CALLED COUNCIL MEETING
July 28, 2008
Mayor Tipton called the meeting to order with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The Mayor reported there were two items on tonight’s called meeting agenda. The first item was a recommendation by City Administrator Brady that all references to leave time in the personnel policy currently noted as a “day” be changed to reflect the equivalent of eight (8) hours. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to make this change, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that the second item was to discuss proposed adjustments to the original design of the drainage ditch. The Mayor recognized Doyle Kelley with Thomas & Hutton, Inc., the engineers on the project, who stated he was attending tonight’s meeting on behalf of Pat Gaddy who had a death in the family. Mr. Kelley reported that at the request of the Mayor the engineers were looking at an adjustment to the width of the canal to allow for additional footage to the maintenance road on the south side of the canal. Mr. Kelley explained that by raising the invert of the canal the width of the roadway could be increased approximately 8’ to 10’. Council was advised that by making the change there would be about a 3” to 4” increase in the water level upstream in a 50-yr. flood event. Councilman Ray asked if there would be any affect on the flow of the water and Mr. Kelley advised him there would be little change. Councilman Strozier asked if there would still be a 2’ to 1’ slope on the sides and was informed that the slope would note change. Latrelle Kling questioned the changes to the canal since citizens were advised that the former design would work and now the engineers were making changes. Mr. Kelley informed Ms. Kling that the council would make the decisions regarding changes and the engineers would provide the design. During additional discussion, Mr. Kelley pointed out that if the change was made there would be additional cost from the contractor for the work he had already performed, but by digging a more shallow ditch there would be less dirt to move, so the cost may balance out.
Discussion continued with questions from several citizens as to why changes would be considered at this time. Citizen Pat Stanfield asked why the City was revisiting this issue and Citizen Betty Burke questioned why the City would want to spend any additional money to make the change. Citizen Sidney Key pointed out that if the contractor would be moving less dirt with the change, there should be a reduction in his original bid. Citizen Barbara Griffin asked why the ditch could not be piped and was advised that at a cost of several million dollars it would be cost prohibitive. Some citizens offered suggestions to piping only some portions of the ditch, but questions were raised about who would make the determination about which portions to pipe and which portions to leave as an open ditch. Mayor Tipton recognized former mayor Ben Rozier who stated that he had talked with the contractor and obtained a price of just under one million dollars to pipe a portion of the ditch. Citizen Terry Jones commented that Chatham County had been working on the Conaway Canal widening and improvement project since 1999 and there was still no definite completion date available. He pointed out that the canal the City was digging was already underway and would provide relief for both the north and south sides of Highway 80 when completed. Concerns were expressed about not having any guardrails along the ditch to keep teenagers from going in and out of it. During additional discussion, Latrelle Kling expressed her desire to have council explore other options to the existing design and although everyone was concerned about drainage, she felt the piping option should be considered. It was noted that a closed ditching system is much slower and must have larger pipe to move the same amount of water as an open ditch. Latrelle Kling questioned Mr. Kelley about the effectiveness of Phase I without the completion of Phase II and she was advised that, as previously explained, the drainage canal included in Phase I is needed to provide a way for the water to flow to the Hardin Canal and it must be completed first.
Mayor Tipton called for order as there were numerous conversations going on at one time. Citizen Betty Burke commented that some people had complained about having a wide ditch near their property and were concerned that children could drown in the ditch, but noted that there were already some areas in the City where large ditches existed and there had not been any problems such as this in the past. After the discussion, Mayor Tipton called for a motion on the proposed change to the design to raise the invert of the drainage ditch. Councilman Strozier made a motion not to approve this change in the design. Councilman Ray seconded the motion. The motion received affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Being no further business included on the agenda, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Rawlings, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn were present at the meeting. Councilman Myrick was working.
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.