Snellville abandons efforts
to regulate air emissions

SNELLVILLE - Based on an opinion handed down by the state attorney general, Snellville councilwoman Kelly Kautz withdrew her sponsorship of an air emissions regulation ordinance on Monday. The opinion states that the Georgia Air Quality Act pre-empts the city from passing the air-quality control ordinance Kautz drafted months ago.

"Although I respect the attorney general's opinion, I disagree with it," Kautz said after withdrawing her sponsorship of the ordinance.

Kautz drafted the ordinance in response to public outrage over a crematory that opened for business Sept. 2 near a residential neighborhood.

City will pursue Fast Track Plan

Council members voted Monday to give city manager Russell Treadway the go-ahead to pursue negotiations and further fact-finding regarding borrowing millions of dollars from 2009 SPLOST funds yet to be collected. The reasoning behind possibly borrowing the money is that Snellville identified construction of a new police station as its top priority with the funds. The second priority is the purchase of land for a park at Baker's Rock in Snellville, and the third priority is construction of a new public works facility.

Construction costs are currently about 15 to 20 percent lower than they were two years ago, and according to councilman Tod Warner, the savings in construction costs alone will offset any interest the residents will pay to borrow the money. Treadway expects the interest rate to be 4 percent or lower.

The city manager will present to mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and the council proposals for going ahead with the public safety facility, the park and the public works building separately, as well as a proposal for commencing all three projects on borrowed money.

Monday's action gives Treadway consent to negotiate and research the idea of borrowing but not to actually secure financing. That move can only be made with mayor and council approval. The total amount officials are considering borrowing is about $8.4 million.

Stormwater utility fee passed

Council members also voted to establish a stormwater utility fee of $3.10 per housing unit as the city's stormwater utility fee. Residents, businesses, churches and schools will pay the fee based on the amount of impervious surface on the property on which they reside.

The fee will be billed by the Gwinnett County tax commissioner and will appear on property tax bills. The accompanying credit manual, which outlines the procedure by which property owners may obtain credits and thereby decrease the fee owed was also approved Monday night.

Kautz did not vote to approve the fee or the credit manual. Kautz said the city is taking a shot in the dark as to whether the $3.10 is too much or too little to collect for infrastructure improvements and maintenance, as next year's budget has not yet been finalized. Kautz voted against approving the credit manual. She said the city's consultants have remarked that the credits are too costly and the process too cumbersome for property owners to pursue.