JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners could see major changes to its water system in February.
Two issues dealing with the subject will affect the county moving forward. However, many citzens may not see these changes right away. That is because the first issue is set to strengthen the county’s water back-up power system in emergencies, and the second will only affect rates for meters two inches or larger.
The county has secured an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Generator Grant. According to a report the county heard in its work session, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) visited Pickens to view the water pump sites in the county. After going through paperwork and traveling across the county, GEMA has signed off on the grant and the county should receive the money, $185,115, by the end of February to move forward with adding a backup generator to another of the county’s water pumps to maintain water access through power outages in situations like storms, a tornado, or other disasters. The county is matching $24,000 in the project works for the grant.
Additionally, the representative from GEMA saw other sites to add five more generators to complete the backup power of the county’s water including one at the public works to help with concerns over the fuel depot. Having already taken the representative to these other locations could expedite the pre-application for grants on these other sites.
The other issue discussed at their work session focused on a rate increase being requested by the Pickens County Water & Sewer Authority to compensate for an increase in water drawn from a business in the area; however, the specific business was not disclosed. The increase is not going to every customer, rather only the large meters two inches and bigger. The increase comes on the heels of information that the one customer has been drawing, on average, 190,000 gallons of water per day.
The current look of the water rates, according to the county’s website, looks like this:
WATER RATES & METER FEES
¾ inch meter …… $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons .
1 inch meter…… $51.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
2 inch meter……$66.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
3 inch meter……$76.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
4 inch meter……$81.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
6 inch meter…. $111.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$5.00 per thousand above 1,000 up to 3,000 gallons
$6.00 per thousand above 3,000 up to 5,000 gallons
$7.00 per thousand above 5,000 gallons and above
FH meter…. $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$4.25 per thousand above 1,000 gallons
Since the county can only pull 280,000 gallons of water from Cherokee County per day, before incurring a heavy surcharge, to supplement the water usage, the Authority is requesting their rate increase. Currently, the top end rate stands at $7 per thousand for anything 5,000 and above, but the increase will change it to $7 per thousand from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons and $9 per thousand for anything 10,000 gallons and above.
Since it was a work session, neither item has had official action yet. Citizens still have the chance to speak with the board members at the regular scheduled meeting on the third Thursday of the month, February 15.
The Pickens County held its regular board meeting on March 17th 2016. The Board signed the Keep Pickens Beautiful Proclamation.
FYN would like to remind everyone that April is old tire month where each household can take up to four old tires to the landfill for free during the month. April was designated as Great American Clean up month. Keep Pickens Beautiful will be celebrating its 27 years in existence.
The Board also signed the Georgia County Internship Program Grant Agreement by and between the ACCG and Pickens County. The Grant will pay an intern up to 200 hours at $10 per hour for work performed between May 1st 2016 and September 1, 2016. This is at no cost to the county. The intern will help in the Planning and Development office. This is the 2nd year Pickens County has received this grant.
Two rezone requests were approved with both coming to the Commission Board with 7-0 approval and recommendation from the Planning Commission. Both properties are located on Carlan Road in Jasper. The first rezone request by Bryan and Misty Johnson will allow the property to be used for beef cattle. The second rezone request will allow for the owner to clear property to build a home.
The Board also moved to allow Commission Chair Rob Jones to research security cameras for the Administration Building. Jones said he would bring the information back to the Board before making final decision on the cameras.
With two council members missing, Mayor Weaver called to order the City Council Meeting on Monday, December 8.
Four major items sat upon the agenda for the meeting along with an executive session. The council approved its Pointnorth Insurance package as presented by Joe Walker. Although an increase was expected in Property Coverage, it and several other areas actually either experienced no change or a decrease. In fact, the package only increased by $7,000.
Next, the City Council heard the presentation by Amy Leake of the Downtown Alliance for bids on a Traffic Enhancement Study to improve the streets in downtown Jasper. The Alliance had several interested but only received two proposals for the study, from Kimley Horn and Keck & Wood.
The proposed bid for the council was Kimley Horn. Leake told the council this proposal won due to several things such as a very specific timeline provided to keep track and progress on the study. Kimley Horn also will keep everything “in house” for the study with no need for extra outside contracting as well as helping with grants for the project that this study would suggest for improving the downtown area. She also told the council that Kimley Horn will not charge extra fees, like other companies had in their proposals, should the project plans need multiple revisions.
The council approved this proposal to move forward with the study.
City Clerk and Finance Director, Lisa Hoyle presented the third item as she read a proposed resolution to apply for a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a grant totaling $100,000 for a trail traveling parallel to the rail road from Arbor Hills to Jasper. This would be between a 1.5 and 2 mile trail according to Mayor Weaver. This resolution would also authorize a local match which Mayor Weaver stated would be 20%. The council motioned and approved this resolution to apply.
In the fourth item, the council approved 10 renewals for Alcohol Licenses for 2016 including Dos Margaritas III, Dunn’s Food Store, FATZ Cafe, Jasper BP, Madeline’s Cafe and Bakery, Johnny’s New York Style Pizza, Pueblo Cantina, Quiktrip, Tater Patch Players, and Walmart. All of these were approved.
Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), on behalf of Governor Nathan Deal, recently awarded a $361,231 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) project to City of Jasper for the purchase and installation of four fixed generators and one portable generator.
“The generators will allow these critical facilities the capabilities to serve the public during severe weather events and natural disasters” said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth.
The amount awarded includes a federal share of $270,923. The remainder will come from a state share of $36,123 and a local share of $54,185. These funds are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s HMGP, which provides funds to state agencies and local governments for projects that reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from the effects of natural hazards by breaking the repetitive cycle of destruction and reconstruction. These funds were made possible as a result of City of Jasper’s participation and adoption of the Pickens County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
GEMA/HS is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities. For information on preparing for a disaster and creating a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov or download the freeReady Georgia app.