January 6, 2005
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. Mayor Rozier stated that he would like all of us to keep the people living in the areas hit by the Tsunamis in our thoughts and prayers, especially the families of the 150,000 who lost their lives.
The minutes of the December 2, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that there had been no ruling from the judge regarding the City’s lawsuit against EPD on our water permit increase and Attorney Dickey stated that Attorney Gallo advised him that she would let us know as soon as a decision has been received.
Council was advised that Debra Brant had not yet moved the nonconforming mobile homes located at #6 & #8 Brantville Drive and was scheduled to be at tonight’s meeting to discuss the matter, but was sick. The City Hall received a phone call today advising that her contractor was going to move the mobile homes tomorrow. Council discussed the issue and several members expressed their concerns that the original agreement with Ms. Brant was for her to have the mobile homes moved by September 30, 2004, but they are still there. Councilman Tyler made a motion to give Ms. Brant until January 20, 2005 to have the mobile homes removed, but if they were not moved by that date, the City would pursue legal action against her for violation of the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler reported he was working on a different layout for water line extensions and size increases and would like to postpone discussion of this matter until the February 3, 2005 meeting.
The Mayor advised council that the City had not received the written comments from Thomas & Hutton regarding the proposed ditch relocation at Oak Street as requested by Councilman Tyler. Councilman Tyler stated that he wanted to postpone further action on this ditch re-location until the drainage study was completed and suggested that council do the same with other requests that may be presented prior to the completion of the study. Councilman Tyler asked that this matter be dropped from the agenda until he was ready to resubmit the request.
Councilman Myrick advised council that after reviewing additional information regarding the construction of a new building behind City Hall versus renovation of the existing building, it was decided that it would be more cost effective to renovate rather than build. Councilman Myrick asked Charles Rogers, the person designated by council to oversee the building’s renovation, to give an update on the project. Mr. Rogers reported that he was in the process of obtaining prices from various subcontractors for the work involved in the renovation project, but some of the bids were delayed due to the holidays. Mr. Rogers pointed out that some of the bids were coming in lower than the estimates we have received and would bring more information back to council as the bids are submitted.
Councilman Johnson reported that he was still working on obtaining new bids for the generator project at Well #1 and hoped to have them for council by the next meeting.
The council was informed that the City received a letter from Kern-Coleman & Co., consulting engineers, on behalf D.K. Morgan certifying that based on their on-site inspection performed on December 30, 2004, the improvements to the property located at #1720 E. Hwy 80 had been completed in accordance with the revised site plan approved by the City Council on November 4, 2004. Council was reminded that as discussed at the November 4, 2004 meeting, Mr. Morgan will have to sign an agreement that he will maintain the detention pond installed as part of the drainage engineered for the property and Attorney Dickey will prepare this agreement for him to sign by the February 3, 2005 meeting. Councilman Tyler stated that the agreement should include provisions whereby the City can gain access to the pond for inspections. It was also noted that if the detention pond was not properly maintained, the work would be initiated by the City and the cost would be the responsibility of the property owner. Attorney Dickey stated that he would prepare the agreement to include these provisions.
Mayor Rozier reported that the City has been advised that the tenant at #1720 E. Hwy 80 is only using the new building for his business and another business is being operated from the building at the rear of the property. Council was reminded that since the tenant was initially using both buildings the bathroom facilities were not being required for the older building, however, if a separate business is going to be operated from both buildings, bathroom facilities will have to be installed in the older building and sanitation service initiated. It was noted that the City has no record of an application for an occupational license for a different business in the older building. Mayor Rozier instructed Chief Gossett to have the police department check to see if a business was being operated from the building at the rear of the property and report back to council.
The Mayor advised council that engineering plans were being prepared for the Church and Lynn Street paving projects and stated that although some of the residents living on Lynn Street reported that they were not interested in the road being paved, he felt we should continue on with these plans. Councilman Tyler voiced his agreement that we should go ahead and proceed as planned since these streets have already been submitted to the DOT and plans were being prepared. Mayor Rozier questioned whether we had actually submitted the streets to DOT, but the clerk confirmed that the priority list requesting funding for Church and Lynn Streets was submitted on June 23, 2004 and copies of the letter were distributed to council. The other council members agreed that we should move forward with these two projects.
The council received copies of information submitted by the Recreation Executive Board on their recommendations regarding guidelines for the board members on attendance, responsibilities, duties, etc. The board recommended that once the guidelines are approved that all current members sign a statement of understanding regarding the requirements and that prospective members sign a statement of understanding before they are approved for appointment to the board. Recreation Director Joe Young asked that council review the information and provide their comments so steps can be taken as soon as possible to approve the guidelines. A copy of the guidelines and the current ordinances regarding the Recreation Executive Board will be furnished to Attorney Dickey for his review to make sure there is no conflict in these documents. Action was tabled on this matter to allow time for the council and the attorney to review the information.
The Mayor stated that Fett Burke reports that the construction of the new fuel facility at the Maintenance Department has been completed. Council was advised that the City has received a request for the final payment from Meco of Savannah in the amount of $19,548.34 and R & R Electric has submitted their bill for $3975.00. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the payments as requested by Meco of Savannah and R & R Electric. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that the City had received a note from Representative Ron Stephens commending the police department for their work in providing the Citizens’ Police Academy sessions for area citizens and the Mayor presented the information to Chief Gossett.
The Mayor recognized Maree Patrick, who lives at #1312 W. Highway 80, who had requested she be placed on tonight’s agenda for discussion regarding the paving of Stagecoach Road. Ms. Patrick thanked the Mayor and council for allowing her an opportunity to address them and stated that she had talked with Susan Rogers with the DOT about the possibility of paving the portion of Stagecoach Road that is located in the City limits of Bloomingdale and was advised that the state is ready and willing to participate in the funding once Bloomingdale contacts them about the project. Ms. Patrick reported that Ms. Rogers advised her that the state may even be willing to provide more than the normal 50% match because they were anxious to finish the project. Ms. Patrick stated that this unpaved portion of Stagecoach Road causes problems with the drainage because when the roadway is scraped the dirt and trash goes into the ditches causing water to back up onto her property. Ms. Patrick also reported that the roadway is very narrow and the culvert is not adequate to carry the water away from her property as it drains from the property owned by Mr. Myers. Mayor Rozier advised Ms. Patrick that he had a meeting scheduled with the DOT Commissioner on January 25th and would be discussing paving projects with them at that time. Councilman Johnson assured Ms. Patrick that all of the council would like to be able to pave Stagecoach Road immediately, but due to limited funds we were going to have to wait to see what would be available once Church and Lynn Streets were paved. Councilman Johnson pointed out that Stagecoach Road was the third street on the priority list and council would do what they could to get the street paved as soon as possible. Councilman Waller stated that everyone on council wanted to try to eliminate this dirt portion of Stagecoach Road, but as Councilman Johnson reported, we would have to work on getting the funds for this project. Ms. Patrick thanked council for their support of getting the road paved and for allowing her to discuss the matter with them.
Council discussed the setting of the annual sanitation rate for D.K. Morgan’s mobile home parks for 2005. It was noted that Mr. Morgan normally pays the fees in advance for all of his parks and receives a discount of $1.00 per month. His annual fees are based on the monthly reduced rate times the number of occupied lots in each park as of January 1st. Based on the current sanitation rate of $14.00 per month, Mr. Morgan’s rate would be $13.00 per month, per occupied lot, provided he pays the fees in advance. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to set the sanitation rate for D.K. Morgan’s mobile home parks for 2005 at $13.00 per occupied lot provided he pays the fees in advance for all of his parks. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the Judge and Judge Pro-tem (s) for the Bloomingdale Recorders’ Court for 2005 and the monthly compensation for the judge should be set. It was noted that the current budget includes monthly fees of $925 for the recorder’s court judge. Mayor Rozier stated that our current judges were doing a good job and he knew of no reason to make any changes and council agreed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to appoint Judge Tom Edenfield and Judge Pro tems Bob Galloway and Brandon Galloway to serve as Bloomingdale Recorders’ Court Judges for 2005 with the judge’s monthly compensation being set at $925 as outlined in the current budget. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request for a proposed minor subdivision of property owned by Brandon Paul on the corner of Adams and Tipton Roads. Mr. Paul informed council that the potential buyer of the lot to be created with the approved subdivision is interested in extending City sewer to serve the property and is requesting council’s approval to extend the sewer main to that location. Kerby Enterprises, Inc. is the potential buyer and has made a written request to address council about the extension of the sewer main to the property. Council was advised that the only issue before council tonight is to make a decision on allowing the extension of the sewer service to this lot since the subdivision of the property will still have to be submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their recommendation to council as required by the City’s Subdivision Ordinance. It was noted that since the Chatham County Health Department issued a septic tank permit for the structure located at #20 Tipton Road based on a 4.7 acre tract, they will have to review and approve the reduction in the size of the existing lot to make sure the remaining acreage would provide proper sewerage disposal to the residential structure even if council approves an extension of the City sewer to serve the new lot. Jimmy Kerby, who plans to purchase the lot if the City sewer can be extended, advised council that there is approximately 1600’ of sewer line that would have to be extended down Adams Road to serve the lot and, if council would agree, he would like to proceed with the work. Councilman Tyler pointed out that in order for council to make such a decision, we would need to be sure that the sewer main extension would work properly when extended from this distance and that it would not cause any problems with the service to current customers. Councilman Tyler suggested that Mr. Kerby obtain the services of an engineer to review data related to our system and prepare plans and provide calculations and/or documentation certifying the system would work without causing any problems to the sewer system. Councilman Tyler also suggested that the City’s engineer review this information and provide council with verification that the information is accurate so they can make their decision about the extension based on engineering information. Councilman Tyler noted that the cost of the engineer obtained by Mr. Kerby to prepare this information would be his responsibility. After a discussion of Mr. Kerby’s request and Councilman Tyler’s suggestions, council agreed to require Mr. Kerby to provide this information through a certified engineer and to contract with Southeast Engineering & Environmental to review the data and make their report to council. The Mayor advised Mr. Kerby that once these steps have been completed, he could come back to council with his request.
Mayor Rozier reported that council needed to fix and publish the qualifying fees for the Mayor and Council for the November 9, 2005 elections by February 1, 2005. Council was advised that state law requires that the fees shall be 3% of the total gross salary of the office paid in the preceding calendar year. Councilman Ray made a motion to set and publish qualifying fees for Mayor as $90 and for Council as $54 for the November 9, 2005 elections. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received a letter from Chatham County Commissioner Dean Kicklighter advising Mayor Rozier that based on correspondence sent to the Mayor by County Manager R.E. Abolt and County Engineer, A.G. Bungard regarding the Jimmy Deloach Parkway at U.S. 80, any future land transactions that may take place around this intersection should be disclosed to the possible buyer or builder because an overpass is planned at that intersection. After a brief discussion with council, the Mayor stated we would post this information on the City’s website.
The council reviewed a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission to approve the final plat for the major subdivision as developed by E. Phillips Properties, LLC located at Moore & Hickory Streets with the following stipulations:
1) The engineer must provide a certification letter with the wording as required by the subdivision ordinance. Note: Council was advised that the developer’s engineer, Ebrahim Nadji, Project Engineer, Empire Engineering Company, has provided the certification letter with wording as suggested by Attorney Dickey.
2) The developer should provide a 10% maintenance bond based on the calculations as certified by the engineer to include a $2,000 line of credit. Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman, Andrew Rawlings, advised council there was an error in the December 21st minutes and rather than a $2,000 line of credit the commission had agreed to require a $20,000 line of credit.
There was no one present at the meeting representing this development. Councilman Tyler raised questions about the width of the pavement that had been installed on the cul-de-sac. In reviewing the plans that were approved by council, it was determined that there was to be 80’ pavement and 100’ right of way for the cul-de-sac; however, Councilman Tyler stated that he did not think there was 80’ of pavement there although their engineer had certified that the project was completed according to the approved plans. Councilman Tyler suggested we request a site inspection by our engineer of this project to verify that it has been completed according to the approved plans. Councilman Tyler also expressed his concern that there may be the need for some drainage maintenance easements around the property and while the plans are under review to have the engineer provide suggestions regarding this issue. After discussing this issue at length, Councilman Tyler made a motion to require a site inspection by EMC Engineering on behalf of the City of the major subdivision submitted for final approval by Ellis Phillips located at Moore and Hickory Streets to insure its conformity to the approved plans and to require that Mr. Phillips provide a $20,000 letter of credit to cover any maintenance that may be needed in the next twelve months to the improvements in the subdivision. Councilman Tyler’s motion included a request that while reviewing the plan that EMC make a recommendation regarding whether or not there would be a need to obtain maintenance easements for the drainage located at the rear of the lots and on maintenance easements for drainage on each side of the property. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Wedincamp excused himself from the podium during the discussion of the next agenda item due to a personal interest in the matter.
Council discussed a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission to approve the PUD plot plan and written report as submitted by Mike Wedincamp and Charles Rogers for their property located on Cheyenne Road with the following stipulations and action:
1) All turn a rounds within the PUD be eighty (80) feet wide
2) All pads are to be adjusted and arranged to save as many trees as possible that are eight (8) inches in diameter or larger
3) All rights of way will be sixty (60) feet or more
4) A variance for fencing to be twelve (12) inches from the property lines. Note: Mike Wedincamp pointed out that the variance was actually on the height of the fencing from 8’ to 10’ rather than the distance from the property lines.
Mr. Wedincamp was questioned about the sewer service and he stated that his plans included the connection to the City’s sewer line on U.S. Highway 80 to serve the development. Councilman Tyler stated that we needed to have the City engineers review his plans for the extension of the City sewer service to verify that it would adequately serve the development when extended this distance without the need for a lift station and that there would be no problems created for the current sewer system. Mr. Wedincamp stated his objection to this requirement and asked why that would be necessary since his engineer’s representative, Toss Allen, who was present at the meeting, had already assured him that there would be no problems and felt that since the City was familiar with the work of Southeast Engineering & Environmental we should be agreeable to accepting this information without an engineer’s review. Councilman Waller questioned the need for requiring the review because the City had used these same engineers in the past. Councilman Tyler pointed out that these engineers were technically working for Mr. Wedincamp and Mr. Rogers and we needed an unbiased review of their calculations by another engineer who would be working on behalf of the City. Councilman Myrick reminded Mr. Wedincamp that the initial discussions regarding the extension of the sewer service to the property was only to serve ten (10) houses, but Mr. Wedincamp stated he did not recall this discussion. Several council members agreed that the council should require the City’s engineer to verify their information not only because of the potential conflict the engineer may have between the owners and the City but also because it would be the ethical thing to do. Mayor Rozier asked Attorney Dickey what the City was legally required to do and was advised that he did not feel this was a legal issue, but rather an ethical one and council would need to make this decision. After additional discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission regarding the approval of the PUD
submitted by Mike Wedincamp and Charles Rogers with the stipulations and fence variance as included in their recommendation provided the City’s engineer reviewed the plans, calculations and/or documentation provided by Southeast Engineering & Environmental certifying that the extension of the sewer service from where it stops at #608 W. Highway 80 to the development on Cheyenne Road would provide adequate sewer service to the proposed thirty-four (34) residential units without causing any problems to the current system and the City’s engineer verifies this information. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes from Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray, and Tyler. Councilman Waller voted against the motion. Council was advised that along with the approval of the PUD, there needed to be approval of an amendment to the zoning map to change the zoning of the properties contained within the PUD from their present zoning classification of “RA-1” to a “PUD” classification, with the ordinance to include legal descriptions of the properties, a reference to the development guidelines as presented in the PUD Master Plan and written report as approved by council, any conditions of rezoning related to the servicing of the property with water and sewer as well as the provision that the City contact the State of Georgia Department of Community Affairs, through the Brunswick, Georgia, Regional Development Commission, about the ordinance constituting a “minor amendment” to the City’s land use element of its Comprehensive Plan and the fact that the City’s next update to the Comprehensive Plan will reflect the zoning change. The Mayor asked Attorney Dickey about this requirement and was advised that this was needed to properly handle the establishment of the PUD district, but before he could finalize preparation of the ordinance he would need the legal descriptions of the properties from Mr. Wedincamp and Mr. Rogers and also the sewer issue should be resolved so it could be addressed in the ordinance. Mayor Rozier asked if the ordinance could be approved pending the inclusion of this information and he stated that he felt that would be alright. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the first reading of the amendment to the zoning map establishing the PUD district to include the provisions outlined above and with the stipulation that the Attorney include the legal descriptions of the properties and the notations on the sewer service to the development once council has obtained the results of the City engineer’s review. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to dispense with the second reading of the amendment to the zoning map as approved with the aforementioned stipulations, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the amendment to the zoning map establishing the PUD district as approved with the aforementioned stipulations. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor asked the developers to provide Attorney Dickey with the legal descriptions for inclusion in the ordinance and they agreed.
Councilman Wedincamp returned to the podium after discussion of this matter was completed.
Mayor Rozier stated that the Department of Community Affairs would be making a presentation on Qualify Growth Initatives at the January 18th meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission and he encouraged the City’s elected officials as well as the City Attorney to attend. It was noted that anyone interested in this presentation were also invited.
The Mayor reported that Councilman Tyler had requested that council consider taking whatever steps were necessary to condemn the house located at #308 Pine Street due to its deteriorating and unsafe condition. It was noted that a copy of the City’s Nuisance Abatement Ordinance has been distributed to Attorney Dickey for his review. During the discussion regarding the ordinance, Councilman Ray asked that the City allow him to contact the owner of the property, Kenneth Sikes, about removing/repairing the structure located on the property prior to the City going through the steps as outlined in the nuisance ordinance to condemn the building and council agreed.
Councilman Tyler asked that council pursue collection of outstanding sanitation bills owed to the City. Council instructed the City Attorney to send letters to those persons owing large balances on their sanitation bills advising them that if payment is not made the city will proceed with the collection of outstanding bills through legal processes.
Council was informed that the City has received notification from the Department of Transportation that the permit for a Traffic Signal at S.R. 17/Cherry Street at S.R. 26 has been approved. The traffic signal request was submitted in March, 2001.
As a matter of information, the council was advised that the City requested bids on rates for certificates of deposit that were to renew in late December, 2004 from six (6) banks and the high bidder on these certificates was Wachovia Bank. After reviewing the bids with members of the Budget and Finance Committee and obtaining their approval, the certificates were purchased from Wachovia Bank. These certificates, along with an additional four (4), are scheduled for renewal in late March, 2005 and bids will once again be solicited from area banks. Council was also advised that these certificates were on deposit at First Chatham Bank and had been initially transferred to that bank from Coastal Bank in December, 2003 and March, 2004 after First Chatham quoted the highest rates during the bidding process.
The Mayor reported that a request had been received from representatives with First Chatham Bank to meet with the Mayor, City Council, and the City Attorney to discuss the possibility of the City entering into an agreement with First Chatham Bank to participate in the CDARS program, a deposit-placement service, that allows local banks to offer higher interest rates for certificates of deposit by distributing funds to other FDIC insured banking institutions. Information on this program has been distributed for council’s review. After a brief discussion, council agreed to meet with the bank to discuss the program and the Mayor called a special meeting of City Council on January 20, 2005 at 6:00pm to meet with First Chatham Bank representatives.
Council was advised that the codification of the City Ordinances was in its final stages and a sample adopting ordinance will be forwarded to Attorney Dickey for his review that was furnished by Municipal Code Corporation. At the same time the ordinance is presented for adoption, a fee schedule for those rates provided by ordinance, but not included in the municipal code, will have to be prepared and approved by council.
The Mayor stated that Attorney Dickey has requested an executive session for personnel matters and client/attorney discussions. Councilman Waller 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 the executive session was completed, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The following action was taken as a result of discussions held in executive session:
1) Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the acceptance of $800 as payment in full from William McAllister for the costs related to the clearing of his property located at #14 Osteen Road by the City. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the solicitation of bids on contracts to provide the services of a public defender for indigent defense cases of the Bloomingdale Recorders’ Court. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
3) Councilman Waller made a motion to pay a $1500 contract binder to Charles Rogers to secure his services as the overseer of the renovation of the building located at #6 Adams Road for the police department. Councilman Myrick asked that the motion include the preparation of a contract by Attorney Dickey outlining Mr. Roger’s responsibilities related to the project and a payment schedule for the $10,000 contract fee he is to be paid for the work and Councilman Waller agreed to this request. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion from Councilman Waller with the addition of the contract requirement and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The accounts payable were presented and reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that this concluded the items that were presented prior to the council meeting agenda deadline and being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 9:15pm.
Mayor Rozier and all council members were present at the meeting.