Budget, funding for trail design OK'd
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners approved the fiscal year 2014 budget Tuesday, which includes funding for design of a proposed greenway trail, additions to the Coweta Magistrate Court budget, and $50,000 for West Georgia Technical College.
The greenway trail funding is $14,000 for design work. That's the local match for the project, which will be primarily funded with $450,000 in federal funds. The county will need to provide a $100,000 local match for the construction. According to Finance Director Hans Wilson, the rest of the funding will be from impact fees.
The greenway trail would be primarily located on property owned by the Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority around the B.T. Brown reservoir in north Coweta, and could be 1.7 miles long, though that will be contingent upon construction and other costs.
This will be the second year the county has contributed money to West Georgia Technical College for the new Coweta campus.
At the budget public hearing two weeks ago, Chief Magistrate Jim Stripling presented the commissioners with an alternative to the budget proposed by county staff. Stripling's proposal was included in the new budget, for a net change of $9,280, according to Wilson.
There's a clarification of additional part-time clerks in the tag office. One position will be temporary part-time for the next few months and one will be permanent part-time.
The budget also includes creation of a capital projects fund balance of $2.5 million, with money taken from the general fund balance. That fund will be for contingencies that may arise such as heating and air conditioning systems breaking down. There's a slight increase in the dues to the Three Rivers Regional Commission, a $60,000 increase in insurance, and an increase in rent at the airport for the Coweta County Sheriff's Office, Wilson said.
Coweta's fiscal year 2014 begins on Oct. 1.
In other meeting business:
• The board approved changes to the zoning ordinance and the alcohol ordinance to allow brewpubs.
Commissioners Al Smith and Rodney Brooks voted against the zoning ordinance change, and Smith voted against the alcohol ordinance change as well.
A brewpub is defined as an eating establishment that also manufactures malt beverages. The pub must derive at least 55 percent of its annual income from the sale of food, not including beer sold to wholesale dealers for distribution to retailers. Smith asked if anyone had applied to operate a brewpub and was told no. He asked what precipitated the changes.
Planning Director Robert Tolleson said a woman came to the staff asking for the changes. "They do seem to be an up-and-coming, popular thing," Tolleson said.
"I wasn't particularly wild about this one," said Chairman Bob Blackburn. But, "you know they can buy it anyway" and brew pubs seem to be a trend.
Brooks said he approved the changes to the alcohol ordinance because they are more strict than state law.
• Rick Tamplin presented the annual insurance renewal. The rates are up about 11 percent. Of that, around 4 percent is because of an increase in exposure, and there's an overall 7 percent rate increase.
The "loss leaders tend to be automobile and the legal expenses involved with law enforcement with automobiles and the decisions you guys make," Tamplin said.
• The board voted to move the time for the Oct. 1 meeting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• The board voted to approve a request from Chattahoochee Bend State Park for inmate labor assistance in laying sod.
• The board approved a request from the Georgia Forestry Commission to use the Brown's Mill Battlefield site for training. The training will be on equipment to reopen fire breaks. There will be no burning.
• The board approved a new recreation facility and program agreement with the city of Newnan. The agreement has a few changes, including to the days and hours of operation of the Lynch Park Pool. Once school begins next August, the pool will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays instead of weekends only.
• The board thanked Elijah Caldwell for his Eagle Scout project at the Brown's Mill Battlefield historic site. Caldwell built benches for the site.
The board also approved the Eagle Scout project of James Campbell. Campbell will construct and install bluebird, redbird, and chickadee houses at Brown's Mill.