by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
January 19, 2009 MILTON - A discussion concerning Fulton's response to Milton's intergovernmental agreement (IGA) and sewer map passed in September 2008 turned into a verbal smackdown Jan. 12 when council members disagreed yet again whether the map and new provisions constituted "sewer extension."
City Attorney Ken Jarrard and City Manager Mort Smedley had met Jan. 12 with Fulton County Interim County Attorney Larry Ramsey to discuss discrepancies between Fulton's original 2006 sewer agreement and Milton's new one.
Fulton said it wants two things: Milton must recognize existing lines in the ground that would not affect service, which Jarrard said would be no problem. Also seven lots that Milton had not included in its map must be lumped in with the serviceable area.
Jarrard said he's tried to get Fulton to agree to Milton's map, which he said will cover 95 percent of the service area, and that they can negotiate when it comes to those seven lots. If not, everything reverts back to Fulton's original 2006 IGA, rendering Milton's work moot.He said Fulton authorities have taken it into consideration. Ramsey could not be reached for a comment.
Then Mayor Joe Lockwood opened a can of worms by saying the seven lots probably would not be considered an "extension of service" because they were included in Fulton's map in the first place.
Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey took exception to that position and said anything new would be sewer extension. She then said the map passed in September was sewer extension, and hypothesized the whole thing might have something to do with county water and sewer usage being down.
"I don't think we would need to be the tool to increase revenue," she said.Lockwood, Karen Thurman, Burt Hewitt and Bill Lusk outvoted Zahner Bailey, Tina D'Aversa and Alan Tart to pass the map. At the heart of the issue were those two little words – sewer extension.Lockwood said that some members "firmly believe [the September map] was not sewer extension." Karen Thurman agreed and asked Community Development Director Alice Wakefield if she thought the map was sewer extension.Wakefield said no.
Zahner Bailey countered by asking Jarrard if the seven new lots were.He said yes, under the "working definition used at the time."
After an uneasy silence and several more jabs back and forth, it was decided to let negotiations take their course and see what happens.