Buford joins fight against House Bill 962

BUFORD - Buford joined the fight against proposed House Bill 962 that would give Georgia counties the right to stop some annexations by cities.

City Commissioners signed a resolution that opposes HB 962, introduced in the 2006 session of the Georgia General Assembly by freshman Rep. Douglas Holt, R-Social Circle. Commissioners said they received the resolution from the Georgia Municipal Association. Dacula city councilmen signed a similar resolution Thursday.

HB 962 would prohibit cities from annexing unincorporated areas that receive county services, such as water, sewer, police and fire protection, unless the county approves. If the area to be annexed does not receive county services, the county can show intent to provide services in the future and prohibit the annexation.

"Well, they're (Gwinnett County) all over the place with the fire department, so they've already got us there," said Phillip Beard, city commission chairman. "The county wants to act as a municipality in competition with its cities."

Beard argued that Buford must continue to annex to generate the revenue needed to fund the city's school system.

"We have to annex to build a digest for the schools," Beard said. "This will infringe on our rights to educate our kids. This is nothing but a dressed up seizing of personal property through condemnation."

In the 2004 session, the General Assembly enacted a law allowing counties to file an objection to proposed annexations that involve rezoning. By filing an objection, the county can delay the rezoning for up to 150 days, giving both parties a chance to negotiate an agreement.

Buford annexes

and rezones 3.3 acres

Just prior to signing the resolution opposing HB 962, Buford annexed .5 acres at 4901 Summer Oak Drive, near U.S. 23 in Rest Haven, and 2.8 acres on South Bogan Road for a day care center. Both properties were rezoned from residential to commercial use. Both rezonings were compatible with Gwinnett's 2020 Land Use Plan, and the county did not object to the annexations or rezonings. Buford's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of both projects.

Wastewater treatment plant upgrades approved

Commissioners approved spending $433,098 for wastewater treatment plant improvements, $251,890 for electrical power line work related to the Sawnee Avenue widening project, $2,800 to appraise the value of the former City Hall building on Scott Street, $13,698 to Gwinnett County to gather demographic data to help build the 2030 Comprehensive Plan and $200,710 for new City Hall construction.