. Webb’s comments.  Mr. Helton said that Mr. Webb’s comments about the co-mingling of SPLOST funds with other revenue streams is completely false.  After receiving its first few customers in 2014, the audits clearly show separate and segregated funds.  Mr. Helton referred FetchYourNews.com to the Water Authority’s 2015 audit, which is viewable on its website. The auditors did not find mis-use or co-mingling of funds.  They did though recognize one deficiency because the Water Authority only has one employee. Mr. Helton states that there are also CPAs on the Water Authority.

At this time, the Water Authority has a customer base of approximately 280.  The Water Authority must have a customer base of 1,000 before it becomes profitable and not need to be helped by the county at-large.  This means that, in all likelihood, the Water Authority will be among the groups requesting money for infrastructure development on the 2016 SPLOST ballot.

The majority of Mr. Webb’s other remarks centered on the appointment process to different authorities.  He would like the process to be more open to the general public.  Even though Mr. Webb did not know the qualifications of the individual appointed to the Water Authority, Mr. Webb stated that there are several people in the community that would serve well in the position.

The Commissioners appointed Larry Chapman to the Water Authority.  Mr. Chapman is a Georgia-licensed engineer with 46 years of engineering experience in wastewater treatment and distribution.  Mr. Chapman thinks he is the first person with wastewater engineering  background that has been appointed to the Water Authority.

Mr. Chapman and his wife moved from Atlanta to Blue Ridge in 1997.  They live in the south of Fannin County, along the Aska Road area.

 

 

See Related Post:  Fannin County Board of Commissioners meeting 03/22/16

 

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Fannin County Water Authority Meeting & Agenda

Legal Notice

Fannin County Water Authority  Meeting
January 20, 2016  2:00 P.M.

Agenda

  • Call to order
  • Roll call
  • Approval of November minutes
  1. Reports
  • Marnie Mashburn
  • Ed Hawkins – Status of My Mountain JPS
  • Carter & Sloope
  • Lynn Doss
  1. Old Business
  2. Status of Riverwalk on the Toccoa
  3. New Business
  4. Appoint Lynn Doss – Water Authority Attorney, Carter & Sloope – Water Authority Engineering Firm, R.L. Jennings & Associates, PC – Water Authority Accounting Firm
  5. Kay Kendall – Water System Expansion Partners
    • Water Summit – FCWA, Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton
    • Planning Committee
  • Public Commentary – address comments to the Board only.
  • Executive Session (if needed)
  1. Motion to Adjourn.

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Water Authority Makes Progress

Featured Stories, News

The Fannin County Water Authority held its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. (more…)

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MG

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