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Oxford chooses design firm for new city hall
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 Oxford will not be participating in the addition of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, as decided unanimously by the city council Monday evening, capping off a nearly two-year long information and decision-making process.

 Oxford, as one of the 49 member cities of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, which co-owns Plant Vogtle along with Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power and the City of Dalton, had the option of purchasing about .5 megawatts of power from the additional units, which would cost the city about $3.13 million over 50 years.

 The city was not projected to start needing the additional base load capacity until about 2037. The additional units were scheduled to be online in 2017.

 The additional financial burden and the uncertainty of cost ceilings were at the root of many of the objections expressed by the council.

  "I don't think the city of Oxford should be part of the purchase," said council member Terry Smith. "There's other ways we could consider going."

 "I don't like doing anything that doesn't have a damn ceiling," said council member Jim Windham. "It's a roll of the dice and you don't get to see the dice."

 The council also unanimously approved the recommendation by the Planning Board to choose Carter Watkins Associates as the architecture firm to design and oversee the building of the new City Hall and police station for the price of $56,500, with an additional $18,000 for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

 Carter Watkins, along with Precision Planning and Armentrout Roebuck Matheney Consulting Group, Inc. had been called back for more extensive interviews by the Planning Board, said council member and Planning Board liaison Hoyt Oliver.

 After that round, four out of the six board members rated Carter Watkins as their top choice, said Oliver, and were particularly impressed by Carter Watkins' projects in the Monroe City Hall and Walton County educational building. 

 The hiring of officer W.D. "Dave" Harvey was also announced at the city council meeting.

 Harvey, currently a Lieutenant with the City of Lithonia Police Department, is joining the Oxford Police Department as of June 19 to be closer to home, said OPD Chief Clark Miller.

 Harvey had previously worked with the Dekalb Police Department as well, but Miller and Harvey did not work together during that time, said Miller.

 In other business:

 • The council decided not to allow the use of red lights and sirens on personal vehicles of the volunteer Oxford Fire Department leadership and firefighters, except on training vehicles, said Mayor Jerry Roseberry.

 • At the June 16 work session, auditors will be giving a financial report on the city

 • The council decided to increase the amount of offered in their search for a new court solicitor based on the recommendations of city attorney David Strickland.

 Present solicitor, Tiffany Jones Ellenberg, recently announced her resignation due to family reasons, said Windham.