January 20, 2005
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the January 6, 2005 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that the Bloomingdale Police Department has met the standards as required by the State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program and is now recognized as a Certified Law Enforcement Agency for the period of January, 2005 through January 2010. The Mayor presented council with the plaque that was awarded to the department by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Mayor Rozier also presented a plaque of appreciation from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police to Jody Heaton, Certification Manager for the Bloomingdale Police Department, in recognition of her contribution to the performance of the tasks related to the certification.
Attorney Dickey reported that the City’s lawsuit against EPD regarding water permit issues has been placed on the pretrial calendar and should be heard next month.
Council was advised that the non-conforming mobile homes located on property owned by Debra Brant at #6 & #8 Brantville Drive have not been removed. Attorney Dickey was instructed to inform Ms. Brant of her violation of the City’s Zoning Ordinance and to proceed with any legal action necessary to insure her compliance with the ordinance.
Councilman Johnson stated that the Councilman Myrick was working on getting bids on the proposed generator for Well #1, but since he was not at the meeting, Councilman Johnson asked that this matter be passed until the information can be presented by Councilman Myrick and council agreed.
Attorney Dickey advised council that letters will be sent out to those persons owing large balances on their sanitation bills before the next meeting.
Councilman Ray reported that he had not been able to contact Kenneth Sikes regarding the condition of the structure on his property located at #308 Pine Street and council agreed to pass any action on this matter until the next meeting.
Attorney Dickey stated that he had received the $800 payment for the cleanup by the City of the William McAllister property located at #14 Osteen Road and it has been placed in his trust account to be forwarded to the City once the check has cleared the bank.
The Mayor reported that the proposed by-laws, as presented by the Recreation Executive Board to the council for approval, are under review by Attorney Dickey and his recommendations will be presented to council once he has completed his review.
Council was advised that the City has not yet received the engineer’s information to be provided by Kerby Enterprises, Inc. for the proposed extension of the City sewer down Adams Road to serve property currently owned by Brandon Paul at the corner of Adams & Tipton Roads. It was noted that council had agreed to have our engineers review his engineered construction plans and his engineer’s data certifying that the extension of the sewer main would work properly when extended from this distance without causing any problems with the service to current customers and make a report back to council on their findings.
Mayor Rozier stated that as discussed at the January 6th meeting, the final plat and certification information on the subdivision located at Moore & Hickory Street as developed by E. Phillips Properties has been forwarded to EMC Engineering for a site inspection. It was noted that EMC will be checking to make sure that the subdivision was developed as shown on the plans as approved by council and advise the City on some drainage questions raised by Councilman Tyler on future developments in the area. Council was advised that the developer had some concerns about the $20,000 line of credit requirement for the subdivision. The Mayor recognized Rodney Rogers who stated that it was his understanding the council was requiring a 10% maintenance bond and a $20,000 line of credit for the improvements to the property. Based on the minutes from the Planning & Zoning Commission and the change submitted by Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Andrew Rawlings at the January 6th meeting, it appeared that this was the recommendation, however, after discussing the matter, council agreed that the developer could provide either a $2,000 maintenance bond or a $20,000 letter of credit to council to cover the maintenance of the improvements to the property.
The Mayor advised council that the City was still waiting on the engineer’s construction plans and the calculations and/or documentation from Southeast Engineering & Environmental regarding the extension of the sewer service to the PUD on Cheyenne Road so it could be forwarded to EMC Engineering for review. Council was reminded that the PUD was approved at the January 6th meeting with the stipulation that the City’s engineer review this data and report their findings back to council and the approval of the PUD ordinance was also contingent on obtaining information regarding the servicing of the properties with water and sewer and the submission to the Attorney of the legal descriptions of the property. Councilman Wedincamp stated that his engineer was waiting to receive some information from E-1 regarding the grinder pumps before he could complete the data for submission to the City.
Mayor Rozier reported that during the executive session held on January 6, 2005, council discussed a recommendation from Attorney Dickey to have the salary of the Recorders’ Court Judge moved from a police department expense to an administrative expense. Council was advised that this change would require an amendment to the FY 2004/2005 budget. Councilman Waller made a motion to move $11,100 from the police department budget for the salary of the court judge to the administration budget. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was informed that Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. had submitted the draft copies of the Storm Water Drainage Map to the City for their review.
The Mayor reported that at the January 6, 2005 meeting, council had been advised that the City had received a complaint that a business was being operated in the rear building located at #1720E. Hwy 80 on property owned by D.K. Morgan without an occupational license. Council was informed that the police department has issued a subpoena to Michael VanBrackle to appear in Recorders’ Court for operating a business without a license. Council was advised that the City has received an application for an occupational license from Mr. VanBrackle to operate his automobile repair business from this location; however, this building has no bathroom facilities which must be addressed before a license can be issued. Also, an auto repair business is a “conditional use” in a C-2 zone which requires that the council approve issuance of the license. Mayor Rozier recognized D.K. Morgan who stated that he had allowed Michael VanBrackle to move some of his personal vehicles into the building to work on, but to the best of his knowledge, there was no business being operated from this location. Bobby Ballew, the tenant operating a business in the front building located at #1720E Hwy 80, stated that there are no bathroom facilities in the rear building and no handicapped parking. He also reported that Mr. VanBrackle was operating a business and he had pictures showing that he was working on vehicles other than his own--even Mr. Morgan’s vehicles. Mr. Morgan stated that he is in and out of the building a couple of times a day and has seen no indication that a business is being operated from this location. Mr. Morgan also stated that Mr. VanBrackle was merely checking out a problem he was having with his vehicle, but did not do any repairs on it. Mr. Morgan advised council that he would do whatever he needed to do to the building and the property to allow for the operating of the business in the rear building at #1720E. Hwy 80. After discussing the matter, council agreed that Mr. Morgan would need to install a bathroom in the rear building, provide handicapped parking for the business and designate an easement for traffic to travel from Highway 80 to the business in the rear building. It was noted that since this was a change to the site development plan, the Planning & Zoning Commission would need to review the plan. Mr. Morgan stated that he would have Kern-Coleman & Co. make the changes to the plan and submit them to City Hall. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the issuance of an occupational license to Michael VanBrackle for an auto repair business to operate from the rear building at #1720E. Hwy 80 with the stipulation that the owner, D.K. Morgan, will have bathroom facilities and handicapped parking completed by March 17, 2005. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Ryan Thompson with Thomas & Hutton Engineering who made a request on behalf of Abercorn Site, LLC and the Morgan Family to allow them to make improvements to the Wildcat Dam Road to serve their property that is being developed in the City of Pooler. A copy of the conceptual plan, along with a narrative on the project, was distributed for council’s review. Mr. Thompson reported that their plans are to pave the road to meet or exceed the City’s requirements within the 80’ right of way currently owned by Bloomingdale. The roadway will consist of two 15’ one-way lanes with landscaped medians with turn in/turn out areas. The Mayor asked Mr. Thompson about the size of the area to be developed and the number of homes that would be constructed. Mr. Thompson reported that there were approximately 25 acres consisting of 146 townhouses in the initial phase, but felt that, in the future, there would probably be other property developed along this roadway. Councilman Johnson stated that he did not have any objections to improvements to the road, but would want to make sure that the construction plans were reviewed by the City’s engineers to make sure they met our requirements. Mayor Rozier expressed his concern about the amount of traffic that would be traveling on the roadway and asked if this was going to be the only access for the development. Mr. Thompson stated that there may be something that would become available in the future, but for right now Wildcat Dam Road would be the access for the property. Councilman Johnson pointed out that based on this information, the residents of this development would live in Pooler, but their only access to their homes would be a Bloomingdale City street. There was some discussion by council regarding the maintenance of the landscaped medians and Mr. Thompson stated that he felt sure there would be no problem working out an arrangement with the developer for this to be maintained by someone other than the City of Bloomingdale. Council also expressed concerns that with the amount of traffic anticipated on this roadway, there could be some costly maintenance. Mayor Rozier asked if the council had any problems with approving the concept of the roadway if he could work something out with the developer regarding the maintenance of the landscaped medians and the roadway. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he did not want the City to hold up the project and would like to see us go ahead and give approval tonight. Councilman Johnson stated that he had no problems with their plan to improve the road, but did not want the City to have to be paying for new asphalt in a couple of years. Councilman Tyler pointed out that since our engineers were going to have to approve their construction plans, we would have control on the specifications for the roadway and a maintenance bond could be required to cover any problems that may occur due to poor construction. After additional discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to approve conceptual plans for improvements to the Wildcat Dam Road as presented by Thomas & Hutton Engineering, Inc. on behalf of Abercorn Site, LLC and the Morgan Family with the understanding the maintenance of the greenspace in the median will not be the responsibility of the City and that the Mayor will be allowed to work with the developers and the City of Pooler regarding the maintenance of the roadway and present their proposal for its maintenance back to council prior to the approval of the construction plans. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Citizen Billy Strozier who asked the Mayor if he could address an issue that was discussed in old business regarding the property on Osteen Road. Mr. Strozier asked if the Mayor could explain why the City was not going to be reimbursed for the entire $1600 that it cost to clear the property located at #14 Osteen Road. Mayor Rozier stated that several months ago the owner had been notified of the overgrown conditions and given a period of time to clean up the property. However, when he did not take care of the problem, the City crews handled it at a cost of $1674.00. The owner was then notified that he had to pay the bill, but after he failed to pay it, the City Attorney was directed to take legal action to collect the fees. Mr. Strozier asked the Mayor if he now owned the property and Mayor Rozier stated that he had purchased it. Mr. Strozier questioned Mayor Rozier as to why he did not pay the costs related to the improvements to the property since he was an elected official and ethically, he should not benefit from any transaction that may have involved City funds. The Mayor stated that as far as he was concerned the property was not really improved and asked Councilman Wedincamp if, in his opinion, was this improved property—Councilman Wedincamp agreed with him that it was not. Councilman Johnson advised Mr. Strozier that the council had agreed to accept the reduced fee because of the problems related to the collection of the expenses. Councilman Ray pointed out that the City was going to have to sue the owner to collect the full amount since the ordinance did not allow for a lien to be placed against the property and council felt that the additional court costs would not be warranted. Mr. Strozier informed Mayor Rozier that if he had been the Mayor and had purchased the property he would have made sure that the City was paid, in full, for the improvements to the property and expressed his concern that no one else seemed to feel that there was a problem with the Mayor not paying these fees. Citizen George Wingate stated that he had been advised by Mayor Rozier over two weeks ago that the mobile home that had been moved onto the property would be moved, but it was still there. The Mayor explained that the mobile home should have never been placed on the property, but the person he hired to move the mobile home moved it there without his permission. Mayor Rozier pointed out that he had checked the county tax records and found that the property was still zoned as RA-1, which allows mobile homes, but failed to follow up with City Hall to verify the information. The Mayor advised Mr. Wingate that the mobile home would be moved in another week. Citizen David Wingate asked the Mayor didn’t he think it would have been proper to have made a permit application to the City Hall before moving the mobile home onto the property? Councilman Ray advised him that a permit should have been obtained before placing the mobile home on the property. Mr. Wingate asked why the driveway was extended without a permit. The Mayor stated that when he realized that the mobile home could not be placed on the property he had stopped work on the entire project. Councilman Tyler asked what the City would have to do to change the ordinance so that we could file a lien against property rather than having to go through a lawsuit to collect fees related to the clearing of property by City crews. Attorney Dickey reported that we could make some changes to the current ordinances to simplify this process and council asked that he prepare something for their review as soon as possible. Mayor Rozier explained that when he had originally talked with Mr. McAllister about paying the fees to the City, he advised him that he did not have the money to reimburse the City because he was trying to sell the property. Mayor Rozier pointed out that the council had agreed to accept the reduced fee before he had made his agreement with the owner and before he purchased the property. Citizen Billy Strozier stated that as far as he was concerned that as the Chief Elected Official for the City of Bloomingdale, the Mayor should have paid the full $1674 because he was basically in charge of the affairs of the City and that would have been the ethical thing to do. Mayor Rozier asked if there were any other comments on this issue and being none he moved on to other agenda items.
Council was advised that Recreation Director Joe Young had requested that he be placed on the agenda to present a request to allow the Recreation Department to purchase a utility vehicle. There had been three (3) bids obtained on this type vehicle- One bid was for a John Deere Gator Utility Vehicle at $5259.00 and the other two bids were for Kawasaki Mules at $5364.00 and $6284.00. It was noted that approval of this request would require an amendment to the FY 2004/2005 budget since it did not include the purchase of this item. Council was informed that Joe was coaching a basketball game and could not attend tonight, but asked that council consider the purchasing of the vehicle since it could be used in the maintenance of the ball fields; however, since Councilman Myrick, the Chairman of the Recreation Committee, was not at the meeting, council felt that a decision on this matter should be postponed until he could be present. Joe Young arrived at the meeting before council adjourned and explained that this vehicle could be used to move the pitching machines, bases, and other equipment at the park, to drag the fields and to move dirt. Councilman Johnson stated he wanted to make sure before investing this amount of money in a piece of equipment that we knew it would perform the work that was needed and he was assured by Joe that it would. The council asked Joe if he had discussed this purchase with Councilman Myrick and he stated that he had talked with him about a week ago, but had not been able to reach him before tonight’s meeting. The Mayor expressed his concerns about liability and safety issues with this type vehicle because he wanted to make sure that no children would be on the equipment. Joe stated that they would take the same precautions that were being taken with the tractors and lawn mowers and that it would be under lock and key and only the adults would be using the vehicle. Councilman Ray stated that the department may want to consider a golf cart with a utility body. After additional discussion, council agreed that this matter needed to be passed until Councilman Myrick could be present to provide his comments.
Councilman Johnson reported that the City was experiencing some problems related to citizens raking debris, such as leaves and straw, into drainage ditches and without there being a violation of a specific ordinance; the police were not able to issue citations. Councilman Johnson stated that the maintenance department needed some direction from council about how to handle these problems in the future—should they just go ahead and clean out the debris or does council want to consider adopting an ordinance that would prohibit this type activity. Councilman Wedincamp pointed out that the City could not just leave it in the ditches, so we needed to do something. It was noted that another problem would be to actually prove that a particular person had put the trash or straw in the ditch. After a brief discussion, council asked Attorney Dickey to prepare an ordinance to address this problem and have it available for their review at the February meeting. During this discussion, council was advised that the Georgia Forestry Unit had some new personnel on staff and they were citing people who were burning without permits.
The council was advised that the City has received information from Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis that he would like to conduct group meetings every two months with the mayors and councilmen at 6:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursdays and would like to know which day was more convenient for our elected officials. After a brief discussion, council agreed that Tuesdays would be the best for Bloomingdale officials.
The Mayor reported that a notice has been received from CGRDC on behalf of the DOT about a public meeting that will be held on Monday, January 24, 2005 at the Coastal Georgia Center from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to receive local input for the development of the Statewide Transportation Plan Update (STP). DOT officials have stressed the importance of submitting written requests for any transportation projects that local governments may have that they would like to be included in the State Plan.
City Council was informed that copies of the Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2004, along with the Management Letter, has been received from Whitfield & Butler and distributed for council’s review. Acceptance of the audit and any related action will be tabled until the February 3rd meeting to allow council an opportunity to review the information.
Mayor Rozier stated that there was one item that was received by the City prior to the agenda deadline of Friday, January 14, 2005, but it did not appear on the agenda. The matter was related to the servicing of City water and sewer to a development at #210 Osteen Road as proposed by Ronald Edwards. Councilman Johnson made a motion to amend the agenda to allow for the discussion of this item. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mr. Edwards reported that he was considering the purchase of the property located at #210 Osteen Road to develop a ten (10) lot subdivision and wanted to make sure that the property could be served by City water and sewer. It was noted that the City’s water and sewer mains are already located on Osteen Road in front of this property, so the only issue would be that of capacity. The Mayor pointed out that there was sewer capacity available and asked Attorney Dickey his opinion about the water capacity. Attorney Dickey stated that if the mains were already run in this area, he felt that water taps should proceed until the City issued a moratorium on building permits. The Mayor advised Mr. Edwards that according to information received from Chatham County, there is a possibility that the further development of Jimmy Deloach Parkway could impact this property and encouraged him to check with the county before proceeding with his plans to develop it. Mayor Rozier stated that it was his understanding that the acquisition of property was already underway and construction was scheduled to being in 2007. After this discussion, Mr. Edwards was advised that as long as his development met all of the other requirements for development as outlined by City Ordinances, the Mayor and Council felt that the City could serve the ten (10) lot subdivision with water and sewer.
The Mayor reported that council needed to adjourn into executive session to discuss some personnel issues. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. A copy of the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law is attached.
After the executive session was adjourned, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The following action was taken by council following the executive session:
1) Councilman Ray made a motion to make an adjustment to the Police Department’s Administrative Personnel Pay Chart as approved on November 18, 2004 to add an increase of $.50 to the court clerk’s hourly rate effective 1-3-05. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
2) Councilman Ray made a motion to accept the letter of resignation from Whitfield & Butler, P.C. to serve as the City’s Auditor and to proceed with the solicitation of bids for this position. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
3) Councilman Johnson made a motion to allow Mayor Rozier to contact representatives from Lott Barber Architects to set up a meeting with council as soon as possible to discuss their providing consulting services to the City for zoning, subdivision, and developments plans. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
After a review of the accounts payable, Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.
Mayor Rozier and Council members Johnson, Ray, Tyler, Waller and Wedincamp were present at the meeting. Councilman Myrick was absent due to illness.