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Lake group taps former official
Smith Gary


A former Forsyth County official has been appointed to serve on the governing board of the Lake Lanier Association.

The first meeting for Gary J. Smith, former chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections, will be next month.

“I’ve lived here on the lake since 1994,” Smith said. “I’ve been a member of the Lake Lanier Association for probably 10 to 15 years, but I’ve never taken a very active part in it.

“I was very pleased to have them come and ask me if I would join and I certainly hope I can do something that will help.”

Val Perry, the association’s executive vice president and a fellow Forsyth County resident, welcomed Smith.

“We are excited to have someone with Gary’s expertise join our board of directors and help us continue to advance our objectives as the advocacy group for Lake Lanier,” Perry said in a statement.

The association works to nurture a clean and full Lanier to enhance its economic value to Georgia.

The organization also serves as the voice for residents around Lanier and to protect the lake, recommending reasonable solutions to issues that affect it, such as water quality and water quantity.

Whether it’s used for drinking water or recreation the lake is the jewel of the region, Smith said. But with recent droughts and the lower water level, he’s “concerned, just like I think a lot of other people are.”

“When the water is up, you don’t think about it,” he said. “But when the water drops down to a dangerously low level … you become aware of what a vital asset the lake is.

“We’re like the million other people who use it. We just want to see the lake in good shape and at a high level.”

Smith said he’s a strong supporter of the 1,073 effort, which aims to add 2 feet to the lake’s full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level.

“[So] that if we do have a drought, we can better manage the water here in the lake,” he said.

It’s just one of many ideas Smith said he has to better improve water management. “I’m looking forward to being a positive influence on Lake Lanier.”