Hart County Commissioners Vote to Take Control of the Water and Sewer Authority

September 18, 2012

Hart County commissioner Joey Dorsey says the board’s decision to move control of the Water and Sewer Authority to the board of commissioners is not the end of the matter.

Last Thursday, the board of commissioners held a brief called meeting at 5:30p to vote on whether to ask State Representative Alan Powell to introduce legislation in January that would allow them to appoint county commissioners to the water authority board, but only three commissioners voted.

At the meeting, which reportedly lasted about a minute, commissioner Dan Reyen made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Bill Myers. Commission chair R.C. Oglesby called for discussion, but then quickly called for the vote, which was unanimous.

However, two of the five commissioners, Joey Dorsey and Brandon Johnson did not vote. Dorsey said he and Johnson, along with county attorney Walter Gordon and Powell were at the county commission office but had not made it into the meeting room.

Oglesby claims he called the meeting at 5:30p, according to the clock on the meeting room wall. Dorsey is now questioning the legality of that called meeting as well as the entire proceeding.

“I don’t understand why this issue could not have been addressed at the regular monthly meeting last Tuesday,” he said. “The agenda for the called meeting we received Tuesday night simply stated ‘county water and other items as time permits.’ I questioned what was the specific topic that was going to be discussed during Thursday’s called meeting.”

County administrator Jon Caime, meantime, said issues with the Water and Sewer Authority go back to the drought of 2008 when people’s wells were drying up.

“When the drought hit in 2008, we were getting calls like crazy from people in the county whose wells had dried up and couldn’t find water,” Caime said. “Others asked why Franklin County was continuing to expand its system, even in a drought.”

Caime said the water and sewer authority made $400,000 in revenue last year and has a cash balance in the bank of $1.3 million, but has made no effort to expand the county’s water lines.

In order for the water and sewer authority to be transferred to the control the county commission, a resolution must be submitted to the General Assembly in January by Rep.  Alan Powell.

Dorsey claims because of that, there is still plenty of time to work with the current water and sewer authority board to resolve the water line issue.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia