ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer is moving forward with contracting out some testing and inspections for compaction with regards the subdivisions coming into the county.
According to a presentation from Planning and Zoning Director Karen Henson, a quote was requested to have Geo-Hydro Engineers, Inc. take over “compaction testing and drainage inspections on new subdivisions.”
Currently, the county uses the Road Department for compaction testing.
Henson’s proposal using Geo-Hydro Engineers, Inc. has their quote at $500 per inspection for up to three hours worth of time spent. Additional time required would charge at $90 an hour. Henson noted that the county charges per lot fees for inspections already and could transfer the costs into those fees. She noted that she needed to look deeper to see if the already established fees could cover extra trips if the developers wanted to do sections at a time. She also noted other situations with multiple roads or some small roads.
Her initial proposal wanted to add invoicing to developers should the standard fee not cover the costs of inspections.
According to Public Works Director Jim Smith who was the Planning and Zoning Director until 2010, the department contracted an engineering firm under his leadership and charged a fee to cover an engineer coming from the firm to perform the compaction testing. Smith also noted that the same firm did inspections for the Road Department.
Smith went on to say that his opinion would be that the firm should work for the county in these inspections. However, passing on the costs through fees would mean that the developer covers the costs of the inspections rather than the county’s taxpayers.
Since approved in the meeting, the process will see the engineer providing a report to the county from the inspections. Smith said he would not sign off on the projects without an acceptable inspection.
With advice from County Attorney David Clark, the indication is that a final approval could not be given until the inspection fees are completed. This was confirmed as Post Commissioner Hubert Parker clarified with Henson that the county will be paying the firm, but the funds would come directly from the fees imposed on the developers.
Geo-Hydro Engineers has been used by Gilmer County for its courthouse and both parking lots in addition to three airport projects according to Smith.
The Board of Commissioners also discussed utilizing the contracted firm on the pool project for filling in the pool and testing the compaction of pool before the bid project begins to construct the new pool. However, costs could require the fill-in to be bid out if it is higher than $50,000, according to Clark.