The Morgan County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously passed a resolution stating its opposition to locating an intake facility for the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir on the Apalachee River in Morgan County.
The resolution states support for the reservoir, a partnership between Walton and Oconee counties.
But the Board cited “complexities” relating to the intake facility and the lack of communication with Morgan County regarding the project for its opposition to the location.
The resolution states simply that “the Morgan County Board of Commissioners opposes the proposed location of the water intake in the Apalachee River in Morgan County.”
A representative of the Greater Apalachee River Community, which has led the opposition to the intake facility, appeared before the Oconee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday evening to report on the Morgan County vote.
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners did not respond to the report, made during the Citizen Comment session at the beginning of the Commission meeting.
At the meeting of the Morgan County commissioners on April 17, representatives of the Riverwalk subdivision in Morgan County stated their opposition to the location of the intake facility on 202 acres next door to their subdivision on High Shoals Road.
|Chair Milton Reading Resolution|
Commission Chair Ron Milton told the Riverwalk residents, as well as others in attendance from Morgan County and Oconee County, that he would consider putting a resolution on the proposed intake facility on the agenda for consideration at the May 1 meeting.
Three of the five commissioners, including Milton, stated opposition to the intake facility at that April 17 session, while the remaining two members said they needed more information to make a final decision.
Action on the resolution was swift on Tuesday morning.
Milton read the resolution, entertained a motion, and noted the unanimous vote, with District 3 Commissioner Ben Riden, whose district includes Riverwalk, recording his vote via speaker phone.
During the citizen comment section near the end of the meeting, a citizen from Morgan County and a citizen from Oconee County spoke and thanked the Morgan County Commission for its vote.
Riden and the other commissioners said at the meeting last month that they learned about the plan to move the intake facility to Morgan County only from citizens.
The Walton County Water and Sewer Authority, which holds a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw water from the Apalachee River from a site near High Shoals in Walton County, has asked the Corps to modify the permit.
The permit modification request now under review by the Corps of Engineers proposes that the intake facility be on the undeveloped 202-acre tract in Morgan County and that the deadline for use of the permit be extended from 2019 to 2021.
The Corps notified a small number of citizens directly affected by the intake facility relocation of the proposed change in late February.
No decision has been made by the Corps on the requested permit modification.
Request Of Oconee County
While the Walton County Water and Sewer Authority holds the permit for the withdrawal from the Apalachee River, Walton County and Oconee County share in a Management Board for the reservoir, located in southeast Walton County.
Oconee County has a 28.8 percent stake in the water from the reservoir and is responsible for that percentage of the costs. The reservoir is near full stage.
During the April 24 meeting of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, Amy Lanclos, 1670 Gober Road, in Oconee County, asked the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to support its counterpart in Morgan County in stating opposition to the Morgan County intake site.
Lanclos was back at the Oconee County Commission meeting on Tuesday night to report the vote of the Morgan County commissioners earlier in the day.
The Oconee County commissioners gave no indication how they will respond to the action of the Morgan County Commission.
I was not able to attend the meeting of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners because of a medical appointment.
Penny Mills did attend and recorded the video below.
Chair Milton introduced the resolution regarding the intake facility at 13:45 in the video.
Milton allowed citizen comment at 45:20 in the video.
OCO: Morgan County BOC 5 1 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.
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