January 17, 2007


JCWSA is proceeding with their plans to run more lines down Ernest Gibson and Easy Ridge Roads off Jackson Lake Road. Citizens have been complaining about their roads being torn up and impassable because of the work. As JCWSA tries to develop Jasper County into being more like Newton County, we will see water lines run so developers make money by selling their lots with the promise of “water is coming.” TWG has already been told this is happening down Cook Rd. where JCWSA’s Executive Director has a family member as well as a business associate with lots to sell.

The push to find wells—which were heartily dismissed as a “joke” during the Bear Creek Reservoir Committee meeting meetings by those wanting the Reservoir—down Highway 11 South near Feldspar should also raise your eyebrows about just who might benefit from a water line in that area.

After running over $5 million of lines and picking up less than 300 customers, JCWSA is still unable to pay principle on it’s note with USDA. They have borrowed money from the Bank of Monticello and have negotiated with the Butts County Water Authority for a loan. Now the good citizens of Jasper County lucky enough to be within 1000 feet of a JCWSA water hydrant will cough up $50 each to help JCWSA stay solvent and run more water lines. Just keep your eyes open as to where they are run and who owns the property along the route.
The following is from Oconee County where there’s been talk about another reservoir to serve the growth brought by constant rezonings. Oconee and Walton have talked Hard Labor Creek Reservoir until it became known that that Reservoir would produce about the same amount of water Jasper was promised for our own Bear Creek Reservoir (26mgd) and cost close to $500 Million –yes, not $50 million like we were told, but $500 million. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out who the consultant is if you attended the “hearing” on Bear Creek Reservoir in December, 2003 or kept up with what was taking place at that time.

1-13-07 Oconee Citizens Urged to Attend Water Public Hearing on Jan. 17, 2007

Citizens for Oconee's Future, Inc.
P. O. Box 1301
Watkinsville, GA 30677


January 12, 2007

County - "Public Information meeting" in Commission meeting room - Court House at 7:00 PM Jan. 17th

By Charles Baugh, President, COF, Inc.

The County has announced a "Public Information meeting" to be held in the Commission meeting room in the Court House at 7:00 PM Jan. 17th. The advertised purpose is to provide the public with information about options for future water sources. Several months ago the county announced it was withdrawing from an ongoing effort with Walton County to build a reservoir and treatment facilities in Walton county. That after the estimated cost to the county had taken a huge jump and because of some apparent ethical questions related to activities of some members of the water authority that was handling the project. Since then Walton has done away with the water authority and has taken on the project directly which has apparently eliminated the ethical questions..

At the time Oconee announced its withdrawal from the Walton deal, the county also announced it was pursuing building a reservoir on Barnett Shoals Road which would meet county needs without having to deal with Walton. Recently the consultant handling the work for the county told the Board the costs would be closer to $ 108,000,000 than to the $ 58,000,000 estimate of a few months ago. Now the County is about to go back to the deal with Walton County, apparently on the recommendation of the same consultant that missed the Barnett Shoals estimate about 100%.

While the County has advertised this meeting as a "public information meeting" it is also running a small legal ad in the Oconee Enterprise. This appears to be a way to have a "stealth public hearing". The legal notice will probably meet some state requirement to advertise and hold a public hearing. This leads me to believe a decision has already been made to commit the county to hundreds of millions of dollars in the Walton deal. The consultant has estimated the Oconee cost in the Walton deal at about the same cost as the new estimate for the Barnett Shoals reservoir. Based on this consultant's track record this could be anything above $108,000,000. Consider that, plus the cost of debt service on bonds for 30 or more years and you have $ 100M, $ 200M, $ 300M .... who knows?

The problem with the Board setting policy like this is the county must take on huge debt which must be paid off over a 10, 20, 30 year period. This would be paid with water revenue or with county tax revenue. To pay with water revenue the county must process and sell a lot of water. To do that, a huge number of building permits must be issued. This puts the county in a position of having to promote more development to sell more water to pay off the bonds. It never ends.

Many of you have been concerned about rezones near your subdivisions and farms because of traffic, impact on schools and other problems. Those issues do have an impact but policies like the BOC is now considering have an impact many times greater than one rezone. Imagine the impact when several thousand more building permits are issued. I urge you to learn as much about this issue as possible. Come to the meeting and listen. If this meeting goes as others I have seen, the consultant will put up slides showing several options that were "considered" and will come to the conclusion that the Walton deal is the best. All of the other options except the Barnett Shoals option have received little attention.

There are a host of questions that must be satisfactorily answered starting with the question of why do we need to spend all that money to access all that water to urbanize the county? Just because other communities (some of which some of you may have moved away from) have chosen to make themselves ugly doesn't mean we have to. I urge you to get informed on this issue and let your Board members know what you think about it.


the following at

.(Note- the Walton Project started as a project involving Tommy Craig, Attorney from Covington who has been a “hired gun” for a number of reservoir projects in GA. See some related articles.)

.4-12-06 Walton Hard Labor Creek Reservoir still "Iffy”
8-2-06 Walton County looking at “reduced” version of Reservoir
8-22-04 Questions About the Walton Hard Labor Creek Project Part 1
8-22-04 Questions About Walton Hard Labor Creek Water Project -Part 2
8-21-04 Questions About the Walton Hard Labor Creek Project Part 3
11-29-04 Sam Hay - Gadfly & Newton County Attorney Tommy Craig
3-25-04 Jasper County Struggling With Water Issues-Newton Contract
3-11-05 Reservoirs, Consultants, Cost Overruns, Governors, and Attorney Tommy Craig
3-31-05 Walton & Oconee Need to Talk With Dahlonega-Lumpkin about Reservoir
3-16-05 Water Authorities, Newton & Walton Counties & Attorney Tommy Craig
6-22-05 Financial Strain for Lumpkin County Yahoola Creek Reservoir
8-19-05 City & County Agree on Dahlonega Yahoola (Tommy Craig Permit) Reservoir Project

Town hall meetings across state to focus on water quality

The Georgia Water Council is hosting a series of town hall meetings this month to discuss water quality as part of the statewide water plan. The state Environmental Protection Division is working on the plan, which will be presented to the council in July and then to the General Assembly for final approval in 2008.
It is expected to be a policy framework to guide future decisions on supplying water from rivers and underground aquifers to growing communities. The council is led by EPD Director Carol Couch and consists mainly of state agency heads.

Every town hall meeting will start open house-style when the public can discuss the water plan with Water Council members and their staffs. A presentation on the draft policy recommendation on water quality will follow, and the meeting will conclude with a public comment period. This is your chance to have input about the cost of reservoirs, the need for water and/or conservation of water, what will happen to your creek or river, etc.

The schedule is:

Jan. 20 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in Cumming at the Cumming/Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, 212 Kelly Mill Road.

Jan. 22 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Rome at The Forum, 2 Government Plaza.

Jan. 23 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Columbus in the Columbus State University’s Elizabeth
Bradley Turner Center Auditorium at the Corner of East Lindsey and College drives.

Jan. 24 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Athens at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Masters Hall, 1197 S. Lumpkin St.

Jan. 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Brunswick at the Stellar Conference Center, 144 Venture Drive.

For more information, go to www.gawaterplanning.org or contact Sue Grunwald at 404-656-0719.


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