The Dahlonega City Council held a Special Called Meeting on May 9, 2016 to discuss the projected expenditures associated with the Dahlonega Streetscape Project and related sewer repairs. The Dahlonega Mayor and Council, City Manager Bill Schmid, City Attorney Doug Parks, Interim Finance Director Sabrina Cape, City Engineer Mark Buchanan, Downtown Development Authority Director Joel Cordle, and transportation consultant Charles Trammel were present.
The Special Called Meeting was held based on the increasing probability the City would be forced to deplete the financial reserves in order to complete the upcoming Phase 1, 2 and 3 streetscape construction and related sewer repairs. Over the last several years, the City has applied for and been awarded nearly $8 million in competitive state and federal grants. The grant funds have specific uses and none fully fund the entire streetscape project through completion. Based on the most recent projections, the City is expected to be faced with a $5 million financial gap after all phases of construction. This gap would therefore force the City to incur additional debt.
Staff's recommendation is to use the completed design work for Phases 1, 2, and 3 to serve as the base for smaller projects, scheduled over shorter periods of time and within the City's budget. Locally funded enhancement projects have more flexibility in the schedule, and result in less construction impacts to transportation routes and businesses.
After the key facts above were presented to Council, the Dahlonega City Council unanimously voted to temporarily suspend the Dahlonega Streetscape Program until further notice.