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Incoming Forsyth sheriff to hire four new school resource officers
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During a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners work session this week, items including new public safety radios, rules for short-term property rentals and plans for a regional mall were discussed.

Items at work sessions are not officially approved until being added to a work session at regular commissioner meeting unless passed as time sensitive.


Radios requested


Commissioners discussed several issues tied to replacing radios for county emergency services, many of which are reaching their end-of-life cycle after being purchased in 2003.

Pat Giordano, the county’s 911 Center director, said various county emergency services use a total of 629 portable hand-held, 505 vehicle mounted and 53 base-station radios. The plan would seek to replace all of them for a total of $8.2 million to Motorola Solutions.

The plan, along with an associated budget resolution, was approved on a time sensitive basis.

Commissioners also approved a system upgrade agreement with Motorola Solutions for $46,800 and about $116,000 for a refresh and upgrade to an existing HigherGround Recorder and the addition of a Parallel System for emergency services.


Lake house rentals


Commissioners also discussed, but took no action on, possible new rules to limit certain vacation rentals.

As short-term home rental sites like Airbnb continue to be a viable option, more customers are opting to stay in Forysth County for the weekend. Tom Brown, director of planning and community development, said this has caused issues for neighbors, particularly on Lake Lanier, and county rules only allow for a minimum rental of one week.

“It’s hard to catch that first night it happens, the night that generates the complaint, but it’s not that hard to catch over the long run,” he said.

District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam said there is a noticeable difference in week-long versus short-time renters.

“It was a totally different clientele to the point where you didn’t want to rent them on the weekend,” he said. “If you do it for a week, it’s 95-plus percent that are families.”


Taubman development discussed


Commissioners also approved a change to an agreement with TRG Forsyth, owner of the Taubman Development, a planned regional mall in south Forsyth.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the change would mean an additional six months for the county to pay about $1.3 million, half of the approximately $2.6 million total cost, for right-of-way acquisition.

“We made one commercial payment in 2013. Our other payment, candidly, was due in about 30 days,” he said.

Taubman penned a deal with the county in 2008 for a regional mall, office space, hotels and residential units on 164 acres between Union Hill and McFarland roads in southwest Forsyth.

Initially, plans called for the mall to open in 2015, but were later pushed back to 2020.

Jarrard said the county and developers will meet early next year to discuss future plans for the development.


New school resources officers


Forsyth County Sheriff-elect Ron Freeman told commissioners he plans to hire four additional school resources officers and pay their salaries with federal drug seizure money. Commissioners approved the request, which will bring the number of total officers from 432 to 436.

Freeman said he is working with the county school board to determine locations — likely elementary schools that are not near other schools.

While the federal funds cannot be used to pay the officers while school is out, he said the department has enough funds to pay for those months and will not need additional money from the county.


Construction bids approved


Tri Scapes Inc. was awarded bids for the construction of a sidewalk along Audrey’s Way for $547,000 and a multi-use trail along Majors Road for about $627,000.

Curb-Tech Inc. received two bids and will do construction on sidewalks along James Burgess Road for around $209,000 and along Majors Road for about $151,000.

Bids were awarded to CMES Inc. for about $612,000 for dual turn lanes on Old Alpharetta Road at Peachtree Parkway (Hwy. 141) and Steele and Associates for around $708,000.