March 15, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. The minutes of the March 1, 2007 meeting were reviewed and Councilman Rawlings pointed out that he had not actually talked with Bill Grainger about his resignation from the CUTS committee, but had been advised that Mr. Grainger had agreed to step down from the committee because he had not been able to attend the meetings on a regular basis due to other conflicts. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 1, 2007 minutes with this change, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the agenda of the March 15, 2007 meeting, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick presented Buddy Burke with an award of appreciation for his many years of dedicated service to the City of Bloomingdale in the maintenance department. Mr. Burke will be retiring from the City on March 19, 2007 after 17 years of service.
Mayor Tipton presented life-long resident, Roland Waller, with the Outstanding Citizens Award for his involvement in various community activities and numerous civic organizations. These activities include serving as Bloomingdale’s representative on the State Water Advisory Committee, membership in the Bloomingdale History Society, serving as a volunteer at the Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Museum and commanding the newly-formed American Legion Post 322.
Mayor Tipton opened the four sealed bids that had been submitted for the Church & Lynn Street Paving Project. Michael Willoughby with Southeast Engineering recorded the names of the bidders, the amounts of their bids, and verified the bidders had provided a bond for the project. The bids were as follows: BRYCO, Inc. - $211,564.62; E & D Contracting Services, Inc. - $238,363.82; Apex Paving and Sitework, Inc. – 219,996.00; and Ellis Wood Contracting, Inc. - $206,846.00. Mayor Tipton reported that the bids would be turned over to Southeast Engineering for review with the bid to be awarded at the April 5, 2007 council meeting.
Attorney Dickey presented a resolution for council’s approval for submission to the state for a charter amendment to extend the terms for franchise agreements in the City for up to forty (40) years. Attorney Dickey stated that once the resolution was adopted by council he would forward it to Representative Buddy Carter. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the adoption of the resolution to increase the terms of franchise agreements for up to forty (40) years, Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick reported that representatives from the City of Bloomingdale, Chatham County, Thomas & Hutton, and Commissioner Dean Kicklighter had met on March 8th to discuss Phase I of the City’s Master Drainage Plan. Councilman Myrick asked that Commissioner Kicklighter provide an update to the citizens on the meeting. Commission Kicklighter reported that he felt that it had been a good meeting and stated that he recognized the importance of providing drainage to the Bloomingdale area. Commissioner Kicklighter pointed out that he knew that Bloomingdale would do whatever was necessary to drain the City with as little impact as possible and that they would work with the county to achieve this goal. Commissioner Kicklighter also stated that he felt the Mayor and Council was trying to do their best to help the majority of the citizens, but knew that some citizens disagreed with their plans. Commissioner Kicklighter provided a brief outline of the meeting including the county’s position that there should be no impact on the Hardin Canal and stated that Thomas & Hutton indicated they would be able to make some adjustments to the design so there would be no adverse impacts on properties downstream. Commissioner Kicklighter reported that the engineers discussed some possible modifications to the design. Commissioner Kicklighter stated that during the meeting there had been some questions raised about whether the engineering firm had been in close contact with the county during the design stage, but pointed out that both parties agreed to keep an open line of communication with each other on the development of this drainage project. Commissioner Kicklighter expressed his appreciation to everyone for getting together to discuss the issues related to the project. Citizens were advised that a public meeting will be scheduled on the drainage plan as soon as the engineers have made the modifications to the design as discussed with the county. The Mayor recognized Pete Kling who expressed his desire that both Phase I & Phase II be discussed at the public meeting held with the citizens.
The Mayor recognized Latrelle Kling who stated that although she had requested she be placed on the agenda to discuss the scheduling of the meeting with the citizens on the drainage plan she was withdrawing this request since she felt a meeting would not be in order at this time. Ms. Kling asked that the City table any action on the drainage plan since the engineers needed to make changes in the design to meet the county’s request. Ms. Kling also suggested that a citizen’s advisory group be formed.
Mayor Tipton recognized Ellis Phillips who had submitted a written request for council’s approval for his use of EMC Engineering to review his subdivision on Moore & Hickory Streets. Attorney Dickey stated that since EMC Engineering was the City’s engineer on this project, there would be a conflict of interest for them to work for him. Mr. Phillips stated that he had fired his previous engineer and wanted to obtain the services of EMC to inspect the subdivision and his completion of the items in EMC’s January 27, 2005 memo. At the August 17, 2006 council meeting, Mr. Phillips was advised that once his engineer submitted a letter verifying that EMC’s recommendations had been completed the City would have them do another site inspection. After verification from EMC that the work has been done satisfactorily and the City received a $20,000 letter of credit, along with the final subdivision fees, council could address the final approval of the subdivision. Mr. Phillips indicated that he had been in contact with Councilman Rawlings about using EMC to inspect the work, but he was advised by council that he would need to obtain the services of another engineer to act on his behalf to submit verification that the items on the January 27, 2005 memo had been completed. Mr. Phillips stated that he would need another copy of this information and was advised that he could obtain it from the City Hall.
The Mayor reported that he had attended an assembly of students at the Bloomingdale Elementary School on Wednesday and presented Principal John King with a proclamation declaring March 14, 2007 as “Pi Day – 2007” in the City of Bloomingdale.
Karl Johnson, Jr., Chairman of the Ethics Committee, advised council that the committee has approved a form for submission of ethics complaints and a copy of the form is available at City Hall. Also, Mr. Johnson reported that the members of the Ethics Committee have adopted the Georgia Civil Practice Act for the governing of the Ethic Committee’s rules and procedures. Latrelle Kling asked if she could submit a complaint online or by fax. Attorney Dickey advised her that she would need to present the completed form, in person, so her signature on the verification can be witnessed and notarized by the City Hall.
Council was advised that a new Natural Gas support Services Agreement between GMA and the City of Bloomingdale was being presented for their consideration. In 1999, the City entered into a similar agreement, but due to some changes the City must enter into a new support service agreement. It was noted that GMA can negotiate much better natural gas rates state-wide than the City can on a local basis. Council was informed that there are no direct fees paid by the City for the service. Attorney Dickey reported that he had reviewed the agreement and found it to be in order. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve execution of the agreement, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed the meeting schedule for the summer months. Councilman Ray made a motion to hold only one regularly scheduled council meeting during the months of June, July, August and September. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion which passed with affirmative votes from Council members Myrick, Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion. Citizens were advised that the meeting would be held on the third Thursday of each month.
Mayor Tipton reported that a contract for professional services has been received from the Coastal Regional Development Center for technical assistance the City has requested regarding the GIS mapping services for the update to the zoning, boundary, and street maps. The agreement is a follow-up of the City’s verbal request on February 13, 2007 for them to proceed with the updates as shown on the maps presented to them in late January, 2007. The cost of the work outlined in the agreement is $1,475. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the execution of the agreement by Mayor Tipton, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor advised council that the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center has submitted requests to member cities and counties to provide voluntary contributions to assist the RDC in recovering from the cost of remediation and renovations related to the significant damage from wind-driven rains during the hurricane season of 2004. The approximate cost, to date, is $280,000 with a $35,000 allocation from the state legislature in 2006 assisting with these expenses. However, for two years the RDC has attempted, with no success, to obtain remediation funding from FEMA, GEMA, and their insurance company. The RDC notes that this is the first time in the organization’s 45 years of service to the Coastal Empire that they have made a special request such as this. The proposed voluntary contribution from Bloomingdale is $500. During discussion of the request, Councilman Rawlings stated that compared to some of the other contributions requested by RDC, the City of Bloomingdale’s share was minimal, but did not feel he knew enough about the situation to agree to provide them the funds. Several council members along with Attorney Dickey and Mayor Tipton expressed the same concerns. Councilman Strozier made a motion to table action on this request until more information can be obtained, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Wesley Barnett, Jr. to annex his properties located at #811 and #821 Osteen Road that are located just south of the bridge on Osteen Road. Council briefly discussed the request, but questions were raised about its exact location and whether there could be problems annexing the property if it extended across Osteen Road. Councilman Rawlings commented that there were some other citizens living in that area that were also interested in coming into Bloomingdale. Since Mr. Barnett was not present, Councilman Myrick made a motion to table the matter until additional information could be obtained. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Latrelle Kling who had requested that three items be placed on tonight’s agenda. 1) Ms. Kling asked that council consider adopting an ordinance that would require verification of all applicable federal and state licenses prior to issuance of city licenses and permits. Attorney Dickey pointed out that those applicants indicating on their occupational license application that their business requires a state license are required to provide a copy of the license to the City. The clerk stated that the City obtains copies of current state licenses for plumbers, electricians and heating/air-conditioning contractors and these would be available from the City Hall; 2) Ms. Kling stated that since she had suggested council table any action on the drainage project, she did not see the need in discussing the publication of a notice in the newsletter on a public meeting for the citizens on the plan at this time. Ms Kling asked that council consider allowing a citizen column in the newsletter; and 3) Ms. Kling asked for an update on the proposed commercial overlay for the north side of Highway 80. Councilman Rawlings advised her that the overlay district would cover both the north and south sides of Highway 80 and workshops were currently being held on this proposal. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that with the assistance of the City’s zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, the commission was looking into having zoning districts follow property boundaries when at all possible and were developing standards for roadways along the highway.
Mayor Tipton recognized Mike Wedincamp and Greg Caudill who were requesting verification of information on Planned Development Overlay Districts and Land Disturbing Activities permits. Mr. Caudill stated that he needed to get a clarification of the term “clearing” since according to the ordinance there could be no clearing of the property until the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council approved a development plan and a specific development plan. Mr. Caudill pointed out that the timber had been cut on the 88± acres located on the south side of Highway 80 prior to his purchase of the property and he was requesting a LDA permit to clear the stumps from a 31-acre portion located within the tract. It was noted that Ms. Proudfoot had asked for clarification of this terminology from the City’s zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, and according to the information she had received, the development plans needed to be submitted before the LDA permit could be issued. Mr. Caudill stated that there are some conflicts with the chronological order of the plan submittals. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that this is one of the first applications of the ordinance and there could be some areas that needed to be reworded or changed. Mr. Caudill asked if his situation could be considered as having “special circumstances” since he merely wanted to clear the stumps so he could get the information he needed to prepare his development plan. Attorney Dickey asked if the property had been delineated for wetlands and was advised by Mr. Caudill that it had. Attorney Dickey requested that he be given some time to review the ordinance before giving council directions on how to proceed. Mike Wedincamp requested that this be done right away because they wanted to do as much of the stump clearing as possible while we were having some dry weather. Attorney Dickey stated that he would review the information prior to the return to the meeting after the executive session. After returning from the executive session, Attorney Dickey pointed out that there were some conflicts in the ordinance and felt there were some unusual circumstances in this case. Councilman Strozier stated that he felt the intent of the ordinance was that the property not be cleared until the development plan was approved, however, in this situation, the property for all intents and purposes has already been cleared. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the issuance of the LDA permit to Don Paul Enterprises for 31 acres of property located on the south side of Highway 80 for the removal of the stumps and underbrush only due to the unusual circumstances that the timber had already been cut prior to their purchase of the property and with the understanding that no other development would take place. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings reported that at their March 13, 2007 meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved the rezoning request submitted by International Paper Realty changing the zoning of parcels C-3 & C-4 to General Commercial (C-2) from Rural Agricultural (RA) with the condition that all provisions for water, sewer and CAT service have been agreed upon by all parties and the changes suggested by Denise Grabowski in her March 9, 2007 memo be made to the PDOD document and that parcel C-5 is subject to a public hearing for citizen input during the council meeting on April 5, 2007. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to proceed with the public hearing on April 5, 2007, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. It was noted that the council meeting starts at 7:00pm and the public hearing would be held during the meeting.
Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session as requested by Mayor Tipton and Chief Gossett. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. After completion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session and to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. (A copy of the affidavit is attached to the original minutes)
As a result of the discussions held in executive session, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to promote Corporal Michael Foune to Sergeant and to promote Officer Alan Elliott to Corporal with the promotions to be effective April 9, 2007 and the designation of Corporal for the Detective/Investigator position with the Bloomingdale Police Department. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items that were presented prior to the Friday, March 9, 2007 council agenda deadline.
Under committee reports, Councilwoman Winn stated that the security gate was up at Taylor Park and the City would soon begin work on the fencing across the front of the property. Councilman Strozier reported that he would be meeting with the Mayor, Mr. Stark with the maintenance department of the Savannah-Chatham Public School system, and Ernest Grizzard on April 10th at 10:30am to discuss a preventive maintenance program for the sewer lift station located at the Bloomingdale Elementary School. Mayor Tipton reported that Julie Gerbsch had advised him that the old fencing that was being removed at the Bloomingdale Elementary School during the Church Street paving project would be replaced with new fencing by the Board of Education once the paving work was completed.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilwoman Winn made a motion to adjourn at 9:00pm, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Council members Myrick, Rawlings, Ray, Strozier and Winn were present at the meeting.
Note: Section § 50-14-1 of the Official Code of the State of Georgia Annotated requires that the minutes shall, as a minimum, include a description of each motion or other proposal made, and a record of all votes. These minutes meet the minimum requirements. However, in an attempt to provide as much information as possible to the citizens, the recording clerk has included additional background data and discussion on the subjects presented to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.