Members of the Dalton City Council voted unanimously Monday to streamline the annexation process for “islands” of county property that are surrounded by the city.

The council can now propose an annexation, notify the property owner, hold public hearings and move to annex the property. Georgia law requires an owner be notified no less than 30 days prior to a vote for annexation.

Previously, the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission had to make a recommendation to the City Council, at which time a letter was sent to the property owner.

City Council member Charlie Bethel has pushed for the annexation of such “islands,” which often receive city services such as fire and police protection for which no city taxes are received. An official list has not been released, but Bethel has said the properties total approximately 120 acres and are worth approximately $17 million.

There has been no timetable announced to incorporate any land into the city.

Council members also:

• Unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow those who illegally discharge into the city’s sewer system to be fined $1,000 a day. That’s the first of three ordinances mandated by state and federal agencies, city officials said. The city is required to test 20 percent of its 1,000 drains each year.

“We’re slowly implementing everything we need to regulate stormwater in the community,” city administrator Butch Sanders said.

Bethel said violators could be as innocuous as a car wash discharging soapy wastewater into the sewer.

• Unanimously approved a $2,648.28 contract with the North Georgia Regional Development Center to establish a local historic district designation for the McCarty subdivision off Walnut Avenue. The money is coming from the Historic Preservation Commission’s annual budget. The council is expected to make the subdivision a local historic district in June. If approved, it would be the city’s third local historic district.

• Held the first reading of an ordinance that would fine developers $1,000 a day for burying debris and waste building material on construction sites. The council will hold another reading before it becomes law.

• Proclaimed May 6-12 “National Nurses Week” at the request of the Whitfield County Health Department.

The council’s next scheduled meeting is May 15 at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall.

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