Forsyth spending another $1M on Fowler Park

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FORSYTH COUNTY - The county added nearly $1 million to Fowler Park’s price tag, but it’s still well under the $19 million budgeted for the new park.

The Board of Commissioners approved spending $624,285 on a press box, concession/restrooms building and lights to make a rectangular field at Fowler Park usable. Another $326,045 will be given to Hardin Construction to extend the greenway 800 feet into the park. The majority of the trail will be wood boardwalk to cross over wetlands.

Another improvement to parkland in the county will be the construction of a Big Creek Greenway trail head at Bethelview Road. The board awarded a $152,578 bid to Artlantic Inc. to construct a bathroom, storage area and ADA compliant park spaces.

• Forsyth County has a chance to save $4 million through refinancing one of its existing Water & Sewer bonds because of favorable interest rates. County Manager Doug Derrer will bring information from several other companies to the commissioners in two weeks. Like a home re-fi, the county would be paying off the existing bond and getting a new bond that would cost them less to repay.

• Want to hold an event at the Lanier Tech/Forsyth County Conference Center? If alcohol is on the menu, your vendor will need a county permit. Since Lanier Tech is not allowed to have a cash bar on premises, a revision will be made to the special event alcohol license permit adopted earlier this year. Vendors will be responsible for collecting any money to pay for drinks in advance of the event, and off campus.

• Motorists driving through the Old Atlanta-Brannon Road intersection will see the addition of left and right turn lanes with the award of a $252,510 bid by Reid & Reid.

• Maintenance and operations of the Antioch Water Treatment Plant will cost $933,664 in 2011 under a bid award to ESG. And over on Watson and Gilbert roads, Utility Service will begin maintenance of two water tanks. Work includes repair, repainting (interior and exterior) of the tanks.

• Approved accepting a $20,000 grant from the Heritage Grant Fireman’s Fund to buy a swift water rescue boat for Fire Station No. 15. Fire Chief Danny Bowman said money from a land sale will cover the remaining $10,000 needed for the boat, which will be available for the Sheriff’s Office use.

• A $13,985 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice grant accepted by the commissioners will be used toward court security improvements and senior judge assistance, funding bulletproof benches in courtrooms and netbooks for senior judges.

• Forsyth County Fire Department formalized its mutual aid agreement with Johns Creek.

• The healthcare reform act passed by Congress has begun to change the way local communities do business. Forsyth scrapped its plans for a six-tier employee benefit coverage system to keep its existing four-tier plan so it could keep its “grandfather” status and avoid additional costs and requirements. The six-tier plan was in part a reaction to the requirement to include children up to age 26 in healthcare coverage.

• Commissioners approved starting expedited rezoning for two different properties as part of the county’s attempts to lessen the affects of the collapse of the home building industry.

Samuel D. Wilson: 1.81 acres on Bottoms Road, CBD to A1.

Randal D. Schultz: 12.32 acres on Wallace Tatum Road , RES3 to A1.

•Bank of America is being put on notice that their customer service stinks. County staff was so displeased with the service that they asked the commissioners to let them use Wachovia, the number two bank in the selection process in 2008. Especially galling was the addition of fees that were not part of the original proposal the board approved. Staff’s request was approved.

• Forsyth County lowered its gas rate for 46 locations from $0.582 per therm down to $0.5551 per therm through a renewal with its provider, Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas.

• Procurement Director Donna Kukarola will create an Emergency Supplier Network list to assist the county in meeting the need for commodities and services in case of emergencies and disasters.

Cumming Forsyth