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Cumming counters on Sanders Road fix

POSTED: February 20, 2014 12:02 a.m.

CUMMING -- The city of Cumming is offering to split the costs with Forsyth County to repair a section of Sanders Road.

During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the mayor and city council voted unanimously to send a letter to county leaders offering to pay half of the estimated $173,000 project cost.

They also voted to reject a stipulation in a similar proposal from the county, which wanted the city to release it from any potential liability associated with the breach of an earthen dam.

The May 19 breach in the dam, which contained nearby Lake Alice, sent torrents of water and sediment across Sanders Road and into a cove of Lake Lanier.

A section of Sanders was damaged in the incident. An interim fix, for which the two governments agreed to share the costs, did not hold up under additional heavy rains.

The road has been closed to through traffic between Buford Dam and Mary Alice Park roads, a heavily wooded residential area east of Cumming, since June.

The Sanders issue is separate from the ongoing effort to restore and clean up the area affected by the dam breach, including the Lanier Cove.

The county made its offer on the road repairs to Cumming earlier this month.

The city gives the county 10 days to respond to its counter offer, which also stipulates that the county would release the city of any legal liability.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said he thinks the road is the county’s responsibility.

“We had nine other roads that were washed out during that time [of heavy rain] … so we’re requesting the county fix Sanders Road just like they fixed these other roads,” he said.

“We think it’s only fair that the county take responsibility to repair the road. After all, the county collects all the property tax, not only in the county but also in the city.”

But, Gravitt continued, since the residents of the area have been inconvenienced for so long Cumming should “show that in good faith we’re trying to respond and do the right thing.”

“I’d recommend to the board to try and resolve the issue, that we reject the offer that the county has sent to the city, and the city send basically the same offer that the county has made to the city back,” he said. “And the city would pay … I believe it’s $86,500.”

The mayor added that Cumming would include payment for any additional costs that could arise, but those “overruns” would be capped at $100,000.

The county commission likely will take up the matter during its next meeting, which is set for 5 this afternoon.


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