SOUTH FORSYTH — Forsyth County used a routine agreement to settle some longstanding issues with its neighbor to the south.
During a recent meeting, the Forsyth County commission approved three intergovernmental agreements with the city of Johns Creek.
“This first … pertains to a proposed communications tower to be installed in the Forsyth County limits that will provide public safety communication services to the city of Johns Creek,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “Somewhat unusual, but not unprecedented. Jurisdictions from time to time do reach out to other jurisdictions to provide public safety and other sorts of governmental services.”
The tower will be no taller than 200 feet, unlit and in an area that already has two similar towers.
Jarrard said the county used this agreement to get through the other two, on which talks had been ongoing and involve the widening and maintenance of McGinnis Ferry Road. The county is also attempting to get the nearby city of Alpharetta involved in those projects.
“Forsyth County is embarking on a widening project that we are asking other jurisdictions to participate with us on,” Jarrard said. “One of the first steps of that pertains to the cost associated with designing and engineering of that widening.
“Given that it serves as the boundary between our two jurisdictions there is an interest in Johns Creek being a participant.”
The Fulton County side of the road passes through both cities, so the county sought to pay half the cost while they covered a quarter of the cost apiece.
Johns Creek officials countered that they actually had less of the road and were able to reach an accord with the county.
“We have set their percentage as 24.7 percent,” Jarrard said. “We expect the cost will be $2 million, that’s in the [deal]. That’s what we expect it will be, which means their pro rata share would be $494,000. That is obviously subject to adjustment depending what the actual cost is.”
The county will receive the first $200,000 five days after Johns Creek receives final permission to put up the tower. The rest will come in $100,000 annual payments. Forsyth commissioners approved the arrangement 4-1, with Jim Boff opposed.
The third agreement, which dealt with the maintenance of the road, passed 5-0. Per the agreement, each government will cover the upkeep from the middle of the road outward, and Johns Creek will handle all landscaping.
“Whenever a road is the border between two jurisdictions from time to time issues arise as to who maintains who what who funds what, who upgrades and repairs potholes,” Jarrard said. “What this … says is that when one of our respective jurisdictions says it’s time to repave or have a significant maintenance project, then we must alert the others and enter into an additional agreement.”