The City of Dacula and Gwinnett County have reached an agreement regarding the annexation of a 157-acre tract of land near the intersection of Highway 316 and Highway 29.
On an annexation application from Walton Georgia LLC related to the property. The investment company plans to build a “live, work, play” community and sought annexation due to the city's ability to swiftly respond to planning and development issues.
Gwinnett County filed an objection to the annexation, forcing the issue to go to arbitration. However, according to Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, the matter was resolved late Tuesday -- just hours before the arbitration proceedings were scheduled to commence.
As a result of the agreement, the annexation may proceed contingent upon the city complying with certain specified conditions primarily related to the types of businesses to be allowed and development density.
As a major development -- also known as a development of regional impact (DRI) -- the plans must be reviewed by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). That process, Mayor Wilbanks said, may take 60-90 days.
Once the project review is completed, the annexation and the subsequent rezoning that will be necessary for the development can move forward.
During the Sept. 27 work session, council also discussed a proposed intergovernmental agreement with Gwinnett County regarding an energy excise tax. A new state law exempts manufacturers from sales taxes on energy consumption used in the manufacturing process. In Gwinnett County, the 1-percent special option local sales tax (SPLOST) would be affected, though officials are not sure exactly what the impact will be.
“Nobody, including the people who enacted the law in the administration, [they] have no idea how much money we’re talking about,” Wilbanks said.
The tax on energy sales to manufacturers would be phased out over a four-year period. In order to recoup lost sales tax revenue, local governments have the option of levying an energy excise tax, which would likewise be phased in over a four-year period.
If the city enters an agreement with Gwinnett County, the county will collect and distribute the energy excise tax based on the current SPLOST distribution. The county, as it does with SPLOST, would receive a 1 percent administrative fee.
If Dacula does not enter into an agreement with the county, the city would still have the option of implementing the excise tax on its own.
“I have no idea how much money this is going to generate one way or the other -- maybe pennies -- but I think we’re crazy not to do it if the county imposes it,” Wilbanks said.
The council will decide next week whether to authorize Mayor Wilbanks to sign the agreement contingent upon the county imposing the excise tax.
In other business, the council:
- Discussed the status of a new LED sign for Dacula City Hall. The sign would be used to convey information to passing motorists. The sign is not budgeted and the costs -- estimated to be $8,000 to $13,000 -- would come out of reserves.
- City Administrator Jim Osborn updated council regarding the bids for the Freeman Walk subdivision paving project. Osborn said the city received five bids, the lowest of which was $107,720 by Stewart Brothers. The project will be funded through SPLOST.
- Osborn also provided an update regarding bids for roadwork on Superior Drive, Mobley Drive and Laura Lane. The lowest bid, at $448,000, was submitted by F.E. Sims Enterprises.
- Council also discussed the possibility of adding sanitation fees to city property tax bills. The city will hold public hearings prior to making a decision to allow citizens the opportunity to provide input regarding the proposal. The dates of the hearings have not yet been set.
The Dacula City Council will hold its monthly meeting next Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. The council meets at Dacula City Hall, 442 Harbins Road.
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