The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance Monday night that bars residents from putting anything other than stormwater into the public drainage system, including ditches and drains along county roads.

Officials said the county was required to pass the ordinance to meet state rules. The city of Dalton has adopted a similar ordinance, and the cities of Tunnel Hill and Varnell are considering similar ordinances.

Some common sources of illegal discharges are failing septic tanks, washing machines piped directly into a ditch and restaurant wash water.

Under state law, the penalty is a fine of at least $500 for the first offense. The penalty is not to exceed $1,000 and 60 days in jail. Each violation and each day will be considered a separate offense.

In other business:

• Commissioners asked Trammel Suddeth, chairman of the Board of Tax Assessors, to provide a dollar amount for improvements to the office.

In April, the state Department of Revenue recommended adding four appraisers to the office, which currently has six. The revenue department also recommended more training for staff.

• Commissioners agreed to allow the Board of Tax Assessors to use a Chevrolet Suburban that was previously used by former public works director John Paul Bledsoe. The vehicle will replace a Ford Explorer that was totaled last year.

• The commissioners will hold a called meeting Monday to discuss a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The grant will be used to study sub-standard housing in the county. The county is expected to contribute approximately $9,000, according to Commissioner Mike Cowan, with the city of Dalton contributing the same amount. The Department of Community Affairs is expected to provide about $10,000. No time had been set for the meeting as of Monday night.

• Commissioners tabled a contract with the state Department of Corrections for a prison work crew to work with the public works department. Commissioner Pete Pangle said he plans to talk with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office about using county jail inmates.

• Commissioners denied a request from Jerry Hawkins to rezone 14.73 acres on South Dixie Highway from manufactured mobile home park to general commercial. Commissioners agreed to allow Hawkins to continue to park his trailers, which are used for transporting goods and services, on the land until he can reapply for rezoning in six months.

Hawkins had been served with a citation for using the site improperly.

• Cowan presented members of the National Guard’s 48th Brigade with a plaque and resolution thanking them for their service. The unit returned from Iraq last month.

• Commissioners approved a request from Ricky Byers to rezone 2.77 acres on Foster Road from family/condominium residential to small lot residential.

• John Hitchens was reappointed to the Northwest Georgia Regional EMS Council. His new term ends January 2008.

• Dot McCrory was reappointed to the Highland Rivers Community Service Board. Her new term ends June 2008.

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