During 2020, Hoschton focused on the needs of an aging infrastructure system as well as expansion of our existing services and staff to accommodate the growth brought about by the completion of several derelict residential subdivision developments, two new subdivision developments, a senior living facility, and the beginning phases of construction within the 1,400 acre Twin Lakes Development.
1. The City was awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $600,000 in grant funding from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for the Panther Court Sewer Upgrade Project. Design has been completed, easement documents prepared and ready for acquisition, bidding and construction is scheduled for spring ‘21. This project will replace an aging grinder pump sewage system with a more efficient gravity flow system.
2. The City contracted with Environmental Management Inc. (EMI), the city engineering firm, to evaluate and compile a short-term project to increase the water supply by upgrading the two existing City wells. The White Street Well improvements are complete and the well fully operational. The Cabin Drive Well upgrade has been completed, inspected and approved by EPD and will be brought online in January ‘21. These improvements will add approximately 150,000 gallons per day to our supply.
3. The City contracted with Emory and Garrett Groundwater Investigations, Inc. to explore potential locations within the City in hopes of identifying 4-5 future well drilling sites capable of adding additional long term water supplies to accommodate future residential and commercial growth.
4. The City received a $350,000 Grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to partially fund the Sewer System Extension into the South Industrial Park and commercial areas northeast of Hwy 53. Construction has been completed and operational.
5. The City has requested additional permitted sewer capacity and discharge locations from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD). The City authorized a Design Development Report from EMI to seek EPD approval to immediately increase our sewer discharge from 0.2 MGD to .5MGD (Phase I), to .95 MGD (Phase II), and to 2 MGD (Phase III). This initial Phase I project consists of two new clarifiers and minor piping changes with subsequent additions and modifications to the plant in the next two phases over an 8-10-year period. Construction is in progress on Phase I and scheduled to be completed by July ‘21.
6. The City will be constructing two new elevated Water Storage Tanks in ’21 and ‘22. The two tank sites have been identified, preliminary engineering and soil / environmental assessments have been completed. The City applied for $600,000 in grant funding in November from The Appalachian Regional Commission to be applied towards the construction of the North Water Tank and anticipates receiving grant approval this month. The addition of these two new tanks will provide increased water pressure inside the City and insure an adequate water supply for fire protection and emergencies.
7. The City hired a Building Official / Code Enforcement Officer to perform the functions and duties of the Inspections Department thereby providing better internal control and oversight rather than contracting this function out to a private firm. This move will save the City over Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000) per year which can be utilized in a more efficient manner in the General Fund.
8. Contracted with Citizen Serve Software to transition from a paper to an online electronic permitting process for the Planning and Inspections Depts. This software program can be used for Occupational Tax Certificates (Business Licenses) which will expedite the process and provide electronic Cloud storage instead of traditional paper records storage.
9. Purchased two new replacement service body trucks and a dump trailer for the Water and Wastewater Depts and two cars for the Inspections Dept.
10. The City invested the Reserve Funds in interest bearing accounts as an additional source of revenue to help fund operations.
11. Contracted with Municipal Code Corporation to update and codify existing City Ordinances and Codes; contracted with Georgia Municipal Association to update the City Personnel Manual; updated and adopted a new Procurement Policy.
12. Submitted to the Department of Community Affairs the 5-year update to the City Comprehensive Plan and work in progress on Jackson County Service Delivery Strategy.
FY 2021 General Fund Budgeted Projects
1. Repaving of West Jefferson Street from Walnut Ave to the City Limits.
2. The Villages Sidewalk Repair Project.
3. An available section of the City Cemetery will be repurposed for Cremation Grave Sites
4. City Square In-Fill Development Project
5. Acquisition of additional active and passive Park and Recreation Land (Impact Fees).
6. Update and redesign of the City Website.
7. Activation of a Downtown Development Authority and creation of a DDA District.
8. Reactivation of the Historic Preservation Committee and creation of a Historic District.
9. Update the Design Guidelines for future in-fill development along the Hwy 53 Corridor.
10. Locating and purchasing property for a new Municipal Complex (Impact Fees).
11. Reactivation of the Hoschton Police Department third quarter ‘21.
12. Staff additions for Public Works and City Hall.
FY 2021 Water / Wastewater Budgeted Projects:
1. Upgrade from an 8” to a 15” Main Sewer Outfall Line from State Route 332 to the WWTP.
2. Upgrade from an 8” to a 15” Nancy Industrial Sewer Outfall Line from Hwy 53 to the WWTP.
3. Water Meter Changeout Program to complete the conversion from analog to “digital read.”
4. Implement a split billing system for processing Water/Sewer/Garbage Utility Bills. Half of the City will be read and billed during the first two weeks of the month and the other half (Twin Lakes / Cresswind) will be billed on the third and fourth weeks of the month.
5. Construction of a .5 MG North Water Tank and 1 MG South Water Tank; completion on the North Tank by fall ‘21 and the South Tank by fall of ‘22.
6. Identifying 4-5 potential well drilling sites to provide long term sustainability by having its own water supply rather than depending on purchased water from outside providers.
7. Staff additions for the Water and Wastewater Departments.
The City of Hoschton is experiencing unprecedented residential growth that is expected to over triple the size of the current City resident population by 2030. It is essential for us, as City Officials and Planning Staff, to prepare today for our future staffing needs and infrastructure upgrades to accommodate this accelerated growth and anticipated higher levels of service for our current and future residents.