Amicalola Scenic Byway project in second stage

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DAWSONVILLE, GA. – The Amicalola Scenic Byway project was presented at the October 7, 2021 Dawson County Commissioners meeting.

Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Mandy Power, announced that Dawson, Gilmer and Pickens counties will all have a part in the new scenic byway that will run through all three counties.

Power read the definition of a Georgia scenic byway and stated that it is “any designated highway, street, road, or route which significantly features certain intrinsic qualities that should be protected or enhanced,” according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Power continued with some of the benefits that a scenic byway could have.

She said among other benefits, it can bring connectivity to the counties and their shared heritage, broaden the travel experience to increase tourist visitation, educate community residents and bring recognition to local natural resources and cultural assets and ultimately enhance tourism spending.

The scenic byway’s prosed map would begin in Dawsonville.

“It starts in downtown Dawsonville at the Hall of fame and it goes through some of the most beautiful parts of Dawson County and we are actually getting the benefit of having it named after one of our landmarks as the Amicalola [Falls] Scenic Byway,” Power said.

She listed some points of interest that have been noted so far for the scenic byway: Historic Downtown Dawsonville; Dawson County Historic Courthouse; Historical Churches; Amicalola State Park; Len Foote Hike Inn; Fausett Farms Sunflowers; Georgia Racing Hall of Fame; Pool Room and Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

Power announced that they do have the Georgia Department of Transportation approval, so they are now in the second step with is the application stage.

She said that once the application will hopefully be approved, there will be signage along the route, the route will be listed on all the tourism websites and the route will be listed on state and national byway websites.

Power estimated that it may be six months until the Amicalola Scenic Byway is officially unveiled.

City council discusses COVID-19 vaccine incentive

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council met Monday evening, Sept. 20, and discussed several topics on the agenda, including a possible vaccine incentive for city employees.

Dawsonville City Manager, Bob Bolz, spoke on the proposed vaccine incentive for city employees to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

He said that they already have approved for workers to be able to get vaccinated during a workday without penalty.

This means that employees are allowed to leave to get vaccinated and would still be paid for the hours missed.

“Each week I sit in with the GMA virtual conference about COVID. They are pushing herd immunity, herd immunity and the quickest way to get there is encouraging vaccinations,” Bolz said.

Currently, the city doesn’t ask for proof of vaccination but that ideally, the proposed incentive would incentivize individuals who are vaccinated to show documentation and those who are not to go get vaccinated.

The incentive would pay individuals $250 for receiving the vaccine and would pay those who have already received the vaccine if they are willing to show proof.

“If you look, Canton is doing a $500 per employee, Hall County is doing $500 per employee. If all 21 people [for Dawson County] got vaccinated, it would be a $5,250 expense of which $2,100 would be reimbursed from ARPA money. They are willing to pay $100 of incentive money so, it would be $3,150 to the city,” Bolz said.

He continued that he thought it was something that could be easily covered by the city and that this is simply an effort to get people vaccinated.

The council opted to vote on this matter at the upcoming meeting on Oct. 4.

City tables Allen Street Properties annexation request

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council voted 3-0, with Councilman William Illg, absent, to table the Allen Street Properties, LLC and  B&K Turner Family LLP petition to annex into the city limits of Dawsonville during Monday’s regular meeting.

The annexation request was the subject of an objection filed by the county in December. The county cited increased traffic and increased infrastructure demands without the benefit of impact fees as the reason for its objection but the county withdrew its objection on May.

The Council could have approved the annexation Tuesday, however, an error in the parcel number listed in the legal advertisement led to a request by the applicant for a postponement until October. The County will have to re-advertise the annexation request.

Council held the first reading of an ordinance to amend its Code of Ordinances regarding fire and protection to align with the county code.

Council voted 3-0 to approve a resolution to accept funding in the amount of $1,212,174, open a bank account and execute documents related to the American Rescue Plan Act. The City has received $606,087.

Council also approved acceptance of Georgia Municipal Association Safety Grant in the amount of $6,000. The City’s purchases will include reflective vests and rain gear, safe grip gloves, flashlights and headlamps, table carts, blue card certification training, flagger training and temperature kiosks.

Following an executive session, Council approved a settlement with former employee Ms. Copeland that involves a cash payment, change of separation from the City from termination to resignation in lieu of termination, an agreement that the City will not contest Ms. Copeland’s application for unemployment insurance benefits.


County’s withdrawal from arbitration sends annexation back to City Council

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — On December 9, 2020, the City of Dawsonville advised Dawson County of its intent to annex and rezone 70.808 acres of Tax Parcel 093 004 001, which is located near the intersection of Perimeter Road and Allen Street in Dawson County (the “Annexation”). After thorough analysis and evaluation by County staff, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to formally object to the Annexation on December 17, 2020. Unfortunately, the County has little ability to stop an annexation and generally has only the option to resort to this land use objection process.

The County objected to the Annexation because, among other things, the Annexation and its intended rezoning would place a substantial financial burden on the County and all taxpayers. The project would result in increased infrastructure demands without the benefit of any developmental impact fees to offset the costs of those demands, including adding additional traffic at the already congested intersection of Perimeter Road and Allen Street.

In accordance with State rules and regulations, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs appointed a panel of arbitrators on January 21, 2021, to conduct an arbitration on the County’s objection. Importantly, the arbitration panel is not legally authorized to stop the annexation. The arbitration panel can only offer conditions to mitigate the effects of the infrastructure burdens and impact the density of the development.

Due to the fact that the arbitration process would end with the Annexation being approved – but just with potential conditions — the Board voted unanimously to withdraw from the arbitration proceedings. The sole reason that the County voted to withdraw from the arbitration proceedings is because annexation is certain to occur under that process. In contrast, by withdrawing from the arbitration proceedings, this matter is remanded back to the City Council for the City Council to vote on the Annexation– which should be a vote to outright deny and reject the Annexation and rezoning. The County is confident that the City Council will do the right thing and make a responsible decision for the community by denying the Annexation.


City Council scheduled to meet Monday, viewers can access by teleconference


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawsonville City Council will hold a regular meeting and work session Monday, July 20, at 5 p.m.

Those who would like access to the meeting can do so by teleconference or by phone from your computer tablet or smartphone: You can also dial in using your phone. United States: +1 (669) 224-3412 Access Code: 309-296-213 1.

Under the Consent Agenda, council is expected to approve minutes of the regular meeting and work session held June 14, the executive session held June 1, special called joint meeting with the Board of Commissioners held June 8 the first amendment to the Farmer’s Market Use Agreement.

The amendment grants the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce use of the City Pavilion on Saturdays and Wednesdays from April 18, 2020 until October 17, 2020. The Chamber agrees to pay ten dollars ($10) per month for three (3) months to the CITY beginning April 18, 2020 and fifteen dollars ($15) for four (4) months beginning July 18, 2020.

City Manager Bob Bolz is expected to report on a COVID-19 Update. The city re-closed City Hall on July 9th due to the tremendous uptick in COVID cases to protect or staff and our customers. Staff will continue to work staggered schedules and teleworking. Everyone’s temperature is checked as they come to work, both at City Hall and at the maintenance facilities.

Utility and Public Works staff continue to work staggered schedules and stagger the times they are both within the facility. PPE is available for all personnel. Public Works and Utilities are still asked to ride one to a vehicle. Planning & Zoning customer service that must be provided face-to-face by appointment only. The public is not allowed upstairs, as need Planning & Zoning staff come downstairs to meet them. At the recommendation of the local Manager of the Department of Public Health, our July 10th Food Truck Night was cancelled. We hope the health situation will be safer in time for the August 14th event.

The Amicalola Farmers Market has been very successful, having received the First Place 2020 AGC Build Georgia Award (Associated General Contractors of Georgia). It was presented to Magnum Contracting who will present it to the city.

Also during the meeting, Finance Director Hayden Wiggins will announce the comprehensive annual financial report has qualified for the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement and the Finance Office and staff have earned the A ward of Financial Reporting.





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