In a Dec. 10 work session, city manager Butch Sanders proposed three options concerning the broken pipe in the dam over Johnson Lake, in the Summit Chase subdivision.
Residents of the neighborhood, along with concerned Snellville citizens, spoke up at a town hall meeting on Nov. 8. Some expressed the desire for the city to handle the problem, while others balked at the thought of taxpayer money going toward private property.
The problem is fairly straightforward -- the internal mechanism is shot, according to city manager Butch Sanders.
The matter of who will pay for the repairs is more complicated.
In December of 2011, the lake was drained by order of the Summit Chase homeowners association, according to Summit Chase resident Lorry Jordan. More than 50 fish died due to that action.
Subsequently, the lake is a bog. The residents along the lake -- who used to own lakeside property -- say it's a public health hazard. Issues ranging from giant rats attacking their small dogs to a child getting stuck up to his neck in mud have plagued the property.
The Homeowners Association doesn't have the money to fix the problem. Since there is a road that runs along top of the dam, they believe the city has some responsibility in the repairs.
The total cost to get the dam and lake back to normal is $96,396. The city has offered to pay a little over $30,000, since they say they are responsible for the road.
"Doing nothing is no longer an option," said Sanders.
With that understanding, he offered two other statements that he considered irrefutable. One, the cost should be shared by as many people as possible, and two, the HOA has an obligation to cover part of the cost. With that in mind, he offered three potential solutions to the problem. The first two options require the city to pay the cost upfront, with homeowners in Summit Chase then paying a tax assessment.
- Based on an assessment of how many people benefit from the lake, including stormwater drainage, a total of 371 parcels/homes would pay a one-time payment of $176.71, or two payments of $88.40.
- Assess only the HOA members, which is a total of 220 parcels/homes. That would bring the one-time payment to $298.16 or two payments of $149.08.
- The city would offer an incentive to the HOA to take matters into their own hands. They would back a loan, by co-signing, for the HOA to get the repairs done.
"We need to take the next step as quickly as possible," said Sanders. "A lot of people are affected by that lake."
Councilman Dave Emanuel expressed concern over the precedent set by the city if they handle this situation for the HOA.
"Our responsibility is the road," he said. "Once you get beyond that, you’re done."
Councilman Bobby Howard questioned how much money has already gone into work on the lake. Sanders stated that around $25,000 has already been invested.
After some further questioning by Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, council and staff discovered that no investigation has been conducted into the work of a contractor who allegedly screwed up the pipe to begin with. If the contractor was licensed and bonded, he would presumable carry liability insurance.
For the most part, council agreed that the third option was the best one, but no immediate action was decided on.
For further reading:
- Residents Request Help as Large Rats Make Their Home at Summit Chase
- Rats and Low Water Levels in Summit Chase Subdivision
- Live Coverage of the Town Hall Meeting