published Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Catoosa expands planning-zoning board


by Beverly Carroll

RINGGOLD, Ga. — c

Catoosa County commissioners voted unanimously to add Mr. Raines to the board in a stated effort to improve communication between the school board and County Commission. They also made alternate Jeff Fava a full-time voting member of the planning and zoning panel.

“If you remember the Colbert Hollow disaster, it just makes sense,” Commissioner Ken Marks said. “This way, the county has input at the beginning of (a school construction project) on traffic and safety issues.”

Commissioners spent nearly $1 million bringing a Colbert Hollow Road bridge to state standards after the school system built Wood Station Elementary School nearby in 2004, but the bridge could not handle school bus traffic.

Parents had to detour around the bridge construction nearly two years because of unexpected environmental problems and cost overruns, officials said.

Commission Chairman Keith Greene has stated his desire to cut spending by dissolving or tightening paid county boards, not enlarge them. Earlier he led the effort to dissolve the public works authority.

Commissioners DeWayne Hill and Bobby Winters, who served on the public works authority and criticized its dissolution, supported the Tuesday move.

“Everything is working out,” Mr. Winters said.

Mr. Raines agreed to serve without pay and Mr. Fava, added to keep an odd number to avoid tie votes, was already a paid member, Mr. Marks said.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to endorse Northwestern Technical College in plans to build a $20 million, 65,000-square-foot satellite campus on a site at Dietz and Cloud Springs roads.

They voted to donate 37.4 acres for the project, contingent upon the school obtaining funding and moving forward.

College officials hope Gov. Sonny Perdue will sign legislation that passed this session making a $3 million allocation to plan the campus.

The governor has vetoed previous bills passed to provide the funding.

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