Troubled Waters, Broken Dam, Part 2

LakePart 1 of “Troubled Waters, Broken Dam” appeared last December. It recapped the complicated issues attendant to the repair work required to restore Lower Johnson Lake. At the time, I fully expected to be writing “Part 2” early in 2013. But a variety of factors intervened, many of which were outside the City’s sphere of influence. Those factors were subsequently compounded by a lawsuit. With pending litigation waiting in the wings, it would have been imprudent to comment about the details and discussions concerning restoration of the lake.

But lack of comment does not imply lack of progress. A number of issues have been resolved, however, the lawsuit is far from settled. So along with other Council members I was very surprised when I looked at the agenda for the July 22, 2013 meeting and saw,

c) Consideration and Action on Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Contract for Repairs on Lower Johnson Lake Dam [Sabbagh]

Considering that there was no resolution included, (one did not exist) and that a contract had never been submitted for review by the Council, the Lower Johnson Lake agenda item was premature. At best, it struck me as being nothing more than irresponsible, unprofessional and unethical political posturing. At worst, it struck me as something about which there is no way to make a non-inflammatory comment.

It’s fairly obvious that everyone who has been involved in the dam issue would like to see it resolved, as quickly as possible. However, the July 22nd agenda item was proposing that the Council authorize the mayor to sign a contract that we have never seen, for work that has not been clearly defined. To approve this agenda item would be an unconscionable abandonment of our fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Snellville. Some people may not see a problem playing fast and loose with taxpayer money, but fortunately, the majority of Council members do.

Lower Johnson Lake’s current state, and the need to restore it to an attractive lake has been a disturbing issue for far too long. Council members, City staff, homeowners and consultants have spent countless hours dealing with the complicated issues that need to be resolved. The good news is that the time spent has been productive. However, that does not justify placing an ill-advised item on the meeting agenda and playing on the hopes and emotions of people who are directly affected by the lake problems.

Ultimately, “consideration and action” on the Lower Johnson Lake dam, which in my opinion should never have been on the July 22nd meeting agenda, was postponed to a later date. At that time, all the problematic issues will hopefully be resolved, and the Council will have been presented with an actual resolution and legitimate contract to review. Once that happens, it won’t be long before the lake is restored.


  1. I ran across your comment while browsing the stability of earthern dams, and it turns out that Snellville — to my surprise — is involved in an earthern dam.
    In eary 1980s,we remotely monitored the stability of the dam using sensors embedded in the dam and transmitted to the GEOS satellite, monitored continuosly via a satellite dish in my office window in downtown Washington, DC. I devised the monitoring data system which operated satisfactorally until the contract was completed.
    downstream re do residents residents were interested. The antenna system “looked” out my office mindow at the GEOS satellite

  2. Keep it in line for us all Dave. I dislike seeing the council being passed by so a personal agenda is met.

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