October 2, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the September 18, 2003 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the status of the Wildcat Dam Road Bridge replacement and the Mayor reported that in his talks with the DOT and Commissioner Dean Kicklighter, he was advised that there are no SPLOST funds currently available to pay for the drainage improvements to the Hardin Canal or the replacement of the bridge. The Mayor pointed out that although the cost for the design phase has been approved, the actual construction work in this area cannot be funded at this time. The Mayor recognized Doyle Kelly with Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. who confirmed this information. Council discussed this issue at length. It was noted that the only citizen using the bridge for access to their residence was Anthony Young and he lives in Pooler. Councilman Ray stated that the City may need to check into the feasibility of making the other access road to Mr. Young’s property passable so the bridge can be closed since the DOT has questioned the safety of its use for vehicular traffic. Attorney Gerard advised council that the City needed to make sure that requiring Mr. Young to use another access to his property would not cause him undue hardship. The Mayor stated that the county had agreed to pay up to $10,000 toward the cost to repair the bridge; however, the county is requiring that the City obtain an engineer to determine the type repairs needed and these preliminary estimates are as much as $80,000 to $128,000. Council discussed several issues related to the bridge including the City’s legal boundaries and the possibility of closing the bridge. Mayor Rozier asked that council postpone any decisions regarding the bridge until the next meeting to give him time to gather some additional information and asked that Attorney Gerard research available records to see exactly how much of the roadway is the City’s responsibility. Council agreed to table discussion until next meeting.
Attorney Gerard reported that Richard Meyers had received the information that he needed from Chatham County’s Chief Assessor and he is going to convey the right of way of his property on Stagecoach Road to the City of Bloomingdale. Attorney Gerard advised council that this should settle the right of way issues on Stagecoach Road.
Councilman Johnson stated that the General Services Committee had met prior to the last council meeting to review the bids from three (3) engineers on the drainage study, design and construction phase services for the City and had postponed the committee’s recommendation due to questions that were raised from some members about using the same engineering firm for numerous projects. Councilman Johnson stated that he had not received any information since the September meeting that would indicate that this engineering firm was not capable of doing the work and although he understands that there are other firms that have also done work in the area, the proposal from Thomas & Hutton seemed to be the best for the City. Councilman Johnson presented a recommendation, in the form of a motion, from the General Services Committee that the City accepts the proposal from Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. for Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan Study, Design and Construction Phase services. The motion was seconded by Councilman Tyler and passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Johnson, Ray, Tyler, Waller and Wedincamp. Councilman Myrick voted against the motion.
Council was informed that Attorney Gerard had requested information from the City of Pooler regarding the application to the State’s Revolving Fund for the financing of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade and also all documents relative to providing wastewater treatment service to Savannah Quarters. This request was made under the Open Records Act so the City of Bloomingdale can make an informed decision concerning the acceptableness of the last amendment to the intergovernmental agreement concerning effluent disposal and can proceed with the appropriate documentation to provide Pooler with a letter of credit guaranteeing payment of its portion of the costs for the improvements to the Bloomingdale/Pooler Wastewater Treatment Plant. Attorney Gerard reported that Bill Lovett with Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc. will be providing him with these documents on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of the City of Pooler.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had received a response by email from David Hicks regarding his plans for the nonconforming mobile home located at #1301A East Highway 80. Mr. Hicks is requesting the City allow him to move back into the mobile home. Council was reminded that this mobile home was located in an R-1 zone. Mobile homes are not allowed in this type zoning, but this non-conforming land use was “grandfathered in” when the zoning ordinance was adopted in 1981. Mr. Hicks vacated the mobile home and advised the City to disconnect the sewer and sanitation services effective January 1, 2003. The City’s zoning ordinance states that a “nonconforming land use” shall not be reestablished after discontinuance for sixty (60) days or more. In this case, the mobile home has remained vacant for over nine months. Council was advised by Mayor Rozier that Mr. Hicks is not in good health and due to financial problems cannot afford the living expenses where he currently resides. Council discussed this information and agreed to postpone any decision on the matter until next meeting to allow Attorney Gerard to research the ordinances to see if there would be a way to approve the reestablishment of this residence in the R-1 zone and still abide by the City’s ordinances.
Chief Rick Gossett reported that he had checked on the training of the drug dogs taking place at Taylor Park and stated that apparently approval for this operation had been granted many years ago. The Chief advised council that he would continue to monitor this activity and make sure that the trainers are cleaning up after the dogs.
Councilman Johnson reported that he had done some additional investigating regarding Vernell McNeil’s request that the City furnish her access to her property off Wildcat Dam Road and found that in order to get to her property she has to cross over the City’s utility easement for the interceptor line located along the old Central of Georgia Railroad bed. Councilman Johnson stated that he does not see any problem with her crossing the railroad bed, but wants to make sure that we have something from her, in writing, advising that she cannot do any digging or restrict the City’s maintenance of the easement in any way. Councilman Johnson made a motion to allow her use of this access provided she signs documents prepared by Attorney Gerard that would cover the restrictions outlined above. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the subdivision/recombination plats for property owned by H.B. Waller at Pine and Boulevard Streets had been signed by the Mayor and Council and prepared for recording by Mr. Waller’s attorney.
Mayor Rozier provided council with an update on the 1995 Ford Garbage Truck that had been damaged while under lease to Barry Anderson dba Waste Systems of Savannah. The Mayor stated that he had been in contact with Buddy Sapp with Sapp’s Wrecker Service and had been advised that the recovery and towing bill for said vehicle was $2500. The Mayor pointed out that although Sapp’s Wrecker Service is under contract with the City of Bloomingdale through Chatham County’s contract to tow our vehicles at no charge, the service, in this situation, would not be covered. Mayor Rozier asked council’s consideration in paying this bill since this was a City truck even though it was being leased to Waste Systems of Savannah. Councilman Myrick expressed his concern about the high cost of the bill. The Mayor pointed out that according to Buddy Sapp it took two large wreckers to pull the loaded garbage truck back to an upright position. Also, Sapp’s had not charged any storage fees for the time the truck was parked at his yard and he had brought the truck to the City’s maintenance yard at no cost. Attorney Gerard asked how much damage was done to the truck and was advised that the box was twisted, the front and both sides of the truck were damaged, and due to the salt intrusion, the motor may have to be replaced. Councilman Myrick reported that he had contacted three different companies to find out how much a similar garbage truck would bring at auction and was advised that the estimate was between $4500 and $6500 and he pointed out that since we had already collected $8000 in lease payments on the truck whatever we could get from it as salvage or at an auction would be more than we could have gotten if it had been put up for sale. Attorney Gerard stated that the City needed to get an estimate of the cost to repair the truck. Councilman Johnson asked if the garbage had been taken off the truck and was advised that the garbage had been removed from the back of the truck, loaded onto another truck, and taken to the dump. It was noted that the maintenance department needed to keep up with this time so it could be included in recovery costs. Mayor Rozier advised council that he had talked with Mr. Chatham with the county and was advised that once we had a total bill figured to get it to him and he would present it to the county for payment. The Mayor stated that he felt the City needed to pay the wrecker bill and pursue recovery of this cost from the county since the accident was caused by their driver.
Attorney Gerard pointed out that according to the accident report there were no charges filed against the county employee who was riding the lawn mower that the garbage truck driver states caused him to leave the highway and turn over into the marsh. Attorney Gerard pointed out that there is no clear case of liability on the county’s part. Mayor Rozier asked if the City would have a claim against his insurance company since we were listed as a loss payee on the policy and we were not notified when his insurance was cancelled in July. Attorney Gerard stated that he felt the City would be better off filing a claim against Barry Anderson since the lease requires that he take care of any damage to the vehicle and that he carry the proper insurance on the truck. The Mayor asked council to make a decision on payment of the wrecker bill to Sapp’s. Councilman Tyler made a motion to pay the $2500 bill to Sapp’s Wrecker Service with the understanding that the City would pursue recovery from the parties involved. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to take whatever action necessary to obtain reimbursement of the City’s expenses from Barry Anderson, the insurance company and Chatham County. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Attorney Gerard stated that he could go ahead and file a lawsuit against Barry Anderson in Small Claims Court for the recovery of all the expenses related to the recovery and repair of the truck. This action would allow the City to garnish his accounts for payment of these costs once a judgment is issued against Anderson. Councilman Myrick made a motion to pursue efforts to recover the City’s expenses related to the garbage truck from Barry Anderson through Small Claims Court. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick noted that we needed to get some estimates together for the repair of the truck. Fett Burke and Ernest Grizzard reported that they had already been working on getting these prices from various companies. Attorney Gerard stated that the City needed to get all of the costs related to the incident together so this information would be available for the courts.
Council was advised the City had received a request from Kevin & Kay Heritage for the renewal of their “hardship” secondary mobile home permit issued for the dwelling on their property at #1230 Bloomingdale Road. The mobile home is occupied by Kay’s mother, Ho-Shim Shaw, who suffers from medical conditions requiring the assistance of a family member on a full-time basis. Ms. Heritage has provided a letter from Ms. Shaw’s physician, as required by the ordinance, confirming the need for this assistance. Council was advised the ordinance allows for extensions for up to six months at a time for this type permit. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve a six-month extension of the “hardship” secondary mobile home permit issued to Kevin & Kay Heritage at #1230 Bloomingdale Road on behalf of Kay’s mother, Ho-Shim Shaw. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council reviewed a request from Donald Bailey, Sr. at #12 Walnut Street to grant him a variance to the fence ordinance requirements regarding the height of fences placed in front yards. Council was advised that Section #809, (c), (1) of the fence ordinance requires that any fence which extends into the permitted portion of the front yard shall not exceed 4’ in height and Mr. Bailey is requesting approval for a height of 7’9”. Mr. Bailey stated that the reason for his request was that his neighbor’s back yard borders his side yard and he provided photograph’s showing the view from his front yard. Mr. Bailey explained that even if the City restricted his fence to 4’, his neighbor could install up to an 8’ fence in his back yard that would go all the way out to Walnut Street. Council discussed the request at length and Attorney Gerard provided them with an outline of the stipulations contained in the zoning ordinance for the granting of variances (Section 1501.50). Based on council’s opinion that this modification to the restrictions of the fence ordinance for Mr. Bailey’s property would not be contrary to public interest and due to the unique situation involving the proximity to his neighbor’s backyard, Councilman Tyler made a motion to grant a variance of 3’9” in the front yard height requirement for his fence to be located at #12 Walnut Street. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised council that on September 18th, the maintenance department had advised the City Hall that a second mobile home had been moved onto property located at #219 John Carter Road. Since there had been no permit obtained for the mobile home, the owner of the property, Roland Cannon, Sr., was contacted by the police department and instructed to contact the City Hall about the zoning violation. Mr. Cannon stated that he did not know that he needed a permit and was planning to use the mobile home for storage or attach it to his current mobile home. Mr. Cannon has since decided that he wants to move the mobile home off of his property and has submitted a written request asking that he be allowed to leave the mobile home on the property for thirty to sixty days until he can make arrangements to get it moved. After discussing the request, Councilman Johnson made a motion to allow Mr. Cannon sixty days to move the mobile home off of the property. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the 2003/2004 budget adopted by council at the September 18, 2003 meeting included increases in water and sewer rates effective January 1, 2004. Therefore, an amendment to the water and sewer rate schedule ordinance reflecting the increases included in the budget needs to be approved. Since the rate increase information needs to be included in the newsletter being prepared for distribution to citizens next week, council should take action on the amendment tonight. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion approve the first reading of an amendment to the water and sewer rate schedule ordinance to reflect the following rates:
Water Rates (residential & commercial)
0-3,000 gallons $14.00
3,001-20,000 gallons $ 1.50 per 1,000 gallons
20,001-30,000 gallons $ 2.50 per 1,000 gallons
30,001 gallons & over $ 3.00 per 1,000 gallons
Sewer Rates - Residential
Sewer base rate $17.50
1-20,000 gals $ 1.50/1,000 gals
20,001 gals & over $ 2.50/1,000 gals
Sewer Only Customers $31.00 per month
Sewer Rates - Commercial
Sewer base rate $22.75
1-10,000 gallons $ 2.50 per 1,000 gallons
10,001 gallons & over $ 3.25 per 1,000 gallons
Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to dispense with the second reading of the amendment to the ordinance, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the amendment to the water and sewer rate schedule ordinance as outlined above effective with the January 1, 2004 billing. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was also advised that the 2003/2004 budget included an increase in the cost of the grinder pumps effective January 1, 2004 to reflect the current factory cost of the pumps. It was noted that the City’s policy covering grinder pump costs was adopted on November 16, 1997. The policy states that the grinder pump cost would be factory cost, plus 10%, plus freight. The current factory cost is $2622 and the shipping cost is $60. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the increase in the cost of the grinder pumps required for building permits issued after January 1, 2004 to $2945 and Councilman Myrick seconded the motion. Councilman Wedincamp asked if our current vendor was the only distributor for grinder pumps and was advised by Ernest Grizzard that they were the only distributor for the Environment One pumps in our area. Councilman Johnson pointed out the City decided to use only one make of grinder pump because it would be more cost effective in the stocking of parts. Councilman Wedincamp stated he just wanted to verify the fact that there was only one distributor in our area for the Environment One pump and Ernest Grizzard stated that to the best of his knowledge they were the only one that could supply us with this brand pump. After this discussion, the motion to increase the cost of the grinder pump to $2945 passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler stated that the Water/Sewer Committee needed to meet to discuss the costs related to water and sewer taps to determine if an increase in these fees should be recommended to council. Since this information should also be included in the next newsletter, he asked that a meeting be held as soon as possible so recommendations could be presented at the October 16th council meeting. In addition to tap fees, Councilman Tyler stated that the police department had raised some security issues with the City’s well sites and he would like to include discussions regarding these questions at the meeting. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler set a meeting date of Monday, October 6, 2003 at 11:00am at the City Hall and urged members of the Water/Sewer Committee to attend.
Councilman Johnson stated that the City had received a quote from Industrial Tractor Co. for an extended power train warranty on the John Deere 310E tractor, but after reviewing the costs, would not recommend the City purchase this warranty.
Council was advised that the City has been contacted by CEMA about completing questionnaires regarding the City’s readiness for responding to a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat and our current or future needs for training, equipment, and supplies to handle this type threat. The questionnaire must be completed before October 17, 2003. There are sections for governmental administration, public works, law enforcement and fire safety that need to be submitted. CEMA representatives are willing to offer assistance in completing the paperwork and have scheduled October 10th to come out to the City Hall to meet with each department head and appropriate elected official. After a brief discussion, a 10:00am meeting time was established. It was noted that the paperwork will be distributed to the appropriate department head for their review prior to the meeting on October 10th.
The Mayor reported that Councilman Johnson was requesting an executive session to discuss legal matters. Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
A copy of the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law is attached.
After completion of the executive session, Councilman Johnson made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
As a result of the executive session, council discussed the addition of two items to the agenda and these items are as follows:
1) Councilman Tyler made a motion to add discussions regarding the City’s water permit to the council agenda. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to hire special counsel to explore legal remedies for increasing our water permit. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) Councilman Johnson made a motion to add discussions regarding the fencing at the lift station to the council agenda. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson made a motion to re-bid the fencing at the lift station with specifications of said fencing to be submitted to City Hall for distribution to various vendors and the sealed bids to be presented to the City Hall by a deadline to be set by council. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. After additional discussion, Councilman Tyler agreed to prepare the fence specifications and provide them to the City Hall. Council agreed that the bids should be submitted to the City by 5:00pm on October 16th and said bids would be opened and reviewed at the October 16th council meeting. Council further discussed the need to establish some specific procurement procedures that would be applied to all departments. Attorney Gerard stated that he, along with some assistance from Bill Saxman, could probably prepare some information for council to review regarding this type plan and council asked that he do so as soon as possible.
Mayor Rozier stated that the City has received notice of a ceremony to be held on Monday, October 6, 2003 at 10:00am to dedicate the “Sonny Dixon Interchange” at SR 21 & Jimmy Deloach Parkway. The Mayor and Council, along with Bloomingdale citizens, are invited to attend.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
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.
The Mayor and all council members were present at the meeting.