Hogansville tables decision to take part in county-wide strategic study

Published 10:10 am Friday, January 21, 2022

HOGANSVILLE— The Hogansville City Council voted Tuesday to further discuss at a later meeting its portion of a $70,000 strategic study planned for Troup County.

The current plan document was created in 2009 and stated that planning and growth management was the most frequently identified challenge affecting Troup County, followed by challenges relating to transportation, K-12 education, water and sewer infrastructure, and addressing the needs of the at-risk population. 

Boyette Strategic Advisors was selected to perform the new strategic plan at a cost of $70,000 in late 2021. The agreement between Boyette and the county states that Troup County and the three cities of LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville would each contribute $14,000 toward the study. The Callaway Foundation has also agreed to provide the remaining $14,000. LaGrange previously consented to contribute their portion of the $14,000 in a previous meeting. County Manager Jonathan Lynn said West Point agreed to fund the study.

Several councilmembers voiced opposition to funding the plan, unsure if the study would benefit Hogansville and if it was worth the $14,000 price tag.

Councilmember Toni Striblin said she previously witnessed a strategic study be conducted but said she has not seen its results be utilized in Hogansville.

“As far as I can tell, all these plans that we’ve had … we haven’t really instigated a whole lot,” she said. “We pay a lot of money out but have gotten very little benefit from it. $14,000 for a piece of paper that we haven’t done anything with, I’m pretty tired of it.”

Councilmember Mandy Neese voiced disapproval about participating in the study and was unaware that the county had a Center for Strategic Planning, let alone that Hogansville participated in it.

The City of Hogansville currently contributes $5,000 each year to the Center for Strategic Planning, which is budgeted in the city’s budget, City Manager Jonathan Lynn said.

“What do they do for us?” Neese asked. “We’ve always been kicked to the side. Why now do you want us to split [the costs?]” 

Lynn said the center meets monthly to give updates on the school system, manufacturing issues and other factors that are affecting the county.

Mayor Jake Ayers said he supported the idea of the study, seeing it as the center’s way to better include Hogansville with the county’s development. However, he agreed that the subject needed to be further explored before Hogansville committed to it.

“I think it’s very important that we are building bridges, and we are doing everything we can with the county, but I definitely agree that with everything we’ve seen, this is very much disproportionate,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea to see what we can do and what we can contribute, but I think it’s something that we should continue tabling.”

Lynn recommended Hogansville participate in the study but noted there would be a financial impact on the city’s budget.

“This [$14,000] is not something we had budgeted this year,” Lynn said. “If approved, we would have to include this in a budgeted amendment that we would do at the end of this budget year. We would have to find that money somewhere in the budget.” 

In other business at the meeting:

  • The council agreed to renew Hogansville’s annual resolution to authorize Ayers and Lynn to act as signatories for the Hogansville Municipal Competitive Trust for the city’s agreement with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. This resolution has no financial impact.
  • The council agreed to go in with the Troup County Park and Rec Department to install new LED lights at Hogansville Recreation Center Gymnasium. Currently, there are an estimated 80 lights out at the center, Lynn said. The total request for the project is $5,892, $5,199 for which is for materials and $692 for equipment rental. Though the item is not budgeted in Hogansville’s FY22 budget, the money could come from SPLOST funds. Councilmember Michael Taylor additionally requested staff to look into making needed renovations to Hogansville’s tennis courts and pickleball courts.