Posted: Tuesday, November 19th 2013 at 8:23pm
Gainesville Council finally endorses Hall plan for reservoir
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – The time had come for the Gainesville City Council to vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and Hall County regarding the proposed Glades Reservoir.
The highly publicized and much debated matter concerning the city’s position, philosophical and financial, had reached its “eleventh hour” at the Tuesday evening Council meeting.
Tabled on October 1st, reworked and reworded in the interim, it finally was approved, but not unanimously; four in favor, one opposed.
Before the vote was taken Public Utility Director Kelly Randall was asked to review the document for the Council.
“Through the history of this reservoir, which has been lengthy, it’s always come back that somebody is expecting you guys,” Randall said to the Council, “to raise…the rates on all the customers in the water system.”
Gainesville provides water service for most of Hall County.
“This is the first time we have really had in writing that that’s not what’s being asked of y’all,” Randall said.
“As far as the tax issue goes: Hall County is going to do what Hall County is going to do. If they feel like it’s really necessary for this reservoir…it is Hall County’s decision if they are going to raise taxes. It’s within their purview,” Randall added.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Hamrick called for a motion regarding the Memorandum.
Several seconds of deafening silence followed before Council woman Myrtle Figueras said, “I move that we approve the ratification of this resolution because it does not obligate Gainesville’s water customers to be involved.”
The motion was seconded.
Council woman Ruth Bruner then commented, “’I’d just like to say there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the business plan that Hall County plans to use to pay for the system…a lot of environmental problems…but this (written resolution) is better and I appreciate the staff changing the wording.”
“But I still think there’s a lot of just basic problems with whether the reservoir is needed and who is going to pay for it.”
When the resolution regarding the MOU was put to a vote, Ms. Bruner dissented.
GUNS IN CITY PARKS
First reading on an existing ordinance being changed to comply with state law passed, but not without opinion.
Gainesville currently bans the carrying of guns in city parks but that law conflicts with state law. (See separate story.)
Council woman Ruth Bruner wanted the audience to know, “This is something that we have to do to comply with state law, and it is not something we would do willingly or do at all if we didn't have to comply with state law.”
The next step in changing the existing ordinance will be a second reading and a final vote. Those two items will occur at the next City Council voting session, a date to be determined as the Thanksgiving holiday might require the date to be moved.
CEMETERY ADVISORY COMMITTEE FILLED
Many residents do not know that the city operates a cemetery. That might explain why the five person Cemetery Committee has had only one member for a considerable time.
Gholston Peeples has been alone at recent Committee meetings for the 75-acre, 140-year-old Alta Vista Cemetery.
But he will now need to make room for four other citizen volunteers. The Committee is finally full.
* Nancy Kelaman Ward 1
* Rev. Bill Coates, Ward 2
* Margaret Howington, Ward 4
* Ben Mason, Ward 5
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