Snellville adopts enterprise fund for stormwater utility

SNELLVILLE - Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and city council members voted Monday to adopt an enterprise fund for the city's stormwater utility.

This action established the fund and provided for rules and enforcement procedures. Adoption of the actual stormwater fee and rate structure will take place in the near future.

"This is probably one of the more significant pieces of legislation to come before us," said Mayor Pro Tem Warren Auld, because of the impact on private citizens and their property rights.

According to Auld, city leaders tried to create as little intrusion into private property rights as possible, while complying with federal and state mandated stormwater management.

While the work required will be done mostly in rights of way and in commercial areas, there will be instances in which work crews will have to enter private property to perform stormwater management tasks. The ordinance gives special attention to the issues of enforcement, notice and citizens' rights to appeal and object, said Auld, in order to create a fair and reasonable means for citizens to defend their property rights.

Councilwoman Barbara Bender said she supports the ordinance, since the distribution of financial burden is more equitable, with residents' and businesses' responsibilities balanced fairly. Auld said the city's decision to take on the task of managing stormwater runoff, rather than let Gwinnett County manage Snellville's stormwater issues, is more cost effective and gives the city more control over where and how the dollars are spent.

Councilwoman Kelly Kautz said that while she recognizes the need for stormwater management, she could not support the ordinance as written.

"This ordinance is much more permissive than other cities'," Kautz said in reference to the city's ability to possibly infringe on personal property rights. Kautz cast the only "no" vote regarding the ordinance Monday.

Councilman Robert Jenkins agreed with concerns voiced by Kautz but said he didn't think that a problem would arise with "reasonable citizens."

The ordinance can be read on the city's official website, www.snellville.org.

City moves forward

with plans for new PD

Council members gave Oberholtzer the go-ahead to sign a contract on behalf of the city with Peiper O'Brien Herr Architects.

The architectural firm will perform a needs assessment for the new city police department, which will be built on property purchased by the city at the corner of Wisteria Drive and Henry Clower Boulevard.

The contract includes a not-to-exceed price of $40,000 and will outline the needs of the department as well as the most cost-effective ways of meeting those needs. Results of the needs assessment will be available to city officials by Aug. 1.

Britt Elementary essay

contest winners recognized

Two fifth-grade students at W.C. Britt Elementary School were honored Monday during the reading of resolutions commending their essays about health and fitness.

Ryan Pike and Tatiana Wayne got the opportunity to present their essays to Congress earlier this month during an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The two students qualified for the trip by writing winning essays about "Eating My Way to a Healthy Lifestyle."