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Water talks shift to Thursday
County proposal to be revealed at called meeting
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Forsyth County News

The details of a possible water contract proposal from Forsyth County to the city of Cumming likely will emerge later this week.

Originally slated to be discussed in a work session Tuesday, the matter will instead be the subject of a special called meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Forsyth County does not have a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw water from Lake Lanier as does the city. The county buys most of its untreated water from Cumming, as well as some treated water.

With no other immediate options for water, Forsyth hopes to renegotiate terms with Cumming.

County commissioners recently postponed a decision to seek an extension to Oct. 31, citing a belief that the governments might reach an agreement by the current expiration date of May 26.

Tuesday, the county commission voted 4-0, with Pete Amos recusing himself, to postpone discussion on the issue and call the Thursday meeting.

The water proposal is “98 percent home,” said Commissioner Patrick Bell, adding that he needed a couple more days “to shore it up.”

Also on Thursday, the commission plans to discuss a request to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to reallocate the existing water withdrawal permit, which sets limits for the county and city.

Amos announced his recusal at the start of the work session, stating that he’d given allegations that he has a conflict of interest more thought since the April 5 meeting, during which he said he would not recuse himself.

Resident Joe Moses, who serves on the county’s planning board, announced his plans to sue if Amos did not recuse himself from the matter.

Moses’ attorney, Frank Jenkins, contended that Amos’ A&A Water Company, which buys and resells county and city water to five subdivisions, creates a direct conflict with negotiating the contract because it affects his business interests.

Amos stated the recusal may be temporary, as he will ask the Forsyth County Board of Ethics to issue an opinion on whether a conflict exists.

“Until the board of ethics reaches a decision, I will conditionally and temporarily recuse myself from taking any issue on the water contracts,” Amos said.

“While I maintain my position that I do not have a conflict of interest, I believe the water contract issue is too important … for me to take official action on the contract and then find the county on the other side of a lawsuit.”

Check back for updates at forsythnews.com or see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.