April 6, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Waller leading in prayer. The minutes of the March 16, 2006 meeting were reviewed with Councilman Waller making a motion to approve said minutes. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the April 6, 2006 agenda. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that the City had received correspondence from EPD requesting that we resubmit our application requesting an increase in our water withdrawal permit to include additional criteria developed by EPD in January. The Mayor pointed out that when City representatives had met with Dr. Couch in December, she had outlined the information that would be required in our application and it did not include the new criteria. Mayor Tipton stated that he had attempted to contact Dr. Couch to discuss the request, but she had not yet returned his calls. The Mayor advised council that he would continue trying to make contact with Dr. Couch, but, if necessary, Representative Buddy Carter had stated he would discuss the issue with the Governor.
Council was advised that Howard L.S., Inc., the contractor hauling dirt from the pit on Osteen Road, obtained his occupational license today. The license covered one operator and four trucks. The Mayor asked Fett Burke about the cementing of the pavement on the curves in the road that had the potential of being damaged with the heavy trucks. Mr. Burke stated that this work had been done and Ernest Grizzard pointed out that the work was performed by city crews. Councilman Myrick asked whether the work had been done by the contractor on the unpaved portion of Osteen Road and Mr. Burke advised him that they had mucked out some of the problems areas. Councilman Strozier stated that we still needed to determine who was going to be responsible for the damage to the pavement that may be caused by the trucks hauling the dirt. Councilman Strozier reported Ferman Tyler, the owner of the Osteen Road property, told him that the terms of the contract required that the contractor be responsible for the road and he was supposed to be bringing a copy of the contract to City Hall, however, it has not yet been received. Attorney Dickey advised council that the contractor that is hauling the dirt would be ultimately responsible for the damage, but the issuance of the occupational license had nothing to do with the issues related to the damage to the road. Attorney Dickey stated that the City does have an ordinance to cover this type damage, but felt there were some areas that needed to be strengthened. Councilman Rawlings questioned who would enforce the ordinance since we do not have a Code Enforcement Officer. Attorney Dickey advised him that the ordinance outlined the provisions for enforcement and these would be processed through council. The Mayor asked that Attorney Dickey review the ordinance and prepare changes he felt were necessary and bring these back for council’s consideration.
The Mayor recognized Attorney James Gerard who had submitted a letter to the City on behalf of AMB addressing the road access to the AMB site. Attorney Gerard first congratulated the City on their willingness to work with AMB and the City of Pooler to help to bring this development to Chatham County since it would be good for the economy and generate jobs for the area. Attorney Gerard stated that in the initial AMB package, the owners of the property had indicated that a road would be provided from Highway 80 to the vicinity of the AMB site so that the area could be furnished with Bloomingdale police protection. Attorney Gerard pointed out that, at the time, the proposed right-of-way and the property surrounding it were in Bloomingdale. However, with the proposed de-annexation of properties from Bloomingdale to Pooler, the road and surrounding property will be incorporated into Pooler. Attorney Gerard advised council that AMB is requesting an amendment to the “action plan” by no longer requiring the construction of a road running south from Highway 80 to the proposed AMB site. Since a Bloomingdale police officer will no longer be able to access the site from Highway 80 without having to travel through Pooler, the use of the 80 foot right of way presently being constructed by Commonwealth Commercial Properties to the AMB site from Pooler Parkway would be more preferred by AMB. Attorney Gerard pointed out that AMB feels that their site would be more secure not having to worry about access to the site via two routes, especially in these times where theft and vandalism is becoming more common. Councilman Strozier asked the question as to who actually wanted the second road to the site. Councilman Rawlings stated that he felt there were public safety issues related to not having the access from Highway 80. Councilwoman Winn commented that she felt the location off of Pooler Parkway would be sufficient. Attorney Gerard pointed out that ambulance and fire service would be readily available with the access from Pooler Parkway within a few minutes. Mayor Tipton stated that the City needed to do some additional research on this matter before approving the request and appointed a committee consisting of Councilmembers Myrick and Strozier to meet with him to discuss the roadway as well as water and sewer issues related to the project. Attorney Gerard stated that the City of Pooler has already approved the petition from the Morgan Family on the annexation/de-annexation of properties involving the AMB site and asked that council proceed as soon as possible with their acceptance of the petition. (Note: Additional discussion of this matter occurred later in the meeting.)
Councilman Rawlings reported that the Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful Campaign “Kick-off” day was held on April 1st, but there was not very much community participation. Councilman Rawlings stated that there was, however, some landscaping work done at the entrance to Taylor Park. The Mayor expressed his appreciation of the work that has been done by Campaign Chairman Mary Mitchell and her committee on this project and encouraged everyone to attend the Town Meeting to be held on April 17th at the Bloomingdale School at 7:00pm.
Councilwoman Winn stated that plans for the “Patriotic Celebration” to be held on Memorial Day were underway. She stated that the price for the fireworks had increased since the last event and arrangements were being made to obtain a color guard. Councilwoman Winn stated she would keep the council updated on these plans.
Council was advised that the City has received a request from Kevin & Kay Heritage to renew their “medical hardship” permit for the secondary mobile home located on their property at #1230 Bloomingdale Road. Kay’s mother, Ho Shim Shaw, lives in the mobile home. Ms. Heritage has provided a letter from Ms. Shaw’s physician advising that she has medical conditions that require daily assistance from her daughter. Ms. Heritage is requesting a six month extension of her secondary mobile home permit as allowed by the zoning ordinance. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the request, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
City Council reviewed a request submitted by Danny Fries, Sr. for a refund of the fees he paid for building permits and related expenses for two lots on Conaway Rd. Mr. Fries does not plan to build on these lots as he has sold them to another party. Council was advised that the fees that Mr. Fries paid at the time he obtained his building permit included water deposits and buzzer/light kits of $325 per lot and there is no problem refunding these amounts to him. There has been administrative work related to the building permits that have already taken place as well as a payment of $30 to the building inspector for the plan review for each permit. The building permit fees were $250 each and council needs to determine if a refund of the building permit fees is appropriate and, if so, how much should be refunded. The Mayor asked for some input from council on this request. Councilman Strozier stated that he felt the City should withhold enough of the monies to cover our expenses to date with the balance being refunded to Mr. Fries and suggested we refund $125 per building permit. The Mayor asked Mr. Fries if this was agreeable to him and he stated that it was. Councilman Strozier made a motion to refund Mr. Fries a total of $900 for both lots in water deposits, buzzer/light kits, and building permit fees. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was reminded that in September, 2005 an addendum was approved to the City’s contract with Republic Waste Services authorizing payment of a 4% fuel charge for a six month period starting with the October, 2005 billing. The addendum included a requirement that the fuel charge issue be reviewed by council at the end of the six month period to determine if it should be renewed. Republic Waste Services has submitted a letter requesting a six month extension on the 4% fuel charge. If the fuel charge is extended for six months the increase will continue through the September, 2006 billing. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the six month extension of the 4% fuel charge with Councilman Myrick seconding the motion. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that he had sent a letter to Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb expressing our concerns about the location of the roadway into the housing development off Wildcat Dam Road and its proximity to the sewer force main and Thomas & Hutton is looking into this matter. The Mayor stated that there had also been some concerns about the misalignment of this roadway in regards to the old railroad bed located in Bloomingdale west of Wildcat Dam Road, but he had discussed this with the City’s zoning consultant and she indicated that this issue could be addressed with future development of Main Street.
The Mayor reported that the City has received several complaints in the last couple of weeks regarding the accumulation of junk cars, paint cans, & debris on four different properties. Councilman Myrick submitted the information to Chief Gossett last week asking that the police department visit these sites and take photographs for council’s review so they could determine the severity of the problems. Councilman Myrick stated that the Chief had not yet submitted this information to him and was not here because he was sick. Councilman Myrick asked that discussion be postponed until he could get this information from the Chief.
Council was advised that the State of Georgia requires that municipal courts provide representation for indigent defendants. After soliciting bids for this service last year, the City contracted with Attorney Carol Miller to provide the service for one year at a cost of $2,000. This contract expired at the end of March, 2006 and due to an increase in her private practice, Ms. Miller does not want to continue providing this service. Council was reminded that the only other bid received by the City for this service was at a cost of $6,800 per year. Council was informed that the City has received an offer from Attorney Earle J. Duncan to serve as Public Defender in Bloomingdale’s Municipal Court for one year which includes one appearance per month for a fee of $3,200. After discussing the bid, Councilman Ray made a motion to accept the proposal from Attorney Duncan, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray then made a motion to amend the FY 2005/2006 budget by $400 to cover the increase in line item #104000.4600 (legal fees) for the months of March, 2006 thru June, 2006. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was informed that they needed to address a question that has been raised regarding the residency of the Chairman of the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board. The by-laws of the board indicate that an officer must be a resident of the City of Bloomingdale. The current chairman, James Cannon, resided in Bloomingdale when he was elected to this position; however, he has since moved out of the City limits. Councilwoman Winn, Chairman of the Recreation Committee, proposes that council recommend to the board that the current chairman be allowed to continue to serve in this capacity until the end of the fiscal year which is June 30, 2006. The officers of the board are usually elected in July of each year and a new chairman could be selected at that time. Council discussed this issue and agreed that this would be the best way to handle this matter. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to allow James Cannon to serve as Chairman of the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board until June 30, 2006. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Attorney Gerard who restated his request that council address the petition from the Morgan Family on the annexation/de-annexation of their properties. Attorney Gerard pointed out that this petition has to be formally accepted to proceed with the other requirements related to the approval of the annexation/de-annexation petition such as notification of the county and zoning issues and stated that these have specific time restraints. Council was informed that approval of the petition does not necessarily mean that council must approve the actual annexation/de-annexation as it would also require a vote. Questions were raised about addressing the petition since this matter was not on the agenda. Attorney Gerard stated that he had submitted the petition on behalf of the Morgan Family a couple of weeks ago. The clerk acknowledged receipt of the petition, but informed council that the Mayor stated he wanted to resolve some of the issues related to the AMB project prior to the council addressing the petition. After this discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to amend the agenda to include consideration of the annexation/de-annexation petition due to the time restraints involved in the annexation process and since the petition had been submitted prior to the agenda deadline. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion. During the discussion of the petition, Attorney Dickey advised council that approval of the acceptance of the petition from the Morgan Family to proceed with the annexation/de-annexation process was not the same as approving the annexation/de-annexation ordinance and stated that the charter did allow for two readings of ordinances. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the acceptance of the petition from the Morgan Family and proceed with the annexation/de-annexation process. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Mayor Tipton stated that the agenda included an executive session for the discussion of personnel and legal issues. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
After completion of the executive session, Councilman Strozier made a motion to return to the general session, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit is attached to the original minutes.
Councilman Myrick presented a motion on behalf of the Personnel Committee to promote Diane Proudfoot to the position of Office Manager effective April 10, 2006 with a salary increase as included in the FY 2005/2006 budget. The motion was seconded by Councilman Rawlings and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Ray, Chairman of the Budget & Finance Committee reported that on March 21, 2006 bid were solicited from area banks for certificates of deposit and CDARS on investments totaling $4,035,000. Councilman Ray advised council that First Chatham Bank submitted the highest bid with interest rates of 5.07% & 5.15% APY and the investments will mature on June 29, 2006.
Councilman Myrick reported that the renovation of City Hall was still underway and the parking lot at the police department was nearing completion. Councilman Myrick advised council that Thomas & Hutton had submitted information on Alternative #1 of the Drainage Plan and as he understands it the next step will be to have them prepare specifications for the solicitation of bids.
The accounts payable was reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 8:00pm. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting.