A state agency’s recent stop-work order on construction of an aquatic center also prevented Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt from discussing plans for the facility during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is working out an agreement with the city to reconcile an alleged violation of water quality laws when city contractors cleared the site on Pilgrim Mill Road.
In the meantime, Gravitt and council voted to postpone discussions on a power source for the facility, as well as possible bids for work on the center and a driver’s license facility next door.
“I think it’s [futile] to award contracts when we can’t start the work,” said Gravitt, prior to requesting a postponement.
“I know there’s a lot of people out of work and we want to stimulate the economy to get this $14 million project going. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s wise to go ahead.”
Also Tuesday night:
• Jon Heard, Cumming Utilities director, received permission to apply for a $400,000 EPD grant and a low-interest $780,000 loan from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority.
The money, available through the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, would cover the cost of a sludge collection system for the city’s drinking water treatment facility.
If approved, the project would allow sludge to be continuously removed, instead of having to drain the entire basin.
Heard said there are seven basins in the plant, but to remove the sludge, a basin must be shut down.
“It reduces our treatment capacity probably for about a half a day,” he said after the meeting. “Especially in peak demand times, we just can’t afford the time to shut down the plant because we’ve lost treatment time and treatment capacity.
“This new system should make the water treatment plant more efficient.”
• The city voted to update its comprehensive plan. The update was completed by Jerry Weitz and Associates, the city’s planning consultant.
The plan, which must be updated every five years, will be sent for review to the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center and the Department of Community Affairs.