Official minutes of Council Meeting January 7, 2010
approved by City Council January 21, 2010
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with the Reverend Darrell Bailey leading in prayer. A draft copy of the minutes of the December 3, 2009 meeting was presented for council approval. Councilman Crosby made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton presented the agenda for the January 7, 2010 meeting for approval. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the agenda with the removal of the item from H.L. Bragg at his request, the setting of the annual compensation for Mayor and City Council, and the addition of an executive session to discuss real estate and litigation issues. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Under administrative and committee reports Fire Chief Tyler reported that as part of the ISO inspection requirements the fire department was in the process of checking all fire hydrants and this project was about 70% complete. The Chief stated that steps were being taken to upgrade qualifications of the fire department’s first responders to allow them to provide additional medical attention to victims while waiting on EMT’s to arrive on the scene. Councilman Myrick informed council that the construction of additional bathroom facilities at Taylor Park was underway and he thanked Councilman Rawlings for his assistance in getting reduced prices on the rebar. Councilman Kerby reported that the new equipment at the lift station to control the odor seems to be working quite well and the neighbors have indicated there have been no problems with the smell since the installation of the scrubber.
Mayor Tipton reported that council needed to approve an amendment to the FY 2009/2010 budget to include capital purchases of Lot #’s 9 & 10 abutting U.S. Hwy 80 owned by Nancy Pierce Page at a purchase price of $180,000 and Lot #’s 3 & 4 abutting Pine Street owned by Faith V. Sikes costing $70,000. The Mayor stated that the City Council had authorized the purchase of these properties at the end of last year and the closings took place in December, 2009. Councilman Baxter made a motion to amend the FY 2009/2010 budget in the amount of $250,000 for the purchase of these tracts with monies to be expended from funds on hand. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor informed City Council that the City of Bloomingdale’s Charter directs the Mayor and Council members to elect one of the council members as vice-mayor (Mayor Pro-tem) at their first regular meeting after their election. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to elect Councilman Dennis Baxter to serve in this position. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the appointment of a designated councilmember to be one of the signers on City checks. It was noted that the current resolution with the bank requires two of the following people to sign all checks – Mayor, Mayor Pro-tem, a designated councilmember, the City Administrator, or the City Clerk. Council agreed that there needed to be two designated council members to avoid any problems with getting checks signed in a timely manner. Councilman Kerby made a motion to add Councilman Johnny Myrick and Councilman Jerry Crosby as designated council members to sign checks. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
City Council discussed the appointment of the Recorders’ Court Judge and Judge Pro-tem(s) for 2010 and the establishment of their compensation. Councilman Myrick made a motion to appoint Judge Tom Edenfield as the City’s Recorders’ Court Judge at a compensation of $1100 per month for 2010 and to appoint Bob and Brandon Galloway to serve as Judge Pro-tems. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City of Bloomingdale’s Code of Ethics Ordinance calls for the appointment of an ethics committee consisting of three persons. One member shall be appointed by the Mayor, one member is appointed by Council and the third is appointed by the other two members subject to approval by a majority of the Mayor and City Council. The members will serve terms of two years. Councilman Baxter made a motion to appoint Roland Waller, a life-time resident of Bloomingdale, as a member of the committee. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton advised council that his appointment to the committee was William McCarty and noted that he had been appointed to the previous committee and he felt he would serve the City well.
Council discussed the renewals and/or appointments of Seat #’s 5, 6, & 7 on the Planning Commission. It was noted that the terms for these three seats expired on December 31, 2009 and should be filled by January 31, 2010. Mayor Tipton requested that this matter be tabled to allow the council committee an opportunity to be involved in the renewals and/or appointments of the commission members and to delay the appointments of the officers of the commission until the renewals and/or appointments are made. After a brief discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to table action on the matter until a recommendation could be presented to council by the Planning & Licensing Committee. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that in January of each year, the City Council designates a floating holiday to be observed by all full-time employees. The floating holiday to be considered for 2010 is Presidents’ Day- February 15, 2010. Councilman Crosby made a motion to designate February 15, 2010 as the floating holiday for full-time employees, Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented the following appointments for the 2010 Council Committees: Budget & Finance: Johnny Myrick, Chairman; Dennis Baxter; Barbara Griffin – General Services: Jimmy Kerby, Chairman; Jerry Crosby; Johnny Myrick - Personnel: Mayor Tipton, Chairman; Dennis Baxter; Johnny Myrick – Planning & Licensing: Jerry Crosby, Chairman; Dennis Baxter; Andrew Rawlings – Public Safety: Dennis Baxter, Chairman; Jerry Crosby; Jimmy Kerby – Recreation: Barbara Griffin, Chairwoman; Jimmy Kerby; Johnny Myrick – Seniors & Special Events: Andrew Rawlings, Chairman; Dennis Baxter; Barbara Griffin – Water & Sewer: Andrew Rawlings, Chairman; Jerry Crosby; Jimmy Kerby. Each committee chair provided a brief statement on the goals they hope to accomplish. The goals were as follows: Johnny Myrick – proceed with Veterans’ Memorial and establish a recycling station; Jimmy Kerby – complete Phase II of the City’s Master Drainage Plan and work through LOMA to adjust the flood areas in the City; Mayor Tipton – update the personnel policies and work on salaried and hourly wage issues; Jerry Crosby – work on more growth and development in Bloomingdale to generate revenues to allow for the reduction of water, sewer, and fire rates in the City; Dennis Baxter – make improvements in public safety and construct a new fire department building; Barbara Griffin – expand the City’s recreation services and work toward construction of a gym; and Andrew Rawlings – provide more services for seniors to include transportation, expand special events, protect resources, and make sure developers are financially responsible for their use of the City’s water and sewer resources.
The Mayor recognized Carrie Briscoe who had submitted a request to operate the “office only” of a cake decorating business from the residence located at #13 Cherry Street. Ms. Briscoe indicated that she was planning to purchase the property and wanted to make sure she would be able to obtain the license. Councilman Baxter stated that there could be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence and Ms. Briscoe assured council the only thing she would be doing at this location was receiving phone calls, mail, e-mail, and doing paperwork. She advised council that the baking was done in a commercial kitchen in Eden and she shared studio space with another business in Savannah where she met with clients. She also noted that cakes would either be delivered from the Eden bakery to the client or the client would make arrangements to pick them up from her in Savannah. After a brief discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license to Carrie Briscoe at #13 Cherry Street for the “office” of her cake decorating business to consist of receiving phone calls, mail, e-mails, and doing paperwork only, with no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that a request had been submitted by Marion Slater who resides at #110 Maple Street for permission to raise chickens on her property. The Mayor recognized Ms. Slater’s granddaughter’s husband, Nathan Neuenschwander, who lives next door and will be tending to the chickens. Ms. Slater plans to use the eggs for family and neighbors. It was noted that the City’s Zoning Ordinance allows livestock in R-1 zones as a “conditional use” which requires council approval for the permit. Council was advised that Ms. Slater plans to have seven hens and one rooster. Ms. Slater stated that the chickens will be housed in an old shed on the property and will not be running loose. Mayor Tipton reminded Mr. Neuenschwander that it was not necessary to have a rooster to have eggs. Mr. Neuenschwander stated that he understood that and if the rooster became a problem he would get rid of it. Council reviewed the information provided by Ms. Slater and it was noted that the plan submitted to council showed the enclosure for the chickens would meet the Chatham County Health Department’s requirements that it be located a minimum of 100’ from any occupied dwelling unit except the owner. After this discussion, Councilman Crosby made a motion to approve the issuance of the “conditional use” permit for the raising of the chickens and rooster with the stipulation that if the rooster causes problems it will be removed from the property. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Arthur Blakely who lives at #505 W. Garvin Street who expressed his concerns about the condition of the roadway leading to his home. Mr. Blakely stated that although the roadway goes across private property owned by Robert Howard, it is the only access he has to his residence and his wife requires the daily attention of a nurse and Mr. Howard has indicated he plans to close off the road. Mr. Blakely also stated that Mr. Howard doesn’t want the City working on the road because they would not pursue the opening of West Garvin that is now overgrown and not currently being used. Councilman Baxter stated that the City may need to obtain a prescriptive easement from Mr. Howard to continue providing Mr. Blakely services until we could research this issue. Attorney Dickey noted that Mr. Blakely would actually have to pursue this option directly with the property owner, but he may already have a prescriptive easement based on the number of years he has been using the roadway as access to his property. Attorney Dickey stated that it would take some time to search the title to see what could be done about the problem. Council was advised that there were City water and sewer lines installed in the roadway that served Mr. Blakely’s property. Councilman Baxter offered to meet with Mr. Howard, along with Mayor Tipton, to see if a temporary solution could be worked out so Mr. Blakely could continue to access his property, especially since there was a medical issue involved. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to authorize Attorney Dickey to proceed with the solicitation of a title search on the property to see what would be involved in providing Mr. Blakely access. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. During the discussion about the roadway, Mr. Blakely commented that the street sign at Garvin and Cherry Streets needed to be cleared of limbs and Public Works Supervisor Grizzard stated he would take care of that problem tomorrow.
Mayor Tipton presented a proposal from the National Fire Services Office to assist the Bloomingdale Fire Department by giving recommendations concerning equipment needs, department staffing, operation procedures, records keeping, development of fire response district map, and provide options to improve fire department services. The Mayor reported that this information can be used for the purpose of improving the ISO® Fire Protection Rates and developing future department growth. It was noted that the compensation for the services is $9,000. Councilman Baxter stated that it was his understanding that Fire Chief Tyler has already been working on some of these items, but he felt that having a professional company who does this type work on a day to day basis would be a financially responsible thing to do. Councilman Kerby pointed out that in a meeting with the company a couple of weeks ago, he was impressed by their professionalism and knowledge about how to save the City some money on the construction of a fire building without sacrificing the things the department needed. Councilman Kerby stated that eliminating full floor drains and a few other items would save about $70,000 to $80,000 and those comments were only after a brief review of the plans. Councilman Baxter advised council that one savings was in the use of steel rather than cement steps to the upper floor. Citizen Sherrie Mast questioned why it was necessary for someone besides Fire Chief Tyler to do the work. Mayor Tipton stated that he was in no way questioning Fire Chief Tyler’s ability, but he felt that the City should take this step to insure we have done everything possible to qualify for the possible reduction in our fire ratings so we can save the citizens some money. Citizen Jim Meyers commented that he worked with some very knowledgeable people, but they hired experts to do jobs they did not normally handle and that should be done in this situation. Attorney Dickey advised the Mayor that the City needed to require the company to provide proof of workers’ compensation, liability insurance, and compliance with OSHA regulations. Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve the execution of the contract with National Fire Services Offices in the amount of $9,000 with the company to provide proof of workers’ compensation, liability insurance, and compliance with OSHA regulations and to amend the budget to include the $9,000 fee. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby made a motion to set the annual compensation for the Mayor and City Council at $250 per month for the Mayor and $150 per month for City Council members. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton informed council that he donates his monthly compensation to the Community Benevolence Fund and council approves this action with the adoption of the budget.
Councilman Baxter made a motion to adjourn to executive session for the discussion of real estate and litigation issues. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session and to execute the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Kerby made a motion to adjourn at 8:45pm. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Respectfully submitted, Sandra Jones, City Clerk
Mayor Tipton and all council members 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.