Following a discussion on the matter at a special work session Thursday night, the Ball Ground City Council approved a motion to allow Mayor Rick Roberts to sign the latest service delivery strategy agreement with the county.

While other local cities have entered into mediation with the county on the agreement, Ball Ground chose not to contest it. Much of the work session held before the regular council meeting, Roberts, the council and other city officials went through the 72-page agreement page by page to make sure everyone understood all the document contained.

Along with an approval of the service delivery strategy agreement as a whole, the council also approved a number of specific items related to the agreement. Among the items approved were a memorandum of understanding with the county for the planned move to an 800 megahertz radio system for emergency units and first responders. City Manager Eric Wilmarth said this would be a relatively expensive upgrade, with the city paying $30,212 per year for the next three years, but would improve the system once installed.

A memorandum of understand regarding the Cherokee Office of Economic Development was also approved. The MOU essentially continued an agreement already in place between the city and COED, with the city contributing $5,000 annually to the agency and its operations. The last item related to the service delivery strategy was an agreement between Ball Ground and the county on inmate housing at the Cherokee County jail. Under the agreement, the city would pay $35 per day per inmate for prisoners facing charges in municipal court, but not prisoners arrested in the city for charges that would go before the county or state court.

Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather was present at Thursday night’s meeting to present an annual report in which he said there had been a small drop in overall calls within the city limits from 2017 to 2-18, including going from 11 to 10 fires, but there was a bit of an increase in EMS calls, similar to what has been seen across the entire county.

The Ball Ground City Council also acted on the following items:

  • A second reading on the proposed wireless facilities and antennas (small cell network) ordinance was approved.
  • A policy to prohibit employees, elected officials or appointed boards and committees of the city from bidding on items the city declares surplus passed.
  • The council approved relinquishing an unused easement along Valley Street near the railroad tracks that had been obtained several years ago for the placement of a sewer line, but no line was ever installed.
  • A sewer capacity fee schedule established for non-residential users, using a formula with a base calculation of 400 gallons per day, equivalent to an average residential dwelling, was approved. A similar storm water fee schedule was also approved, involving storm water runoff from properties throughout town.
  • An agreement with InterDev for the company to continue working with the city on developing the city’s GIS (geographic information system) service was approved.
  • A method for notifying the county and providing all of the necessary information whenever a landowner submits a request to the city to either be annexed into the city or de-annexed out of the city was approved.
  • During his report, Wilmarth said the city’s total account balance was approximately $774,000 and local tax bills would be going out soon. He said that all five parcels of land involved in the development of the planned Roberts Lake Park had been purchased  and the city had taken ownership, meaning development on the site could begin in the near future. A notice to proceed for paving on Billy Lane, Dixie Lane and Chestnut Street had been issued, while a storm drain replacement at the intersection of Billy Lane and Dixie Lane had been completed. Wilmarth also said a grant had been obtained to place lighted crosswalk signs in the downtown area, as well as an electronic speed limit sign to go near the elementary school.

The next meeting of the Ball Ground City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12.

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