The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 on Thursday to approve new service delivery strategy agreements with county municipal governments.
Board Chairman Jevin Jensen generally only votes in the event of a tie.
The service delivery strategy agreements specify the services provided by each jurisdiction and aim to avoid duplication of services. State law dictates that these agreements must be updated every 10 years. Cities must now approve them.
Previous agreements number 39, covering areas ranging from ambulance service to zoning.
“Some of them were years old, really outdated,” Jensen said. “So all of those have been updated, consolidated down to 26 agreements.”
One change covers the Dalton-Whitfield Senior Center. It is currently jointly funded by the County and the City of Dalton and operated by the City of Dalton. From January 1, 2023, it will be funded and operated solely by the county.
Additionally, according to Dalton Town Administrator Andrew Parker:
• The county will provide a cash payment of $200,000 per year for the paving program in Dalton.
• Dalton’s annual payment to the county for providing stormwater management and soil erosion services will be reduced from $175,000 to $87,500.
Commissioners also voted 4-0 to seek a Public Safety and Community Violence Reduction Grant that is funded by federal money from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act. The maximum reward is $1.5 million. The grant would fund the salary and benefits needed to fill law enforcement positions that existed on January 27, 2020, but were unfilled on March 3, 2021.
The grant would not fund new positions. If the county receives the grant, funding would begin in 2023. The grant requires no local matching funds.
Commissioners also voted 4-0 to approve another $5,000 for the animal shelter for fuel.
“We spend a lot of money on fuel because we don’t kill animals,” Jensen said.
He said the shelter drives dogs and cats to animal welfare groups for adoption.
Commissioners also voted 4-0 for:
• Approve a request from the Commissioners to rezone 24.71 acres at 1531 Beaverdale Road to general agricultural rural residential to make its use as a farm conform to the zoning.
The property was badly zoned several years ago. As it was not the fault of the owner, the commissioners asked for the rezoning so that the owner would not have to pay a fee to correct the problem.
• Approve an application by RW Sales to rezone 2.62 acres at the corner of Dawnville Road and Brooker Road into high-density residential from low-density single-family residential to develop a 43-unit apartment building on the property.
• Denial of a request by Doyle Gazaway to rezone 4.38 acres on Stadium Way near Cohutta to general agriculture neighborhood businesses. According to the staff’s analysis, the request followed a ruling by code enforcement that the property was being used illegally as an auto and body repair shop.
After the work was completed, during public comments, some members of the audience expressed concern about election security and asked the commissioners to consider ways to improve local election security.