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Posted: March 8, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Land annexed after locals’ concerns addressed

Possible future SPLOST funds for library

Social Circle officially annexed a 450-acre plot of land after allaying residents’ concerns at Monday’s public hearing, the fourth approved annexation petition in the last eight months.

Three residents from the Surrey Chase, River Cove, and Skyline subdivisions questioned whether the recent annexations meant that they would be next, said City Manager Doug White.

"We told them that we don’t do things that way," White said. "If they don’t petition us, they’re not coming in." White said the city was not aiming to acquire more residents, pointing out that there was only one residence on the land that had been annexed so far.

The residents also asked about the distribution of city services, such as fire and police protection. White said they were assured that the city would "extend services so there’s not a duplication." Within the city’s boundaries, city agencies would respond, but there also exists an active mutual aid agreement between Social Circle, Newton County and Walton County agencies.

The land, which sits just north of U.S. Interstate 20 and east of Ga. Highway 11, will be zoned for agricultural use for at least a year, similar to its current zoning in Newton County, White said.

The city previously received, and eventually approved, a total of about 1149 acres in annexation petitions since last July - 335 acres in July, 225 acres in October, and 342 acres in December, and now 450 acres in March.

This recent petition came from Carolyn Penland. In 2008, an annexation petition for 1,150 acres owned by the Penland family was at the center of a lawsuit between Newton County and Social Circle over proper annexation procedures and the creation of unincorporated islands. The lawsuit was repealed after Social Circle agreed to void the annexation.

Possible future SPLOST funds for library

In order to remain on the state’s waiting list for library expansions/construction, the city council approved a resolution on the concept of using a future round of SPLOST (special local option sales tax) funds for the library.

The W.H. Stanton Memorial Library, which is part of the Uncle Remus system, is number 34 on a list of 44 libraries and will probably take another five to six years to move to the top of the list.

"To stay on the list, we’re asked to complete a form to identify a potential source of income to match the state funds," White said. "At this point in time, we’re telling them we’re on track and still thinking about wanting to expand."

The city currently receives SPLOST money for sidewalk, cemetery, park and public safety improvements, said White.

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