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Erosion control program up to code
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Newton County's erosion and sediment control program has been found to be consistent with the state's minimum requirements, according to a report presented to the Newton County Board of Commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.

Chris Groskreutz, regional representative for the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, told the board that "congratulations were in order" for the job the county has done in recent years in coming into compliance with state regulations.

According to the report, the county modified its soil erosion ordinance in 2006 to make it more stringent. Among the changes were increasing buffer requirements on intermittent streams to 35 feet and perennial streams to 100 feet and requiring a three phase permitting system that limits the scope of land disturbance activity to the respectively permitted stages.

The report also included several recommendations from the GSWCC's District Assessment Team for the county's erosion and sediment program. A few: the county should ensure that all necessary variances are obtained before issuing a permit, all county inspectors should attend BOC-sponsored Level 1B courses on erosion and sediment control and that all land disturbance sites should be inspected at least once a week and after every major rain event.

In other recent BOC news:

Newton County's Finance Department was awarded the "Excellence in Financial Reporting Award" from the Government Finance Officers Association. John Middleton, administrative officer for the county, said it was the third year in a row the department has won the award, which is the highest recognition one can win in the field of financial reporting.

• Nationally, only 3,600 local governments won the award this year. Newton County was one of 28 counties in Georgia to win the award.

• "I just want to recognize our finance department for the great job they've done," Middleton said.

Cheryl Delk, special projects coordinator for the county, gave an update to the county. Delk told the board that the architectural drawings for the rehabilitation of the old jail, which is to be turned into a history center for the county, are expected to be complete by mid-September.

• Delk said she expected a notice to proceed with construction would be sent out in December with a tentative project completion date set for October 2009.

A petition requesting a rezoning for a five acre property on the south side of U.S. Highway 278 from agriculture residential to highway commercial was withdrawn.

• The petitioner, Anderson Home Builders, had previously received a recommendation of denial from the Newton County Planning Commission on July 22.

• Anderson had originally sought to develop a commercial, retail and office complex on the site, which is located in District 5.