The City of Hoschton is a small community and a wonderful place to call home. It is located just off Interstate 85 in Jackson County in north Georgia, about 35 miles northeast of the Atlanta perimeter. Jackson County is included in the 10 fastest growing counties in the country yet offers an abundance of open spaces and unspoiled views of the state’s Piedmont Region – just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our climate is moderate, pleasant, and enjoyable for a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Our city mixes the advantage of small town living and the convenience of being less than 45 minutes from urban areas such as Athens, Gainesville and metro Atlanta for shopping, dining and entertainment. On behalf of all of our citizens, please visit our community and make yourself at home!
AUGUST 2021 CITY MANAGER REPORT
Since my last report I have been absent recovering from a third left knee replacement surgery on June 15th. Progress is good to date, but full recovery will take a year or more. Having said that the city continues to move forward due to our capable staff and leadership. Here are a few of the more notable accomplishments during the last month:
- Our new Police Chief, Brad Hill, started his employ on August 02. His tasks so far have been to get the items for startup in place including registration with the relevant state agencies, purchasing a patrol vehicle and equipment to outfit the vehicle, setting up an office and office equipment and establishing priorities for his department for the remainder of the year. Welcome to Hoschton Brad!!
- The West Jefferson Street repave project was more intensive in repairs than we expected with numerous deficiencies noted in the subbase of the road. All the old deteriorated and broken asphalt was removed, and many sections of the subbase had to be removed and rebuilt. Some road edge sections had up to 3 feet of base removed and rebuilt. The Panther Court intersection was the worst area of base failure needing to be repaired and numerous other roadway edges were removed and repaired. An adequate compacted rock and soil cement base had to be rebuilt to ensure that the new asphalt base and topcoat would hold up under traffic loading. The paving cost overruns amounted to over $45,000 which will make the total cost for rebuilding West Jefferson Street over $280,000. SPLOST Funding from GDOT combined for 2 years (’20 & ’21) amounted to $51,000 and the remainder will be funded out of the General Fund. Final paving has been completed, the shoulders of the street need to be filled in, and the centerline, edge striping, and stop bars added for a finished product. All of this should be completed within the next several weeks. West Jefferson Street should be good for 12-15 years under normal traffic conditions before any major repairs will be required.
- Another major milestone completed is the Wastewater Treatment Plant Clarifier Project. The $2.5 Million dollar upgrade to the city sewer treatment facility is now fully operational and online as of August 10th. Minor cosmetic and cleanup issues are still ongoing, but the main facility was completed on schedule. This upgrade increases the treatment capacity of the plant from 200,000 gallons per day to 500,000 gallons per day. A side note is that this project was funded in its entirety by Sewer Tap Fees with NO NEW DEBT or RATE INCREASES for our water customers!!
- While the completion of WWTP Phase I Project is a major accomplishment, our growth necessitates that Phase II be started immediately. EMI, the city engineering firm is already in progress in getting the necessary permits filed and recommendations from EPD approved so the design phase can be initiated. Anticipated construction start date on this phase is third quarter 2022 and will take over a year to complete. The upgrade will take the wastewater plant treatment capacity 500,000 gallons per day up to 950,000 gallons per day.
- The 500,000 gallon North Water Tank Project is on schedule, project went out to bid and the bids have been received and evaluated; the bid award was made to Caldwell Tank Company. A Pre-Construction Meeting between the City staff, Caldwell staff and EMI has been scheduled for August 27th with an anticipated start date within several weeks. Upon completion and the tank being brought online, the water pressure in the city will increase and the water storage capacity and fire protection service to the city will be greatly enhanced. Additionally, construction of a new 1,000,000 gallon South Water Tank is being planned within the next several years, a tank site has been selected and the property secured. Updates will follow as this project continues to be developed.
- A city-wide upgrade to the water system delivery lines is in design phase and will begin in 2022. This upgrade and replacement of the aging water lines (some more than 60-70 years old) will include upsizing the lines from 8”-12”-15” to accommodate future growth and increase flow capacity for residential and commercial customers while providing much needed additional supply and pressure for fire protection. This project is in combination with the new North Water Tank Project and will greatly improve the overall efficiency of the city water system.
- Another water project is hunting new well potential sites. We hired Emery and Garrett several months back to evaluate potential new well sites within the city service area. Several sites were selected, and one test well was drilled that did not produce a substantial gallon per minute yield. Another site is being drilled as we speak and hopefully will produce a higher gallon per minute yield that will be worth the investment cost to bring online. A well needs to produce greater than 100 gallons per minute to be cost effective as a municipal water source.
- Our CitizenServe electronic permitting and inspection software program is online and operational. This new program is a paperless system whereby developers, builders, and homeowners can apply, pay for, and schedule inspections through the online system without having to come to City Hall. This new electronic permitting and inspection system expedites the entire process and is much more convenient to use than the old paper system of years past.
- The city initiated a Planning Building Department project several months back to scan all the past years building and planning documents currently in storage here at City Hall into a digital format. This process has now been completed and all the building and planning records are stored electronically. The process and burden of storing and maintaining boxes and boxes of past years of paper records has now been eliminated with this new digital format.
- The Hoschton DDA is up and running and actively putting together a plan of work for the remainder of this year and ’22. The Regional Commission and UGA have been contacted for advice and potential grant funding for several projects to include a pedestrian and golf cart pathway from Peachtree Road to downtown. Many other issues have been identified and will update as more data is available and a plan of work and timeline established.
- Finally, the Mayor and several City Council members, City Clerk and I attended the Georgia Municipal Association Annual Conference and Training Session in Savannah this month. Mayor/Council members and our City Clerk took numerous training courses and attended concurrent sessions that provided valuable information regarding the current and projected future economic conditions and outlook of the state, COVID updates, current state and federal grant funding opportunities, best practices and techniques for problem solving issues, negotiation of the upcoming ’22 LOST and Service Delivery Strategy with the counties, equity and inclusion sessions, downtown rehabilitation and restructuring, historic preservation, networking opportunities with our peers, and an exhibit hall with vendors that provide a host of services and equipment for municipalities. A great working weekend for our city officials and an excellent in person opportunity to network with other city officials of towns and cities of like size and growth issues.
Gay M. Fesperman, Interim City Manager
PUBLIC INFORMATION NOTICE (5/12/2021)
The City of Hoschton has authorized their Consulting Engineers to undertake a water main improvement project consisting of upgraded water lines to improve water quality, flow, and fire protection.
Phase one of these improvements will include new water mains along West Jackson Road, SR 53 (from West Jackson to West Jefferson, and from Towne Center Pkwy to Peachtree Rd), West Jefferson Street, White Street, Industrial Blvd, Towne Center Pkwy, Pendergrass Road (from Towne Center Pkwy to New St and New Street.
The Engineers will be surveying along these roads and streets over the next several weeks in order to design the most feasible locations for the new water mains. The Engineers may be locating property corners but will not be traversing any private property.