F’ville OKs service-sharing pact with county

Call it a partial, but temporary, consolidation of city and county services.

Intergovernmental agreements (IGA) between Fayette County and Fayetteville pertaining to the 1,200 acres annexed by the city Aug. 1 have been finalized. The unanimous vote by the City Council followed a similar vote by county commissioners in late July. The agreements outline responsibilities for a variety of services for the annexed areas that includes Pinewood Atlanta Studios.

The goal of the intergovernmental agreement is to ensure a smooth transition between governments, to develop a unified strategy that addresses the concerns of the city and county, to minimize the impact on the ongoing Pinewood Atlanta Studios development, to develop a multi-use path network, to allocate public safety services and to set responsibilities for area roadways, according to both governments.

As for the allocation of law enforcement services, Fayetteville Police Chief Scott Pitts said police units will have primary responsibility for patrol and investigations in the newly annexed area of west Fayetteville once the annexation takes effect on Sept. 1. The department will also rely on the ongoing mutual aid agreement with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to provide services.

In terms of additional officers, Pitts said an additional officer is expected to be added to the department in August 2014 and two or more officers are expected to be added the following year.

Fire services will initially be provided primarily by the county, with the city providing secondary response. The city has plans for next year’s budget to include the construction of Station 93 in 2015-2016 to serve the west Fayetteville area. The new station is expected to be located on the southeast side of the Pinewood property along Veterans Parkway near Hood Road. Pinewood will be donating the acreage on which the fire station will be located.

The city since approximately 2007 has included a new fire station in its plans, listing it as one of the projects to be funded by impact fees. Until recently, the station would have been located in the vicinity of Lester Road. But the new annexations necessitated the change to the Veterans Parkway area to the north.

Impact fees from the upcoming development could still help fund construction of the station, though construction and/or the purchase of equipment to outfit the station could be supplemented by the November 1-percent sales tax (SPLOST) if approved by Fayette voters. The finalized list of city projects to be included in the SPLOST initiative is expected to be approved by the council later this month.

The county will provide primary fire services at no charge through June 2015. After that point, the city will reimburse the county 50 percent of the current county fire district millage rate of the assessed property value of the annexed areas until such time as the city provides primary response.

The IGA calls for 911 and EMS services to continue to be provided by the county.

As for area roadways, the city will maintain Veterans Parkway from Ga. Highway 54 to Sandy Creek Road and Sandy Creek Road along the Pinewood frontage. The city will uphold existing curb cut limits along with inter-parcel access via access roads for new development.

Pertaining to the multi-use path network, the agreements calls for it to be integrated throughout the area, connected to existing framework and to be required in the upcoming development overlay plan that will include path tunnel guidelines.

The city and county acknowledged that a multi-use path tunnel should be constructed beneath either Sandy Creek Road or Veterans Parkway connecting to the Pinewood site and with Pinewood contributing $60,000 to the project. The bulk of the funds for the project will come from the SPLOST up for a vote in November. If the initiative fails the county will be responsible for the expense.

A separate agreement between the city and county pertains to building permit and inspection services of future phases of the Pinewood development. The agreement calls for the county continuing to issue building permits and conduct inspections.

The city will maintain inspections and compliance for stormwater, permit sewer projects, landscaping, parking, signage, architectural elevations and full site plan review.

In a separate vote, the council on Aug. 1 voted unanimously to approve a permits and inspections agreement approved by commissioners last month. The agreement extends for one year and will be automatically renewed unless one of the parties provides a 90-day written notice of its intent not to renew the agreement.

The agreement calls for the city to use county experience and resources to perform inspection services including buildings, plumbing, mechanical and electrical and fire and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. The city will maintain permitting and inspections for architectural elevations, landscaping, parking and signage.

The agreement applies to qualifying business plans submitted to the city after the annexation becomes effective on Sept. 1.

As for the revenue share from permits and inspections, the county will receive 75 percent of those funds and the city will receive 25 percent during the IGA period. The revenue share pertains only to plans submitted after the annexation date.

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