April 20, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilwoman Winn leading in prayer. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 6, 2006 meeting, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray then made a motion to approve the meeting agenda for April 20, 2006. The motion was seconded by Councilman Myrick and passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that a meeting had been scheduled with EPD Director, Dr. Carol Couch, for Wednesday, April 26th to discuss an increase in the City’s water permit application. Mayor Tipton stated that those scheduled to attend the meeting along with him were Representative Buddy Carter and Councilman Myrick.
Mayor Tipton stated that a meeting had been held on Monday with representatives of the Morgan Family, the City of Pooler, and Bloomingdale to discuss matters related to the proposed AMB project. The Mayor asked Councilman Rawlings to provide details on the results of the meeting. Councilman Rawlings reported that he felt that the items that were in question had been resolved and included the following: 1) The water and sewer would be billed through the City of Bloomingdale with the sewer usage to be deducted from Bloomingdale’s capacity and 2) the Morgan Family agrees to provide an access road from Highway 80 up to the Central of Georgia Railroad and to work with the existing property owner between their property and the S.A. Morgan Parkway for access to this roadway into the development. Councilman Rawlings stated that he felt this connection was important for public safety and economic reasons. Citizen Mike Wedincamp asked about the amount of the sewer usage for this project and was advised that it was expected to be approximately 30,000 gpd. Chief Gossett asked about access to the property for police protection. Councilman Myrick pointed out that there is already access to the property available from Pooler Parkway, but since there is another property owner other than the Morgan Family between the railroad and the access road from Pooler Parkway, there will have to be arrangements made with them to open an access road all the way from Highway 80. Fire Chief Tyler questioned the reason for the fire service being provided by the City of Pooler since the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department would be able to provide fire protection without the need of any additional equipment or trucks. Attorney Dickey advised him that it is our understanding that AMB is working on an agreement directly with the Pooler Fire Department, however, with mutual aid agreements in place, Bloomingdale and Savannah would still be involved in the fire protection for this development. Fire Chief Tyler stated that the fire department had not seen any plans for the project. Mayor Tipton advised Fire Chief Tyler that information on the project was available at City Hall and if he had asked to see this information it would have been made available to him.
Attorney Dickey advised council that some questions had been raised at the last meeting about the amending of the agenda to take action on a petition from the Morgan Family for annexation/de-annexation and it was his suggestion that council re-affirm their acceptance of the petition and authorize him to proceed with the annexation/de-annexation process. Councilman Strozier made a motion that council accept the petition from the Morgan Family for the annexation/de-annexation of their properties and to authorize Attorney Dickey to proceed with the annexation/de-annexation process with the understanding that council will still have to approve the ordinances as they related to these petitions. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it received affirmative votes from Council members Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting. It was noted that the process included notice to the county regarding the proposed annexation/de-annexation and addressing the zoning of these properties.
Councilman Rawlings reported that the Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful Campaign was still underway and stated that the attendance at the Town Meeting held on April 17th at Bloomingdale School was limited, but felt the ones that attended enjoyed the program. Councilman Rawlings reminded everyone of the “Walk through the City” to be held on April 22nd from 9am-12noon and encouraged everyone to participate. He pointed out that there would be dental and blood pressure checks set up at the vacant lot across from City Hall and there will be entertainment and refreshments.
Councilwoman Winn stated that plans were being finalized on the Patriotic Celebration scheduled for May 29th from 6pm-9pm at Taylor Park. She reported that the event would include patriotic music, recognition of an outstanding citizen, a salute to our veterans and active military, and fireworks. Councilman Strozier reminded citizens to bring their lawn chairs.
The Mayor advised council that the City had received a response from Thomas & Hutton Engineering regarding the location of the roadway into the housing development off Wildcat Dam Road and its proximity to the sewer force main. According to information from the engineer, the existing Bloomingdale force main is located approximately seven (7) feet from the south right-of-way line based on the as built drawings the City’s water/sewer department provided. Mayor Tipton stated that the engineer reported that they had revised their engineering drawings by relocating a proposed eight (8) inch water line to the opposite side of the proposed street so it does not conflict with the force main.
Councilman Myrick reported that after reviewing the photographs provided by the police department related to the complaints received in the last several weeks regarding the accumulation of junk cars, paint cans, and debris on four different properties he felt that the owners should be notified, in writing, that if these problems were not resolved the council would proceed with the legal steps necessary to enforce the provisions of the Nuisance Ordinance. After reviewing the photographs, council agreed to the action proposed by Councilman Myrick.
Mayor Tipton reported that he and the City Clerk had attended a meeting regarding future SPLOST funding and received some important information. The Mayor stated that cities were encouraged to make sure they have an approved list of Capital Improvement Projects with cost estimates on hand and we should begin preparation of our “wish list” for inclusion in a future SPLOST referendum. Council was advised that the cities were informed by Attorney Hart that the funding of non-profit organizations will not be part of future SPLOST referendums.
Council was advised that the City has received a request from the Department of Transportation for the execution of Form 532 which is necessary in order for them to prepare a City Contract covering the Church & Lynn Street paving projects for the “base & paving” only. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the execution of this document by Mayor Tipton. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that the City had received a well permit request from Patrick Goodes for his property located at #23 Hiram Road. Although there is no City water available at this location, City ordinance requires council’s approval before the issuance of a well permit in the City. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the issuance of the permit, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the acquisition of the lot owned by Donny Tuten located at the end of Maple Street. Mayor Tipton pointed out that a survey revealed that a portion of the Maple Street Lift Station actually encroached on this lot and Mr. Tuten had offered the sale of the lot to the City for a purchase price of $20,000. Councilman Strozier reported that the improvements agreed to by council had been completed which included the installation of a larger drainage pipe and the relocation of a drainage ditch to engineer’s specification. Based on the completion of these items and council’s prior agreement to purchase the lot at this price, Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve a resolution to purchase the property. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion which passed with affirmative votes from Council members Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting. Council then discussed the financing of this purchase. Councilman Strozier stated that he felt that Donny Tuten would be willing to wait on the payment of these monies until after July 1st to allow the purchase to be put in the new budget, but would have to get with him to confirm this option. Councilman Ray made a motion to table a decision on the financing of the purchase until the next meeting, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request for a home occupation license submitted by David Ulmer to operate the “office only” of a residential/commercial power wash and landscaping business from the residence located at #216 Conaway Road. The owner of the property, Larry Ulmer, has provided a letter to the City giving David Ulmer his permission to operate the business from the residence. Mr. Ulmer stated that he is living at the residence on a temporary basis until he can secure a permanent residence. Council was advised that David Ulmer’s license application indicates that he will be the only employee and will be using a truck, a small utility tractor, a power washer/surface cleaner and hoses for this business and there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Based on the information submitted by Mr. Ulmer, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to issue the home occupation license to David Ulmer for the “office only” of the business to be operated from #216 Conaway Road. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mr. Ulmer was advised that the home occupation license was being issued for the #216 Conaway Road location and if he should move to another residence in Bloomingdale, council would have to approve the transfer to his new residence. It was noted that if he moved outside of the city limits of Bloomingdale, however, this license would no longer be valid and he would have to obtain a license from whatever jurisdiction he moved to. Mr. Ulmer stated that he understood this stipulation.
The council discussed a request for the issuance of an occupational license from Darlene Holloway to operate a restaurant from #403 E. Highway 80 (the old Krispy Chic location). Ms. Holloway plans to pursue her Food Service Permit from the Chatham County Health Department, but wanted to make sure that she could obtain the license before proceeding with the application. Also, there have been some questions raised in the past concerning the parking situation at this location, so Ms. Holloway has provided a sketch of the parking spaces available for this business for council’s review. Councilman Strozier asked her how many spaces had been designated for this location and she advised him that there were six spaces. Attorney Dickey reminded council that since a day care facility had been approved for the property directly behind this building; Ms. Holloway needed to be advised that she could not serve any alcoholic beverages. Ms. Holloway assured council that she would not be serving any alcohol. After the discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion that once Ms. Holloway had submitted the appropriate application and fees to the City that she could obtain an occupational license for a restaurant to operate from #403 E. Highway 80. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was informed that on April 4th General Services Supervisor, Fett Burke, advised City Hall that a driveway had been installed at #913 East Cregor Street without the proper driveway permit and was concerned about whether it would work properly. It was noted that a building permit was issued for this residence in June, 2005 and the primary driveway was installed by the City as required by City Ordinance. However, the owners of the property installed an extra pipe at the eastside of the property to have access to the back of the lot to keep from driving on the grass. Mr. Oglesby requested that he and/or his son-in-law David Schambach be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss this matter with council. The Mayor recognized Mr. Schambach who explained that he had placed the pipe in the ditch for the driveway, but did not realize that it would cause any problems. Councilman Myrick stated that the placement of a driveway pipe that does not meet City specifications could hamper the drainage in the area and although he sympathized with Mr. Schambach’s wanting to leave the pipe in the ditch, he felt that it needed to be removed. Mr. Schambach asked how much time he would have to remove the pipe and Councilman Strozier asked him to give us a time table. A period of two weeks was discussed and council agreed to allow him until the May 4, 2006 meeting to have the pipe removed from the drainage ditch.
The council was advised that the City had received the renewal information on the City’s property & liability insurance through GIRMA. It was noted that the cost has increased approximately $3750, partially due to vehicle & equipment replacements, but also due to the City’s deductibles on general, automobile, law enforcement and public officials/employment practices liability having been reduced to zero. The Mayor stated that he wanted to get a quote from GIRMA with the deductibles to remain the same as last year. Council discussed this matter and since the renewal of the insurance is required before the next meeting, Councilman Strozier made a motion to authorize the Mayor to review the quote to keep the same deductibles and make the decision on which option is more cost effective and then execute the required documents to renew the insurance. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor informed council that he would like to discuss the maintenance of public and/or private roads located within the City. Mayor Tipton pointed out that as he understands it from information received by General Maintenance Supervisor Fett Burke the City maintains some private roads in the City, but does not maintain others. The Mayor asked if council members could shed some light on what was the determining factor on which roads we maintained. Councilman Strozier stated that when the City incorporated, we continued to maintain those public and private that were maintained by the county. Councilman Strozier pointed out that as areas were incorporated the City followed the same maintenance policy. The Mayor was advised that some of the roads were developed as private roads because the county would not accept them as public roads due to their condition and the lack of proper drainage. Councilman Strozier stated that, in the past, the City has attempted to keep these roads passable for use by emergency equipment and garbage service vehicles, but they are not maintained on a regular basis. Councilman Ray pointed out that the City now requires private roads into new developments to meet City specifications. Councilman Myrick informed council that as he understood it the City received a complaint from a citizen who wanted their road scraped, but due to the wet conditions, it was not feasible for the work to be done the same day the call came in to the department. Councilman Myrick stated that, in this case, it didn’t matter whether the road was private or public because conditions did not allow the road to be scraped. Council asked Fett Burke if the maintenance schedule would allow for an occasional scraping of the private roads on an “as needed basis” and he stated that he would maintain the roads as directed by the Mayor and Council. Councilman Ray expressed his concerns about the City maintaining private roads without written permission from all of the property owners because of the potential liability involved. Attorney Dickey stated that it would probably be best to have something in writing from these individuals. After additional discussion, the Mayor asked that the General Services Committee look into this situation and report their findings back to council.
Council was advised that the City had been contacted by Lee Duke with Utility Services Communications Co. requesting two variances to the City’s codes regarding the placement of telecommunication towers on the water tank. The current code restricts the height on an existing structure to no more than three (3’) feet and for no more than six (6) antennas to be placed on existing structures. Utility Service Communications Co. is requesting the following variances in order to allow Utility Service Communications to successfully negotiate License Agreements with the two wireless carriers (T- Mobile and Alltel) who have expressed interest in co-locating on the city’s water tank. The variance requests for consideration include: 1) To allow a height of fifteen (15’) feet above the current height of the water tank and 2) To allow for the maximum number of antennae allowed on the top of the tank be increased from the current six (6) to as many as eighteen (18). Council discussed the requests and agreed that these variances would be in the best interest of the City since Utility Communications Co. would be monitoring the construction. Councilman Ray made a motion to dispense with a public hearing on the variance, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the variances as requested by Utility Services Communications Co., Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council then reviewed a request from Richard Shirah with T-Mobile (one of the wireless carriers interested in the water tank site) asking for the following variances: 1) A waiver of the landscaping/fencing requirement since the metal cabinets will be consistent with what is already at the water tank facility; 2) A variance on the side & rear yard setback requirements for their equipment since they intend to place their equipment inside the existing fence in the back corner to leave the City the greatest flexibility for future use of the limited ground space within the compound. After discussing the request, Councilman Myrick made a motion to dispense with a public hearing on the variances, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the variances as requested by Richard Shirah with T-Mobile and Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented a request from Chief Gossett to upgrade the Bloomingdale Police Department’s current radios to digital capable radio equipment through a COPS Interoperable Communications Technology Grant Program. This is a regional grant in the amount of $3 million dollars. The Bloomingdale Police Department must pay 25% in matching funds at a cost of $12,388 and grant funds will total $37,162. The Chief reported that the radios can be purchased under state contract and there is currently a temporary sale price available from Savannah Communications that will further reduce the cost. Councilman Myrick asked how much equipment would be purchased. The Chief stated that there would be a total of twelve (12) radios (which included a backup radio) and a base station if we purchase the radios at the sale price. Chief Gossett reported that although the transfer to digital radios would not be completed until next year, the City would already have their radios in place if we participated in this grant opportunity. Councilman Strozier asked the Chief if Savannah Communications would be willing to accept a purchase order on the radios with the actual purchase being made after July 1st so the cost could be included in the 2006/2007 budget. The Chief stated that he was not sure, but would check. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the issuance of a purchase order would insure Savannah Communications of our intent to buy the radios and did not see where this should be a problem. Councilman Strozier made a motion to proceed with the acquisition of the radio equipment at a cost to the City of $12,388 with the stipulation that Savannah Communications accept a purchase order from the City with the actual purchase being made after July 1, 2006. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that he would like to appoint a committee to investigate the cost, easements, and other information related to the installation of a gateway sign at the eastern end of the City limits along Highway 80. Councilman Rawlings expressed a desire to serve on the committee and Councilman Myrick also agreed to work on this project. Mayor Tipton stated that a couple of designs had been suggested, but whether it was one of these or another one, he would like to find out the cost and steps necessary to install a gateway sign. Councilman Ray pointed out that the City may need to check with the DOT because they controlled the right of way and the size of the sign may have to be adjusted to meet their requirements.
Mayor Tipton stated that some of Bloomingdale’s citizens have been meeting to discuss the formation of a “Historical Preservation Society” to help gather some information on the City’s history. Councilman Rawlings reported that plans were underway to create a calendar showing pictures of the older homes in the City to collect funds to help with preservation projects. Councilman Rawlings stated that the group was meeting on the second Monday of each month and during the renovation of City Hall they would like to meet at the Community Building. One of the projects discussed was the possibility of placing some plaques on the older residences and buildings in the City showing the dates they were constructed. Councilman Strozier stated that he would like to see the City acquire Bill Pierce’s old service station on Highway 80 because of the historical significance of the building and council members agreed with this suggestion. Mayor Tipton asked if the City could send out notification to the members of the society reminding them of the meetings. Councilman Rawlings stated that he would provide the City Hall with a list of names and addresses of the members. Councilman Strozier made a motion to allow the use of the Community Building during the renovation of the City Hall by the Historical Preservation Society at no charge. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that Councilman Waller, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, had agreed at the March 2, 2006 council meeting for his committee to meet with Fire Chief Tyler to discuss costs related to the renewal of the fire protection contract, but Councilman Waller had advised him that he had not been successful in contacting the Chief to set up a meeting. The Mayor stated that when he had discussed the communication problem with Chief Tyler he had indicated that he had given some information to Councilman Rawlings, but Councilman Rawlings advised him that he did not have any information. Mayor Tipton recognized Fire Chief Tyler who stated that he was available to meet at any time and Councilman Waller advised him he would get with him after the meeting to set a date and time. (Note: After the council meeting a date was set for Tuesday, April 25th at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Building for the Public Safety Committee to meet with the Chief to discuss information related to the fire protection contract.)
Council was advised that an executive session needed to be held for the discussion of a personnel issue. Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray then made a motion to execute the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit is attached to the original minutes.
The Mayor recognized Councilman Rawlings who reported that the Planning & Zoning Commission was holding workshops each Tuesday. Mayor Tipton asked if there was an agenda available for the workshops and Councilman Rawlings stated that he was not aware that this was a requirement. Attorney Dickey advised him that as a committee appointed by the City, the members would need to establish an agenda for meetings in which there would be a quorum of the committee present. Councilman Strozier asked Attorney Dickey if the members were going to be addressing certain topics for a period of several weeks, couldn’t the agenda include that information and if it this changed, could the agenda be changed at that time. Attorney Dickey agreed that it would be alright to handle the agenda this way, but emphasized the importance of only discussing the items listed on the agenda. Councilman Rawlings stated that he would prepare the agenda information and submit it to City Hall for posting.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn at 8:45pm, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting.