News of Interest

The city of Dalton could change the way it handles stormwater control.

Dalton Utilities currently manages stormwater for the city. But Mayor Pro Tem George Sadosuk said Tuesday night the City Council is looking at changing that.

“The county would handle the regulatory side — the permits and everything. And city public works would manage and maintain the infrastructure,” he said.

Sadosuk spoke Tuesday at a Dalton Tea Party meeting. Some residents of the Brookwood subdivision complained about flooding during the heavy rain a couple of weeks ago and asked about the city’s plans to control it.

“It’s a major issue, and we are aware of it,” Sadosuk. “But it is a complex issue, and we are looking at the best way to deal with it.”

The city handed responsibility for stormwater control to Dalton Utilities five years ago. But Sadosuk indicated after the meeting the council would bring the work back in house. He said the plans does not indicate any dissatisfaction with Dalton Utilities.

“We are just looking for a new way of doing things, and this is probably something the city should be doing,” he said.

But he did say council members had some questions about a plan presented to them in July by Dalton Utilities to control flooding along McLellan Creek and in the McCarty subdivision.

“That was $8 million, and that was just the first phase (of controlling stormwater across the city),” he said. “We began to wonder how much phase two and three would cost.”

Reached after the meeting, Dalton Utilities President and CEO Don Cope said he was “somewhat but not totally surprised” by the city’s plans.

Cope said he has not had time to think about the overall impact of the change.

“But from a cost perspective and a functional perspective of the utility, it would certainly be good to get that responsibility shifted back,” he said. “It would relieve us of a financial burden.”

The utility spends about $300,000 a year to manage ongoing stormwater control, such as cleaning culverts and fixing clogged drains but was counting on city funding to build any new infrastructure.

Dalton Utilities doesn’t have a dedicated revenue stream for stormwater control, so any money it spends upgrading or repairing infrastructure has to come from income earned from its ratepayers.

Reached after the meeting, Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb said he and Sadosuk have had some discussions about the county taking on stormwater regulation and permitting inside the city. It currently handles that responsibility in the rest of the county.

“The commissioners are on board with the idea, provided we can work out the details,” he said. “We provide a number of consolidated services with the city already, and this would be just one more.”

Sadosuk said the council also plans to cut property taxes for the seventh year in a row this year. When the council meets on Oct. 6, it is scheduled to set its property tax rate at 2.537 mills, down from 2.616 mills in 2013.

The meeting also heard from Miller T. Jones and from Jim Cook, a spokesman for Dennis Mock. Jones and Mock face each other Nov. 4 in a special election to fill the final 12 months of former Mayor David Pennington’s term. Mock was out of town.

Pennington, who stepped down as mayor earlier this year to pursue an unsuccessful campaign for governor, also addressed the group. He said the City Council has continued to pursue their joint vision of cutting taxes and improving the appearance of the city.

Andrew Hunt, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, also spoke. He said that if elected he would work to cut the state income tax to 4 percent from 6 percent while eliminating various loopholes. He said he would also look at ways to cut the sales tax rate.

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