May 15, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier who led in prayer.
Mayor Rozier recognized Councilman Myrick who presented Officer Richard Cowell and Lt. Marta Street with awards from the District Attorney’s Office for their assistance with Child Support Enforcement.
The minutes of the May 1, 2003 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Attorney Gerard reported that Chatham County has not yet agreed to the changes requested by the cities on the Inmate Service Fee Agreement, so it is still under advisement.
Councilman Tyler advised council that the work on the Bloomingdale Pump Station Rehabilitation should be completed by mid-June.
Councilman Tyler stated that he should have repair/replacement prices from Thomas & Hutton for the Wildcat Dam Road Bridge by next week.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had contacted Mayor Carter about the two councils meeting to discuss the amendment to the Pooler/Bloomingdale Wastewater Facilities Agreement, but Mayor Carter did not feel it was necessary for the officials to meet. Mayor Carter stated that the City attorneys should be able to handle the matter. Attorney Gerard advised council that he had already talked with Pooler’s City Attorney, Steve Sheer, who had suggested that the officials needed to meet to work out some of the issues related to the amendment. Attorney Gerard stated that he would contact Attorney Sheer again and advised him of Mayor Carter’s position on the matter and report back to council.
The Mayor stated that International Paper planned to attend the June 19, 2003 council meeting to ask for council’s approval of the annexation of their properties with the annexation process going through the county rather than the legislature.
Attorney Gerard advised council that he was in the process of reviewing the deeds of the property owners on Perry Road wanting to dedicate their right of way to make it a City street. He pointed out that since some of the properties have been mortgaged, the banks and/or mortgage companies will have to get involved in deeding the property over to the City. Attorney Gerard stated that this project will take more time and be more complicated than was originally anticipated, but he would keep council informed of its progress.
Attorney Gerard reported that he has received the appraisal showing the portion of the Stagecoach Road which the Oetgen family will convey to the City for the establishment of the new Stagecoach Road is valued at $4,474 compared to a value of $1,225 for the old portion to be given to the Oetgens by the City. Attorney Gerard stated he is in the process of reviewing the deeds prior to completing the paperwork to initiate the swap of the old Stagecoach Road with the new for the Oetgen and Meyers properties and hoped to have this finalized by the next meeting.
Councilman Wedincamp submitted a proposal to council regarding the regulations and fees for the installation of walkways crossing City street rights of way. The proposal was as follows:
The minimum walkway width for A.D.S. pipe is 6½’. Other available widths are 10’ and 13½’.
A.D.S. pipe (6½’ minimum)
$20 per ft – 15”
$22 per ft – 18”
$26 per ft – 24”
A walkway installed between existing pipes must be installed with the minimum size of the walkway pipe being the size of the largest pipe on either side. Walkways requiring drainage pipe must be installed by the City unless the City Council gives approval otherwise. Payment for the installation of a walkway is due at the time a building permit is issued or, for existing homes, prior to the installation of the walkway. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the proposal, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Wedincamp submitted a proposal to council on fees for dumpsters for commercial customers wanting to use dumpsters instead of multiple carts. The proposal was as follows:
The service will be through Republic Waste Services, Inc.; however, the City will continue to bill the customer. Based on information from Republic, these will be front-load containers and could be serviced more than once a week. Those commercial customers using the dumpster service through the City of Bloomingdale will be billed for this service in lieu of the cart rates. The following rates cover once a week pickups. Commercial customers needing multiple pickups will be charged the listed rate times the number of pickups.
2 yd container $ 31.00
4 yd container $ 61.00
6 yd container $ 92.00
8 yd container $123.00
Councilman Myrick stated that compared to the rates he paid for service at his business, these were quite reasonable. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the first reading of an amendment to the Garbage Ordinance to adopt these fees for dumpster service. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to dispense with the second reading. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the amendment to the Garbage Ordinance adopting the fees, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the proposed agreement with Willard Phillips for disposal of septic tank waste at the lift station. Councilman Tyler stated that he had not yet met with Mr. Phillips to discuss this matter, but after talking with other council members, he agreed that the City needed to talk with Pooler to find out if there would be any chance we would be violating our agreement with them if we allowed Mr. Phillips to dispose of the septic tank waste at the lift station, especially since they will not allow him to dump the waste in Pooler. Attorney Gerard stated that he did not think this would be the case, but it probably would not hurt to verify this with Pooler. Councilman Tyler also stated that he wanted a report from them on how much the $1,000,000 in liability insurance was going to cost. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the $1,000,000 liability insurance should be required no matter what the cost in order to protect the City in the event something was dumped into the lift station that caused problems with the treatment plant. Ernest Grizzard reported that there had already been some problems with the short notice Mr. Phillips has been giving him when he needs to dump the waste and he has even been called out on a day when the City offices were closed. Council discussed this information and agreed that we needed to enforce the 24 hour notice requirement in the agreement and include information on the days that employees would be available to let him into the lift station. The Mayor asked Mr. Grizzard why it was necessary for anyone to be there when he dumped the waste and was advised that since the City is responsible for what is being put into the lift station we definitely needed City personnel present. Mayor Rozier asked if it had to be a supervisor and Mr. Grizzard stated that he felt there needed to be an experienced person on site to make sure there was a good control on what was being dumped. Mr. Grizzard pointed out that if grass, leaves or straw was dumped into the station it would eventually burn up the motors and there had already been some problems with Mr. Phillips’ filters not working properly. Councilman Johnson stated that he did not feel the City needed to reduce the proposed $100 per load fee because of the cost to the City for an employee to supervise the dumping process and we still needed to determine whether the cost of testing the waste would be covered by this fee. Mayor Rozier stated he would get in touch with Dennis Baxter to see if allowing Mr. Phillips to use our lift station for disposal of the septic tank waste would violate our agreement with Pooler.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had contacted three labs regarding procedures and prices for the testing of employees suspected by the City of substance abuse and was expecting some printed materials from at least two of them in the next day or so. Attorney Gerard stated that Health Awareness Enterprises on Highway 80 and Concentra Medical Center on Minus Ave., both in Garden City, were the two best candidates for the testing. Councilman Johnson asked if we would need more than one lab and Attorney Gerard advised him that Garden City uses both of these labs. Attorney Gerard stated he would have the information on these labs by the next meeting for council’s review.
The Mayor stated that the City had received notice from Chatham County that the low bidder on gas and diesel fuel is Barrett Oil with a bid of $.1175 above O.P.I.S. prices. Mayor Rozier reported that the City currently purchases its fuel from Barrett Oil. Councilman Waller made a motion to accept the bid from Barrett Oil, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised council that the City issued a “Stop-Work” order on the construction of a residence on Lot #89 on Pine Street that is being built by Southern Family Homes. The contractor failed to obtain the building permit before the start of construction. Council was advised that although an application for a building permit was submitted to the City in February, 2003, there was a problem with the road frontage shown on the site plan and the matter was brought to council’s attention at their February 20th meeting. The site plan indicated the lot was 85’ wide, however, the tax digest showed a 127.5’ wide lot. After a review of the documents presented to the City by the owner and contractor, Attorney Gerard advised H.B. Waller, the owner of the property, in writing, on February 23, 2003, that the lot could not be subdivided because its division would create a substandard lot that would not meet the City’s Subdivision Ordinance requirements. Council was informed that there was no communication from the contractor with the City Hall about obtaining the building permit for this lot between February 23, 2003 and May 5, 2003 when the “Stop-Work” order was issued. After issuance of the “Stop-Work” order the contractor submitted an amended site plan showing the lot as 127.5’ wide, however, the City was contacted by the couple buying the house who stated they were told the house was being built on an 85’ wide lot. Since there was conflicting information being presented to the City Hall the matter was placed on the council agenda. Mayor Rozier recognized Emmett Sanborn who stated he was present at the meeting on behalf of Floyd W. Kenney of Southern Family Homes and advised council that Mr. Kenney understood that he could not divide off the 40’ from the lot without getting approval from council. Mr. Sanborn stated that they may just come back to council at a later date about dividing the property. Attorney Gerard pointed out that Southern Family Homes needed to make sure that when the house was completed and title was conveyed to the new owner that the deed showed the lot was 127.5’ wide, not 85’ wide because anything less than the full 127.5’ width would not accurately represent the size lot the building permit was being issued for and council wants to make sure everyone involved understands this issue. Mr. Sanborn stated that he fully understood the City’s position.
Council reviewed a request from James C. Harper at #209 Ash Street to construct a 24’ x 24’ building on his property for storage purposes only. Mr. Harper started construction of the structure without a building permit, but advised the clerk’s office that he was not aware that he needed a building permit. Mr. Harper stopped work on the construction of the building when he was informed that he needed a permit and he would have to get council approval since the structure included over 500 sq.ft. of enclosed area. Councilman Ray asked Mr. Harper if the building was going to be used for anything besides storage and was advised that it was not. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve issuance of the building permit and Councilman Ray seconded the motion. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the clerk’s office had been notified that a storage container had been placed at Johnson’s Country General Feed & Seed at #1410 W. Hwy 80 without a permit. When Sharon Johnson, the owner/operator of the business was contacted, she started the process to obtain a permit for the second container, however, since she has failed to meet the City’s permit requirements for the first storage container placed on her property in May, 2002, this permit has not been issued. Council was informed that the City requires that a storage container must compliment the surroundings with painting, etc, but this has not yet been done. Council discussed the matter and agreed that Ms. Johnson needed to be given a specific deadline for meeting the requirements regarding the permit for the first container and to get the proper permit for the second unit. Councilman Johnson made a motion to give Ms. Johnson until the June 19, 2003 council meeting to take care of these matters. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
City Council discussed the questions that have been raised about an apparent car sales business being operated at #6 East Hwy 80. Council was advised the property is zoned C-1 with auto/truck sales (up to 15 vehicles) allowed only as a “conditional use” that requires council approval. The owners/operators of Hunter’s Auto Repairs located at #4 East Hwy 80 were contacted about obtaining the occupational license for the business and advised that an application needed to be turned in to City Hall for council’s review; however, nothing was submitted by the agenda deadline. Although the “For Sale” signs have been taken off of the vehicles they are still parked on the property. Council discussed the situation and considered issuing a subpoena to Mr. Hunter to attend the next meeting to explain why he had not obtained the proper license for the business. Several council members also expressed their concern about the unsightly condition of the lot that had been cleared for the auto/truck sales business. After additional discussion, Mayor Rozier stated that he would like to try to make contact with the owner before we issued a subpoena to council and council agreed to give him an opportunity to handle the situation in this manner.
The council was advised of a problem with the vacant mobile home owned by David Hicks that is located at #1301A East Highway 80. Since this structure is a non-conforming use in the R-1 zone and has been vacant since January 1, 2003, its use cannot be reestablished according to Article VII of the City’s Zoning Ordinance and steps needed to be taken to have the mobile home removed. After discussing the matter, council agreed that Mr. Hicks needed to be notified of his violation of the zoning code. Councilman Waller made a motion to give Mr. Hicks notice that he had sixty (60) days to remove the non-conforming mobile home from the property. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Attorney Gerard stated that he would notify Mr. Hicks of council’s decision.
Mayor Rozier presented a request from the Recreation Executive Board to appoint Mark James, Sr. who lives at #214 Elm Street to serve on the board. The Mayor asked Joe Young if he had any information regarding this nominee. Mr. Young stated that since Mr. James was a neighbor he would rather not make any comments regarding his appointment. Councilman Myrick asked if he thought he would be a good worker and Mr. Young informed council that apparently the board thought that he would provide some assistance since they were recommending his appointment. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the appointment of Mark James, Sr. to the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from the Recreation Executive Board to appoint Michael Brower who lives at #113 Canvasback Drive in unincorporated Chatham County to serve on the board. Councilman Johnson asked Mr. Young if he knew Mr. Brower and he stated that he had worked with Mr. Brower and felt he would be an asset to the board. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the appointment of Michael Brower to the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised the terms for both of these appointees to the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board would expire on June 30, 2004.
Mayor Rozier presented a request from Councilman Tyler that the City pay three (3) invoices for repairs/parts for Engine #14. The parts were shipped in January, February, and March and the invoices total $3850.00. Councilman Tyler stated that these repairs were needed to meet ISO requirements for maintaining our fire rating. Councilman Johnson expressed his concern that council had not been informed before now that the repairs were needed since some of the invoices are over three (3) months old. Councilman Tyler advised council that these were emergency repairs that would have to be done for the fire truck to be used for fighting fires and the fire department had to go ahead and get the work done. Councilman Johnson pointed out that in the past when this situation came up council would be informed of the problem and give their approval for the repairs beforehand if the City was going to pay for the repair costs. Councilman Myrick stated he felt the line of communication between the Bloomingdale Fire Department and the City was not good if this work was such an emergency and council was just finding out about it. Councilman Ray asked who did the repair work and Councilman Tyler advised him that FireLine performed the repairs. The Mayor called for a motion to pay the bills, but there was no motion made at that time. Councilman Myrick asked what amount of the budget was set aside for repairs and maintenance. Councilman Tyler stated that he was not sure how much of the $40,000 budget was allotted for repairs, but the budgeted figures would be for minor repairs, not repairs costing almost $4,000. Councilman Tyler informed council that the cost to operate the fire department was increasing and the $40,000 contract with the City did not cover these costs. Councilman Tyler advised council that last year’s expenses were $55,000. The Mayor asked where the additional funds were coming from and Councilman Tyler stated they were from donations—mainly from his company. Councilman Johnson pointed out that the City needed to get a breakdown of the expenses of the fire department in order for us to know exactly where the money is going, especially if we are going to be asked to provide additional funding over and above the contract. Councilman Ray stated that when the City contracts with the fire department for fire service for a certain dollar amount we should not be responsible for anything else; however, this year alone we have already helped to purchase two vehicles and will be paying these expenses over and above the existing contract. Councilman Johnson advised Councilman Tyler that, in the future, the City needed to know about this type situation when it occurred so they could discuss it prior to decisions being made on repairs that the City was going to be asked to pay for. Councilman Johnson stated that although he did not feel the City was obligated to pay for these repairs since we were not given an opportunity to approve them in advance, he would make a motion to pay the invoices so the matter could be settled. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmen Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Waller and Wedincamp. Councilman Tyler abstained from voting since he is the Fire Chief of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department.
Mayor Rozier presented a petition from Councilman Ferman Tyler requesting annexation into the City of Bloomingdale for his property located on Osteen Road in unincorporated Chatham County. Councilman Tyler stated that he wanted to have his property brought into the City because he hoped to build on it in the near future and he liked living in Bloomingdale. He also stated that living in Bloomingdale would allow him to get a break on his taxes. Councilman Tyler pointed out that the City already provides garbage service to the area as well as fire protection and there would be no additional expense to have his property in the City. Councilman Tyler advised council that there were some other property owners that were also interested in coming into the City and if his parcel was annexed it would help to initiate their requests. Attorney Gerard informed Councilman Tyler that as a council member he has a conflict of interest and since he has stated his case he should disqualify himself from further discussion of the matter. Councilman Ray pointed out that since this property is across the Little Ogeechee River he is concerned that with other property owners wanting to be annexed into the City that we would eventually have to annex the bridge and it is his understanding this bridge is in need of major repairs. Councilman Tyler pointed out that it would not be necessary to annex the bridge to annex his property. Councilman Myrick stated that he would like to talk with the other people in that area to see if they were interested in being annexed. If there were enough property owners wanting to come into the City, Councilman Myrick stated we could go ahead and annex the entire area once the county took care of the bridge repairs. Councilman Ray asked if the City would be creating an island if we annexed an area surrounded by unincorporated Chatham County and was advised by Attorney Gerard that it would constitute an island. Councilman Ray stated he felt we should look at the big picture as far as annexation of that area and only take it in if the majority wanted to be in Bloomingdale and if the City did not have to address the bridge repairs. Councilman Johnson expressed similar concerns as well as stating that he was not in favor of annexing this one tract, but would be willing to consider annexing the entire area in the future which would encompass Councilman Tyler’s property as well as the property of the other people interested in being in Bloomingdale. Councilman Waller advised council that he knew there were some other people that had wanted to come into Bloomingdale in the past, but the bridge was a major concern and their property was not annexed. Councilman Wedincamp stated that if Bloomingdale annexed the IP property weren’t we also creating islands. Councilman Myrick agreed that this would be true, but the IP annexation would benefit the City because we would be getting water and sewer provided to this part of the City. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the annexation of Ferman’s property may be OK for him, but would not benefit the City of Bloomingdale. Councilman Ray stated that we did not need to get sidetracked on annexation by bypassing other people that wanted to be annexed, especially when the request was from a council member and that he would rather address the annexation of the entire area in the future. Councilman Wedincamp asked how we knew there was a problem with the bridge and Fett Burke advised him that this bridge was on the list submitted to him by the DOT. Councilman Tyler asked why the bridge was even an issue since it did not have to be annexed into the City for his property to be annexed. Councilman Tyler also asked why the annexation of other property would have any affect on his request for annexation. Mayor Rozier stated that apparently the council had a problem with the annexing of the property, but he would entertain a motion from council approving the annexation. There was no motion from council.
Councilman Myrick reported that with the May 9th deadline for submitting applications for the police chief’s position having passed he would like to start reviewing these applications and wanted council’s opinion on how this should be handled. Councilman Myrick asked if the council wanted the public safety committee or a sub-committee to narrow down the applications or would they prefer to be involved in this process. Councilman Myrick stated that a target date of the middle of June had been set to have the final list of three applicants submitted to council. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he would like to see the council involved in the hiring of the police chief from the beginning and made this a motion. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp suggested meeting this Monday night at 7:00pm and council agreed. Councilman Waller stated that he would be out of town, but the rest of council indicated they could attend the meeting.
Councilman Myrick stated that he had a personnel matter that council needed to address. Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
A copy of the affidavit required by the Open Meeting Law is attached.
After council returned from executive session, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that during the executive session only personnel matters were discussed. Councilman Myrick reported that council had agreed to create a Court Administrator’s position with Sergeant Randy Walker being appointed to the position with a promotion to Lieutenant effective with the next pay period. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve this action, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick stated that he would have Randy attend the June 19th meeting for council to recognize his appointment and promotion.
Recreation Director, Joe Young, advised council that there was an unsafe situation at Taylor Park he wanted to bring to council’s attention. He stated that the tenants living in the mobile home have a car up on four jacks with the tires removed and he felt this matter should be addressed because he was afraid that someone could get hurt if the vehicle should fall from the jacks. Mayor Rozier asked that Interim Chief Roy Pike look into this problem and see that it was taken care of as soon as possible.
Citizen Roger Allen stated that he had been involved in several searches for employees in the past and suggested that council notify the police chief applicants of the progress the council is making on the applications so they will know what is going on. Councilman Myrick thanked Mr. Allen for his suggestion.
Mayor Rozier recognized Thomas Key who asked why there was a $.79 charge on his telephone bill for Bloomingdale. The Mayor advised him that it was his understanding this was a charge to customers by the telephone company to cover the franchise tax fees paid to the City of Bloomingdale.
Citizen Martin Collins asked council if they could get the DOT to post the turn lane sign on Highway 80 further east so that people would have more notice about this lane before they reached Adams Road. Councilman Johnson stated that he did not think it mattered where the sign was posted because people were going to wait until the last minute to move over. Councilman Johnson pointed out that he felt most people traveling Hwy 80 were familiar with this area and already knew about the turn lane. The Mayor stated he would look into contacting the DOT about the problem.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reminded council of the CMA meeting to be held on June 4, 2003.
The Mayor also reminded the citizens of the Patriotic Celebration to be held at Taylor Park on the afternoon of June 29, 2003.
Being no further business Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 8:30pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and all council members were present at the meeting.