June 21, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Ray leading in prayer.
Councilwoman Winn presented the Outstanding Citizen Award to Clayton “Judge” Hearn for his contributions of labor and funds to numerous civic, church and community projects.
The American Legion, Post 322, West Chatham presented Zeke Boatright the Outstanding Fire Fighter’s Award for his 50 years of service to the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department. Those participating in the presentation included Post Commander Roland Waller, Ron Goodlin, Judge Advocate and Joe Garcia, Adjutant.
The minutes of the May 17, 2007 meeting and the called meeting of June 11, 2007 were reviewed with Councilwoman Winn making a motion to approve the minutes. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick approved the June 21, 2007 agenda with the following amendments: 1) to delete a request from Thomas Greene for a building permit (at Mr. Greene’s request); 2) to add a budget resolution for FY 2007/2008; and 3) to move a general services committee report to earlier in the meeting. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that a public hearing had been scheduled for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input on a home occupation license request from DeLaurie L. Self to operate a one-chair hair salon from the residence located at #210 Cypress Street. The Mayor called the hearing to order. There was no input from citizens or council. Mayor Tipton closed the public hearing. It was noted that Ms. Self has written permission from the owners of the property, Glenda & Sidney Key, to operate the salon from this residence and Ms. Self is the only employee. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the issuance of the home occupation license to DeLaurie L. Self, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that Latrelle Kling had requested to be placed on tonight’s agenda for updates on the revisions to the drainage plan and a public meeting about the plan, but Barbara Griffin reported that Ms. Kling was out of town and asked that this be placed on the next meeting’s agenda.
Council was advised that the City had received notification from the Secretary of State that our request to amend the City’s Charter to allow the granting of franchises or to make contracts for public utilities and public services for terms not to exceed forty (40) years was approved. Based on this change in the charter, the ordinance from Georgia Power Company requesting that they be granted the electric franchise for a term of thirty-five (35) years could be considered for approval. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to dispense with the second reading, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the passage of the ordinance granting the electric franchise to Georgia Power Company for a term of thirty-five (35) years, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s approval the Drinking Water Service Contract with EPD for July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2010 in the amount of $11,475. The fees include the laboratory fees and related services for the testing of water samples as required by our groundwater withdrawal permit and these fees are the same as those included in the previous contract with $3825 being paid each year of the contract. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said contract, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the proposal from the City’s auditing firm, Karp, Ronning & Tindol in the amount of $9250 for the preparation of the City’s June 30, 2007 audit. It was noted that this is an increase from last year’s fees, but there continues to be additional requirements placed on the City for inclusion in our audits each year and we will also be converting to updated financial software which will require input from our auditor. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the execution of this contract by Mayor Tipton, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council was advised that the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board has submitted a request for the re-appointment of Debra Brune, David Milton, and Richard Duke to the board with their terms to expire on June 30, 2010. It was noted that since James Jenkins did not seek re-appointment there would be one vacancy on the board. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the re-appointments as requested, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn reported that the following officers were also being presented for approval: David Milton, Chairman; Debra Brune, Vice Chairman; and Enid Cuffy, Secretary. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the appointment of these officers, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed for the second reading the following ordinances:
1) An ordinance entitled “Alternate Water Sources” requiring that all developments served by the City of Bloomingdale water and sewer shall install a system of purple pipe for the distribution of reclaimed water to be used for irrigation purposes or to provide other acceptable options as approved by the City and EPD for the use of reclaimed water. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the second reading of the ordinance with the effective date being ten (10) days from the passage of the ordinance. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) An ordinance entitled “Declaration of Water Conservation Measures” requiring that all users of the City water system shall adhere to and comply with any and all water restrictions deemed necessary by the City and the EPD. Water conservation measures may include restrictions or prohibitions on nonessential uses such as filling swimming pools, watering of lawns and gardens, washing of vehicles, and recreational uses. The ordinance also requires that mandatory outdoor watering restrictions be effective on a year-round basis with water customers being required to schedule their outdoor use in compliance with the following schedule unless EPD mandates otherwise: Odd-numbered addresses may water only on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays and even-numbered addresses may water only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. No watering on Fridays. During drought conditions, the hours allowed by EPD for outdoor water usage become more restrictive-such as the current “Drought Level Two” conditions that only allow watering between the hours of 12 midnight and 10:00am. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the second reading of the ordinance with the effective date being ten (10) days from the passage of the ordinance. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
3) An ordinance entitled “Administrative Cost and Charges” which allows for the imposition of a minimum Administrative cost in the amount of 10% of the base fine and any additional Administrative costs that the Judge deems necessary as well as an additional $10.00 per violation to be used for the improvement or enhancement of information technology of the Court and Department of Police. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the second reading of the ordinance with the effective date being ten (10) days from the passage of the ordinance. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed and considered the following requests/recommendations from the June 12, 2007 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission:
1) The commission recommended approval of changes to the Planned Development Overlay District as noted by Denise Grabowski with Lott Barber Architects. It was noted that a copy of these changes had been submitted to Attorney Dickey for his review and comments and prior to approval of the amendment to the zoning ordinance a public hearing must be conducted. After a brief discussion, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to postpone action on this recommendation until council had an opportunity to review the changes.
2) The approval of the minor subdivision of property located at the corner of Cherry & Garvin Streets as submitted by Judge Hearn was recommended by the commission. The two lots meet the City’s minimum road frontage and lot sizes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the recommendation on the minor subdivision, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Strozier abstained.
3) The approval of the site development plan for the AMB property located on S.H. Morgan Parkway with the stipulation that the developer will change all buffers to the minimum requirements in effect at the time the development of Phase 5 occurs was recommended by Planning & Zoning. The Mayor recognized Craig Zuck with Thomas & Hutton and John Morgan with AMB who were present to discuss this matter with council. Initially, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to table action on this recommendation due to concerns from Attorney Dickey and council about the reduced buffers, completion of the water/sewer metering stations and other issues, but he withdrew his motion after an appeal from Mr. Morgan that a delay would cause numerous problems, both financially and in regards to finalizing an agreement for securing a tenant for the warehouse. Mr. Morgan reported that the water metering station had been installed, but due to negotiations for providing service to nearby property, there would be a delay in the installation of the sewer metering station. Mr. Morgan pointed out that the sewer metering station and the water/sewer infrastructure would be installed along with the site development and assured the council and Attorney Dickey that they would have all of this in place before seeking a certificate of occupancy. Mr. Morgan also stated that AMB wanted to contact the adjoining property owners about the possibility of the construction of a grassed berm between their properties in lieu of the 100’ setback before presenting a variance request to council. Councilmembers advised Mr. Morgan that the 100’ setback as required by the current ordinance must be shown on the site development plan and if a variance was granted in the future, the plans could be amended. After continued discussion, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to approve the site development plan for AMB contingent upon the following: 1) The buffer on the western boundary of the development being changed from 80’ to 100’; 2) AMB not seeking any building permits for the site earlier than ten (10) days from tonight’s meeting; and 3) AMB not seeking certificates of occupancy for any buildings on the site until the water and sewer infrastructure and metering stations were installed on the AMB property per the previously approved agreement between AMB Properties and the City of Bloomingdale. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
4) The re-appointment of Lucy Hamm and Mary Mitchell to the Planning & Zoning Commission with terms to expire on June 30, 2011 was recommended. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to approve these appointments, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
5) The Planning & Zoning Commission presented council with their approved Rules & Regulations for the Planning & Zoning Commission members. It was noted that copies were distributed to council for their review. Councilman Rawlings stated that commission members planned to review the rules and regulations each February to make any changes they may deem necessary. Mayor Tipton stated that he would like to see any action on this matter postponed to allow councilmembers more time to review the document and also to get some input from the future city administrator. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that he had no problem with getting feedback from council, but according to the ordinance, the commission was allowed to make their own rules and regulations; however, some councilmembers voice their disagreement with interpretation of the ordinance. After additional comments, this matter was tabled for further discussion at a later council meeting.
A request from Quality Irri-scape, Inc. to place a chain-link fence around their property located at #5 Adams Road was presented for council’s consideration. Council was advised that the property was zoned C-2, General Commercial and a variance for the use of chain-link materials would have to be approved by council. The Mayor recognized Brad Proudfoot who was present at the meeting on behalf of Quality Irri-scape, Inc. who explained the fencing was being placed on the property for security purposes at this time. Mr. Proudfoot pointed out that the fencing across the front of the property would be moved back when the building was constructed, so this portion was temporary. Council discussed whether to require screening materials to be placed in the fencing along Adams Road and on the Highway 80 side of the property, but it was agreed that this should not be required. Council did feel that if the owner did not construct the building within one year from the date of the issuance of the fence permit, this screening would have to be placed in these two areas. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve a variance for Quality Irri-scape, Inc. to use chain-link materials for the fencing around their property located at #5 Adams Road on the condition that screening materials will be placed in the portion of the fence facing Adams Road and on the fence on the Highway 80 side of the property if construction of the building on this property does not take place within one (1) year. The motion was seconded by Councilman Myrick and passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received a response from EMC Engineering, Inc. related to their review of the subdivision located at Moore & Hickory Streets as prompted by the letter to the City from Southeast Engineering (Ellis Phillips’s engineer) dated April 26, 2007 indicating that the site was ready for a final inspection. A copy of EMC’s letter was reviewed by council. It was noted that Mr. Phillips has previously been advised that prior to the final approval of the subdivision he must submit to the City a $20,000 Letter of Credit, the payment of the final subdivision fees, along with the payment of additional engineering fees due to re-inspections. The Mayor recognized Ellis Phillips and his engineer, Toss Allen, who were present at the meeting to discuss the project with council. They were advised that there were several things on the actual plans that needed revising which included the correction of the rear-yard setback lines and the dedication of drainage easements along the rear property lines. Mayor Tipton pointed out that there were some additional comments from EMC that needed to be addressed and they included the repair of a core test hole in the pavement, the last joint of storm pipe at the ditch has separated, a post hydrant at the end of the new water system was not visible and the asphalt in the cul-de-sac was poorly installed and the engineer questioned the acceptance of the paving work. Mr. Allen stated that the post hydrant had actually been installed, but was not visible due to the overgrown conditions, but it has been raised and any corrections that were needed on the plat related to setbacks and easements as directed by council would be made. Mr. Allen advised council that the test hole had not yet been addressed because they wanted to find out what council was going to require on the pavement before doing any repairs. Mr. Allen stated that although it may not be as neat as it could be there was nothing functionally wrong with the cul-de-sac. Mr. Allen pointed out that some of the rough edges were made by the equipment when it was being widened which is not uncommon when paving a small area and also, since there were only three lots in the subdivision there would be a low volume of traffic so the paving should be adequate. Several councilmembers voiced their concerns about the cosmetics of the paving job and questioned whether the developer or engineer would want to live on a street of such poor quality. Mr. Phillips stated that he would get back with his contractor about correcting the paving work and Mr. Allen advised council he and the developer would take care of the other items that were discussed and once the corrections have been made they come back to council to seek final approval of the subdivision.
Attorney Dickey presented two ordinances for council’s consideration allowing for the assessment and collection of capital recovery costs as follows: 1) An ordinance requiring all new construction served by the City of Bloomingdale with water and sewer services supplied by the City of Savannah to property located within the corporate boundaries of the City of Bloomingdale south of U.S. Interstate 16 pay capital recovery costs for each applicable equivalent residential unit; and 2) An ordinance requiring all new construction served by the City of Bloomingdale with water supplied by the City of Pooler to property located within the corporate boundaries of the City of Bloomingdale as shown on Exhibit “A” (AMB properties) pay capital recovery costs charge for each applicable equivalent residential unit. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinances, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to dispense with the second readings of both ordinances, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlings then made a motion to approve the adoption of both ordinances. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Cecil Aldrich who has requested that council re-open South Poplar Street in front of his property which consists of Lot #’s 57, 58, & 61 and to remove the rock that the City placed on his property. Mr. Aldrich explained that the owner of the property in front of him had closed of the roadway which required that the owner of the house at the end of unopened Poplar Street (Don Amerson) drive onto Mr. Aldrich’s property to access his residence. A length discussion was held about this matter which dates back to action taken by the previous administration to issue a building permit to Don Amerson provided he improved the section of Poplar Street to his residence. However, at that time, there was no survey available to the City that showed that the area on which he would be traveling was actually on Mr. Aldrich’s property. There were two existing residences on Poplar Street that had been being accessed via a driveway from Garvin Street for many years, but the houses were apparently encroaching on the right of way of Poplar Street and since they were so close to a large oak tree in the middle of what was thought to be the right of way, agreements were reached to have Mr. Amerson travel on the east side of the tree and the owner/tenant of the other two residences to travel on the west side of the tree. A barricade was erected on the west side of the tree, apparently by the property owner, to prohibit access to the Amerson’s property using this side of the right of way. Attorney Dickey pointed out that there had been a couple of meetings held regarding access to the rest of Poplar Street by other property owners and Mr. Aldrich was present, but he did not indicate that he objected to them using the roadway to the east of the tree. Mr. Aldrich stated that until the survey had been done, he was not aware that his property line was much further west than he realized and the tree was actually on his land. Questions were raised about the ability of the City to be able to access the utility lines serving the properties on the southern end of Poplar Street and access to these properties by police and fire vehicles. After additional discussion, it was agreed that all of the property owners should be notified, in writing, of the need to remove any obstructions that had been installed in the right of way of Poplar Street so the City would have access for safety purposes and to maintain the utilities. Councilman Myrick made a motion to take this action, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton advised council that he would like to see the City’s Telecommunications Ordinance strengthened to limit the number of and heights of towers that could be built in the City. The Mayor stated that he felt the City had opened the door to allow for more towers like the one that had been permitted on Ottawa Farms and he did not want to see any more located in the residential areas of the City. Councilman Ray pointed out that the City had granted the one on Bloomingdale Road due to its remote location. Mayor Tipton commented that we had already compromised our ordinances and if anyone else came to the City with similar circumstances we would be forced to grant them a permit. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that maybe we could get some model ordinances for review that addressed more rural areas and get some guidelines from Denise Grabowski. It was noted that council would need to give the Planning & Zoning Commission some idea about the type restrictions and/or variances the Mayor wanted in the ordinance so they will know how to proceed. There were no specific restrictions noted, but council agreed to have the commission review the ordinance and make some recommendations back to council who could then accept or reject their suggestions.
Council was advised that some prices had been obtained by the maintenance department to repaint the caboose and obtain new decals. The City staff would do the painting, but we would have to purchase the paint. Council was informed that it had been about eight years since the caboose had gotten a paint job and new decals and councilmembers agreed it needed a facelift. Public Works Superintendent, Ernest Grizzard, reported that it would cost approximately $2800 for the decals and paint. After a brief discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to include the cost of these items in the FY 2007/2008 budget. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton informed council that he would like to see the City pursue the construction of a Veteran’s Memorial on the property across from City Hall. The Mayor mentioned several he had seen where bricks or crosses were placed at the memorial in honor of veterans. During council discussion, it was suggested that the City involve the American Legion in the review process. Councilmembers Rawlings, Strozier, and Winn agreed to work on the project.
Councilman Strozier reported that the City had some surplus roadway materials that needed to be moved from the maintenance yard. This included asphalt, rocks, and some pieces of concrete. After a brief discussion with Attorney Dickey it was determined that if any citizen was interested in obtaining the materials they could pick them up from the maintenance department, but to contact Ernest Grizzard, in advance, to make the arrangements.
Council discussed the extension of the current fire protection contract with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. for a 90 day period to include a $10,000 payment for fire protection services through September 30, 2007. It was noted that the current agreement expires on June 30, 2007. Mayor Tipton asked Fire Chief Tyler, who was present at the meeting, if the fire department was in agreement with the terms of the extension and he stated that they were in agreement. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the extension of the fire protection contract with the terms as discussed. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Chief Tyler was advised that the agreement would be forwarded to him for execution.
The Mayor presented a resolution for consideration by council to provide for a delay in the adoption of the FY 2007/2008 budget for up to sixty (60) days from July 1, 2007 as to enable the City to make all expenditures necessary and essential to operate the municipality. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the resolution, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Brad Bowman who was at the meeting on behalf of Republic Waste Management to address concerns about the garbage service. Councilman Myrick advised Mr. Bowman that he had been getting more and more complaints about the delays in the pickups and in many cases, the failure of some citizens to even have their garbage picked up and he felt that Republic needed to be providing better service. Mr. Bowman explained that they had been having some major maintenance problems, but expected to have a new truck in service in Bloomingdale on June 26th. He also pointed out that they had been having lots of turnovers in drivers which caused problems until new drivers learned the routes. Mayor Tipton stated that we have had several of these discussions with Republic in the past, but unless service improved, he questioned the renewal of the contract. Councilwoman Winn stated that her concerns were in the bad information that was being given out by their office personnel. She had called several times and been advised that the trucks were in Bloomingdale making pickups, but found out later they were not in town. Councilwoman Winn asked that the information being distributed to the office and the citizens at least be accurate. Citizen Barbara Griffin expressed her concerns about the lack of dependable service. Councilmembers asked that Republic advised the office when there were going to be delays in providing the scheduled service so we would know, in advance, what to tell the citizens. The Mayor thanked Mr. Bowman for coming to the meeting and stressed the importance of Republic improving the service they were providing to the citizens of Bloomingdale.
Mayor Tipton stated that an executive session was needed for discussion of personnel and pending and/or possible litigation issues. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session and to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The signed affidavit is attached to the original council meeting minutes.
The Mayor reported that this concludes the items that were received by the council meeting agenda deadline of Friday, June 15, 2007.
The following information was provided under committee reports:
Councilman Rawlings reported on behalf of Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Mary Mitchell that there were two prospective candidates for positions as alternate members of the commission she would like to present for council’s consideration. The candidates were Charles Hutchinson and Barbara Griffin. As is normally the procedure, council discussed the setting up of interviews with the candidates and Councilman Myrick asked that these be postponed for a couple of weeks because he was in the process of moving his business, but would like to be involved in these interviews. Council agreed to delay the interviews until he was available to participate.
Councilman Ray reported that the City had solicited and received bids on the investments of funds totaling $4,822,109.73 and First Chatham Bank had submitted the highest bid with the interest to be earned in the next 60 to 180 days of over $110,000.
Councilwoman Winn expressed her appreciate to everyone who had attended the Patriotic Celebration held on Memorial Day and her thanks to those who helped to make it a great success.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 10:35pm. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers 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.