Local News

February 7, 2014

Whitfield gives back state grant

Almost four years ago, Whitfield County received a grant of just over $1.022 million to rehabilitate several houses in the Sherwood Forest subdivision and to bring sewer to the neighborhood.

Now, the county plans to return the bulk of the money to the state. Officials held a public hearing Friday, the final step before giving the money back. No members of the public attended the hearing.

“The original grant allowed us $602,355 for sewer with the county to match $168,100,” said Planning and Zoning Director Jean Garland. “So the sewer budget was going to be $770,455.”

But when bids came in for the work, they were substantially higher than the budget for the project. At first the lowest bid came in at $1.6 million. After making some changes to the plans and putting the project out for bids again, the lowest bid came in at $1.16 million.

County officials worked with Dalton Utilities to redesign the project, but the state Department of Community Affairs rejected that plan because it called for individual grinder pumps at each house.

“They said that called for too much responsibility for the homeowners to maintain those pumps,” Garland said.

So the county has decided to return the portion of the grant dedicated to the sewer project.

What will happen to the neighborhood in south Whitfield County without sewer?

“The residents of that neighborhood have septic problems and have had for many years,” Garland said. “The soils there are not very conducive to the septic system model. But people have continued to live there. I think one of the advantages they have is that most of those households are just one- or two-person households.”

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