This Fourth of July in Demorest will be a quiet one, with the council unanimously voting at their Mar. 2 meeting to get their money back from a $10,000 firework contract the city manager signed without the council’s approval.
If the city does not annul the contract within 30 days of Jul. 4, 2021, the city will lose all $10,000 invested in the fireworks. Just prior to the vote, Mayor Rick Austin stated the motion that was before them: “We’ve got a motion for no fireworks and a valiant attempt to return the people’s money back to them,” he said. The council unanimously approved.
The city has not made any further announcements on its Fourth of July celebration, but with Governor Kemp’s gathering order to limit gatherings of more than 50 people extended to April, Demorest doesn’t want to make any concrete decisions on the city’s much-loved tradition.
Demorest Springs Park
Councilman John Hendrix made the motion to cancel the contract and attempt to get the city’s money back in full. Councilman Nathan Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Councilmen Hendrix and Davis announced their tentative plans for Demorest Springs Park renovations, which include more parking, updated and ADA-compliant bathrooms, picnic tables, walking trails, and fitness areas. They have established a park commission, consisting of themselves, two DDA members, and one citizen. They will take applications for the at-large citizen position in the coming days.
Now Habersham will have more information regarding the park and park commission as the story develops.
Demorest firetruck purchase remains on hold
The city voted to table the purchase of a firetruck once again, this time to make their decision after hearing Habersham County’s fire services proposal. “If we buy a firetruck and then we allocate [funds] that we’re going to pay [from] SPLOST funds towards a firetruck and we end up giving fire services to the county, that’s the way we lose the [SPLOST] money,” Mayor Rick Austin said.
The vote was unanimous, and the council will reapproach the firetruck issue again at their Mar. 30 work session.
This article has been updated with additional information