Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Residents Along The Apalachee River Gave Notice To Oconee County Commissioners Of Their Concerns About Proposed Intake Site

***Unusual Votes On Appointment***

Residents along the Apalachee River concerned about the location of a proposed intake for the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir in Walton County communicated their uneasiness to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners last (Tuesday) night.

Liz Marchant, 1011 Riverbanks Road in the Riverwalk subdivision in Morgan County, told the Oconee County Commissioners in brief comments at the front of the meeting that she wanted them to be aware that residents along the Apalachee River are not content with the proposed intake location.

The Commission meeting itself also was very brief–lasting only 13 minutes–and included one surprise.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the Board appointed former Commissioner Jim Luke to a six-year term on the Board of Tax Assessors.

The Board makes its decisions on appointments to citizen committees in executive session, and a split vote in the open meeting rarely occurs.

The Board approved Fran Davis as chair of the Board of Elections and Registration. She also will become director of the Office of Elections and Registration.

Apalachee River

Residents from Oconee and Morgan counties living along the Apalachee River met on Sunday at a farm off Gober Road in Oconee County to develop a strategy to express their opposition to the proposed intake facility on a 202-acre tract on High Shoals Road in Morgan County.

Marchant Before Commission 3/7/2018

The group is circulating a petition to be sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking the Corps to hold a public hearing on a decision by the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board to move the intake facility to Morgan County.

The Board previously had planned for the intake to be located on a 3.48 acre tract between SR 186 and the Apalachee River in Walton County.

Mark Saxon, Oconee County commissioner and chair of the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Managment Board, told the gathering on Sunday that federal regulations on water flow to the power plant at High Shoals made the original location unworkable.

“I just wanted to make sure that the entire Board was aware of the very concern that those of us that live on the Apalachee River have for the location of the intake for the reservoir at Hard Labor Creek,” Marchant said at the Commission meeting last night.

Board of Tax Assessors

The Board had three applicants for the single open slot on the Board of Tax Assessors, Luke, Charles Baugh and Ed Lord.

Luke, who lives at 1021 Millers Point in the Jennings Mill golf course community, served on the Commission until his retirement at the end of 2016.

Baugh, who lives at 6292 Greensboro Highway (SR 15) in the far south of the county, is a retired employee of the Internal Revenue Service.

Lord lives at 1070 Harrowford Drive South off Hog Mountain Road in the west of the county, is a retired engineer who currently is vice chair of the Board of Tax Assessors.

Two Tie Votes

Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes made a motion to appoint Baugh to the open slot, and Commissioner Mark Thomas seconded the motion.

When the vote ended in a tie, Commission Chair John Daniell voted against the motion.

Commissioner Chuck Horton then made a motion to appoint Luke to the position. That motion was seconded by Commissioner Mark Saxon.

When that vote ended in a tie, Chair Daniell voted in favor of the appointment of Luke.

The vote to appoint Davis, previously working as technical administrative assistant in the Elections and Registration Office, to be chair of that Board, replacing retiring Pat Hayes, was unanimous.

Apalachee Residents

More than 70 people from Apalachee Pointe, Gober Road and Price Mill Road, and North High Shoals in Oconee County and from River Walk in Morgan County, as well as from other parts of Oconee County, attended the meeting on Sunday.

Only Marchant attended the meeting last night to represent the Apalachee River residents.

No one from the residents along the River attended the called meeting of the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board meeting held at 1 p.m. on Monday at the historic Walton County Courthouse in Monroe. (I did attend and will upload the video from the meeting shortly.)

Saxon, who was joined by Horton at the meeting on Sunday, had told those assembled that they were welcome at the meeting on Monday and would be given a chance to speak, even though the meeting was called for another purpose. Recreational fees for use of the lake were on the agenda.

Saxon offered his invitation in response to a question about the Management Board very late in the meeting–three minutes before it broke up--and many in the crowd were engaged in their own conversations.

The Management Board did go into executive session on Monday to discuss “Land Acquisition--Apalachee River Intake Site.”

Executive sessions are closed to the public.


The video of the Commission meeting is below.

Marchant made her brief comment at 3:14 in the video.

The discussion of the Board of Tax Assessors appointment begins at 5:54.

OCO: BOC 3 6 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

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