Local News

October 15, 2013

Grant rules postpone roadwork

Work on three-quarters of a mile of road through the Carbondale Business Park would have already been completed if not for stringent requirements of a $1 million federal grant for the project.

Mike Babb, Whitfield County Board of Commissioners chairman, said by the time all the environmental studies, public hearings and other grant requirements are complete, only about half of the grant will be left for the road. The entire project is about $2.75 million.

Babb and the other four commissioners struggled aloud during a Monday meeting with whether to spend another $46,000 and delay the project another year to meet one last major requirement for the grant through the Federal Highway Administration. They finally voted unanimously to spend the money — which goes toward formally gathering public input over about a year — but they did so through gritted teeth.

Babb said he didn’t think the detailed public input requirement was necessary since the project is already highly publicized, and there were formal hearings on related aspects of the project earlier. However, he also didn’t want to back out of the grant after having spent so much money for the requirements.

“I think we’re backed into a corner,” he said.

The road will extend from an already-completed portion out to Carbondale Road, thus paving the way for new businesses to more easily move in.

Commissioners groaned about another federal requirement, too. They voted unanimously to delay a vote on working on Brooker Road because they’re still waiting for environmental permits through the Corps of Engineers.

The project is to spend about $5 million to build a road from Heritage Point on the North Dalton Bypass to Dawnville Road at Pleasant Grove Road to help traffic flow and provide infrastructure for possible future businesses.

Officials put out bids in July and have been waiting for permits ever since. In a document presented to commissioners Monday, a county employee responsible for the project said he thought the permits would be finished by the end of the month.

Officials said they since learned that because of the government shutdown, that might not happen. Commissioners plan to revisit the issue at a meeting on Oct. 28. If they don’t have the permits by Oct. 29, they’ll likely have to re-bid the entire project. The road is being paid for with funds collected from a local sales tax for transportation projects that ended a couple of years ago.

In other business Monday, commissioners:

• Authorized $7.19 million in bonds for infrastructure such as gas and sewer lines for Engineered Floors and the surrounding area. Engineered Floors is expected to open a new manufacturing plant in June 2014 and employ about 1,000 people.

Babb said officials plan to pay back the bonds over several years by selling land in the industrial park as businesses come in and through payments in lieu of taxes. Those payments are amounts companies agreed to that are lower than the usual tax rate and were offered to them as an incentive to locate in the community. There is also a backup plan to tax property owners at $1 for every $1,000 of property value if officials don’t collect enough money through those means.

• Renewed software related to departmental servers for $9,654.10.

• Approved buying a single axle dump truck for about $88,000 from Peach State Freightliner of Norcross.

• Voted to buy a 2013 Ford F-150 from Brooker Ford for about $23,000 for the public works department.

• Agreed to spend $103,900 on an asphalt recycler and pugmill for the public works department. The equipment will be used to repair potholes “at any time of the year no matter the temperature,” according to a request signed by a city employee. Commissioner Robby Staten questioned the need for one and voted no.

• Approved spending $12,770 for scoreboards at Westside Park.

• Voted to buy a used infield groomer from Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation in Atlanta for $9,341 for use at Westside Park.

• Signed an agreement for the county’s public works department to demolish the old Eastbrook Middle School building no later than by March in exchange for the county owning the old gym building and parking lot.

• Gave no objection to Varnell’s plans to annex three parcels of land from the county into the city. Commissioner Harold Brooker voted no, saying he was concerned the residents who would be affected hadn’t been told that once they were annexed, their taxes would go up.

“They have not informed me that they have told these people,” Brooker said.

• Read proclamations recognizing the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

• Appointed Jane Harrell to the board of directors for the Whitfield County Department of Family and Children Services. Her term lasts through June 20, 2018.

• Met in closed session for nearly an hour to discuss possible litigation. They did not say what the possible lawsuit was about.

Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014