Ball Ground council approves winery and talks budget funds
May 10, 2013 11:47 PM | 1598 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Michelle Babcock

mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

BALL GROUND — The county’s first winery is being uncorked in Ball Groundafter the council approved a Farm Winery Ordinance on Thursday.

The Ball Ground City Council unanimously voted to approve the Farm Winery Ordinance, allowing applicants David and Julie Boone to begin their winery operation in the city.

“We look forward to your venture; you’ve already brought very favorable reputation to Ball Ground,” Mayor Rick Roberts said. “Now you’re part of the city.”

The council also discussed the 2013-14 budget and proposed $587,000 for the general fund, $698,000 for the sewer fund, $356,000 for SPLOST and $90,000 for the solid waste fund. The total proposed budget for 2013-14 is $1.7 million, an almost 3.6 percent increase over last year’s budget of $1.6 million.

Councilman Frank Homiller said he would “still like to see library funding restored to its previous level.”

City Manager Eric Wilmarth noted that, although library funds had been increased, they were still $25,000 short of their original commitment. Roberts said that Ball Ground is lucky to have the library and he agreed with Homiller.

“It’s important that the city show its support,” Roberts said. “They’re getting cut at state level and county level.”

“I can’t even get home in time to get to the library,” Wilmarth said.

Roberts said when the library opened there was more funding coming out of the state and county.

“It just shows a commitment from this community, that the city says this is important, it’s important and we’re willing to help,” Roberts said. “It has been and will be a magnet for the city and the surrounding areas.”

The first reading of the budget passed and the council will have a second reading in June.

The council also unanimously voted to help fund an additional position for the county development authority. Roberts said the city needed more business and commercial development and that an additional position at the county could help. The approval means a $5,000 commitment from the city of Ball Ground, and Roberts said, “If we don’t like it, next year we won’t do it.”

Next, the council considered approval for two new Community Development Block Grant applications. The first application would be for $75,000 to test and possibly develop a well. The project would call for $30,000 of local funding.

The second application would be to find and remove a water line and convert customers to a more up-to-date line. The current pipes do not support fire hydrants and were put in place sometime between the 1930s and ’40s. The grant would fund $50,000 of the project and $15,000 would come from the local fund.

In total, the grant money would fund $125,000 that would be matched by $45,000 of local funds. The council unanimously agreed to approve the applications.

The council unanimously voted to award Blount Construction Co. the project of resurfacing Old Dawsonville Road, which will begin within 21 days. Blount made the lowest cost bid, $50,000, and will put a leveling coat down before asphalt so the road is more durable.

During the period for city manager comments, Wilmarth said he was happy to report that the Public and Safety antennae project was completed and there have yet to be any communication problems since completion. The system is complete with a backup generator and automatic switch.

Wilmarth also showed photographs of the repairs completed at Groover Street, which had been severely damaged. The street was closed for three weeks after water backed up because of a blockage in the storm drain. The repairs included installing a larger pipe and storm drain to allow ground water to flow away from the street in the future.

Wilmarth said the street reopened Thursday and grass is beginning to emerge beside the road where construction was completed.

The council noted there will be a mandatory pre-bid meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday for an upcoming Parks and Recreation project, and any contractor who wants to bid on the new project must attend the meeting in order to be considered. The project is expected to begin in July.

Finally, the council discussed temporary sign use in the city and listened to public comments before adjourning for an executive session. The council decided to review the sign ordinance now in effect and discuss it at a later date.
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