Plan for improving drainage system moves forward

By Billy Corriher

Clayton County residents and businesses could have a new fee tacked onto their water bill after the completion of a study the county Board of Commissioners approved on Tuesday.

The fee would fund a new stormwater management program that would update the county's drainage system to protect the area's drinking water and bring the county in line with new state and federal standards.

The study, to be conducted by CH2M HILL, will help the county determine the most economical way for the county to meet the new standards, said Rick Hirsekorn, the company's client services manager.

Commissioner Chairman Crandle Bray said the new management program is important to the county's water supply and vital to ensuring future development.

"It's actually something that's going to be absolutely necessary," Bray said.

The county's proposed program would be funded by a flat fee for residents and a fee for businesses determined by how much runoff they produce.

Commissioner Charley Griswell said he wants the study to provide information on how much the new fee would cost.

"I want to know how it's going to impact the residents of this county," he said.

The results of the study will include a full range of alternatives to fund the new program if the county decides not to implement the new fee, Hirsekorn said.

The board also heard a request for a new district tax in Ellenwood that would fund road improvements, new sewer services and the removal of loose boulders to entice businesses to the area.

Attorney Steve Fincher presented Liberty Development's plan to develop the area around Anvil Block and Bouldercrest roads after the improvements.

The plan entails construction on 400 acres of land that can not be developed now, developer David Price said.

Although the improvements will cost the county, Price said the commercial tax base the development would bring in makes it a worthy investment.

"The retailers have said that if we build the roads, they will come," Price said.

No citizens showed up to speak on the development, but Price said he has received praise from the community about the plan, a mix of residential and commercial development.

The plan would link the new homes to the planned restaurants, grocery stores and retailers with trails and bike paths, which Price said would reduce the impact on traffic.

The commissioners declined to comment on the proposal until they could look over all the information.