Hiawassee disconnects multiple businesses from sewer system

News
Hiawassee sewer disconnected from businesses

HIAWASSEE, GA. – Numerous businesses and residences in Towns County are left without a previous means of wastewater disposal following an alleged “unilateral decision” by Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales to discontinue the use of a city sewer lift station known as “Roadrunner” on State  Highway 76. Wastewater lift stations are used for pumping wastewater or sewage from a lower to higher elevation, particularly where the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow.

Ken and Dana Merritt – stakeholders concerned with the affected businesses and residences – contacted FetchYourNews (FYN) following reported attempts to remedy the foreboding situation through Mayor Ordiales, and subsequently, members of Hiawassee City Council whom purportedly suggested a lawsuit against the municipality.

“We have multiple business interests in the Ridges area of Towns County….” Ken Merritt began. “The mayor of Hiawassee has disconnected all of these entities from the sewer system and sewage has been seen overflowing from the lift station which has been in operation since early 2000. The sewer system was designed by the city’s engineer, approved by the city council, and has worked well since it was completed. The mayor decided arbitrarily without engineering council that she would shut down an adjacent lift station because of the electrical cost. Consequently, the lift station in front of Sand Bar was left to move the flow of sewage three-and-one-half miles to the sewer plant. It was never designed for that purpose and the sewage has backed up into the vault and overflowed onto the grounds. It makes no difference to the mayor that countless people and businesses that pay a monthly sewer bill are just a day or two away from having their toilets overflow.”

Merritt stated that he has hired a septic service to remove and dispose of the waste from the sewage vault at a rate of 3-to-4 times per day, following the City of Hiawassee’s cessation of the Roadrunner lift station. Merritt explained that failure to remove the waste would result in above ground seepage, forcing connected businesses to close their doors. Furthermore, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division (EPD), issued a warning that a civil penalty of up to $50,000 per day could be imposed due to the proximity of the Merritt’s waste system to Lake Chatuge.

“The City is constantly striving to run a more efficient and effective operation,” Mayor Ordiales responded. “In review of the current sewer system and with the impending expansion, the decision to by-pass the road runner lift station was made in December of 2018. This by-pass addresses several issues that have been long-standing; the odor from that area has been an issue for over 13 years, the need for weekly maintenance to that lift station, the need to have utilities present, both water and electricity, the maintenance and repairs of two large pumps valued at over $15,000 each, and the maintenance of a large electric panel to operate that lift station. The City consulted with City engineers and electricians prior to making the final decision to decommission the Roadrunner lift station.

“The lift station that is failing is not a City-owned and operated lift station,” Hiawassee’s mayor continued. “It is privately owned by Dana and Ken Merritt.  That lift station was installed over 17 years ago and it was accepted by (the) City for use by the businesses that were operable at that time.  Since then, there have been many new businesses added to that area that utilize that lift station.  The area has simply outgrown that lift station.  The City has been working with the Merritts since March of 2019 to correct the issues on that privately-owned lift station.  The city will not spend taxpayer money on privately-owned property.  The Merritts have been notified many months ago as to the replacement pumps needed to properly operate that lift station but have not been responsible in taking care of their property.  There have been several letters, meetings at City Hall, telephone communications to no avail.  It is very disappointing that they have put the businesses that are served by that lift station in peril of closing and more importantly putting our most valuable resource, Lake Chatuge, in danger.  The failing lift station serves only the area of the Sand Bar, Moondance complex, El Cancun, and Dogwood St area. The City has contacted EPD and they, in turn, have written a letter to the Merritts earlier this year informing them of the consequences of their irresponsibility.”

Mayor Ordiales stated that the solution to the problem includes the installation of proper pumps that would handle the volume of sewage flowing through it.

The Merritts expressed that they believe that a portion of a 2018 grant accepted by the City of Hiawassee should be used to remedy the situation.

Click to read City of Hiawassee receives $600,000 grant for wastewater improvement

Additionally, the Merritts stated that reverse pressure from the inoperative Roadrunner lift station has caused damage to the private sewer system, forcing repairs. In an Aug. 26 letter addressed to the EPD by the Merritt’s attorney, the couple’s legal counsel responded that the “unilateral decision of the City of Hiawassee to discontinue the use of and the bypass of the Roadrunner lift station” has harmed the Merritt’s system due to excessive reverse pressure on the system. “The City of Hiawassee has continuously charged a monthly sewer service bill to each property owner connected to and using the sanitary sewer extension,” the attorney added.

“If the system ceases to function properly there will be irreparable damage to the environment and businesses,” Dana Merritt said. “It will not only (destroy) several lift station pumps but also close businesses not limited to but including the jail, recreation center, Ridges Resort, Watercrest Condos, several restaurants, Cinema 6, and other private businesses.”

FYN intends to follow developments as they occur.

Feature Image: Sewer station in question, located near Sand Bar and Grille on State Highway 76, west of Hiawassee.

Hiawassee Mayoral Candidates Appeal to the Voters before Tuesday’s Election

News, Politics

HIAWASSEE, GA – Fetch Your News contacted the Mayoral candidates in the City of Hiawassee race and offered a final opportunity to appeal to the voters before Election Day arrives on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Neither candidate was permitted to review their opponent’s response prior to publication.

 

Candidate Liz Ordiales responded as follows:

My platform for this campaign has remained unchanged.  As my card states: Better financial management, create infrastructure to support controlled growth and continue my efforts to make Hiawassee a better place to live.  There are still many efficiencies that can be implemented in every department to create financial savings.

Correcting our existing infrastructure is critical to Hiawassee.  Sewer and water system upgrades are essential to allow residential as well as commercial growth.  We are in the process of upgrading our sewer plant and will look to expand the water plant in the future.

Citizen safety is also a top priority.  Ensuring that fire hydrants are maintained, flushed and tested are critical for public safety.  We have developed Standard Operating Procedures that will be followed. Our police department will continue to attend training sessions and ensure they have the equipment needed to perform their jobs.  I will continue to enhance our sidewalks, streets, lighting, etc. in order to allow for more walk-ability in our city.

Attracting and providing more events in our town is also critical to keep our businesses vibrant and engaged. I would continue to support events on the square as we have done with Moonshine Cruiz-in block party, Light up Hiawassee for Christmas, pickleball events during larger tournaments, etc.

Liz Ordiales

I am NOT an advocate for higher taxes. I have never voted to raise taxes in my two years with the City as a City Council member and interim Mayor.  I believe with financial efficiencies and controlled economic development we will be able to maintain low taxes.

In closing, I will put Hiawassee first as a FULL TIME Mayor without the expense of a City Administrator or City Manager.

Thanks –

Liz Ordiales

 

Candidate Barry Keith Dearing responded as follows:

If elected as Mayor of Hiawassee, my number one priority is to rescind the Franchise Fee Tax. This tax was proposed incorrectly and was presented to the public incorrectly. My opponent has stated on record that this fee will only cost the city residents approximately $20,000 which is incorrect. This will cost the city residents and businesses in the City, including the churches and hospital over $124,000 a year.

At the last city workshop, there was discussion of doing away with the current retirement plan and going with a “cheaper” plan for the city and less retirement for the employees. I disagree with the proposed plan that my opponent requested the GMA to propose. I will stand up for our city employees and fight for what’s right and what is in their best interest. I will not take away their retirement that they deserve.

I will work hand in hand with our current businesses to make sure they have the resources they need to grow and stay within our city. I will also encourage and work with new businesses that want to open in our City.

I will work to get the grants needed to repair failing infrastructure and make sure that all of our infrastructure is prepared for our growth that will come.

As Mayor, I will complete the Mayor’s Park so it is beneficial for our tourism and for our local citizens.

I will work with Chamber of Commerce directly to promote tourism for our city. I will make our square an eventful place for more activities and walk-ability. I will work hard to capitalize on growth utilizing our natural resources and beautiful mountains and Lake Chatuge.

Remember, I have children in this community that work, go to school and plan on raising families here just as we are doing. As Mayor, I would like to see more youth activities that encourage our young adults to be more involved and have a part in our City activities and our City government. After all, they are our future.

I will work closely with our City Police Department and make sure they have what is needed to protect themselves, our citizens and families in the city.

For the record, I have never mentioned doing away with the City of Hiawassee Police Department. Also, I have heard this multiple times and to clarify, I have not ever mentioned hiring a City Manager.

I will be transparent and will make sure the citizens of our community know exactly what the city is doing at all times. I will work closely with our county to make a strong relationship.

As I mentioned in the Candidate forum, I understand that the Mayor of Hiawassee is a full-time position. I stated “it is more than a 40 hour week job and I am committed to the task at hand.”

Barry Dearing

Barry Keith Dearing

Thank you to all the citizens and business owners within the entire community that have shown such great support and positive energy during this campaign. Please encourage your neighbor, family and friends within the city to VOTE on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Board of Elections.

God Bless you all,

Barry Keith Dearing, Mayoral Candidate

 

 

Fetch Your News has followed the 2017 Hiawassee City Council race since its inception. Additional articles can be found on our site. Count on Fetch Your News to provide the election results on the evening of Nov. 7.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Councilman Jay Chastain Jr. Endorses Barry Keith Dearing in Hiawassee Election

News, Politics
Jay Chastain Jr

HIAWASSEE, GA – Hiawassee Councilman Jay Chastain, Jr. has publicly stepped forth to announce his endorsement of Hiawassee Mayoral candidate Barry Keith Dearing less than two weeks prior to election day.

The 12-year incumbent tells Fetch Your News that Mr. Dearing has his full support.

“I’ve known Barry for ages. He’s a fine man. There’s no doubt he entered the race because he wants what’s best for the City’s future,” the Councilman says.

Councilman Chastain, a lifelong resident and Paramedic of 31-years, met with candidate Dearing on the morning of Thursday, October 26, at McConnell Baptist Church during a newly initiated prayer breakfast to offer his blessing.

Barry Keith Dearing, a fourth generation local and the longtime CEO of VanKeith Insurance, says he appreciates Jay Chastain Jr.’s approval.

“He’s a good man and he’s committed to not only the Council, but to the community as a First Responder. I’m honored,” Dearing confided.

When pressed, both conservative candidates affirmed it’s neither the mayoral opposition’s lifestyle nor the fact she isn’t a “local” – the admitted concern Liz Ordiales raised at the Council forum – but the core issues that matter.

Of concern is the controversial imposition of the newly adopted BRMEMC Franchise Tax, confirmed to adversely affect the future budgets of Hiawassee citizens.

The recently passed planning-expansion ordinance, opposed by Councilman Chastain during a Special Called Meeting shortly after Pro-Tem Liz Ordiales announced her candidacy, is also an issue of debate.

Questionable decisions the former council member made while serving as President of the Towns County Fire Corps, including allegations of the alteration of Meeting minutes and the mismanagement of funds, and an initial attempt to reject the now-popular Mayors’ Park, have also put Ordiales in the hot seat.

Chastain’s decision to outwardly support mayoral candidate Dearing emerged unexpectedly during a community prayer meeting hosted at McConnell Church. The breakfast, sponsored in partnership with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, is an initiative of Sheriff Chris Clinton to unite residents with local law enforcement and first responders.

Councilman Jay Chastain, Jr., the son of a slain Towns County Sheriff whose life ended while serving the community in 1974, expressed his heartfelt approval of Barry Dearing as Hiawassee’s next Mayor.

“I want to see Hiawassee thrive economically and I believe it will. I want the residents to know where I stand, local or move-in. It’s beside them,” Chastain parted before rushing off to arrive on-time for his role as a veteran Medic.

Fetch Your News has followed the 2017 Hiawassee City Council race since its inception.

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the November 7 election.

*UPDATE* Feature Image has been replaced.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Election 2017: Hiawassee City Council Candidate Forum

News, Politics
Hiawassee election

Hiawassee, GA – Monday night’s Forum for Hiawassee City Council posts consisted of opening and closing statements, prepared questions asked of each of the seven candidates, followed by inquiries from City residents. Professor John Van Vliet of Young Harris College moderated the panel at the Towns County Civic Center on October 2, 2017.

Following an Invocation, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance, the forum began.

First addressed were Mayoral Candidates, Liz Ordiales and Barry Dearing.

Hiawassee City Council

(L-R) Amy Barrett, Jay “Junior” Chastain, Barry Dearing

Former Mayor Pro-Tem of 4-months, Ms. Ordiales, opened with her qualifications and achievements – retirement from managing an estimated $12 million dollar budget while employed in Miami with AT&T, extensive local community service involvement during her 18-years of full-time residency in Towns County, and a list of improvements the City has experienced since Ordiales was elected to Post 5 in 2015.

 

Barry Dearing, Founder of Van Keith Insurance, an 18-year local business with an estimated $8 million dollar budget, spoke of his professional expertise, his affection for his fourth generation hometown, adding he looks forward to serving the community.

 

When asked to cite main goals within a five-to-ten year span, Mr. Dearing conveyed he plans to keep both resident’s and business owner’s interests in mind and will treat citizens equally while respecting the past, and presenting new ideas for the future. “I want to leave Hiawassee better than I found it,” Dearing expressed.

 

Ms. Ordiales strives for “self-sufficiency” and would like to implement a program with WorkForce Georgia to teach subsequent generations the skills necessary to match area business demands, such as tourism and nursing. Ms. Ordiales also noted a need for improved infrastructure, specifically the sewage system. “Growth is coming. We need to be ready,” Ordiales warned.

 

Barry Dearing agrees infrastructure expansion is necessary for future growth and plans to work with the Towns County Chamber of Commerce to promote Hiawassee and Lake Chatuge’s beauty. Mr. Dearing intends to encourage business growth geared toward the region, keeping the workforce local with a 5% incentive.

 

Liz Ordiales hopes to compete with other cities by carefully planning economic development through connections with outside agencies, attracting companies to fill empty storefronts, and advancing the travel and tourism industry.

Hiawassee City Council Forum

(L-R) Nancy Noblet, Liz Ordiales, Patsy Owens, Anne Wedgewood

Confliction between the two Mayoral candidates arose regarding the Franchise Tax. Liz Ordiales referenced Hiawassee as one of only 11 Georgia cities lacking the 4-7% taxation necessary to cover expenses, citing storm damage cleanup as an example, after Barry Dearing said he considered the tax an “unclear thing that’s been untold.”

 

The candidates vying for Post 2 seats on the Council are 12-year incumbent, Jay (“Junior”) Chastain, and retired Postmaster, Patsy Owens.

 

Patsy Owens grew up in Towns County, retired from 31 years of employment management with the Post Office, and says her goals are to “make the City better and make it safe.” Patsy Owens vows to listen to the citizens concerning their needs and prevent the financial losses seen in the past. Owens says she is “willing to learn to help any and all of you.”

 

Incumbent Jay Chastain, Jr. has served as a Paramedic for the past 31 years and while he “doesn’t want to see the City change what the Forefathers brought in,” he foresees a need for increased public safety alongside steady advancement. Chastain favors cooperation between city and county agencies and confirms increased revenue from tourism will result in lower taxation. Jay Chastain encouraged residents to “vote their hearts.”

 

The final candidates to speak were those hoping to fill Post 5, the seat left vacant by Mayoral candidate, Liz Ordiales.

 

Nancy Noblet “spent 17 years in business, has experience making hard decisions, and has worked with budgets” in the past. Ms. Noblet says she wants to hear the people’s visions for Hiawassee’s future. Nancy Noblet assured voters she is “rooted and grounded” and has a desire to serve, while doing what’s best for the City. Noblet hopes to increase family oriented events on the Square and aims for a shift of focus directed toward the community’s youth.

 

Anne Wedgewood, a candidate with a history in real estate, says she is a “watchdog,” a “what if” brainstormer. Ms. Wedgewood describes herself as an analyst, valuing fiscal responsibility. A volunteer with the Chamber of Commerce, Wedgewood expressed interest in attracting more visitors from the Atlanta suburbs by supporting “Mom and Pop” businesses, and specialty enterprises, such as craft breweries.

 

Last to address the voters was unopposed candidate for Post 1, Amy Barrett. Although guaranteed a seat on the Council, Ms. Barrett hopes to receive votes of confidence. Barrett portrayed Hiawassee as “the best place on earth, a slice of heaven.” Ms. Barrett is active in an array of community services – from volunteering with the Friends of the Library, assisting the school system, and providing veteran support. Once a waitress who worked to advance her husband’s legal studies, Barrett promises to “accomplish great things” and says she looks forward to serving the City.

 

Questions permitted from Hiawassee voters, directed toward the Mayoral candidates, ended the forum.

 

Liz Ordiales was asked about growing traffic concerns. Ordiales revealed the Department of Transportation has authority over Highway 76 and the City is “confined in what they can do.”

 

A resident asked Barry Dearing how he plans to run both his business and the City if elected. Dearing explained he has been sequentially retired for the past two years, with his wife handling the operations. Mr. Dearing conveyed he grasps the obligation of serving as Mayor is “more than a full-time job.”

 

Early voting for Hiawassee City Council begins on October 16, 2017.

 

The election will take place on November 7, 2017.

 

Barry Keith Dearing Announces Candidacy for Hiawasee Mayor

Politics
Barry Dearing

Hiawassee, GA – Barry Keith Dearing, a local business owner, has announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Hiawassee.

Image: Courtesy of Barry Keith Dearing

As the Founder and CEO of VanKeith Insurance Agency, Dearing tells Fetch Your News he intends to put his skills, perspective, years of self-employment experience, and community activism to use by unifying citizens toward a common goal.

“I’m not a career politician, but I am deeply rooted in the community and consider myself very fortunate to live and work here. This is where I grew up and where I’ve chosen to raise my children. Hiawassee is my home,” Mr. Dearing expressed.

“The mayor should be a vital and active communication link between the people and the city. In my role as a long-time business owner, I’m constantly in touch with citizens and local business owners. I understand their needs and desires. If elected I will take advantage of my experience, skills, and perspectives.”

Mr. Dearing describes his principles as simple.

Barry Keith Dearing Mayor

Image: Courtesy of Barry Keith Dearing

“Faith. Family. Integrity. Honesty. Transparency.”

The mayoral candidate states his plans include collaboration with the the entire community to ensure it’s the best it can be.

“It isn’t necessary to be a resident of Hiawassee to feel the impact. It’s important for both the residents and the business owners to be heard.”

Barry Keith Dearing pledges to bring his community and business experience to the City of Hiawassee along with sound judgement and know-how.

Mr. Dearing says he looks forward to a positive campaign, meeting with citizens, and tackling challenges.

“We have what it takes to make this a thriving, economically viable, and sustainable city for our families, students, seasonal residents, and tourists.”

“It’s time.”

Updated information on the 2017 race is available.

 

Hiawassee Mayoral Candidate, Liz Ordiales, Rebukes Allegations

News, Politics
Liz Ordiales

HIAWASSEE, GA – In a fiery email sent to Fetch Your News (FYN), Hiawassee Mayoral candidate Liz Ordiales repudiated allegations published October 27, 2017, by the said news outlet which cited several different concerns from fellow candidates, alongside the endorsement of her Mayoral opponent, Barry Keith Dearing, by Incumbent Councilman Jay Chastain Jr.

‘”I have never, I repeat NEVER been accused of any wrong-doing during my presidency at the Towns County Fire Corps. This article I believe has been altered since it originally appeared. It originally stated I was the Vice-President, which is a position I have never held. These accusations are unacceptable lies and are a direct attack on my character,” Ordiales wrote. The Mayoral candidate went on to claim libel and defamation of character.

Fetch Your News caught the error referencing Ordiales as Vice-President, rather than the former President of the Towns County Fire Corps, soon after publishing and accepts responsibility for the slight inaccuracy. The mistake was promptly corrected once discovered.

Cindi Daves, a proponent of Ms. Ordiales, began in an email to FYN, “What happened to the day and age when news reporters were required to vet their stories BEFORE they print them?”

Two additional supporters responded in a similar fashion, adamantly defending Ordiales.

In an email entitled “Retract the Jr. Chastain Allegation,” Liz Ruf wrote, “Mr. Chastain is totally out of line, has no evidence and is attempting to negatively sway this election at the last minute and found easy prey through your news service. You should make this right immediately.”

LaJean Turner wrote in part, “Homework was obviously not done on this article before publication.”

Homework was, in fact, conducted. Fetch Your News does not allude to accusations without extensive research and substantial discovery.

In a 2013 letter written by former Vice President of the Towns County Fire Corps, Ken Bryant, the following allegations were cited as reasons Mr. Bryant chose to vacate his position under President Ordiales’s leadership:

  • No or Improper Board voting – for example, failing to hold a formal vote on the resignation of Dewaine Olson (Secretary/Treasurer);
  • Failure to appoint a financial controller or Treasurer with sufficient accounting background in a reasonable amount of time;
  • Board meeting minutes were inaccurate, incomplete, altered and manipulated to change the record not reflective of the truth;
  • Board member expenditures were approved arbitrarily and with no impartiality, in accordance with no clear and consistent policy.   In one case, retroactive policies were applied to a selected case and expenditures over prior authorization were not enforced in another;
  • Negative comments were made about the dual control board member signature required on fund raising account checks, which is as a matter of best practice with entrusted funds;
  • I was asked by President Ordiales to pre-sign several blank fund raising account checks;
  • No vendor selection process for several significant external relationships and/or expenditures;
  • Lack of planning – for example, a membership drive was planned on a date with a significant community conflict with another public service organization;
  • Requests for significant budget expenditures (more than 25% of total budget) for non-existent needs and for non-existent members;
  • Unilateral decision making – a decision to drop the annual calendar as a fundraising tool without board discussion or a vote (eventually over ruled by Chief Floyd);
  • Mismanagement of the historical web domain address that caused the loss of ownership and resulted in several months without a web presence;
  • Mismanagement of the previous website that resulted in the impounding and loss of use of the archived history of the Fire Department including events, activities, photos, member accomplishments, etc.;

Former Vice President Bryant also referred to “a comment, reflective of attitude, by President Ordiales on the record in a meeting stating, ‘I know we are here to help the Fire Department, but we have to take care of ourselves first.’”

The general media, as well as local officials, are listed as recipients on the resignation. A decision was made to publish the allegations in full based on the elected position the candidate hopes to fill.

Fetch Your News sent a copy of the 2013 letter to candidate Ordiales for review and provided an opportunity to respond in full.

“I would like to address the accusations made in the article published 10-27-17.  Those allegations were made by a disgruntled Towns County Fire Corps officer in 2013, who clearly demonstrated that he had joined this group for financial gain. That became evident upon his refusal to release the www.townscountyfirecorps.org website, which he is still in control of after 5 years. This prompted the Towns County Fire Corps to create a new website www.tcfirecorps.org When his invoice for website management was declined, he resigned from this position and wrote the letter of accusations,” Liz Ordiales stated.

“I suggest that interviews be conducted with Fire Department personnel to further identify the facts on this situation.  During my time with the Fire Corps, we have generated well over $250,000 of which 100% of those funds were spent at the discretion of the Town County Fire Chief.”

Fetch Your News contacted Towns County Fire Chief Harold Copeland on the evening of October 30, 2017, requesting a response. “Liz has done a great job raising funds for us. We truly appreciated it,” the Fire Chief said in a phone conversation, “but I’m unwilling to endorse anyone. I’m here to serve the municipalities, to protect from a life-and-property standpoint. I’m happy to serve everyone. I wish both candidates the best of luck.”

*UPDATED* Former Vice President of the Towns County Fire Corps, Ken Bryant, responded to FYN’s request for comment. Mr. Bryant stands by his decision to resign due the reasons listed in his letter addressed to board members, local officials, and the media. Mr. Bryant, a former federal agent and current fraud investigator, has submitted numerous additional documents related to his claims.

Mr. Bryant has since written a Letter to the Editor.

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the 2017 Hiawassee City Council election.

Election Day is November 7.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the 2017 Hiawassee City Council election. Election Day is November 7.

 

Anne Mitchell to Serve as Hiawassee Mayor Pro Tem

News, Politics
Anne Mitchell

Hiawassee, GA – Hiawassee City Council unanimously selected Councilwoman Anne Mitchell to serve as Mayor Pro Tem during a Special Called segment of Monday’s Work Session.

Councilman Kris Berrong, owner of Berrong’s Barbershop, stepped down from the position, citing incapacity to devote a full time presence at City Hall.

According to Berrong, the citizens of Hiawassee require someone who is readily available during City Hall’s business hours.

The councilman tells FYN he has confidence in Mitchell’s ability to handle the multiple responsibilities the position entails.

Councilwoman Rayette Ross explained considerable thought and planning went toward the decision. “Anne has never missed a meeting and she’s shown a lot of dedication,” Ross stated.

Mayor Pro Tem Anne Mitchell assured the community she will do her best.

Attendees expressed their approval with applause.

Anne Mitchell is expected to remain Hiawassee Mayor Pro Tem until a Mayoral candidate is elected in November.

The Work Session began with an update on the water leak study, a service provided at no charge by Matchpoint Inc. Approximately 45 miles of underground water lines were inspected and 11 minor leaks were detected.

Mayors’ Park was discussed, recapping the dedication ceremony which took place on August 14. An estimated 100 people were said to have attended, including the family of Pastor Harold Ledford, the park’s honoree. Harold Ledford served as pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church for 30 years and was well loved by the community. Pastor Ledford passed away on February 11, 2017.

The decision of whether to hire John Andrews, a retired architect, as project manager to complete the construction of Mayors’ Park was suspended for the time being. Council members suggested extending an invitation for Mr. Andrews to address the Board at next week’s regular monthly meeting.

Restrooms, picnic tables, a dog park, and a pier are expected to be added to the already popular recreational area.

The meeting concluded with the decision to place the potential implementation of an educational program on hold until November. Liz Ordiales, former Hiawassee Mayor Pro Tem and current Mayoral candidate, previously suggested a program designed for high school seniors and recent graduates to learn skills relevant to the travel/tourism and healthcare professions prevalent in the region. Discussion with Dr. Darren Berrong, Superintendent of Towns County’s Board of Education, appear to be ongoing.

Hiawassee City Council will meet for their regular monthly session at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5, at City Hall.

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