Official Minutes – September 16, 2010 council meeting
Approved by council on October 7, 2010
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 19, 2010 meeting, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the agenda for the September 16, 2010 meeting, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton reported that Councilman Baxter had another commitment and was not able to attend tonight’s meeting.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilwoman Griffin advised council that the Bloomingdale Bears hosted the Football Rama last Saturday and expressed her appreciation to the police department for their help with traffic flow and parking during the event. She also noted that concession sales were good. Recreation Director Joe Young reported that the new ball field was nearing completion and looked very good. Council was advised that more volunteer help could be used in the recreation programs and it was noted that this appeal will be placed in the next newsletter. Councilman Kerby asked when the field would be fenced and was advised that the contractor had not given the committee a proposed time for it to be installed. Fire Chief Tyler provided council with an update on the ISO inspection. He reported that the Bloomingdale Fire Department’s rating had improved from a 5/9 to a 4/9 and only lacked a few points from being able to meet a 3/9 classification. Fire Chief Tyler stated that the insurance savings to residential structures would depend on their insurance company and noted that the savings for commercial structures would probably be higher. Councilman Myrick asked if the construction of a new station would help towards a better rating. Fire Chief Tyler stated that manpower and water sources were of more benefit than the new building and pointed out that he had been talking with the water committee about making improvements to the water lines. Mayor Tipton noted that Mr. Starling had been a great help with our recent ISO inspection and thanked council for the good decisions made in the past that had helped reduce our rating. The Mayor stated he was optimistic about being able to reduce the rating to a 3/9 by January, 2011. Councilman Kerby reported that the latest change order submitted by Kern Coleman for the fire station site would allow for the replacement of the unsuitable soil located along the footers of the building and stated that the contractor was ready to start on the building as soon as the site preparation has been completed. Councilman Myrick expressed his appreciation to the volunteers with the Bloomingdale Garden Club and History Society for providing lunch for the maintenance employees this week. Councilman Rawlings thanked everyone who had helped with the “Evening at the Park” event held in July and extended a special thanks to the engineering firm of HBGD for their donation toward the cost of the food that was sold by the Recreation Department. Councilman Rawlings reported that the next event will be held on November 13, 2010 and with the hope that the weather would not be as hot, it was being called a “Cool Weather Get-Together”. He stated that low country boil dinners would be sold and the Mayor and City Council were being asked to help with the cooking. Councilman Rawlings stated that plans were underway for the creation of a calendar consisting of local church histories that would include churches from Bloomingdale and surrounding areas. He also reminded citizens that the History Society meets on the 2nd Monday, the Garden Club meets on the 1st Monday, and the Lions’ Club has their meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month.
Council discussed the pending completion of Phase I of the drainage project. Councilman Kerby made a motion that if the contractor did not complete the final work on the project that the City terminate his contract and complete the work on our own. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion. Mayor Tipton asked Attorney Dickey to review the contract to determine what steps would need to be taken to notify J. Hiers of the City’s intent so we could move forward with completion of this phase as soon as possible. Citizen D.K. Morgan advised council that he had loaned the contractor a load of gravel for this project, but he had never replaced the gravel. After discussion of this issue, the motion was approved with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented council with a Resolution for the adoption of the FY 2010/2011 Budget. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the resolution, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick stated that he had been on council for nine years and the preparation of this budget has been the hardest one yet and thanked council for maintaining the reserve and emergency funds on both the General Fund and the Water/Sewer Fund that were set aside prior to the start of the budget process. Mayor Tipton thanked the employees for their help and appreciated their understanding on the lack of funds for additional personnel or equipment.
Council was advised that a public hearing would need to be held for citizen input on the proposed increase in the base fee and per employee rates for occupational licenses issued for calendar year 2011 as included in the FY 2010/2011 budget. Councilman Crosby made a motion to hold the public hearing at the October 7, 2010 council meeting. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that Kern Coleman has presented, on behalf of Groundworks Contracting, a change order for council’s consideration and approval in the amount of $3100 for the replacement of additional unsuitable soil in the foundation area of the new fire station. Council was advised that there were eight footers and approximately 2 foot of additional soil in each area needed to be replaced. It was noted that no additional engineering work was required. Councilman Crosby made a motion to approve execution of the change order, as presented, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby made a motion to remove from the table action on the request from Debra & Terry Stark to rezone their 1.68 tract of property on Conaway Road. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Council was advised that at the June 17, 2010 meeting, council agreed to table action on a zoning map amendment submitted by the Starks for a 1.68 acre tract of their property located on Conaway Road from R-1 to C-1 to allow them to pursue a recombination of this parcel with the parcel located at #1402 E. Highway 80. The rezoning of the parcel at #1402 E. Highway 80 from R-1 to C-1 was approved by council at the June 17th meeting. Councilman Crosby stated that the Starks had pursued the recombination of the two tracts and he made a motion to approve the rezoning of the 1.68 tract from R-1 to C-1. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion. During discussion, Councilman Myrick stated that he felt better about the rezoning of this tract since the access to the property could now come from Highway 80 rather than Conaway Rd. It was noted that prior to the development of the property, a site plan would have to go through Planning Commission and Council approvals. Mary Ann Moore, who lives on Conaway Road, stressed the importance of protecting the older neighborhoods within the City from commercial developments that may have negative impacts on its citizens. Ms. Moore expressed concerns about drainage and the use of the City’s water resources. The citizens were advised that all developments were required to provide the City with a drainage plan. Mayor Tipton stated that he had a somewhat different viewpoint on the rezoning of the properties without having a site plan to review. He pointed out that the purpose of the adoption of the overlay district along Highway 80 was to allow for the presentation of site plans prior to the rezoning of properties so that the City and the citizens living in the areas would know ahead of time what type development was being proposed. Also, the City has been approached on several occasions about residential structures being able to be replaced that were located within commercial districts if they were destroyed and it poses problems for elected officials trying to determine if the property is going to continue to be used for residential purposes or be developed commercially. Mayor Tipton asked if the owners realized that the change in the zoning of the property could result in a considerable increase in their county taxes. Since the Starks were not present at the meeting, this could not be discussed with them. Citizen William McCarty asked what type development was planned for the property, but was advised that the owners were having it rezoning to sell, so no one knew at this time what type use may be proposed in the future. Citizen Randy Arkwood requested confirmation that any development would have to comply with land use maps and was advised that the site plan would have to be approved prior to development. Councilman Rawlings noted that the overlay district ordinance was adopted to set aside areas in the City that would make it easier for buyers to know prior to purchasing the property those intended for commercial development. Councilman Rawlings commented that the owner may have to pay higher taxes if the property is rezoned. The Mayor stated that waiting to rezone the property until a site development plan could be reviewed would give the City more leverage with the developer and more protection for the citizens. Councilman Crosby stated that it was his understanding that Chatham County had a 10 year window on property that was rezoned from residential to commercial before the taxes were increased. Based on previous experience, Mayor Tipton questioned this time delay in Chatham County charging the higher tax rate. After the discussion, the motion to rezone the property from R-1 to C-1 was approved with four affirmative votes from Council members Crosby, Griffin, Kerby, and Rawlings. Councilman Myrick voted against the motion.
Council was advised that a recombination plat has been submitted by Debra & Terry Stark for execution by the Mayor and City Council for two parcels of property located at U.S. Hwy 80 & Conaway Rd. Citizen Ruth Rizas asked if council could restrict an entry onto Conaway Road if it was developed commercially and was advised that this would have to be addressed in the site plan review. Citizen Linda Arkwood questioned why the Starks were requesting the rezoning at this time. Councilman Crosby advised her that the Starks were moving out of town and felt the property would be more marketable if it was zoned commercial. Mayor Tipton reminded citizens that the motion to be discussed at this time was the recombination of the property since council had already voted on the rezoning issue. Councilman Rawlings encouraged citizens to stay involved in their community. He commented that public hearings had been held on the overlay district ordinance and these type issues were discussed by the commission. Councilman Rawlings reminded the citizens that the Planning Commission meetings were held on the second Tuesday of each month. Mayor Tipton called for a vote on the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Council members Crosby, Griffin, Kerby, and Rawlings with Councilman Myrick voting against the motion.
Council reviewed a request from Eloise Wilson for the operation of a massage therapist business in the commercial building located at #1718 E. Highway 80. Eloise Wilson, a state licensed massage therapist, will be the only employee. It was noted that since the City does not have a category for this type business listed in the zoning ordinance, the license request was being submitted to the City Council for direction. Mayor Tipton recognized Ms. Wilson who explained that she is a National Health Professional and offers valuable services for patients as recommended by physicians, chiropractors, special education teachers, and other health professionals and she also offers prenatal and sports therapy. Ms. Wilson stated that there are strict codes that massage therapists must follow and she can provide references and credentials if needed. Ms. Wilson advised council that she would welcome a background check through the police department. She noted that all patients are fully draped and asked that she not be judged by unprofessional action by others. Mayor Tipton commended Ms. Wilson on the information she had provided and re-emphasized that the reason a decision could not be made tonight was that the City’s zoning ordinance would have to be amended to address this type business. Councilman Crosby advised council that neighboring communities included massage therapist in a health and beauty category. After the discussion, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to submit a request to the Planning Commission for an amendment to the chart of permissible and conditional uses to include a massage therapist business and have the City Attorney prepare an ordinance outlining regulations that may be needed for the business. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion. Councilwoman Griffin asked Ms. Wilson if she was aware that the owner of the building she was proposing as the location for her massage therapist business had been accused of racial and sexual discrimination and asked if she had considered the use of another building in the City. Mayor Tipton advised Councilwoman Griffin that Ms. Wilson’s request for an occupational license for the massage therapist business would not be relevant to activities of the property owner of the building and called for a vote from council on the motion. The motion to pursue an amendment to the zoning ordinance and the creation of a regulatory ordinance passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Crosby asked if Ms. Wilson would need to table or withdraw her request, but was advised by Attorney Dickey that action was not necessary.
Mayor Tipton presented a proposal from Karp, Ronning & Tindol for preparation of the audit for fiscal year ended June 30, 2010 in the amount of $9,950. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to accept the proposal, Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor advised council that the City had received two bids on the financing of the property at #5 Adams Road. One bid was from BB&T at an interest rate of 3.43% and the other bid was from First Chatham Bank with an interest rate of 3.90% and both banks were financing the $370,000 loan for a 10 year period. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the resolution accepting the bid from BB&T for the financing of the property located at #5 Adams Road with a rate of 3.43% for ten years. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to approve a resolution to authorize the holding of a public hearing relating to the acquisition of the City Hall Annex through a Tax-exempt financing transaction with Georgia Municipal Association, Inc. with the public hearing to be held at the October 7, 2010 council meeting. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concludes the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of September 8, 2010.
The accounts payable were reviewed with Councilman Crosby making a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Kerby made a motion to adjourn at 8:05pm. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Respectfully submitted, Sandra Jones, City Clerk
Mayor Tipton and Council members Crosby, Griffin, Kerby, Myrick, and Rawlings 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.