Hiawassee customers may experience water issues due to hydrant flushing

News
Hiawassee water

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The City of Hiawassee announced that the water department will begin flushing area fire hydrants Tuesday, July 8 through Friday, July 19, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Because of the nature of the work, it is not possible to predetermine how long flushing a given area will take,” the city government explained.

The process of periodically flushing water lines is an important preventive maintenance procedure. Over the course of time, loose sediment and mineral deposits may slowly accumulate inside of the piping, resulting in discolored water and reduced capacity. “Customers should be aware of the potential for dirty and discolored water,” the City of Hiawassee said. “This is a temporary situation resulting from the flushing of the pipes. The water may also be cloudy or appear white due to air entrapped in the water. All water system users are cautioned to check the water before use for clarity. Should you experience dirty water, simply wait for a period of time and it will clear up. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers and appreciate your understanding.”

Fire hydrant flushing removes mineral and sediment build up from the water mains, allowing utilities to deliver the highest water quality possible to its customers. The process evaluates the available flow to the hydrant, and verifies proper hydrant operation. The procedure assists water operators in identifing broken or inoperable hydrants and valves to assure that they are functioning at their maximum potential. The water pressure and available flow rate from the hydrants can be assessed by operators, imperative for firefighting purposes, during the flushing process.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Hiawassee scheduled to activate Downtown Development Authority

News
City of Hiawassee

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council, in cooperation with Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales and Economic Developer Denise McKay, are scheduled to activate the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) during their regular session, Tuesday, June 4, at Hiawassee City Hall.

According to FYN’s research into DDA board member training, the governing body of the city “activates” the DDA via an “activating resolution.” The General Assembly has already created a DDA for each Georgia municipality, although the DDA cannot transact any business, nor exercise any powers, until the city activates it. In the activating resolution, the city must designate the city’s downtown development area – which consists of the geographical jurisdiction of the DDA –  and appoint initial directors.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have every, single storefront filled? That’s my target,” stated Mayor Ordiales last week at the “Eggs & Issues” breakfast meeting.

Downtown Development Authorities (DDA) and their appointed boards are created to revitalize and redevelop the central business districts of cities in Georgia. DDA training provides local leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to ensure a healthy, vibrant downtown. According to the University of Georgia, DDAs have a range of powers which include: developing and promoting downtowns; making long-range plans or proposals for downtowns; financing (by loan, grant, lease, borrow or otherwise) projects for the public good; executing contracts and agreements;  purchasing, leasing or selling property; and issuing revenue bonds and notes.

Furthermore, a “Broadband Ready” ordinance is scheduled to go before the council Tuesday evening.

Hiawassee City Council convenes on the last Monday of each month for work sessions, followed by regular sessions the following Tuesday, at 6 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Hiawassee receives Georgia Main Street affiliate designation

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Joint Economic Developer Denise McKay announced last week at City Hall that Hiawassee has been approved for Georgia Main Street affiliate designation.

According to the Georgia Main Street website, the program began in 1980 as one of the original pilot state coordinating programs of the National Main Street Initiative launched by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program launched with five local communities and has grown to serve 100+ communities statewide.

Georgia Main Streets says it represents some of the strongest central business districts in the state and in the Southeast. Since it started, the designated community programs have been instrumental in leading the state in historic preservation, small business development, expansion of the state’s employment base, leveraging private investment, increasing tourism and providing a positive road map for public-private partnerships.

Housed in the Office of Downtown Development at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Main Street is a signature program for community development and revitalization in Georgia’s historic downtowns.

Additionally, McKay announced that Rural Zone designation approval for Hiawassee is expected in mid-August.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Million gallon water release rushes along Bell Street

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The City of Hiawassee began draining the million gallon water tank, which sits high upon a hill above Wood Street, this morning, Sunday, March 17. The city plans to pressure wash the inner and outer portions of the vessel.

Residents and motorists on the southern portion of Bell Street in Hiawassee weren’t quite sure what was occurring as a steady stream of water began to rush along roadsides Sunday morning. The water began tapering to a trickle by mid-afternoon.

Most residents FYN spoke with were relieved to learn that the flooding was not due to pipe damage leakage. The City of Hiawassee arrived with equipment, digging an additional channel to weaken the flow in an area affected by gravel shifts.

Mention was made of upcoming maintenance on the massive water tank at a recent city council meeting although a definitive date was not announced at the time.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Towns County joins Hiawassee and Young Harris in hiring economic developer

News
City of Hiawassee

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The City of Hiawassee, in cooperation with the City of Young Harris, and Towns County as a whole, arrived at a unified decision to employ an economic developer to assist in the creation and retainment of business-related endeavors in the area. Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales introduced Denise McKay to the community during a town hall meeting on Dec. 4. The announcement corresponded with the revelation of a five-year tentative plan for Hiawassee’s future, designed from input from citizens and local leaders by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Denise McKay

Denise McKay

McKay holds a decade of experience as the Main Street Manager of Commerce, Georgia, and Economic Development and Main Street Director of Hampton, Georgia. McKay graduated from Upper Iowa University in 2012, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw addressed the joint initiative on Dec. 18. “The county is doing this as a pilot program,” Bradshaw explained, “We’re going to do this for one year to see how this lady works out for the county, and to see, to put it in simple terms, to see if we get our money’s worth.” Bradshaw quoted the cost to county taxpayers at roughly $20,000. Acquiring grants will be an additional task delegated to McKay.

Bradshaw stressed that his main objective is to provide ample economic opportunities for local youth who wish to remain in Towns County once they have entered the job market.

The commissioner plans to invite McKay to address residents and business owners during a public meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Towns County Courthouse.

Feature Photo Credit: City of Hiawassee

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Five-Year Strategic Plan for Hiawassee’s Future Revealed

News
Hiawassee Ingles

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – After many months of detailed research, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government revealed a five-year strategic plan for Hiawassee’s future on Tuesday, Dec. 4, during a Town Hall meeting. The procedure of envisioned development was the result of numerous studies conducted between the institute and local leaders, business owners, and residents.

Downtown Hiawassee

Proposed concept for a vacant building on Main Street

The City of Hiawassee worked with the Carl Vinson Institute, a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, which assists state and local governments in achieving their goals. Hiawassee received a $21,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant in 2017 to assist in the funding of the study. Steering committees were formed for the endeavor, and interviews and focus groups were held to sculpt the formation of the plan.

During the course of the study, community stakeholders listed what they felt was working well in Hiawassee, and what they believed could benefit from improvement. Positive aspects included the strong sense of community with a “small town feel”, town square, and the location itself, brimming with natural amenities. Feedback into areas that could prosper from improvement consisted of advanced beautification efforts, occupation of vacant buildings and lots, improved traffic and transportation, and the promotion of a mixture of businesses.

Hiawassee Post Office

An updated look could be in store for the Hiawassee Post Office

The Carl Vinson Institute presented a slideshow of suggestions, adding that the plan is not set in stone, and should rather serve as a community stepping stone.

The proposed, comprehensive plan is available in its entirety on the City of Hiawasee website.

(Images: City of Hiawassee/Carl Vinson Institute of Government)

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

City of Hiawassee set to comply with EPD watershed regulations

News
Hiawassee watershed

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council is on track to approve a long-term contract with Engineering Management Inc. (EMI), in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Division (EPD), in accordance with the city’s Watershed Protection Plan (WPP).

Fletcher Holliday, Vice President of EMI, addressed Hiawassee City Council on Nov. 26.

EMI is currently completing Hiawassee’s WWP, tasked with long-term monitoring and reporting to EPD for several municipalities throughout North Georgia. For that reason, Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales explained to city council members that the contract was not placed out for bid. Ordiales stated that testing will be conducted at the water plant in Hiawassee, rather than an off-site laboratory, in order to reduce the overall cost.

According to Holliday, EPD requested that the City of Hiawassee complete a partial quality assestment during the months of November and December, 2018, with full-monitoring to begin next year. The City of Hiawassee received EPD approval in late summer of 2018.

The funding for the 2018 partial project is expected to amount to $8678. Hiawassee City Council is scheduled to vote on the agenda item on Tuesday, Dec. 4, during the city’s regular session. If approved, the cost of the 2019 project was estimated at $16,000.

“The objective of the Long-Term monitoring is to monitor the water quality of the waters within the watershed protection area and determine whether or not they are improving or declining by utilizing the data from the original Watershed Assestment document as a baseline of watershed conditions,” Holliday wrote in a letter addressed to Ordiales in October.

Future water-quality monitoring will be conducted at four local sites, with one sampling gathered during what EMI refers to as “critical conditions,” where the waterway is experiencing low flow and high temperatures. Three dry weather, and one wet weather chemical samplings will be collected annually. E. coli and fecal coliform samples will be taken eight times per year regardless of weather conditions. A total of nearly two dozen tests will be administered and reported to EPD by EMI.

EMI states that significant activity discovered in the watershed will be noted. “This may include, but is not limited to, algal blooms, dry weather runoff, leaking pipes, oil spills, presence of animals, and odors, foam or algal blooms pertaining to the condition of the waterbody,” Holliday explained.

Monitoring reports will be submitted to EPD annually in June, according to EMI.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Hiawassee Mayor proposes digital billboard on Main Street

News, Politics
Mayor Liz Ordiales

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Weeks after a 45-day sign permit moratorium was enacted in Hiawassee, Mayor Liz Ordiales proposed the notion of allowing a digital LED billboard to be erected within the city limits. The multi-message sign would flash advertising promotions at eight-second intervals, intended for installation near the intersection of Main Street and Bell Creek Road.

The early November decision to temporarily halt permits within the city followed an amended ordinance by Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, banning additional billboards from entering the area. On Oct. 29, Mayor Ordiales stated during the city’s work session, “It doesn’t make sense for the county to do one thing and (the city) to do another,” suggesting that Hiawassee would review the current sign mandate, inferring potential revision of the ordinance to coincide with county regulations.

The mayor’s proposal to permit a multi-message, digital billboard, however, is in direct contrast with the county’s mandate. Towns County strictly prohibits the signage in question, as does the City of Hiawassee ordinance, which is currently in effect.

Upon invitation by Ordiales, Terry Poteete – a Gwinnett County resident with Affordable Outdoor Advertising Solutions, and the owner of 85 billboards strewn throughout seven counties, including the 55-foot tall, four-faced billboard located across from McDonalds in Hiawassee – addressed the full council during Monday’s work session. Ordiales divulged that Poteete had broached replacement of the static billboard with a digital version in February, though due to the current ordinance restriction, the request was denied. Poteete purchased the existing billboards in 2012.

Hiawassee mayor Liz Ordiales

Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales

The overwhelming consenus from the numerous citizens in attendance at City Hall revealed blunt opposition to the concept. Residents expressed strong distaste by describing digital billboards with adjectives ranging from “annoying” to “hideous.”

The possibility of removing exisiting billboards to allow for the digital version was mentioned by Hiawassee City Attorney Thomas Mitchell. According to Mitchell,  the Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines list that digital billboards must be spaced further than 5000-feet apart in distance. State law allows for a second digital sign to be installed on the opposite side of the street, however.

Hiawassee City Council expressed conflicting opinions on the matter, with Nancy Noblet clearly favoring the idea from the councilwoman’s subjective standpoint. Anne Mitchell and Amy Barrett voiced sturdy opposition, with Barrett stating that digital billboards “degrade the integrity of the mountains.” True to form, council members Kris Berrong and Patsy Owens remained relatively silent on the issue.

A Town Hall meeting was suggested by Hiawassee City Council, aimed to gain additional resident input prior to taking the matter to vote, with no known date scheduled at the time of publication.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

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