September 19, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the August 15th meeting were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that the proposed water agreement with the City of Savannah was still under review, but nothing has changed regarding the terms of the agreement. The Mayor outlined these terms for the citizens and indicated that the City was still looking into other options for providing additional water capacity for Bloomingdale.
The Mayor informed council that the City received a letter from the City of Pooler advising us that as of August 29, 2002 Sangrena Subdivision came off of the City of Bloomingdale’s sewer system. According to the City of Pooler, there are four (4) homes that have sewerage that will continue to flow through Bloomingdale’s system. Council was advised that adjustments will be made in the monthly bill sent to Pooler to reflect these changes.
Council was advised that, as requested, the City of Pooler had provided an accounting of income and expenses of the sewage treatment plant and copies of this information were distributed to them last month.
Mayor Rozier stated that the City of Pooler is requesting that Bloomingdale submit, in writing, the method that the City of Bloomingdale intends to use to fund our estimated share ($1,198,000) of the wastewater treatment plant. If the City intends to guarantee our portion through Pooler’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan, Bloomingdale needs to submit a letter of commitment guaranteeing that a letter of credit will be submitted. Councilman Johnson pointed out that the rates for the SRF loan were very competitive and if Bloomingdale attempted to finance our portion on our own the rates would be higher. Councilman Myrick made a motion to submit a letter of commitment to Pooler advising them we intend to guarantee our portion through Pooler’s State Revolving Fund and a letter of credit will be submitted to them. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler reported that he hoped to have some information regarding other options for securing water for Bloomingdale and information on our own sewer treatment plant within the next two weeks. Councilman Tyler stated that he plans to schedule an open committee meeting in the next week or so to discuss water/sewer issues.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had been in contact with Julie Reynolds concerning the clean up of all of the debris at #108 Church Street and she has promised to complete this project by October 2, 2002. Fett Burke stated that all of the house debris had been removed.
Mayor Rozier stated that Attorney Gerard advises us that the $25,000 in Local Assistance Funds could be changed from lighting of the fields to drainage/watering for the football fields and/or other projects as needed at the park, but it would be next year before the supplemental budget amendment could be made. Apparently, these funds were not supposed to be spent until 2003, but we got the disbursement notice early. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to make said changes to the scope of the work as currently outlined in the $25,000 Local Assistance Grant and Councilman Johnson seconded the motion. The motion passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray then made a motion to borrow the $25,000 for these projects from the General Fund until the funds could be obtained from the amended grant. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick reported that the work on the football field at Taylor Park had been completed and EMC Engineering had determined that the existing well was 430’ deep and he was checking into increasing the pump from a 1 horsepower to a 5 horsepower pump.
Councilman Wedincamp stated that he had not yet had an opportunity to talk with Richard Meyers regarding the right of way for Stagecoach Road.
Council discussed the proposed contract as prepared by Attorney Gerard between the City of Bloomingdale and Bill Saxman for his preparation of the update to the Comprehensive Plan. Councilman Johnson asked Mr. Saxman if he felt he could complete this project at the cost outlined in the contract. Mr. Saxman stated that he felt that he could do so. Mr. Saxman stated that the only additional mapping that he anticipated would be a future land use map and that this could be provided through a separate contract with RDC. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the execution of the contract between the City of Bloomingdale and Bill Saxman. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reviewed with council the information provided to Jerry Usher by Attorney Gerard regarding Mr. Usher’s conducting sand blasting work on his property. In his letter to Mr. Usher, Attorney Gerard reminded him that when council approved his building permit on January 4, 2001 for the construction of his residence it was with the stipulation that the operation of his auto/truck restoration business cease once the building permit was issued. Mr. Usher’s permit was issued on February 6, 2001. It was noted that a review of this matter was a result of a complaint to council at the last meeting by Kenneth Selman regarding Mr. Usher’s sand blasting activities, but Mr. Selman was not present at tonight’s meeting to receive this information.
Fett Burke reported that the maintenance department had spent a day grading Osteen Road and working in the ditches, but the roadway was in bad shape. A brief discussion was held concerning the possibility of the City paving the road. It was noted that the City was not able to obtain the required right of way from some of the citizens living on this portion of Osteen Road when the front portion was paved and funds were available. Councilman Wedincamp stated he would contact the citizens living along the road to see if they would now be willing to dedicate the required right of way to the City so it could be placed on future paving lists.
Representatives Chris Bloxham and Steve Walton with Republic Waste Services, Inc. were present at the meeting to discuss their proposal to provide sanitation services to the citizens of Bloomingdale. Mayor Rozier pointed out that although the City Attorney had reviewed a blanket contract from Republic Waste, there had not yet been a contract submitted that included specific rate or pickup information. Attorney Gerard stated that there were also a couple of changes that he had suggested they include in the final draft. Mr. Bloxham indicated that he would see that a complete contract was submitted to Attorney Gerard for his review prior to the October 3rd meeting. Mayor Rozier stated that after the Attorney reviewed the contract council could take action on their proposal. Mr. Bloxham stated that if council agreed to accept their proposal it would be at least January 1, 2003 before they could assume the sanitation collection. Fett Burke asked if it would be possible for their company to provide a dumpster at Taylor Park. Mr. Bloxham assured him that he could have a roll-off dumpster at the park the next day. Council briefly discussed the best way to handle the cost of the dumpster and Mr. Bloxham stated that the proposed contract would include the costs related to other types of collection containers for use by the City or local businesses. It was noted that there was also a dumpster located at Magnolia Lane Apartments that should probably be part of this contract. Action on this matter was tabled until the completed contract was reviewed by Attorney Gerard.
Mayor Rozier recognized Dale Dudley with B.P. Barber & Associates who provided council with information regarding construction cost estimates for various sizes of sewerage wastewater treatment plants. Mr. Dudley pointed out that these costs did not include land acquisition, legal fees, consulting fees or interest and were based on actual contractors’ bids for construction of these plants. Councilman Johnson asked if he could provide council with an idea of the cost per gallon for the operation of this type wastewater plant. Mr. Dudley stated that the operation/maintenance costs would vary and did not have this information available tonight. Mr. Dudley was asked to get this information back to council for their review. Council was advised that there were several of these type plants located in South Carolina, but the closest plant was located in Hilton Head.
The Mayor advised council that the DOT has provided the City with the paperwork related to the acquisition of .056 acres of City property at U.S. Hwy 80 and Cherry Street. The appraised value of this property is $4800. Council was reminded that this property was needed by the DOT to improve the roadway designated for the U.S. Hwy 80 widening project. Councilman Johnson made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the documents related to the sale of this property to the DOT. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that CR23 (Pine Barren Road) from SR17 (Cherry Street/Bloomingdale Rd) has been designed as a State Bicycle Route by the State of Georgia Department of Transportation. The City of Bloomingdale is being asked to sign a Local Government Project Agreement to inspect annually all signs located on this roadway, repair and/or replace any signs which have been damaged, and provide an annual report summarizing the inspection of the signs and any repairs that have been made by the City. The DOT reports these signs will be added to two existing signs on Pine Barren Road. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the agreement with the DOT. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier informed council that the EPD has requested that an action plan addressing four modifications to the area wide Stormwater Management Program be approved by Chatham County and the co-applicants consisting of the cities of Bloomingdale, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt and Tybee Island. This plan has been prepared by the MPC and submitted to the municipalities for approval. These modifications include increasing the focus and implementation of SWMP activities within the drainage basis of waters; enhanced education and enforcement efforts addressing highly visible pollutant sources and illicit discharges; increasing public education efforts; as well as increasing industrial storm water control efforts, pollution prevention and good housekeeping activities including industrial operations. This action plan must be submitted to the EPD by September 23, 2002. Council was advised that Councilman Wedincamp and Fett Burke attended a training session at the MPC in June that dealt with the inspections of businesses and/or industries for potential stormwater polluting due to run-off, disposal methods or their general everyday operations. The implementation of this portion of the plan will be the responsibility of the maintenance department. Also, if complaints are received during the year, the maintenance department will need to follow up on said complaints and keep a written record of this information. The MPC has provided the appropriate forms to use for this process. Councilman Wedincamp stated that it was his understanding the City would need to purchase a test kit for the sampling required by the EPD, but since we contract through MPC for these services, there was some question as to whether the City would need to make this purchase. The clerk stated that she would check with the MPC on this matter and report back to council. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute the certification document related to the submission of this plan to the EPD. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council received the following information and/or recommendations from the Planning Commission:
1) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the denial of the requests from the property owners on Hwy 80 between Wildcat Dam Road & Patrick Ave. to rezone their tracts from R-1 to C-1. Wayne Tipton explained that discussions had been held concerning the implementation of an overlay district that would address issues related to concerns that the establishment of businesses along this area would cause traffic problems with numerous curb cuts currently existing for these residences. This type district would control the number of curb cuts allowed directly onto Hwy 80. Attorney Gerard stated that Bill Saxman had provided him information on this matter just this afternoon, but he had not had enough time to completely review it. Del Ferguson asked that council consider postponing action on the Planning Commission’s recommendation on these rezoning requests to give Attorney Gerard an opportunity to review the information and provide council with a recommendation. Councilman Waller made a motion to postpone action on these rezoning requests until Attorney Gerard could present this information to council. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) Council was advised that the Morgan Family had withdrawn their requests to rezone two tracts of property along I-16 from residential to commercial due to the concerns of citizens living in these areas.
3) The Planning & Zoning Commission reviewed the PUD rezoning request from the Morgan Family for property located at Wildcat Dam Road, but with so many questions that needed to be addressed on the PUD, Attorney Gerard suggested a meeting be set up with the Morgans and their representatives to be attended by the elected officials, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Bill Saxman. A meeting date was set for Monday, September 23rd at 7:00pm.
4) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the adoption of the amended sign ordinance as prepared by Attorney Gerard. Council discussed some concerns regarding implementation of the sign ordinance and the need to provide some templates of various types of signs as they were outlined in the ordinance. Bill Saxman stated he could prepare some samples for the City’s use. After this discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the sign ordinance. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
5) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the approval of a minor subdivision of property owned by Susie Yawn on Cherry Street. Council was advised that the property currently consisted of two dwellings on one parcel and the subdivision of the property would put each residence on its own tract of land. Both tracts meet the City’s minimum road frontage and lot size requirements. After a review of the plat by council, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minor subdivision as presented. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
6) The Planning & Zoning Commission set a public hearing date of October 15, 2002 at 6:30pm for citizen input on a proposed fence ordinance.
Attorney Gerard presented for council’s review an ordinance which clears up the inconsistency between Code Sections 500 and 600 of the Bloomingdale Zoning Code by making all uses conditional in PUD zones. Attorney Gerard explained that these two sections conflicted with each other and this was merely a housekeeping matter, however, since the change would be considered an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, he suggested we follow the process as outlined in the ordinance for all other amendments. He pointed out that this issued needed to be resolved as soon as possible. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to add this matter to the public hearing scheduled for October 15, 2002. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from Diana Miller to use Taylor Park as a location for herself and other dog owners to involve their dogs in the sport of “Lure Coursing”. Ms. Miller advises the City that she will need to use the park twice a week for approximately two hours a day on a year-round basis. Ms. Miller explained to council the details regarding this type sport and showed them a brief video. Councilman Myrick asked Ms. Miller what portion of the park did she want to use and she stated that they needed a fenced-in area. Councilman Myrick, along with other council members voiced their concern about this being done on the football or baseball/softball field. Council suggested the parking lot area, but Ms. Miller stated that the area would have to be fenced-in because the dogs would not be on a lease when they ran the course and there could be problems with them running into traffic. Attorney Gerard stated that the City could have a problem allowing this activity at the park if the dogs were not on a lease as required by the county ordinances related to animal control. Ms. Miller advised council that they may be able to use temporary fencing. Councilman Myrick suggested they look at the area behind the baseball/softball field where the fireworks were located during the annual Patriotic Celebration and see if it would meet their needs. Councilman Johnson pointed out that since there was already a fence on one side, they would not need as much temporary fencing to keep the dogs contained. Ms. Miller was instructed to look at the area to make sure it would meet their needs and then come back to the next meeting. Council advised her that if this area would work, there would still be some conditions related to her using the park, such as working around scheduled events and maintenance of the fields. Councilman Johnson pointed out that the City may need to include a probationary period if they approved the use of the park for this activity. Ms. Miller advised council that the owners hoped to be able to provide bullet proof vests for the City’s drug dogs in the future. This matter was tabled until the October 3, 2002 meeting.
Council reviewed a request from Vanya Sue Parker to refund payment of the $75 rental fee for the community building that was not requested within the required 30 days prior to the rental date. The building was rented for an October 13th baby shower for Karen Scott, however, due to health problems, Ms. Scott has been hospitalized. Since the request for this refund was not made until September 18th, council must approve the refund. Based on the circumstances related to the cancellation of the event, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the $75 refund and Councilman Myrick seconded the motion. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
The council reviewed a request from Ira Horowitz to transfer his home occupation license to operate his mobile catering business “office only” operation from #5 Bragg Drive to #306A E. Hwy 80. Mr. Horowitz has obtained a letter from the property owner, Del Ferguson, to operate this business from the residence at the Hwy 80 location. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the transfer of the home occupation license as requested by Mr. Horowitz. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised council that Robert Robbins had initially made a request to place a mobile home on property owned by his parents on Adams Road on which their home is currently located under a “medical hardship”; however, Mr. Robbins has informed him that he wants to place the mobile home on a separate lot. The Mayor explained that his parents own two lots on Adams Road and a camper trailer used to be parked on the lot next to them, however, it was removed. Mr. Robbins advised him that the Chatham County Health Department would not give them a septic tank permit for the lot because of the type soil it contained, but was informed by Mr. Tanner that if the City would grant him permission to tie into the existing septic tank on the adjoining lot, the health department would have no objections. Council discussed the matter and agreed that it would be up to the Chatham County Health Department to grant him this permission, not the City of Bloomingdale. Since there were some questions raised about exactly what action the county was expecting the City to take, the matter was tabled until the City could receive a letter from the Chatham County Health Department outlining their requirements from the City.
The Mayor presented a request from Johnny Padgett, who owns property located at #901 E. Hwy 80, to obtain a right of way from Main Street (old railroad bed) to the back section of his property. Council was advised that Mr. Padgett owns a 3 acre tract that faces Main Street and for future development wants to access this lot from Main Street. Council was informed that although this section of Main Street was dedicated as a public street in July, 1998, the resolution that was adopted by council indicates that the City would take whatever action was necessary to lay out, grade, construct, and maintain a sufficient street over the entire property, with all necessary drainage, as soon as public funds were available—since there have been no funds available, the work has not been done. Prior to the use of this section of the roadway as a public right of way, these improvements would need to be addressed; also, the issuance of any building permits using this right of way should be contingent on the roadway being properly prepared. Mr. Padgett asked if council had any idea how long it would be before this work would be done. Mayor Rozier advised him that the City could place this project on the next SPLOST priority list, but it would be some time before these funds, if approved by Chatham County citizens, would be available. Councilman Ray expressed his concern that use of this roadway as public access to his property for development would cause problems because it could not be properly maintained. Mr. Padgett stated that he would just like to get to the property to maintain it and was not planning to develop it at this time. Attorney Gerard was asked if an agreement could be prepared that would allow him temporary use to access his property until the roadway could be developed in the future by the City. Attorney Gerard stated he would prepare something for council to review by next meeting. It was noted that there were currently no water or sewer services along this section of the railroad bed.
Council reviewed a request from H.L. Bragg, Jr. to replace a water line that was installed by Robert White to Lot #’s 5, 7, & 9 on White Drive. The existing line had been approved by the City with the understanding that it must be inspected before taps would be allowed, however, Mr. White failed to have the line inspected before covering it up. Therefore, no taps were made to this line. Mr. Bragg has indicated he wants to replace the line and once it has been inspected and approved by the City he plans to make water taps from this line for the above-mentioned lots. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the replacement of the line by Mr. Bragg, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mr. Bragg confirmed that he owned all three of these lots.
Councilman Johnson advised the Mayor that the council was not ready to present their nominee for the Ethics Commission, so Mayor Rozier stated he would postpone naming his appointee until the October 3rd meeting.
Mayor Rozier outlined for council the results of the latest LOST negotiations, but pointed out that the county has not yet given their final approval of this formula. The Mayor advised council that he had talked with Effingham County about the possibility of using their jail for the housing of prisoners, but acknowledged that the travel time and requirement that we fingerprint our own prisoners may be more costly than paying the higher rate at the Chatham County Jail.
Council was informed that the City has been advised by Chatham County that recent projections indicate that Chatham County will not collect the full amount of the $230-million necessary for full funding of all projects in the 1998-2003 SPLOST. Since full funding of drainage, roads and open space/greenway projects is guaranteed because of a commitment provided to the community, the last category called “Other Capital Outlay” will be reduced by 15%. The Mayor pointed out that since Chatham County’s “Other Capital Outlay” projects covered the funding for fire safety equipment for municipalities, there will be a 15% reduction in the monies to be provided for the purchase of the fire truck.
Council was advised that Councilman Waller had received a letter from Rick Boyette, a citizen who lives at #105 Oak Street, voicing his concerns about the proposed drainage improvements to Conaway Canal. Mr. Boyette was asking for details about the planned improvements and the impact they will have on his property value, but since this is a county project, Councilman Waller does not have the answers to his questions. Councilman Waller wants to know if any council member can help Mr. Boyette and if so, he will direct him to talk with them, if not, he suggests council direct Mr. Boyette to contact the Chatham County Engineering Department with his questions. Council agreed that Mr. Boyette should be directed to the Chatham County Engineering Department. Councilman Tyler stated that the county may send him back to the City because this section of the drainage improvements was Bloomingdale’s responsibility even though the county is providing the engineering.
Mayor Rozier reported that the clerk’s office received a request from Steven Lynch to delete the late penalty on his September 15th bill because he did not receive the bill in the mail. Mr. Lynch was advised that Section 13-25 of the Municipal Utilities Ordinance indicates that “failure to receive bills or notices shall not prevent such bills from becoming delinquent nor relieve the consumer from payment of same. The failure of water users to pay charges duly imposed shall result in the automatic imposition of penalties.” Mr. Lynch was placed on tonight’s agenda for council to consider his request since the clerks do not have the authority to waive the penalty charges as outlined in the ordinance. Mr. Lynch was not present at the meeting. Council agreed that the City should not delete the late penalty assessed to Mr. Lynch’s account.
Councilman Myrick reported that the Public Safety Committee was recommending that council enforce the disciplinary action as initiated by Chief James P. Anderson against Officer Robert Kicklighter consisting of a one day suspension and a six-month probationary period. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion that council adjourn into Executive Session to discuss the matter. The motion failed due to a lack of a second. Councilman Johnson made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Public Safety Committee. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion. The motion was approved with affirmative votes from Councilman Johnson, Councilman Myrick, Councilman Ray, Councilman Tyler and Councilman Waller. Councilman Wedincamp voted against the motion.
Citizen Betty Tucker asked why some of the streets did not have white lines painted down the center. Fett Burke pointed out that the lines could be painted, but it would cost about $300 a mile. He further stated that some of the streets that were resurfaced under LARP had the lines included in the contract, but others did not. Council did not take any action on this matter.
Councilman Tyler stated that he would like to clear up for the citizens some information that was either under reported or over reported by the news media regarding the rating that the Bloomingdale Police Department received during the recent evaluation. Councilman Tyler stated that the evaluation included many positive comments on the police department staff and the evaluation indicated that, for our size, the City’s crime rate was way below the national average. Councilman Tyler stated that he felt that our police department needed to be commended for their efforts in this area and he personally supported their efforts.
Reverend Ken Otto asked if the City knew whether or not the cable company that was laying the lines along Highway 80 would be coming back to do any additional work. Ernest Grizzard reported that he had just talked with their representatives and was assured that they would be bringing harrows to dress up the ditches and would be planting grass and spreading hay to protect the areas until the grass started to grow.
Citizen Charles Rogers asked if council had any idea how he could get the cable company to provide the citizens in his area with cablevision. Mr. Rogers was advised that negotiations for new services areas were normally done during the franchise renewal period.
Citizen Ruth Wedincamp commented that council had just made a big mistake. When asked by Mayor Rozier if she would like to elaborate on that statement Ms. Wedincamp stated that she would not care to do so.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Tyler made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm.
The Mayor and all council members were present at the meeting.