February 7, 2008
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Waller leading in prayer. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 17th council meeting and the called meeting of January 28th. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the agenda of the February 7th meeting with the deletion of discussion regarding the development of D.K. Morgan’s property located at #1718 E. Highway 80. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Under administrative and committee reports, citizens were advised that the Church, Lynn, and Main Street paving projects were completed. Mayor Tipton expressed his appreciation to the administrative staff, the police department and public works employees, along with City Administrator Brady, for their hard work in the day to day operations of the City. Councilwoman Winn stated that one of the students at Bloomingdale School, Madison Jenkins, was the Chatham County Spelling Bee Champion and would like to see the City recognize her for this accomplishment. Councilman Strozier stated that he would take care of it at the next meeting as he was scheduled to provide the outstanding citizen recognition this month.
Mayor Tipton reported that Joey Jones had requested that council take action on his rezoning request that was tabled, at his request, at the January 3, 2008 council meeting. Councilman Ray made a motion to remove this matter from the table, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Council was reminded that the Planning Commission had recommended the rezoning of 10.65 acres owned by Joey Jones located on Bloomingdale Road just west of his existing business at #803 Bloomingdale Road from RA-1 to C-2 with the condition that the property be developed with the existing business or a similar low impact use and the expansion and accompany site plan be designed as to minimize the commercial nature of the site. The Mayor stated that some concerns had been raised by H.B. Waller about the rezoning of the property and after he had held several meetings between Mr. Jones, Mr. Waller, and the City’s zoning consultant Denise Grabowski, some additional conditions had been proposed and agreed to by Mr. Jones. The Mayor expressed his appreciation to Mr. Jones for his cooperation and willingness to work with the City to resolve the concerns of Mr. Waller. Ms. Grabowski presented the following conditions to council as conditions for the rezoning of the property:
Councilman Myrick questioned Mr. Jones about his agreement with these conditions and the only question Mr. Jones raised was about the parking at the current building. Ms. Grabowski advised him that the current parking facility could remain, but the parking for additional buildings or expansions would have to be in the rear of the building(s). Ms. Grabowski presented additional conditions that were recommended to minimize the risk of the expansion or modification of the existing use from becoming a potential nuisance to the neighborhood:
Mr. Jones questioned Ms. Grabowski about the building currently under construction and she advised him that the 100% increase would include both buildings—the existing one and the one currently under construction. After a brief discussion in which Mr. Jones stated that he understood and agreed to the conditions as a stipulation of the rezoning, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to rezone the 10.65 acres as requested by Joey Jones for his property on Bloomingdale Road from RA-1 to C-2 with the conditions as outlined above. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The City Clerk, Sandra Jones, asked council’s authorization to include this zoning change on the final draft of the zoning/boundary/street map being prepared by RDC and council approved its inclusion on the final map.
Council discussed the request from Republic Waste Services for the inclusion of a fuel surcharge as part of the contract to be based on the monthly PADD #. After discussion by council, Councilman Myrick made a motion to include an addendum to the contract allowing for the fuel surcharge to be established based on the PADD# at the beginning of the contract and to remain in effect for a six month period and to then be reviewed and re-considered for approval every six months. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor introduced Jackie Jackson Teel, Natural Resources Administrator with Metropolitan Planning Commission who presented a power-point presentation on information regarding the creation of a local water conservation staff position to assist the municipalities within Chatham County (excluding the City of Savannah) in the implementation of a water conservation education program. Ms. Teel explained that the MPC already provides this service to the City of Savannah and unincorporated Chatham County and the other municipalities had expressed an interested in having the MPC work with them on this requirement. The staff member would provide services to the participating cities who would share in the cost of the position. The services would include water system employee training, public information programs, and school programs as now required by the EPD as a special condition of all new and modified groundwater withdrawal permits. Ms. Teel explained that the water conservation education program must be conducted in accordance with EPD guidelines and reported to the Division’s District Office for concurrence no later than 12 months from the groundwater withdrawal permit issue date and for Bloomingdale, the deadline was December 31, 2008. Ms. Teel informed council that the June, 2006 document entitled the Coastal Georgia Water and Wastewater Permitting Plan for Managing Salt Water Intrusion had set for the goals, policies, and actions the Georgia EPD would undertake to manage the water resources of the 24-county area of coastal Georgia. Along with the water conservation education program, there were other special conditions placed on the cities and some of these conditions the City had already met. Council was advised that if all of the cities agreed to participate, the cost would be approximately $17,000 per year per city. Councilman Strozier questioned the division of the costs on an equal basis and stated he felt it should be based on population. Ms. Teel outlined some of the methods of education that would be used which included television, billboards, printed materials, school programs, etc. Councilwoman Winn asked how the school programs would be handled and was advised they would be coordinated with the principals or the science teachers. Pat Stanfield asked if the City was required to use the services of MPC and was advised that they did not have to use the MPC, but the water conservation education program must meet the requirements as set forth by the Georgia EPD. Ms. Teel stated that the MPC currently works with the City on their NPDES Permit with stormwater sampling and Councilman Strozier pointed out that Ms. Teel has worked well with the City in these and other areas for several years. The Mayor thanked Ms. Teel for the information and asked that City Administrator Brady, Ernest Grizzard, and the Water Committee Chairman meet with Ms. Teel and bring a recommendation back to council on this issue.
Citizen Charles Brown submitted a request for a home occupation license to operate a mobile auto detail business from his residence located at #304 East Main Street. Mr. Brown explained that he would only have his office at his residence and assured council that there would be no vehicles brought to his home for detailing. Based on this information, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license to Mr. Brown for the “office only” of a mobile auto detail business to be operated from his residence at #304 East Main Street. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the appointment of members to the Ethics Committee. The Mayor reported that Karl M. Johnson, Jr. was willing to serve an additional two years as council’s appointee to the committee, but due to illness he was not able to attend tonight’s meeting. Mayor Tipton stated that he would like to re-appoint William McCarty for a two year term and it was his understanding that these two members would like to have Martin Collins continue as their appointee to the committee. Mr. McCarty and Mr. Collins were both present at the meeting and agreed to serve if appointed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve Karl M. Johnson, Jr., William McCarty and Martin Collins to serve on the Ethic Committee for two year terms to expire on December 31, 2009. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that council had agreed to increase the base charge for 2008 Occupational Licenses from $25 to $50 per year at the called council meeting held on January 28th, and an amendment to the Fee Schedule Policy to include this increase needed to be approved. Councilman Myrick made a motion to amend the Fee Schedule Policy to increase the base charge from $25 to $50 for the 2008 Occupational Licenses. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Winn and passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the City is considering the implementation of user fees for fire protection services and having a City-owned fire department is also being discussed. Mayor Tipton stated that the City has contracted with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department for many years to provide fire protection to its citizens and they have been doing a good job, however, with the costs related to these services increasing, the City must seek additional sources of funding. Citizens were informed that, in addition to the payment of the fire protection contract, the City has also provided trucks, equipment, maintenance, and other in-kind services to the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department. Mayor Tipton advised the citizens that a public hearing will be scheduled to receive citizen input on the implementation of a users fee for fire protection. Barbara Griffin asked some questions about the amount of the user fees being considered and the Mayor advised her that a newsletter will be mailed out prior to the hearing that would contain some preliminary figures for citizens to review. Betty Burke expressed her appreciation of the fire department and stated that she would be willing to pay a users fee for fire protection services. Councilman Strozier pointed out that the City would need approximately $125,000 to $150,000 for operational expenses. Martin Collins stated that he understood the need for citizens to participate in the cost of the fire protection services and Alton Griffin commented that he was in agreement that additional monies were needed to fund the cost of fire protection. The Mayor and Council discussed the importance of the City of Bloomingdale having its own fire department. After this discussion, Mayor Tipton polled the councilmembers and they all agreed to pursue a City-owned and operated fire department with their goals being a new building, the creation of a paid Fire Chief’s position and lowering the City’s ISO rating. Mayor Tipton stated that the current volunteers would be an important part of a City-owned fire department and hoped they would be willing to work with the City toward their goal of providing the best fire protection possible for its citizens. After additional discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to hold a public hearing on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 7:00pm at the City Hall for discussion of the implementation of user fees for fire protection services. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings reported that the Bloomingdale History Society will be holding their 2nd Annual Meeting on Monday, February 11th from 6pm-9pm at the Bloomingdale Community Building. A covered dish dinner will be held at 7:00 with the society providing fried chicken and an auction will be held immediately following the meeting. Councilman Rawlings stated that donated items for the auction are needed and to contact Barbara Rawlings if you have any questions or items to donate. Citizens were also advised that the 2008 Bloomingdale History Society Calendars are available for sale at a cost of $20. Eutween Griffin asked when the red lights at Cherry Street & Highway 80 would be operational and the Mayor advised her that the Department of Transportation would make that determination. Mike Wedincamp asked about the City’s water capacity and was advised that it was currently 256,000 gpd, but the state would be reviewing all groundwater withdrawal permits at the end of 2008 and there was a possibility that capacities could be reduced.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, February 1, 2008.
Chief Gossett announced that an explosion had occurred at the Sugar Refinery in Port Wentworth and emergency personnel were headed to the scene.
The accounts payable were presented for council approval. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 7:45p.m. 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.