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County locks up land for new jail
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Forsyth County News



The Forsyth County commission on Tuesday approved two land acquisition contracts that hinge on voters backing an extension of the 1-cent sales tax to build a new jail and courthouse in downtown Cumming.


The four parcels along Veterans Memorial Boulevard, which make up about an acre, would be sold to the county for about $2.4 million if the referendum, which could be held as early as November, passes.


According to the contract, the county also has 90 days after a successful referendum to get out of the contract.


Commissioner Pete Amos recused himself from both votes, which each passed 4-0, because his wife’s family owns some of the land.


Also Tuesday, Forsyth commissioners:


• Raised the fare for the Dial-A-Ride program to a $2 flat fee per one-way trip. The change, which will take effect Sept. 1, is expected to generate about $8,000 in revenue. Currently, the county charges $1.50 for a one-way trip and $2.50 for a round trip.


• Ratified a settlement agreement with Chrysler Group for a warranty claim on a vehicle that could not be repaired following damage by an electrical malfunction. The county will receive $12,955 and access to recover any equipment that had been on the car, which had been used by the sheriff’s office.


• Discussed a possible change to the ethics ordinance in which the county would pay legal fees for any official or employee defending against a complaint that is thrown out or found frivolous. Costs to the county for such complaints had previously been addressed. The item will be heard at two public hearings prior to a vote.


• Directed the county attorney to make a change to the county animal control ordinance that will dictate that dogs which bite other domesticated animals be considered dangerous. As it stands, dogs are only considered dangerous if they bite humans, while all other animals can be declared dangerous for biting other animals without being provoked.


• Instructed planning staff to draft five possible unified development codes and that the changes be advertised for public hearings. Topics discussed included allowing special events on agriculturally-zoned properties; closing a loophole for accessory structures; extending the variance expiration date; relaxing the process to get a home occupation permit; and changing the code to reflect the department’s new name.


• Accepted a $225,000 bid from Hayes, James & Associates for  construction documents to build passive parks on four green space properties: Buice, Echols, Harrison and McClure. The documents will help determine the cost of developing the parks in phases.



Note: All votes were 5-0, unless otherwise noted.