The Dade County Commission convenes this Thursday, Aug. 2, in the Dade Administrative Building for its regular August meeting. Livening an agenda that is otherwise pretty much bare bones and routine is one notable item: "Status of reservoir project on Sells Lane."
The commission introduced the idea of building a reservoir complete with dam on Lookout Creek and a multitude of recreational opportunities without preamble or much explanation in June 2017, when it voted unanimously to pay $50,000 in SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds to option land for the project. The total price of the land--$500,000--commissioners said would come from unspecified grants, as would, presumably, funds to build a dam.
Since then, the commission has faced considerable questioning about the project from a bewildered public, including at its millage rate hearing last week. The option to buy has been extended by the commission at the cost of a $25,000 grant, though meanwhile the reservoir has been increasingly described as a project of the Dade Water Authority. The water authority's board of directors applied for and was granted a $450,000 loan to pay for the land in the event grant money is not found to make up the balance, but so far the water board reports drawing no funds from the available loan proceeds. Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley was to have met with the governor in mid-July about grant money for the reservoir.
It is amid all this that the meeting agenda offers an update on the project. Otherwise, the only non-routine item on the county commission's Thursday agenda is considering the Dade Board of Education's millage rate. The school board sets its own tax rate and the county commission has no power to overrule it, but since the county tax office collects the school tax for the B of E the two bodies stage this formality each year.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Dade Administrative Building. The public is, as always welcome and encouraged to attend.