September 20, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Reverend Loran Smith leading in prayer. The Mayor recognized Councilwoman Winn who presented the Outstanding Citizen Award to Dorothy “Dot” Adams for her many years of dedicated service to the local Community Food Bank Program as well as other community activities and her church.
The Mayor presented the minutes of the August 16, 2007 meeting for approval. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion. Mayor Tipton then presented the agenda for the September 20, 2007 meeting for approval which included a request to give committee reports before council adjourned into executive session. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the agenda with this change, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Council was advised that the final draft of the zoning/boundary/street map update is being presented for the scheduling of a public hearing. It was noted that City Administrator Brady suggests that the public hearing be held on October 18, 2007 with the map to be added to the planning commission agenda for November 13, 2007 and a recommendation to be presented to council at the November 15, 2007 meeting from the planning commission. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to schedule the public hearing for October 18, 2007 and follow the adoption schedule as outlined by Mr. Brady. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Mayor Tipton presented a resolution for approval by council for adoption of the FY 2007/2008 budget. The Mayor pointed out that a public hearing had been conducted on the budget on September 13, 2007 and he, along with Councilmembers Ray, Strozier, Waller & Winn, had attended the hearing and although Councilman Myrick had notified him that he was working and could not attend the hearing, there had been no contact from Councilman Rawlings. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the resolution for the adoption of the FY 2007/2008 budget, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
The next agenda item was a home occupation license request from JoAnn Elkins, but she had not yet arrived at the meeting, so no action was taken on her request. (Note: Action was taken later in the meeting.)
Council was advised that the City had received an inquiry and occupational license application from Ginger Cannon to operate a used car business at #301 E. Highway 80. The Mayor recognized Ms. Cannon who stated that she is in the process of getting her used auto dealer’s license, but as noted in her request to council, she wants to make sure she will be able to get the occupational license from the City once she gets her state license. Citizen Barbara Griffin questioned the esthetics of the property and whether approval should be granted before the adoption of the overlay district. Ms. Cannon advised council that she does have plans to paint both of the buildings to make them more attractive and will be doing some yard work on the property. Ms. Eutween Griffin questioned whether the City needed another used car lot since there was already one located on Highway 80. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to conduct a public hearing on the request for the “conditional use” of the property located at #301 E. Highway 80 as a used car lot with the hearing to be held on October 18, 2007 at 7:00pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Greg Caudell who had requested some information from council related to the development of The Village at New Osteen Road. Mr. Caudell asked about the availability of water/sewer service to the property and requested approval from council for the stumping of the west side of the property. Mr. Caudell provided council with information from his engineer outlining the water/sewer needs for the development and pointed out that he wanted to make sure the design of the project was within the water and sewer capacities of the City. Attorney Dickey advised Mr. Caudell that it was apparent from the water/sewer needs projected in his report that the City does not have the capacity to provide the services at this time as the City would not be in a position to dedicate all of its current capacity to this one project. Mayor Tipton stated that the City could not make commitments on these services until we knew exactly what would be needed and this could be determined by presentation of the site development plan. Attorney Dickey pointed out that timing was a major factor and if the project was going to be developed in phases, water and sewer agreements addressing their needs could be considered. Mayor Tipton suggested that Mr. Caudell meet with City Administrator Brady and City Attorney Dickey to discuss the project’s time schedule so determinations can be made on whether or not the City can provide these services. Mr. Caudell asked about the extension of these services to the property and he was advised that casings for water and sewer service had been placed under U.S. Highway 80, but the developer would be responsible for the cost of running the lines to the property. Councilman Rawlings questioned whether the City needed to allow the project to continue since it was questionable as to whether we could even provide the water and sewer service. The Mayor pointed out that that the purpose of the meeting with the attorney and administrator would be to go over his plans to determine if the City could provide the services to the development. Citizen Barbara Griffin asked if the cost of water and sewer to serve this development would increase the cost of services to individuals. It was noted that, over time, the costs related to providing water and sewer service to residences and to businesses was going to increase; however, there was no indication that this particular development would cause any immediate increases. Mayor Tipton asked that Mr. Caudill get with Mr. Brady and Attorney Dickey to schedule the meeting to discuss his water and sewer issues. Mr. Caudell pointed out that although portions of this property had been noted as uplands, he has found out that in the process of clearing the stumps, it has been very difficult to get an overall picture of the property to make development decisions and asked that he be allowed to move on to the west side of the property to clear the stumps consisting of approximately 25± additional acres. Questions were raised about the completion of the first phase of clearing and whether the requirements had been met. Mr. Caudell advised council that he has made every attempt to stay in compliance with the land disturbing permit requirements by providing silt fencing and erosion control and would appreciate council’s approval to clear the additional acreage of the stumps. Mr. Caudell stated that he was almost finished with the stumping of the section previously approved by council. It was noted that when council approved the stumping of the first 31± acres it was with the stipulation that the site development plan be submitted before additional clearing was done. Council was advised that due to its size, this development was considered a development of regional impact by the state and it was going to require some additional time to prepare the site development plan. Attorney Dickey stated that council had the authority to approve the stumping of the additional acreage if it was determined that there were extenuating circumstances related to the development of the property. After additional discussion, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to allow Mr. Caudell to clear the additional 25± acres of property of stumps due to extenuating circumstances related to preparation of the site development plan, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a recommendation from the Planning Commission to amend the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Article IV, Section 411-Planned Development Overlay District (PDOD) intended to clarify the review procedures, specifically, the requirements for development permits. It was noted that a public hearing had been held on these changes at the September 11, 2007 Planning Commission meeting and the ordinance was reviewed by Attorney Dickey prior to the public hearing. Councilman Rawlings questioned the changes, but was reminded that these changes have been discussed at both Planning Commission meetings and council meetings over the last several months and these specific changes were recommended by zoning consultant Denise Grabowski. Councilman Rawlings asked Mary Mitchell for her comments on the changes and she advised him that these were merely language changes that were reworded for clarification purposes. Being no further discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the first reading of the amendment to the zoning ordinance, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to dispense with the second reading and to approve the amendment to the zoning ordinance. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Council considered a request on behalf of City Administrator Robert Brady to approve the monthly payment of his mobile telephone service. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve payment for this service, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that council needed to begin solicitation of bids for providing garbage service. Attorney Dickey pointed out that the City also needed to provide Republic Waste with notice that the City would be soliciting bids for a new contract. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion authorizing City Administrator Robert Brady to solicit bids for garbage service and to notify Republic Waste Services of the City’s plans to seek a new contract for these services. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that if Republic Waste Services was interested in continuing to provide these services to Bloomingdale they could submit a bid for consideration by council. Citizen Barbara Griffin asked when the citizens were going to receive a report on the responses to the questionnaires regarding garbage service and the Mayor advised her that these were available for her review at the City Hall. Ms. Griffin questioned the difference in rates between what the City was paying Republic and what was being charged to customers. Ms. Griffin was advised that the rates also covered limb grinder services and dry trash pickups.
The Mayor advised council that the extension of the fire protection services contract needed to be discussed. It was noted that the current extension expires on September 30, 2007. Mayor Tipton pointed out that it was his understanding from Fire Chief Tyler that the fire department was in agreement to extend the contract another 90 days and the Chief, who was present at the meeting, confirmed this agreement. Councilman Myrick made a motion to extend the fire protection services contract with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. for 90 days with the extension to expire on December 31, 2007. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was confirmed by Mayor Tipton and Fire Chief Tyler that the 90 day extension of the agreement included a $10,000 payment to the fire department.
The Mayor recognized Mary Mitchell and Gerald Cook who thanked the Mayor and Council for allowing them to attend the training session held in Savannah this week.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City had received a request from Mary Mitchell to be placed on tonight’s agenda for discussion of the following: 1) Appointment of alternates for planning commission – Ms. Mitchell expressed her concern that no action has been taken on the appointment of the two alternates submitted to the Mayor on July 19th for consideration by council. Ms. Mitchell stated the recommendations included Barbara Griffin and Charles Hutchinson. Barbara Griffin stated she would like to make a statement about her appointment, but the Mayor asked her to wait until Ms. Mitchell had completed her agenda items. Councilman Rawlings stated that
we were in violation of the zoning code by not making these appointments and made a motion to appoint Barbara Griffin and Charles Hutchinson as alternates to the Planning Commission. The motion died due to the lack of a second. Ms. Mitchell stated she would like council to make a decision on these appointments soon; 2) Recognition of Mrs. Jackie Lowman – Ms. Mitchell advised council that she would like to recognize Ms. Lowman for her many years of service as a member of the Planning Commission. Mayor Tipton stated that he along with all of council would support a special recognition of Ms. Lowman for her contributions to the City and asked that Ms. Mitchell and Councilwoman Winn meet to discuss some possible ways to handle this recognition. The Mayor suggested the bestowing of an “Honorary” lifetime Planning Commission membership to Ms. Lowman. During this discussion it was pointed out by Ms. Mitchell that it was her understanding that Ms. Lowman was instrumental in getting the property donated for Taylor Park. Councilman Rawlings stated that she had never received any recognition from the City for this accomplishment. Councilmembers Strozier and Winn advised him that Ms. Lowman had been recognized many years ago for her role in the acquisition of this property; 3) Funding for Planning Commission to include training – Mayor Tipton stated that this issue had been discussed during the public hearing held on the budget, but if Ms. Mitchell would like additional information she could set up a time to meet with City Administrator Brady and Councilwoman Winn to discuss it further. Councilman Rawlings stated that the overruns in the planning commission’s budget were related to the update to the zoning map, but he was advised by the clerk that these expenses were charged to the administration budget. Councilman Rawlings commented that the Mayor, not the Planning Commission, was directly responsible for any monies spent from this budget and, in particular, those paid to Lott Barber for consulting services provided by Denise Grabowski; 4) Questions regarding the 2003 work on the highway corridor overlay district and tree ordinance – Ms. Mitchell expressed her concerns that duplicate work had been done by planning commission members on these ordinances because they had not been made aware of the work that had previously been done by the commission. The Mayor pointed out that apparently there was a lack of communication within the committee. Ms. Mitchell stated that she would like to have better lines of communication between council and the commission; 5) Reassignment of council members to committees – Ms. Mitchell stated that she had hoped the Mayor would meet with the members of the planning commission to answer their questions regarding the recent changes in the committees in which Councilman Rawlings was moved off of the Planning & Licensing Committee. Mayor Tipton stated that he felt that changes in committee member appointments were in the best interest of the City and he has had some very positive feedback from citizens regarding the changes. The Mayor pointed out that Councilwoman Winn had worked with the planning commission for many years and he felt the City was well represented with her appointment to the Planning & Licensing Committee.
The Mayor recognized Citizen Barbara Griffin who asked that she be allowed to speak to council regarding the recommendation that she serve as an alternate member of the Planning Commission. Ms. Griffin stated that she had submitted a letter to council in June, 2007 regarding her interest in serving on the commission, but had not heard anything back from the City. Ms. Griffin advised council that she felt she could do a good job in this capacity, but would have to withdraw her application at this time. Ms. Griffin outlined some of her reasons for withdrawing her application which included the unfair way in which the Mayor and Council treats its citizens, members of the commission, and other members of council.
Mayor Tipton recognized Citizen Pat Stanfield who had requested she be placed on tonight’s agenda for discussion of the planning & zoning board; assignment of council people on committees; code of conduct; and waste in City government. Ms. Stanfield asked the Mayor why Councilman Rawlings was removed from the planning committee and Mayor Tipton stated that he had already answered that question. Ms. Stanfield questioned the lack of a response to the appointment of alternates to the planning commission and the conduct of Councilman Ray in a meeting where he threatened Councilman Rawlings. Councilman Ray advised her that she did not have the facts on this situation and since she was not there she did not know exactly what took place. Ms. Stanfield expressed her displeasure at the ejection of citizens from meetings when they voiced opinions that differed from those of the Mayor or councilmembers. Mayor Tipton informed Ms. Stanfield that it was his responsibility to maintain order and he would continue to take whatever steps were necessary to conduct the meetings in an orderly manner. Ms. Stanfield questioned how planning commission could have overspent their budget when the members didn’t even know they had money in the budget and stated that there were elected officials who have forgotten what they were elected to do. Councilman Myrick commented that there were other people in the City who had opinions that differed from hers.
The Mayor stated that the next order of business would be to hear committee reports and he commended the public safety committee for getting the brick placed around the base of the sign at the police department. Councilman Strozier reported that during the recent rains he had been monitoring the areas prone to flooding and had taken some photos to show some of the problem areas. Councilman Strozier pointed out that if Bloomingdale had experienced the amount of rainfall that had occurred at Wilmington Island and Isle of Hope during this same time period there would have been some significant flooding problems in the City. Councilman Strozier stated that Gary Rowland, who lives at #304 Ash Street, had also taken some photographs and he shared those with council. Questions were raised about the age of this residence and Mr. Rowland stated the house had been built in the 60’s. Councilman Strozier commented that the City needs another outlet for this rainwater and he felt that the recent rains were just a warning as to what could happen if nothing is done about the drainage. Councilman Rawlings commented that if the City continued to allow people to build in the low-lying areas they were going to flood during heavy rains. During the discussion period
several citizens began to argue among themselves and become unruly and when they failed to return to order, the Mayor called for Chief Gossett to escort those citizens out of the meeting who would come to order. Chief
Gossett reminded the citizens that the Mayor had called for order and unless the citizens stopped talking and started listening, he was going to have to escort them out of the meeting. After additional discussion on the drainage issues, the Mayor moved on to other business.
Mayor Tipton was advised that Citizen JoAnn Elkins had arrived at the meeting and would like to discuss her request for a home occupation license with council. Councilman Rawlings voiced his objection to considering her request because she was not present when the item came up. It was noted by several councilmembers that this was an agenda item and although she may have not been here earlier in the meeting she was here now and council should hear her request. Councilman Rawlings continued to object and Councilman Strozier asked him why he would object to hearing from this citizen whose request was on the agenda and Councilman Rawlings stated that he still felt it was out of order. Mayor Tipton asked Attorney Dickey for guidance on this matter. Attorney Dickey stated that this was an agenda item that had not been acted on and it could be addressed at this time or at any other time during the meeting if council agreed to do so. Councilman Strozier made a motion to hear the home occupation license request from JoAnn Elkins at this time, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Council was advised a request has been submitted by JoAnn Elkins for a home occupation license to operate the “office only” of an air conditioning filter changing business and a pickup/delivery of motor homes business from her residence located at #133 Conaway Road. It was noted that Ms. Elkins had maintained a license for these businesses through 2006, but, due to health reasons, did not renew the license in early 2007. Ms. Elkins stated that the motor homes would not be brought to her residence, but noted that one time during the year she brought a school bus to her home and it was parked inside of her fence. Ms. Elkins stated that she was the only employee and advised council that she used her personal vehicle for the air conditioner filter changing business. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and issue the home occupation license as requested, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that he had requested an executive session to discuss personnel issues. Councilman Myrick made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilwoman Winn 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, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Fire Chief Tyler who gave a report on fire department activities during the month. Fire Chief Tyler stated that the flushing of the fire hydrants had been completed and with the approval of new life safety codes for 2008, all new residential buildings will have to install fire sprinklers in the near future. Fire Chief Tyler reported that a new ISO requirement is that all commercial buildings, churches, and government buildings will need to be inspected by the fire department and they will be contacting the owners to schedule appointments for these inspections. Councilman Strozier stated that his wife had recently attended a CPR class that had been taught by Ginger Tyler and she advised him that it was very much enjoyed and she felt the instructor did a great job. Fire Chief Tyler pointed out that CPR classes had been held for the police department and were being offered, at cost, to others interested in taking the class. Mayor Tipton asked if the training records were up to date and was assured by Fire Chief Tyler that they were being kept up to date.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items that had been presented for tonight’s agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, September 14, 2007.
Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 9:25pm, Councilman Ray 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.