Called Council Meeting
August 2, 2007
Mayor Tipton called the meeting to order with Councilman Ray leading in prayer.
The Mayor advised those present that sometimes business comes along that requires council to meet outside of a regularly scheduled meeting and that was the case with tonight’s meeting. Mayor Tipton stated that there were two items on tonight’s agenda and an executive session required for personnel issues.
Mayor Tipton recognized Barbara Griffin who advised him that she did not feel the meeting was properly advertised and that contact had been made with the Attorney General’s office who stated the meeting had to be advertised with the newspaper at least 24 hours in advance. Ms. Griffin also stated that the notice about the meeting had not been placed on the sign in front of City Hall until about 3:00pm this afternoon and only after Mr. Brady had been advised to put it on the sign and no other signs had been posted. Ms. Griffin was advised that a notice on the meeting was posted on the bulletin board at City Hall on July 31, 2007. The Mayor informed her that the City Hall follows the requirements as outlined by the state and asked Attorney Dickey to review them with the citizens. Attorney Dickey stated that he would read the requirements directly from the code section and read as follows . . . “Whenever any meeting required to be open to the public is to be held at a time or place other than at the time and place prescribed for regular meetings, the agency shall give due notice thereof. “Due notice” shall be the posting of a written notice for at least 24 hours at the place of regular meetings and giving of written or oral notice at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting to the legal organ in which notices of sheriff’s sales are published in the county where regular meetings are held ….” Attorney Dickey pointed out that these are the same regulations that the Attorney General’s Office is required to follow. Ms. Griffin questioned Attorney Dickey as to whether this information could be misinterpreted and he pointed out that he had read the information directly from the state law. Ms. Griffin stated that she still did not feel the meeting was properly advertised as it was not published in the Savannah Morning News. Attorney Dickey advised her that publication in the newspaper was not a requirement of the state law. After Ms. Griffin continued to pose questions about the notification process and requirements, Mayor Tipton advised her that Attorney Dickey had already answered her questions and that Mr. Brady had copies of the transmittal information if she would like to obtain it after the meeting. Mayor Tipton recognized Gerald Cook who questioned the Mayor as to whether this wasn’t the 3rd or 4th meeting since the last council meeting and stated that maybe we should go back to the regular schedule. Mayor Tipton informed Mr. Cook that this was the second called meeting since the July 19th council meeting.
Mayor Tipton advised council the first item of business concerned the lift station at the Bloomingdale Elementary School and stated that EMC Engineering had done a site inspection of the station and provided some alternatives and estimated construction costs for the City to consider in making improvements to the system. The engineers pointed out that the wet well and piping are rusted and stated that the useful life of the wet well and components has been exceeded. The three (3) options they proposed included doing nothing at this time, but to have a contingent plan if the system fails; rehab the existing system by lining the existing wet well with fiberglass, epoxy or other lining material and use or replace suction lift pumps at an estimated total cost of between $30,000 and $40,000; or to construct a new concrete wet well near the existing station which allows the existing station to stay in service during construction at an estimated cost of between $50,000 and $75,000. All three options were discussed at length by the Mayor and Council. Councilman Rawlings asked if there was an estimate on the life expectancy of the rehab option, but was advised this information had not been made available by the engineer. Mayor Tipton reported that Mr. Brady had prepared some figures on how long it would take to recover this expense. Mr. Brady reported that if the sewer rates for the school remained the same it would take approximately ten (10) years to recover this expense; however, with a moderate increase in the base and usage rates the recovery period would be about eight (8) years. Citizen Gerald Cook asked if the costs would be passed on to the citizens, but was advised that as just explained the cost would be recovered from sewer rates charged to the school. The Mayor asked for Councilman Strozier’s input on these options. Councilman Strozier stated that he had not had an opportunity to review the engineer’s report. Mayor Tipton asked Councilman Myrick for his opinion on which option would be the best. Councilman Myrick stated that he felt he needed a little more time to review the information before making that decision and asked if the school had been contacted about a possible rate increase. The Mayor stated they had not yet been contacted since the City would need to make a decision on which option to choose before getting with them about potential increases and on the scheduling of construction work. Councilman Myrick pointed out that this would definitely be a major budgetary item that we would need to prepare for in advance. Councilman Rawlings asked if we would solicit bids for the work, but Mayor Tipton stated he was not sure how that would be handled. Several council members stated they felt more information was needed before proceeding with the project. Councilman Strozier pointed out that Option #3 indicated the wet well would be replaced with a concrete wet well and questioned whether it would have a fiberglass lining as it was his understanding from previous discussions with contractors that concrete materials were not as durable as fiberglass. It was noted that this information was not included in the engineer’s report. Councilman Rawlings asked if we choose Option #2 would that price include the engineering. Mr. Brady stated that there would probably have to be some design work involved, but he would need to talk with Tim to get the answer to this question. Councilman Myrick pointed out that he realized that some work was definitely needed on the lift station, but would like to know more about the life expectancy on the refurbishing option. Mr. Brady stated that if the existing wet well was lined, it would decrease its capacity and cause the existing pumps to work harder. After additional discussion, council agreed for Mr. Brady to get back with the engineers to get more details on the options included in their July 26th letter and to provide information on design work requirements and prices.
Council reviewed two proposals received from contractors for the paving of three (3) sections of East Main Street consisting of a length of approximately 1,135’. The lowest price was received from Ellis Wood Contracting, Inc. in the amount of $40,162.50. It was noted that the low bid was from the contractor who was working on the Church & Lynn Street paving project. Councilman Strozier advised council that these sections of roadway are not wide enough to receive monies under a state contract and pointed out that several years ago the citizens living along these portions of East Main Street were assured that when the next paving project was done in the City, these sections would be paved. Councilman Strozier reported that the contractor would be grading the existing roadway, placing 3-4” of crushed rock on the roadway and paving with 2” of asphalt. Councilman Myrick asked Councilman Strozier if this was the same paving technique used on other streets and he advised him that several of the streets were handled this same way. The Mayor asked if there would be any engineering involved on these streets and was advised that the drainage was already in place and we would be paving the existing roadway. Councilman Ray pointed out that Church and Lynn Street required design plans because there was no drainage on these roadways and the City had to handle the drainage portion of the project. Mayor Tipton asked Councilman Strozier if he was comfortable with proceeding with the project without engineering plans and he stated that engineered plans were not necessary. Councilman Strozier advised the Mayor that Southeast Engineering had agreed to oversee the project within the price quoted for the Church & Lynn Street project. Being no further discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to accept the proposal of $40,162.50 for the paving of three sections of East Main Street and proceed with the project. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative bids. Citizen Barbara Griffin asked how the project was being paid for and was advised that the funds would come from SPLOST monies allocated for road paving projects. Ms. Griffin questioned whether Phase II of the drainage project would require that the paving of these sections of roadway be dug up and was advised that the drainage plan would not effect this paving project.
Mayor Tipton reported that the next agenda item was to adjourn into executive session to discuss personnel issues. Councilman Ray made this motion, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and the motion passed with six affirmative votes.
At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Strozier made a motion to return to the general session, Councilman Ray 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 Act, the motion was seconded by Councilman Rawlings and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton thanked the citizens for coming to tonight’s meeting and for being orderly during discussions related to the business discussed. The Mayor pointed out that citizen input was appreciated.
Citizen Gerald Cook commented that he felt the City needed to make some improvements in the notification of its citizens on called meetings so the citizens could make arrangements in their schedules to attend the meetings.
Being no further discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 6:55pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all council members 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.