Live, Work, Play award

Chickamauga was one of three small cities to receive a Live, Work, Play award during the Georgia Municipal Association Mayor's Day on Jan. 21. From left: Councilman Lee Miller, City Manager Micheal Haney, Councilman Evitte Parrish and Police Chief Ronald Roach.

Chickamauga's elected officials received good news, more good news and even more good news during their February city council meeting.

Displayed front and center during the Feb. 5 meeting was an engraved glass plaque proclaiming Chickamauga as one of the state's best places to live. The Live, Work, Play award, sponsored by "Georgia Trend" magazine and the Georgia Municipal, recognizes Chickamauga's uniqueness.

The award was made public on Jan. 21 during the GMA's annual Mayors’ Day conference in Atlanta.

City Manager Micheal Haney said that as Georgia becomes a favored spot for movie and television productions winning the award "helps get our little 'Mayberry' out there."

GMA officials noted the city's efforts to continue a safe, family-friendly, affordable community; one with good schools, no property taxes and the state's lowest utility rates.

For "Georgia Trend," Mayor Ray Crowder noted that time has seen few things change in Chickamauga.

"This is where you can feel ‘southern hospitality’ [is] not just words from the past," he said.

Just as the city relied on consultant Angela Steedly in preparing its Live, Work, Play application, the municipal government has called on the Steedly Firm to secure grants to fund utility improvements.

During the meeting it was announced that the city has received the third of five grants that should allow work to begin this summer on water delivery projects totaling about $2.7 million. Of that total, the city will be obliged to provide about $725,000 of matching funds, according to Matt Smith, of the engineering firm Carter & Sloope.

Smith said water line improvements, well work and storage upgrades can begin soon, and that the two remaining grants have been approved and are in the final stages of review.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Haney reported on the city's rosy balance sheet.

At the close of 2017, the city-owned water department had an excess of more than $32,000. The electric utility reported a shortfall to budget of about $85,000 but of that, roughly $54,000 was due to depreciation with the remainder possibly due to a change in accounting practices at TVA.

Even with the conflicting reports of utility revenue, Haney said the city finished the year by spending $119,000 less than budgeted.

Over the past five years, the manager said Chickamauga added about $700,000 to its reserves.

Mike O'Neal is assistant editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga. He can be reached at the Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at moneal@npco.com.