Toccoa Holding Work Session, Called Meeting Today

Toccoa City Commissioners are expected to continue discussions about a proposed multi-million dollar project to interconnect water systems in northeast Georgia at a work session later today.

Madison and Elbert County officials are seeking money from the Governor’s Water Supply Program for water improvements in five northeast Georgia counties, Stephens, Franklin, Madison, Elbert, and Oglethorpe.

According to officials, they are seeking $10 million to fund the project and interconnect water systems in those areas.

Toccoa Mayor David Austin signed a letter of support for the project on behalf of the city, but other commissioners have said they have concerns about the project and if this will allow the state to take Toccoa’s water and send it elsewhere.

Others share those concerns, including local resident Dee Dee Arrowood, who spoke to city commissioners Monday.

Arrowood said the city needs to make sure Toccoa’s water stays here to help attract industry, rather than go elsewhere to benefit other communities.

“I think everybody would like for you to take a minute to look at some other alternatives to signing our water away,” said Arrowood.

Stephens County Commissioner Dennis Bell also said he has additional concerns about the project, adding that county commissioners approved it assuming the city had looked at it closely. Bell now said the county commission would look at repealing that letter of support it granted last month.

Austin and Toccoa City Manager Mike Jackson said that they have received assurances Toccoa will not be forced to do anything, explaining that this project would allow Toccoa to sell its water to other communities if Toccoa chose to do so.

City commissioners are scheduled to begin their work session at 3 p.m.

Also on the agenda for the 3 p.m. work session is discussion of GEFA loan re-financing.

Following the work session, Toccoa City Commissioners will hold a special called meeting to deal with the topic of GEFA loan re-financing at 5 p.m.

Both the work session and the regular meeting are at Toccoa City Hall.