Sugar Hill borrows from general fund for City Hall

SUGAR HILL -- As Sugar Hill nears planned completion of its downtown City Hall and streetscape in January, City Manager Bob Hail sought permission at Monday night's City Council work session for some mildly creative bookkeeping.

With about 60 percent of the City Hall's $11 million cost scheduled to be paid from SPLOST, which streams in through March 2014, Hail sought permission to advance the city's administrative building SPLOST fund $2 million more immediately from general funds, then repay the general fund as SPLOST streams in.

It's an intragovernmental loan Hail said the city has done before, and is common for municipalities making capital improvements.

"Simply, if you build projects before all the taxes are received, you need a tool by which you pay for (City Hall) now, then pay yourself back later," he said. "It's strictly an accounting thing."

Gwinnett County's fourth-largest city is spending roughly $17 million downtown -- $11 million for the 33,000-square-foot City Hall at West Broad Street and Temple Drive and $6 million for a surrounding streetscape, amenity pond and amphitheater.

Also at the monthly work session, the council considered resident William Eubanks' request for variances to build a 30-foot square detached garage at his residence at 1159 Pine Thicket Drive in the Cheeley & Duncan subdivision, abutting the Old Suwanee Estates.

Though the city's planning department recommended denying the variances, it urged the council to require that the garage be screened by landscaping or fencing, should it vote at next week's monthly meeting to approve.