Commissioners table discussion of design change for new Fire/EMS facility

Habersham County Commissioners will meet for a work session and regular meeting on Monday February 19. (Jerry Neace/

Commissioners tabled approving the change order for the design of the new Fire/EMS headquarters administration facility at Monday’s regular commission meeting. The change order is due to the increased construction costs over the last few years.

According to Habersham County Commission Chairman Ty Akins, the issue was tabled so that Commissioner Dustin Mealor could participate in the discussion. Mealor was absent from Monday night’s meeting due to a death in the family.

The facility was approved by voters in a SPLOST referendum in November 2020 with an original budget of $4 million. However, in 2022, it was discovered that the original budgets for the facility as well as the new animal control facility and the new 911 radio system would not be adequate. The new Fire/EMS administration headquarters building is now estimated to cost about $11 million, almost 3 times the original budget.

The facility is expected to be located on property the county purchased last summer adjacent to SR 365. The property is located between Demorest-Mt. Airy Highway and Double Springs Road.

The commissioners will consider approving two other items during their regular meeting on Monday.

The commissioners are expected to approve the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for animal control services with the city of Demorest. The Demorest City Council approved the IGA during their regular meeting on February 6.

The Habersham County Commission will consider adopting the joint comprehensive plan that the county has been working on jointly with the cities of Clarkesville, Alto, Demorest, and Mt. Airy.

All of the cities have adopted the plan with the exception of Mt. Airy. They are expected to adopt it at their March 4 meeting.

Work session

The Habersham County Commissioners will also have a work session Monday afternoon prior to their regular commission meeting.

The Commissioners will discuss ACCG legislative updates for the current legislative session at the capital. One such update will be the bill sponsored by Victor Anderson amending the law that prohibits the county from having a referendum for a LOST tax. Should the bill pass, county voters may see a referendum to approve a LOST tax as early as the spring of 2025.

The Habersham County Commission will meet Monday February 19. The work session will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the regular commission meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the Jury Assembly Room at the Habersham County Courthouse at 295 Llewellyn Street in Clarkesville.

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