June 19, 2008
Mayor Tipton called the meeting to order and Councilman Ray led in prayer. The Mayor introduced David Lock who was running as a candidate for District Attorney. The current District Attorney, Spencer Lawton, will retire at the end of his term on December 31, 2008. Mr. Lock outlined his credentials and stated that he felt he was well qualified for the position. Mr. Lock asked for support from those present at the meeting. Councilman Rawlings presented Kathy and L.B. Davis with a plaque in recognition of their participation in the Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful campaign last year and commended them on their contribution to the campaign by creating such a beautiful yard.
Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the minutes of the May 15, 2008 council minutes, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the agenda of the June 19, 2008 council meeting, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Administrative and committee reports were as follows:
Councilman Strozier reported that the Patriotic Celebration held on Memorial Day was very enjoyable and it took the help of many people to make it such a great success. He thanked Alton Jones for providing the barbeque used for sandwiches by the Bloomingdale Recreation Department who also served some fine hotdogs and hamburgers for the event. Councilman Strozier noted that Bobby Oglesby had provided the flatbed trailer for the stage and the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department was on standby during the fireworks display. The American Legion Post 322 presented a “folding of the flag” demonstration for the audience and explained the significance of each step in the process. Dennis Baxter served as the Master of Ceremonies, Angela Jernigan sang the National Anthem and the other musical entertainment was very enjoyable. Cheryl Haworth, a bronze medal winner in weightlifting in the 2000 Olympics, gave a short speech about growing up in Bloomingdale and how much she enjoyed participating in the sports programs provided through the recreation department. Cheryl will be making her third trip to the Olympics in weightlifting in August, 2008. Councilman Strozier extended a special thank you to Councilwoman Winn for her assistance in organizing this year’s event and stated that she had helped to provide the pony rides and moonwalk for the children.
Mayor Tipton stated that City Administrator Brady was reviewing methods for determining the user fees needed to provide fire protection services to our citizens. The Mayor stated that he would be appointing a committee to start working on plans for a new fire station. Mayor Tipton reported that the Bloomingdale Elementary School had achieved recognition for having a -0- turnover in teachers in the last year and he felt it was due to the excellent leadership provided by Principal John King.
The Mayor reported that on May 18th he had attended services at the Bloomingdale Fellowship Church of God of Prophecy and participated in their Homecoming Services which included some great food and good gospel music. Mayor Tipton stated that Pastor Minter presented him with a plaque for the City that acknowledged their appreciation for the assistance provided to their church during the construction of their building and expressed their pleasure in having their church located in such a wonderful City. Mayor Tipton also noted that the public works department was working on a break room for their workers so they would have a place to enjoy their lunch breaks.
Mayor Tipton stated that several months ago he had announced that property he owns off Pine Barren Road was under contract with AMB Properties, Inc. for possible purchase. Since AMB was involved in a major construction project on property nearby, he felt that he needed to excuse himself from any matters related to that AMB project. However, the property is no longer under contract with AMB and he felt he needed to advise the council and the citizens of this information. The Mayor stated that AMB Properties, Inc. has been very generous in their community promotion by providing funds for the Veterans Memorial.
City Administrator Brady stated that there would be a public hearing held on June 24, 2008 at 6:00pm to receive citizen input on the proposed FY 2008/2009 budget. Administrator Brady reported that a called council meeting would be held on July 1, 2008 at 6:00pm to consider adoption of the proposed budget that will include an increase in garbage rates and the implementation of a user fee for fire protection effective July 1, 2008 and related ordinances.
Mayor Tipton reported that the next part of the meeting would be a public hearing to discuss the update to the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan. The Mayor introduced Ed DiTommaso with ISE who explained the purpose of the update was to review current procedures and make necessary adjustments to handle the increasing need for solid waste disposal. Some of the areas addressed in the plan will include waste reduction through recycling efforts, collection and disposal of solid waste and ways to better control illegal dumping. Mr. DiTommaso pointed out that this update is mandated by the state and if a City does not comply with the regulation, they will lose their status as a qualified local government and could face the loss of state funds for numerous projects. Citizen Martin Collins commented that the recycling of glass, plastics and magazines was not readily available to citizens and suggested consideration of this issue in the preparation of the plan. It was noted that if the citizens were willing to pay for the cost of these type services, they could be made available. Mayor Tipton pointed out that if there was some way to provide the recycling services countywide it would probably lower the costs. Mr. DiTommaso reported that another public hearing would be held on Thursday, August 21, 2008 to further discuss the update to the plan.
City Administrator Brady advised council that since the decision had been made to make repairs to the wet well at the Bloomingdale Elementary School rather than replace it, the council needs to reject the bids on the replacement of the lift station as presented by EMC Engineering, Inc. at the April 3, 2008 meeting. Councilman Strozier made a motion to reject said bids, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton introduced Barbara Hurst who is the Coordinated Transportation Manager with Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center. Ms. Hurst outlined a proposed plan to provide for regional rural public transportation through a cooperative effort between cities and counties in the region. She explained that this program would provide public transportation for those citizens in rural areas with the initial fares to be $3.00 for a one-way trip. Ms. Hurst advised council that this program would be voluntary, but before Chatham County approved a resolution agreeing to participate, they wanted to know how the local cities felt about this issue. During their discussions, the county had suggested an intergovernmental agreement be signed between the cities and the county. The program would be funded through state, federal, county and city monies along with the public rider fares. The cost to the cities would be based on their percentage of rural population and Bloomingdale’s share is estimated at $6500 for FY 2009 with Chatham County’s share at $57,400 less estimates fares of $10,400. Ms. Hurst stated the initial fleet would consist of 89 vehicles. She also shared some information regarding the possibility of including a work force program in the future. Councilwoman Winn stated she could see where the older population could benefit from this type program. Mayor Tipton asked what kind of response she had received from other cities and was advised that several cities had given favorable responses, but the City of Pooler was concerned about their share being so much higher than the other cities. Councilman Strozier stated that with the rising cost of fuel wouldn’t the fares have to be increased to cover additional costs and Ms. Hurst advised him that there was a good chance the fares would have to be raised. Councilman Strozier commented that he would have no objection to considering this program, but would first want to find out how much participation could be expected from Bloomingdale’s citizens. Councilman Rawlings asked if Ms. Hurst knew whether there were any studies being done on using existing rail lines for public transportation and she advised him that she did not have any information on that issue. Citizen Pat Stanfield voiced her agreement with Councilman Strozier about finding out how many citizens would use the service before making any commitments. Mayor Tipton asked that City Administrator Brady get more information on the proposal and bring a recommendation back to council at a later date.
Council was advised that the police, public works, and recreation department were requesting the declaration of several items as surplus and the establishment of values so they could proceed with the disposal of the items. The council reviewed a list of the items that included two 2002 Ford Crown Victorias; a 1984 Chevy C-10, 4x4 pick up truck with a blown engine; a 1985 Midmark power Trencher; a 2000 John Deere, 1435 mower; a 1996, 1230 Massey Ferguson tractor; a 120 gallon propane tank approximately ¾ full; a Wisconsin Engine formerly at the well at Poplar Street; and a Sulaire Generator formerly at the lift station that had been struck by lightning. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to declare these items as surplus, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. City Administrator Brady and Ernest Grizzard were advised to provide minimum bids for council’s consideration prior to proceeding with the bidding process. Mayor Tipton asked that this information be submitted to council at the called meeting to be held on July 1, 2008.
The council was advised that the Recreation Executive Board was recommending three (3) year term renewals for Christian Lamont & Craig Stanfield and the designation of Debra Brune as Chairman and Melanie Burke was Vice-Chairman of the board. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the term renewals and the appointments of these two officers. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The following recommendations/reports were submitted by the Planning Commission:
1) The Planning Commission recommended the approval of the site plan for the annex to the Little Miracles Learning Center to be located at #5 Chestnut Street with the following stipulations: landscaping be added along the front of the property; the chain link fence be changed to either a continuation of the existing privacy fence or the use of an aluminum fence; a parking access aisle should be added from the handicapped parking to the entrance; and the circle driveway should be a one-way drive with the entry & exit clearly marked. During the discussion of this recommendation, Councilman Strozier asked if there were any plans to move the van because it had caused some problems for vehicles traveling along Chestnut Street. Stephanie Sikes advised him that they planned to make some changes in the parking arrangements and the van would be parked at #5 Chestnut Street. Ms. Sikes advised council that the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services had performed a walk through of the facility and the state fire marshal had reviewed and approved the plans. When questioned about whether the local fire department had checked the plan, Ms. Sikes commented that the owner felt that having the state fire marshal’s approval of the plan should be sufficient. After a great deal of discussion on the issue between Ms. Sikes, Fire Chief Tyler and several other fire department personnel, it was noted that the local fire department needed to know the layout of the building so that in the event of a fire the firefighters would know how to best respond to the emergency. Citizen Betty Burke stated that she did not understand why there should be any problem with the fire department inspecting the building if for no other reason than the safety of the children. Councilman Myrick agreed that, in his opinion, it would be crucial for the local fire department to inspect the building. Councilman Strozier asked Ms. Sikes if she had a problem with the fire department making a site inspection of the building and she stated that if they called ahead and made an appointment to come when she could be there it would not be a problem. After additional discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the site plan for the Little Miracles Learning Center Annex at #5 Chestnut Street with the stipulations outlined by the Planning Commission and with the understanding that the Bloomingdale Fire Department would be allowed to inspect the Learning Center Buildings at #4 & #5 Chestnut Street prior to the occupancy of the Annex building. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Council was advised that the Planning Commission had scheduled a public hearing for July 8, 2008 for citizen input on a site plan change requested by Joey Jones for the building located at #803 Bloomingdale Road.
Dexter Shearouse, Chairman of the Planning Commission, informed council that a work session would be held on July 1, 2008 at 7:00pm to work on the update to the Comprehensive Plan and members would appreciate having some elected officials attend the meeting. Mr. Shearouse noted that zoning consultant Denise Grabowski would be working with the committee members on the update.
Three requests for home occupation licenses had been submitted to council for review and were as follows:
1) Carl R. Jackson was requesting the issuance of a home occupation license for the office only of a land surveying business to be located at #411 Pine Street. There would only be one employee and no outside traffic. Mr. Jackson explained he had recently moved to Bloomingdale and wanted to operate his office from his home. Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the license to Mr. Jackson for the office of his land surveying business. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
2) Blake Key’s request was for the issuance of a home occupation license at the residence located at #801 E. Cregor Street for the office of a construction business. Mr. Key indicated there would be one employee working for the business and no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Mr. Key had also submitted a letter from the owner of the property agreeing to allow him to operate the office from that location. Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the license to Mr. Key for the office of his construction business. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
3) Crystal Lawson who resides at #4 Church Street was requesting the issuance of a home occupation license for the operation of an in-home childcare business. Ms. Lawson will be the only employee and has submitted a sketch showing the parking areas and traffic flow for the business. Ms. Lawson also provided a letter from the property owner giving their approval for the childcare business to operate from this location. Council was advised the property is actually zoned C-1, but since Ms. Lawson was requesting a home occupation business it needed council’s approval. Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the license for the childcare business to Ms. Lawson. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Dewey L. Monroe who lives at #8 Walnut Street for approval for the issuance of a permit for the installation of a shallow well for irrigation purposes only. It was noted that the ordinance requires council’s approval for the issuance of well permits in the City. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the issuance of the permit, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
City Council discussed a request from Brandon Paul for the recombination of property at Adams and Tipton Roads. The proposed change is to move the property line between his and Jimmy Kerby’s property. Mr. Paul’s property is served by a septic tank that required approval by the Chatham County Environmental Health Department and the health department has to approve the change and sign off on the plat before council can sign and release the plat for filing. Council was advised that the Health Department had reported that should either owner wish to place future structures on their properties, connection to public sewer would be required. It was noted that both lots would still meet the City’s road frontage and lot size requirements. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the recombination with the stipulation that the health department approves and signs the plat before City officials execute it. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s consideration and approval the Impact Fee Ordinance that had been developed from the proposal submitted by the Development Impact Fee Advisory Committee. It was noted that public hearings on the impact fees had been held on May 27th and June 12th. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to dispense with the second reading and to approve the ordinance. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that a notice to proceed was needed for the contractor to begin construction of Alternate 1, Phase 1 of the City’s Master Drainage Plan. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve a notice to proceed for J. Hiers Construction Co., Inc. to begin construction of Alternate 1, Phase 1 of the drainage plan in accordance with the engineered plans and Mr. Hiers agreement with the engineers. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
City Council was informed that Chatham County has submitted a request for the renewal of the Inter-governmental Agreement with the City on the countywide canal maintenance program. The term of the agreement is three (3) years and consists of the maintenance of major canals located within the City by Chatham County at no cost to the City. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the renewal of the agreement, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Citizen Gerald Cook questioned which canals were involved and was advised that the agreement covered any major canal that was located within the City limits of Bloomingdale.
City Administrator Brady reported that the City had received a report from the structural engineer with ATM, Inc. regarding the results of their inspection of the fire department building and they have determined that the existing building should be demolished and a new structure be designed and constructed in its place.
Councilman Strozier expressed his concerns that garbage cans are not being moved off the City rights of way after they have been emptied and along some of the narrow streets, this is causing traffic flow problems. Councilman Strozier also pointed out that in order for our public works department to maintain the rights of way; the cans have to be moved. After a brief discussion council agreed this information needed to be provided to the citizens.
Mayor Tipton reported that an executive session was on tonight’s agenda for the discussion of attorney/client, litigation and personnel issues. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session and approve the execution of the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The following action was taken as a result of the executive session:
Councilman Strozier made a motion to authorize City Administrator Brady to move the starting date for Fire Chief Ferman Tyler from January 1, 2009 to July 1, 2008 or sometime after that date at his discretion. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the renewal of the contract with City Administrator Robert Brady for an additional year. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
After a review of the accounts payable, Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor was asked for the date of the called council meeting and he stated that it would be held on July 1, 2008 at 6:00pm.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn at 10:10pm, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Myrick, Rawlings, Ray, Strozier and Winn were present at the meeting. Councilman Waller was out of town.
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 present to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.