August 17, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Reverend Ken Otto leading in prayer. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 20th council meeting and the called meeting of August 9th. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. A motion to approve the August 17th council agenda was made by Councilman Myrick, seconded by Councilman Strozier and passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor introduced Julie Gerbsch, a candidate for the District 7 Savannah-Chatham School Board seat who outlined issues she felt were important to a successful school system and those included involvement, accountability, and new schools. Ms. Gerbsch stated that she felt the schools should work closely with local governments and area churches in use of school facilities. Councilman Strozier stated that one concern of the local community was the failure of the board to replace the portable classrooms at the Bloomingdale School before pursuing the construction of new schools. He pointed out that the portable units were moved in several years ago on a temporary basis and are still being used. Ms. Gerbsch stated she would certainly look into this situation and agreed that portable classrooms should only be used on a temporary basis. Being no further questions, Ms. Gerbsch thanked the Mayor and City Council for giving her an opportunity to address them and the citizens and asked for their support in the upcoming election.
The Mayor recognized Senator Eric Johnson and welcomed him to the meeting.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City Council will be recognizing one citizen every month that has made contributions to making Bloomingdale a better place to live and this month he would like to recognize William McCarty. Mr. McCarty is a member of the City of Bloomingdale’s Ethics Committee and has helped to make the “Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful” campaign a success by keeping his property well maintained. The Mayor presented Mr. McCarty with a plaque and lapel pin in appreciation for his contributions to Bloomingdale.
The Mayor recognized Sue Hargrove who made presentations of $1,000 donations from Walmart Stores to the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department and the Bloomingdale Police Department.
Chief Gossett presented Lorine Knowles with a plaque of appreciation for four years of dedicated service as the City’s school crossing guard.
Mayor Tipton reported that a public hearing had been scheduled for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input on a request from Maree Patrick for a variance on the width of the access driveway from Highway 80 onto her property located at #1312 W. Highway 80. Ms. Patrick is pursuing the subdivision of this property into two lots with access to Lot #1 to be provided by a driveway shared with the adjoining property that was installed by the DOT years ago. The lot being divided from Ms. Patrick’s tract has 144.42’ frontage on U.S. Highway, but will only have 10’ abutting this driveway. The minimum driveway width for a lot is 16’. Ms. Patrick is requesting a variance from the City of 6’ since the DOT will not approve any additional widening of the driveway except for an additional 4’ of safety pipe at the end of the existing pipe that cannot be used for vehicular travel. The Mayor asked for comments from the council and the public, but there were none, so he adjourned the hearing. The Mayor stated that action on the variance request will be taken by council during new business.
Councilman Myrick reported that the General Services Committee wanted to hold a public meeting with the owners of property located in the area along Main Street that was involved in Alternative #1 of the City’s Master Drainage Plan. After discussing possible dates, council agreed to have the meeting on Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 6:30pm.
Councilman Strozier reported that the comment period for citizen input on Bloomingdale’s request for an increase in our groundwater permit has been completed and the City was waiting on word from the EPD on the approval of our request.
Mayor Tipton advised council that the City has received correspondence from DOT regarding the processing of the City Contract on Church & Lynn Street and we should be hearing something soon on our funding request.
Councilman Rawlings stated that information has been submitted to DOT and to BellSouth for approval of the proposed gateway sign design and location.
Council was advised that Kellie Robertson was notified by certified mail to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss the business activity taking place at her property located at #68 Cheyenne Road, but she was not here. Councilman Myrick stated that the City continues to receive complaints that Ms. Robertson is operating her lawn care business from this residence. Councilman Myrick pointed out that she seems to be doing exactly what she was told she could not do when council approved construction of the storage building on her property. Chief Gossett reported that it was his understanding that the tenants living at the residence are the workers that are driving the vehicles to and from the property, but Citizen Charles Rogers stated that other people are coming to the residence and picking up the trucks. After continued discussion of this issue, council agreed that Chief Gossett should proceed with the issuance of a citation for the operation of a business without the proper licensing if there are lawn care employees driving to and from the property that are not residents of #68 Cheyenne Road.
Councilman Strozier reported that the overgrown conditions at #6 Boulevard Street have been taken care of by the owner Robert Riley.
Councilman Myrick stated that the owners of the property located at #246 & #252 Wallace Drive were notified by certified mail that the overgrown conditions and junk/abandoned vehicles at this location must be taken care of by today or they were to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss the issue with council. One of the owners, Gene Knight, Jr. received his notice, but the notice to the other owner, Cindy Hashaw, was returned as unclaimed. Councilman Myrick reported that the problems had not been handled and felt that with at least one owner receiving the notice, they had been made aware of their alternatives. Council discussed the issue and agreed that the police department needed to get involved by issuing citations if the problems were not resolved.
The Mayor reported that the SPLOST 2008-2013 negotiations are complete and the SPLOST referendum was scheduled for a vote on September 19, 2006. Mayor Tipton stated that there were county funds included in this SPLOST referendum for drainage and road work in Bloomingdale and stated that there would be approximately $3 million dollars for City projects. The Mayor thanked Councilmembers Strozier and Myrick, as well as the City Clerk, Sandra Jones, for their input and attendance at the meetings. Councilman Strozier pointed out that this was a good plan and encouraged everyone’s support of the SPLOST. Councilman Myrick stated that SPLOST funds were a vital resource that allowed the City to take care of much needed drainage, road, and capital improvement projects that could not be funded through the general fund. Councilwoman Winn noted that there would be funds available for improvements to our recreational facilities and Councilman Waller pointed out that the SPLOST monies had helped the City to avoid property taxes to make these improvements. Several citizens posed questions about the proposed plans for the extension of the Jimmy Deloach Parkway, but since this was a county project, council did not have specific information regarding time frames or exact locations. Councilman Rawlings stated that receiving SPLOST funds would be great, but did not think that we should allow the county to hamper development of properties around the area while they made decisions on exactly where it would be located. During the discussion, Susan Kendryna stated that she worked with Thomas & Hutton Engineering and had brought some design plans that she could share with those who may be interested in reviewing them after the meeting.
Councilman Rawlings asked why Greg Caudill was not on tonight’s agenda to present the rezoning request for DonPaul Enterprises and was advised by the City Clerk that Mr. Caudill had contacted the City Hall and asked that this matter not be addressed tonight and he stated that he would contact the City when they were ready to have it placed on a future agenda.
Council was informed that the City of Pooler had tabled action on the water/sewer agreements with Bloomingdale regarding services for the AMB project due to some wording that the City of Savannah wanted changed on the water agreement. Mayor Tipton stated that he had talked with Mayor Lamb and was assured that we should receive the agreements before our next meeting.
Councilman Myrick reported that EMC Engineering will be representing the City of Bloomingdale in the overseeing of the AMB project and Attorney Dickey was preparing the agreement outlining their responsibilities.
Mayor Tipton asked councilmembers for their input on making changes to the Telecommunications Ordinance to adjust location and height requirements, but there were no comments from council.
Mayor Tipton reported that Thomas & Hutton had postponed their plans to present annexation plans to the City for areas along John Carter Road.
Council was advised the City had received a request from Denise Dixon for a home occupation license, but since she was not at the meeting, Councilman Ray made a motion to table discussion on the request. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council was informed that the DOT has requested, by September 1st, the City’s LARP priority list for 2007. DOT is also requesting the completion of a Certificate of Ownership and Maintenance Agreement form. Council was advised that General Maintenance Supervisor, Fett Burke, has submitted the following priority list for council’s consideration: 1) Pine Barren Road from Bloomingdale Road to the City limits sign – 9,270’; Cregor Street from Chestnut St. to Westhaven St. – 3,115’; and Oak Street from Hwy 80 to Main St. – 1,210’. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to submit these streets to the DOT and to approve the execution of the Certificate of Ownership and Maintenance Agreement by Mayor Tipton. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Strozier reported that the transfer switch at the lift station was not working and due to the age of the equipment, the repair parts were not available. Council was advised that the cost to replace the switch was $2165, plus $500 labor for its installation. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to replace the transfer switch and to include the cost in the 2006/2007 budget. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings presented the following recommendations/reports from the August 15, 2006 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting:
1) A recommendation to approve the minor subdivision request from Maree Patrick for property located at #1312 W. Highway 80. Councilman Myrick made a motion to accept their recommendation on the approval of the minor subdivision, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve a 6’ variance on the width of the access driveway for Lot #1 of the minor subdivision, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) Council was advised that Jessie Kujawa had asked that the rezoning request for her property at #114 Osteen Road be postponed until the questions regarding Jimmy Deloach Parkway were resolved.
3) A public hearing has been scheduled for September 19th at 7:00pm for citizen input on a rezoning request from Herbert Black for property located on Osteen Road and Main Street.
4) The council was informed of a workshop that had been scheduled for Tuesday, August 29th at 6:30pm to discuss the sign ordinance.
Councilman Rawlings voiced his appreciation to council for their appointment of Susan Kendryna to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Mayor Tipton presented Buddy Wellmaker and Randy Slater for consideration by council as alternates for the Planning & Zoning Commission. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to approve the appointments of these citizens as alternates, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that their terms will expire on January 1, 2007.
The Mayor recognized Mary Mitchell who reminded council that the deadline for the “Keep Georgia Beautiful” grant application was September 1st and she needed to know if council agreed with the projects listed in the application. Mayor Tipton advised her that the council would take action on this matter before the September 1st deadline.
Council was advised that Ellis Phillips has requested council’s final approval and execution of the plat of the subdivision located at Moore & Hickory Streets. The council was reminded that the subdivision consisted of three lots and required the extension of Moore Street, the extension of water/sewer mains, and drainage work. The Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended approval of the final plat for the subdivision in January, 2005 provided the developer’s engineer provide a certification letter verifying the construction work complied with the preliminary plan as approved by council and the developer furnish the City of Bloomingdale a $20,000 letter of credit. However, when the council was considering the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendation in 2005, questions were raised about the construction of the subdivision complying with the plans that had been approved. The City decided to have EMC Engineering make a site inspection and provide their comments regarding the actual construction. The City received a letter from EMC on January 27, 2005 noting several problems with the construction. Mr. Phillips has resubmitted his final plat and indicated that he has addressed the issues that were raised by EMC Engineering Services, Inc. The Mayor recognized Mr. Phillips who asked if council would give him approval to go ahead and start development of the lots. Councilwoman Winn stated that she would not be in favor of approving a subdivision that our engineers had not checked. Council was advised that we had not received anything from Mr. Phillips’s engineer verifying the completion of the previous recommendations received from EMC. Councilman Strozier stated that the paving job was one of the worse he had ever seen. Mr. Phillips admitted that it was a little rough around the outside of the cul-de-sac where he had to add some pavement, but did not feel that it was that bad. Council discussed the issue with Mr. Phillips at length. After continued discussion, council agreed that once the City had received a letter from Mr. Phillips’s engineer verifying that the recommendations included in EMC Engineer’s letter of January 27, 2005 were addressed and completed, the City would have EMC Engineering do another site inspection. Once the City receives verification from EMC that the work has been done satisfactorily and the City receives the $20,000 letter of credit along with the final subdivision fees, council can address approval of the subdivision. Councilman Ray made a motion to table action on the subdivision until the items outlined above had been completed, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Chief Gossett who reported that the police department would like to proceed with the sale of condemned assets and needed council’s approval to dispose of the items. The following items were presented: 1973 Plymouth Barracuda – minimum bid $15,000; 1988 Honda Accord ;1988 Chevrolet Camaro; 1993 Chrysler Concorde; 1995 Ford Econoline Van; 28’ Marathon Fifty Wheel Camper; Badger Yamaha 800CM3 Four-Wheeler; and a Loco-Motion Mud Buggy w/homemade trailer. It was noted that prior to the sale of the assets, a minimum bid must be established for each item. After a brief discussion, council agreed that General Maintenance Supervisor Fett Burke should meet with Chief Gossett to establish minimum bids on those items that did not have amounts listed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to declare the condemned assets as surplus items and once the minimum bids were established to proceed with the advertising for bids. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Chief advised council that a request had been submitted to post a 3-way stop at Hiram and Conaway Roads, but he would leave that decision up to council. After discussion the matter, it was agreed that the police department should continue to monitor this area and, if necessary, to increase patrols, but a 3-way stop was not an option at this time.
The Mayor advised council that he would like to proceed with the steps necessary to renew our fire protection contract and council agreed that a meeting needed to be held to discuss this issue with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department.
Council agreed to set up a workshop to work on the FY 2006/2007 budget on Tuesday, September 5, 2006 at 6:30pm. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve an extension of the resolution delaying the adoption of the FY 2006/2007 for another sixty days to allow time for preparation of said budget. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council held a discussion on the purchase of a new file server for the general office. The council was advised that the current file server was purchased in 1997 and is no longer functioning properly. The file server was recently out of service for about a week causing delays in the utility billing and related functions. Also, delays occurred with posting of budgetary accounting programs, but fortunately, arrangements were made to issue the checks for the July 21st payday. The cost for the replacement equipment and technical assistance for loading of software will be approximately $9500. The clerk stated that due to the problems we were having with the file server, we considered this an urgent request and would appreciate being able to go ahead and order the equipment with the cost of the purchase being included in the 2006/2007 budget. Council was advised that in addition to the file server the City also needs to implement an upgrade to its utility billing, budgetary accounting, and payroll systems to window based rather than DOS based programs. This upgrade is being offered by Harris Computer Systems for the costs related to data conversion, training, travel & lodging only. The cost of the upgrade is approximately $15,000 with an additional cost of $6,300 if the City chooses to include a code enforcement/permitting/parcel module. The total cost for the new file server with technical assistance, the program upgrades and the new code enforcement/permitting module is approximately $30,800. After discussing the request, Councilman Ray made a motion to proceed with the purchase of the equipment and upgrades with the costs to be included in the FY 2006/2007 budget. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn into executive session for attorney/client discussion. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Strozier made a motion to return to the general session. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law, Council Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items presented prior to the council agenda deadline of Friday, August 11, 2006.
Under committee reports, Recreation Director Joe Young informed council that the Bloomingdale Bears would be hosting the RAMA at Taylor Park on September 16th starting at 10:00am and encouraged everyone to attend. Mr. Young stated that there may be a need for some assistance from the police department for traffic control and the Chief agreed to provide officers to help with the event. Councilman Myrick stated that there needed to be some ditch work done at the park and council agreed that bids should be obtained on the work, but the Recreation Committee could review the bids and make a decision on proceeding with the work.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Strozier made a motion to adjourn at 8:45pm, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers were present at the meeting