By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During a called meeting of the City of Madison Mayor and Council last Friday, Oct. 18, the council voted to approve a supplemental contract between the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia (MGAG) and the City of Madison concerning the Stanton Springs joint service project between the Cities of Covington, Social Circle, and Madison.

The joint service project between the three cities will provide natural gas service to the Stanton Springs development. Madison’s 25 percent interest in the project will require the city to fund one quarter of the total cost of the project, which will not exceed $400,000.

The council had discussed the supplemental contract during their Oct. 14 meeting but postponed a final vote on the matter because they had not yet received the final version of the contract.

City Attorney Joe Reitman noted “key verbage” that was added to the final version of the contract, which allows any of the participating cities to terminate the contract by written notice to the MGAG and the other cities.

Reitman stated that termination of the contract would only occur “in the event that there is no benefit” in continuing with the project.

Madison City Manager David Nunn said that the project is a “very sound, very prudent investment,” and that Madison would be receiving updates from Covington as the project “ramps up.”

Nunn also stated that Madison’s existing infrastructure, which will be built upon in order to service the Stanton Springs development, will require no upgrades.

Council Member Joseph DiLetto voiced his concerns about the process that will measure the amount of gas that Madison will be providing, once the system is up and running.

Reitman assured DiLetto that the gas flow will be “very precisely metered,” and Nunn mentioned having the possibility of having a MGAG representative come to a meeting and explain the metering process to the council.

The council also approved a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) study for a mixed use development to be built in Commerce, Ga. without any additional input regarding the DRI.

Madison City Planner Bryce Jaeck said that the development will have “minimal impact” on Madison but that the state requires input from the Mayor and Council for any DRIs that include roads, which run through Madison.

“It’s difficult to see a lot of traffic impact for us,” said Jaeck.

Jaeck also noticed that the DRI will have no effect on our water springs and be on the “very edge of our region.”

DiLetto questioned whether it is necessary to have the City of Madison’s staff to work up a report on each DRI regardless of the impact that it would have on the city.

“I’m sure there are other things [Jaeck] could be doing,” said DiLetto.

Reitman suggested that the council look to neighboring municipalities to see how they handle the process of dealing with individual DRIs.

Council Member Whitey Hunt stated that he prompted the current practice of having staff prepare a report for the council on each DRI.

The council discussed a compromise, which would require two or more council members to request a staff report for any DRI that they think would have an impact on Madison.

Jaeck said that he would be able to send links of DRI studies to the council members from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission’s website.

DiLetto said that having council members prompt reports would be acceptable, as it would “put the onus on us.”