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September 13, 2008

And the next City Manager is…..

 Rumors have been circulating for several weeks that 2 candidates were vying for the City Manager’s position.  The 2 names that were being heard were Roger Harrison (current City grant writer) and Bob James (Economic Development member that recently ran for the District 2 Commissioner position).

 Rumors have it that neither of these gentlemen were chosen but rather Frank Sherrill, the long time JCWSA engineer who has recently tried to convince the City to partner with JCWSA to drill wells near Feldspar.

 Frank Sherrill was the “presenter” of the Bear Creek Reservoir project in December 2003.  He was spokesman for the project along with Tommy Craig of Newton County.  At that time Mr. Sherrill told the crowd of Jasperites that he had looked at all alternatives for Jasper County and their only choice in obtaining water was to buy in to the Bear Creek Reservoir project.  It appears he has now “discovered” water in wells near Feldspar. 

 The groundwork has been laid.  The City and JCWSA will join to borrow money and try to receive grants to drill wells and lay pipe from the well field to Monticello and connect to the current lines near Funderburg Dr.  This project is supposed to be a 50-50 cost share, but that’s where the technicalities begin.  (See JCWSA resolution signed 9/9/08)

 At the September JCWSA meeting, members and Mr. Sherrill made the point that JCWSA wouldn’t be paying much for the operations and maintenance of this new venture because the City would be using the water and not JCWSA.  The operations cost will be borne by each party in accordance to their usage.  The City will be paying most if not all of that cost.  (See copy of the agreement signed in May 2008)

 Another point Mr. Sherrill made at the JCWSA meeting is that in order to obtain the grant/loan package he’s been working on, the City must raise water rates by at least $10 per month.   Yes, City utility bills will be increasing again—unless of course the Council finds a way to lower the electric or gas rates.

 In the past it has been reported in the Monticello News that the candidates for a position such as City Manager or County Manager were to be run in the paper so the citizens would know who was being considered.  The citizens have certainly been kept in the dark about this important position and the qualifications of the candidates being considered.

Frank Sherrill is the President of Hightower Engineering.  http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_cdrkkvj

He has done work on various projects with Tommy Craig, including the Four County Development Authority.  The Four County Development Authority seems to have similar issues to those raised about the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project in Walton County.   It involves some of the same consultants, Hightower Engineering and Attorney-Consultant Tommy Craig.” http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=3212&PHPSESSID=a64dff993020924e7fbd5d149ed3401a

 Mr. Sherrill is the former mayor of Social Circle and former member of the Walton County Sewer & Water Authority.

 Mr. Sherrill has worked with other cities to obtain water loans/grants.  In March 2008 Mr. Sherrill proposed CDBG grants and loans to the City of Oxford to replace drinking water lines.
http://oxfordgeorgia.org/2008-Minutes/March-2008                  

 
He’s been the consulting engineer for JCWSA since the Bear Creek Reservoir project came into the spotlight for Jasper County.  Mr. Sherrill has recently been working with the City of Monticello on water projects, including a water tower proposal in June 2007 to the City Council. 
www.monticelloga.net/7/documents/27576.doc

 
If this rumor proves true, there is potential for conflicts--a current consultant who owns an engineering firm doing business with the City becoming the next City Manager.  How will this affect Mr. Sherrill’s relationship with the JCWSA and their partnership with the City on proposed water projects?

 Citizens of Monticello should be asking their Mayor and Council questions about any and all candidates for consideration as their next City Manager.


TWG
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