Official minutes Council Meeting March 5, 2009
approved by City Council 3-19-09
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilwoman Winn leading in prayer. The draft copy of the minutes of the February 19, 2009 meeting were presented by Mayor Tipton for council’s consideration. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the draft minutes with no changes, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The March 5, 2009 agenda was considered with Councilman Ray making a motion to approve the agenda. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings did not vote. Mayor Tipton noted that Councilman Myrick had contacted him and stated he would be working late and could not attend tonight’s meeting.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilman Strozier reported that after the heavy rainfall of 2.6” on Saturday night and early Sunday morning he had checked the canal and surrounding areas for standing water. Councilman Strozier noted that there were no ditches over ½ full and the canal was providing relief in the anticipated areas as well as others outside of the scope of the project and he anticipated Phase II to provide benefits to more sections of the City. Mayor Tipton reported he had made a trip to Atlanta yesterday to seek stimulus money to help towards the cost of the fire building and stated that he had been advised that there may also be a possibility of receiving a Homeland Security grant for this project.
A discussion was held on the fire protection user fees. Questions were raised as to the results of the study that was done using property values as a basis for fees rather than a flat fee basis. Mayor Tipton pointed out that the study had been completed and was available for review upon request. Although many felt this was a more equitable way to figure the fees, it was noted that using fees based on property values would raise some homeowner’s monthly bills by over 2½ times their current fee. During discussions, one citizen emphasized the importance of not basing the fire user fees on property values because the assessment should be a fee, not a tax. Mayor Tipton stated that although there may be other ways to determine the fire user fee rates, the ultimate goal is to collect enough money to provide the fire protection services to the citizens without undue surplus.
Mayor Tipton stated that a public hearing had been scheduled to receive citizen input on a request from Justin Shirah for the issuance of a home occupation license to operate a taxicab business from #325 Osteen Road. Mayor Tipton noted that a letter had been submitted by residents at #330 Osteen Road opposing the business and expressing their concerns about the extra traffic, a possible decrease in the value of their property, the safety of the neighborhood and other issues. No other residents were present to make comments on the request. Mayor Tipton adjourned the public hearing. Mayor Tipton recognized Justin Shirah who advised council there would only be one vehicle at the residence and that was the taxicab that he would be driving. Mr. Shirah pointed out that any other taxicabs would be dispatched from other locations directly to the customers and the residence would not be used for the parking of the other taxicabs. Councilman Strozier pointed out that Bloomingdale does not have an ordinance to regulate taxicabs since we have not received a request for this type license. Mr. Shirah noted that the City of Pooler’s regulations are the same as the City of Savannah’s with the exception of stipulations on the age of the vehicles although at this time there were no taxicabs in Pooler. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the issuance of the home occupation license to Justin Shirah to operate a taxicab business from #325 Osteen Road with the stipulation that Mr. Shirah abide by the guidelines outlined in the City of Savannah’s ordinance regarding taxicab businesses until the City of Bloomingdale adopts its own ordinance. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that when Councilman Myrick contacted him and stated he would not be at tonight’s meeting he had asked that council table discussion of the recommendation from the Budget & Finance Committee regarding wage/hiring freezes and purchasing procedures until the next meeting. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to table action on the recommendation until the March 19, 2009 meeting. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Rawlings, Waller and Winn. Councilmembers Ray and Strozier voted against the motion.
Council discussed the meeting schedule for the summer months. Councilman Ray made a motion to hold only one scheduled council meeting during the months of June, July, August, and September to be held on the 3rd Thursday of each of these months. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilman Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Council discussed a request from Wendy Harper to be allowed to leave the existing mobile home at #13 Conaway Road although there has been a change in ownership of the mobile home from her late husband Lunsford Williams to Ms. Harper as a provision of the will that was probated on December 31, 2008. Ms. Harper plans to make some cosmetic changes to the inside and outside of the mobile home but understands there can be no additions to the mobile home to increase its size or non-conformity. Note: The current zoning of the property is RA, Rural Agricultural, and does not allow mobile homes. The City’s Zoning Ordinance requires the removal of non-conforming mobile homes if there is a change in ownership. This mobile home, as well as a rental unit at #11 Conaway Road, was “grandfathered-in” when the Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1981. Ms. Harper stated she has a buyer for the property at #11 Conaway Road and she has advised the prospective purchaser of property of the requirement to remove the mobile home. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve Ms. Harper’s request to be allowed to continue to live in the mobile home at #13 Conaway Road. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton submitted a request from Walton B. Cox to construct a 26’ x 36’ storage building on his property located at #205 Cherry Street. The building consists of 936 sq. ft of enclosed area and will be constructed of wood. City policy requires council approval of accessory buildings containing over 500 sq. ft of enclosed area. Mr. Cox advised council that it would be used for storage purposes only and although he was currently living at #13 Mesa Ave., he was relocating to #205 Cherry Street. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the issuance of the building permit as requested by Mr. Cox. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Bobby Oglesby and his engineer who presented a request to council for the annexation of 5.1 acres of his property located off Stagecoach Road into the City of Bloomingdale. This property is currently in the city limits of Port Wentworth. Mr. Oglesby was also requesting the annexation from Effingham County into Bloomingdale approximately 1 to 2 tenths of an acre of property that is part of this parcel. It was noted that Mr. Oglesby was planning to subdivide the property. Attorney Dickey outlined the procedures involved in the annexation process. Mayor Tipton asked if there was any expense to the City and Attorney Dickey stated that Mr. Oglesby would be responsible for all expenses except for some clerical time related to submitting information to Chatham County, the Department of Justice and other government agencies. After a brief discussion, it was the consensus of council to proceed with the annexation as requested by Mr. Oglesby.
Mayor Tipton reported that an executive session had been requested for the discussion of pending litigation. 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 Records Act. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, February 27, 2009.
The Mayor presented the accounts payable for consideration. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton called for a motion to adjourn. Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn with Councilman Ray seconding the motion. Just prior to the vote, Councilman Rawlings stated he was calling for a workshop to be held on March 9, 2009 at 7:00pm at the City Hall to discuss fire user fees. Mayor Tipton then called for a vote on the motion to adjourn and it passed with five affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 8:15pm.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Rawlings, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn were present. 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 presented to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.