November 2022 Board Meeting Minutes


Board Meeting, November 9, 2022

Conference Room @ City Hall

Present: John Clemens, Larry Dietsch, Joan Crothers, Anna Denton, Michael Courey, Jim Olson. Absent: Gordy Jones and David Best.

l. President’s Report:

a. Welcome: John welcomed all Board members.

New issues for Discussion

i. Quarterly Newsletter: Late Summer/Fall 2022

1. Although a copy was sent to the T.C. Herald editor and to Commissioner Bradshaw, there were no return comments.

2. Topics for January 19th Membership meeting:

History of Towns County: T.C. Historian Jerry Taylor has confirmed.

History of YHC: Rev. Fred Whitley has confirmed.

Current & Future for YHC: Michael did check with Pres. Van Horn, Commissioner (confirmed) and will check w/John Wilkinson in Clarksville or Rep. Stan Gunter.

2. Board Officers Reports

a. Secretary’s Report-Joan:

i. Motion made by Larry to approve the minutes of the October 12, 2022 meeting that were emailed to Board members; seconded and passed.

b. Treasurer’s Report-Larry:

i. Oct. 31st balance report: $3,452.90. Motion to approve was made by Anna; seconded and passed.

c. Membership Report-Anna: Anna made new booklets on membership for officers. The post cards she had sent out resulted in 12 renewals. Larry made a motion to approve; seconded & passed.

d. Website-David:

i. David emailed his report to the Board: The standard information on the home page has been updated, including information on the planned member appreciation dinner in January.

ii. The minutes for the October board meeting have been posted.

iii. A new page has been added for newsletters, as has a post for the recent late summer-fall version. Next task is to spiff things up.

3. Committee Reports

City of Hiawassee-Joan: 10/4/22 Set millage at 1.972. Local option Sales Tax negotiations are ongoing. Currently City of H. gets 11%, City of Y.H. gets 9.5% & County gets 79.5%; Cities want a split of 70/30 with the 2 cities splitting the 30%. Hotel/Motel tax voted to increase from 5% to 8%.

City of Young Harris-Gordy: 10/4/22: 4 of the 5 council members attended this week.  A public hearing will be held on 11/29 at 6:00, to present the final budget to the public and answer questions.  The city finally received 30 new meters, with 80 more still on order.  Mueller (the manufacturer) was previously selling direct to the city at $185/each, but now they are selling through a distributor, Waterworks, who is charging $240 each.  The $185 meters direct from Mueller are still not delivered, but the ones received (from Waterworks) are the $240 ones.  The new mil levy (not disclosed in the meeting) has been advertised and adopted, and is a rollback rate.  It is being sent to the county treasurer. Timberline:  the permit to start construction is in process with the state, as a “repair”, not a “new” project, which should speed the process. Sewer line rehab:  there are 2 or 3 bidders for a certain section, that should be finished by February.

Water and sewer connection requests beyond city limits:  There are apparently some undisclosed developers who may (or may not) be looking at starting projects near YH.  The city is looking at proposing policies that will offer water (maybe sewer) to them, but only if the project is contiguous to existing city limits, and the developer is willing to annex their property into the city.  At the same time, the proposed policy would give the council ability to deny connections if it would be too expensive to offer them.  One consideration is that if a customer doesn’t pay the city can shut off water service, but once sewer is in place, there is no way to stop the customer using it.  Apparently there are “miles” of unused water lines that can be accessed by a new user, but construction of sewer lines is very costly and will likely not happen.  Considerable discussion was held, but Mayor Gibby finally stopped it and asked council members to suggest their questions after the meeting. Ana Hess is working on the City’s accounts

Commissioner’s Meeting-Joan: 10/18/22: Met at temporary Courthouse offices at old Rec. Building. Commissioner Bradshaw is ready to sign the contract with Reeves & Young for Courthouse renovation: maximum price is $10,591,847 with contingencies: Natural disaster $100K, minor changes to design $130K, construction (extra work) $173K. T.C. millage rate for 2022 tax digest set at 4.729, which is a rollback; Taxes are due by 1/10/23. County has received $4K Employee Safety grant, most will go to Road Dept. T.C. Transit Service for 2024: State paying 50% and County 50% of $125,148 expenses; revenue from people riding is around $11K. T.C. Rec. Dir. Stuart Nichols reported flag football has grown to 67 players from K.-5th with 43 cheerleaders; 132 registered for basketball (registration still open); 2 new swing sets added at beach playground; putting in a ½ mi. trail at Foster Park to the back of the property.

T.C. Water & Sewer Authority-Jim Olson: The septic system was messed up when working on the new building. New backhoe was bought for $72K and the old one was sold for $22K.

Chamber of Commerce-John: Julie Payne took over as Chamber President on November lst. Holliday Bazaar at new Rec. Building on 11/5-6 was a success.

Convention Visitors Board (CVB)-Jim: No meeting.

BRMEMC-Michael: No report.

County Planning Commission-David: No meeting.

County Health Dept.-Larry: Met October 20, 2022. They reviewed the Environmental Reports, Nursing Report and Financial Reports. The financials are in good shape. The fund balance is $525,322. Dr. Zachary Taylor, District Health Director, reported that the current Covid 19 numbers and vaccination rate (on the website) numbers are down and declining in Georgia. Flu numbers are up and they recommend getting the Flu shot. A presentation was made on the Breast & Cervical Cancer program. Early detection is critical. This program and many others are available to those in need.

Board of Education-Michael: Towns County School Board adopted millage rate of 6.550, actually lower than rollback rate of 6.829.

4. New Business from Board Members:

a. David talked to Callie Moore about the invasive aquatic flora in Lake Chatuge while at the lake shore cleanup last Saturday.  Apparently she has been inundated with inquiries about it and that’s good, in that a lot of folks in the County have been bugging her about it which shows they care deeply about the quality of the lake.  Bottom line:  we are in a period of watchful waiting to see if the seasonal drawdown and winter freezes kill the invasive aquatic plants.  TVA is responsible for a lot of lakes and water bodies which they have to treat and which have much worse problems than Lake Chatuge. The good news is their commitment to do a complete aquatic plant inventory of Lake Chatuge next year. Apparently that’s a pretty big deal, as it will establish a baseline for the future. Cold weather and drawdown are our best hope.

b. Michael wants to put something in the next newsletter about Mtn. Protection Act.

5 Old Business: None

6. Motion to adjourn was duly made at 4:15 p.m.

Next meeting will be Wednesday, 12/14/22 at 5 p.m. @ Joan’s for meeting & Chili.

Joan Crothers, Secretary