JANUARY 4, 2001
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Strozier who lead in prayer.
The minutes of the December 7th meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that preparation for the demolition of the structure at #9 Chestnut Street is still underway. Mayor Strozier stated it was his understanding from Councilman Tyler that the demolition would occur in January. The matter was tabled for future discussion at the next meeting.
Chief Anderson reported that Juni Rickett’’s case is scheduled for January 10th and Judge Edenfield has indicated that if he did not appear in court this time he would issue a warrant for his arrest.
Mayor Strozier reported that the purchase of the Charles Donaldson property has been completed and the residents have moved.
Council was advised that Chief Anderson would pursue installation of the school crossing lights after funds are obtained from the January 11th auction.
The Mayor informed council that the committee had met with the representative from the Church of God about extending water service to their proposed church on Highway 80 and he stated they would share in the cost of this extension. Mayor Strozier reported that some questions exist about ownership of the road frontage between the property purchased by the church and the Gravel Hill Cemetery that is owned by Alpha Methodist Church. Attorney Gerard is researching the deeds at this time.
Mayor Strozier reported the clerk had contacted Paul Wilder about providing the City with a survey showing the drainage ditches that currently exist on property located off Elm Street that is owned by Lewis Newton. A proposed maintenance easement will be included on the survey. Council was reminded that Mr. Newton had agreed to dedicate said easement if the City would install a culvert in one of the ditches to provide access for him to the back of his property.
Council was advised that the City had received the settlement from the insurance company on the patrol car that was damaged in the November 11, 2000 auto accident.
The Mayor stated that his committee would pursue the lettering on the caboose now that the Christmas decorations have been removed.
Mayor Strozier reported that Representative Ron Stephens had initiated some additional correspondence to EPD concerning the delays in the approval of an increase of the City’’s water withdrawal permit.
Council was advised that the Mayor had made an offer from the City on the property discussed in the executive session held at our last meeting and was waiting on an answer.
Mayor Strozier read a letter he had written to Pooler Mayor Buddy Carter concerning the Senior Citizens Center.
Council discussed the contracts received from DOT for the Hiram Road, Main St., Main St. Ext. and Miller St. paving projects. Councilman Rawlins made a motion to approve the Mayor’’s signing of said contracts, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised council the City had received a request from Jerry Usher to obtain a building permit for a residence on his property located at #1422 Pine Barren Road. Since Mr. Usher already has an existing building on the property that has previously been used for an auto/truck restoration business, the request was directed to council for approval of the building permit. The Mayor informed Mr. Usher that the zoning ordinance only allows one principal building per tract of land and since this property cannot be divided he cannot operate a business from the existing building now or in the future once a second structure is built. Mayor Strozier pointed out that operation of this business must cease once the building permit is issued. Mr. Usher stated he understood these restrictions. Based on Mr. Usher’’s statement of understanding, council agreed to issue the building permit for the residence.
During the discussion concerning their building permit, the Ushers expressed their concern that several of their neighbors were operating businesses from their residences and they did not understand why they could not do the same. The Mayor explained that the City has a provision for citizens wanting to use their residence for a business when there will be no evidence of a business operating at that location and when there is no outside traffic or sign. In some cases, the businesses may have a vehicle directly related to their business that is parked on the property. The Ushers stated that the business they are referring to has numerous pieces of equipment parked in their yard and the residence is used as a gathering place for the business. Ms. Usher asked if the owner would have to live at the residence to qualify for this type business and the Mayor advised her they would. Ms. Usher stated that the owner no longer lived at the residence. The Mayor advised the Ushers that the City would look into their complaints and take whatever action was necessary to clear up any problems. The Ushers stated that there are other problems in the area with junk vehicles/equipment. The Mayor pointed out that the City is in the process of notifying residents having large accumulations of junk and debris on their property that they must clean up these areas or be faced with court subpoenas, but it will take some time to clear up these situations.
The Mayor presented council with an annexation ordinance to incorporate the Wildcat Dam Road into the City of Bloomingdale. He advised council that the county had passed a resolution approving this action by the City. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tuten made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance. Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilwoman Key made a motion to dispense with the 2nd reading, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlins then made a motion to adopt the ordinance annexing the Wildcat Dam Road into the City, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City needed to appoint the Recorder’’s Court Judge and Judge Pro-tem for 2001. Councilman Johnson made a motion to appoint Tom Edenfield as Judge and Bob Galloway as Judge Pro-tem for Bloomingdale’’s Recorder’’s Court. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Council agreed to a monthly compensation of $650 for the Judge.
Mayor Strozier stated that the City is required to set and publish the qualifying fees for the Mayor and City Council for the November 6, 2001 general election by February 1st. He pointed out that state law requires the fees be set at 3% of last year’’s salary making the qualifying fee for Mayor $63.00 and for City Council $36.00. Councilman Waller made a motion to adopt and publish said fees, Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor informed council that if there was to be a change in the monthly compensation for the Mayor and City Council for the next term that begins on January 1, 2002, this action should be voted on at tonight’’s meeting. Council discussed the matter and agreed to change the Mayor’’s salary from $175 to $250 and the City Council’’s salary from $100 to $150 per month. Councilman Johnson made a motion to make these changes, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that he and the city clerk had received letters of notification of claims against the City arising out of an incident in Garden City on June 24, 2000 where our police department was called as backup to disturbance. Attorney Gerard has responded to these letters rejecting the claims and denying liability by the City of Bloomingdale. In his letters, Attorney Gerard pointed out that a thorough investigation of the incident by local and state investigative agencies indicated that there is no factual basis to their charges that the action of the City of Bloomingdale employees caused them injury or violated their constitutional civil rights.
Mayor Strozier presented a request from the police department to enter into an agreement with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police to participate in the State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program. This program requires a one-time registration fee of $250, plus annual expenses for the costs of assessors’’ travel, gas lodging and meals. The Mayor turned this matter over to the police committee for their review and recommendation at our next meeting.
The Mayor reported the City has received the final payment for reimbursement of expenses related to the October, 1994 flood.
Council discussed the need to designate a certain amount of monies in a reserve fund to be used for emergency purposes only. The Mayor pointed out that these funds could be held in a certificate of deposit and would require approval of council before its disbursement. After discussing the matter, Councilman Waller made a motion to set aside $250,000 in a certificate of deposit as reserve funds for use in an emergency situation. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City collected $1600 more in occupation tax revenues in 2000 than in 1999 and a public hearing was required for citizen input on how to best use these funds. Councilman Tuten made a motion to hold the public hearing just prior to the February 1st council meeting. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was reminded of the auction to be held on surplus vehicles/equipment on January 11th at 3:00pm at City Hall.
The Mayor informed council that the City needed to adjourn into executive session for a discussion on personnel matters. Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised those present that the council would return shortly.
After completion of the executive session, Councilman Rawlins made a motion to return to the regular meeting. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented the following recommendations on changes to the personnel policy:
Councilman Waller made a motion to approve these personnel policy changes, the motion was seconded by Councilman Johnson and passed with five affirmative votes.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Johnson made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn, the motion was seconded by Councilman Tuten and passed with five affirmative votes.
The meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.
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