Official minutes of the January 6, 2011 Council meeting
approved on January 20, 2011
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Baxter leading in prayer. The draft copy of the minutes of the December 2, 2010 meeting was presented with Councilman Crosby making a motion to approve the minutes. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the agenda of the January 6, 2011 meeting with the addition of an executive session for the discussion of possible litigation. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton reported that Councilman Kerby was sick and could not attend tonight’s meeting.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilwoman Griffin reported that Bloomingdale would have four basketball teams this year with practices to be held at the Bloomingdale Elementary School and home games to be held at the Garden City gym. Councilman Myrick informed council that the auditors had completed the City’s Annual Financial Report for FY ended June 30, 2010 and reported that everything was in good order and there were no deficiencies to report. Councilman Myrick commented that he planned to get the Veterans’ Memorial Committee back together to follow up on plans for the memorial. Councilman Baxter advised everyone that the brickwork on the new fire station was almost finished and Joe Marchese, the contractor for the project, was present at the meeting and he stated that construction of the building was on schedule and should be completed in about two months.
Mayor Tipton reported that a public hearing had been scheduled for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input on the addition of massage therapists/massage parlors as “conditional uses” to the zoning ordinance. The Mayor pointed out that at the November 18, 2010 council meeting, a recommendation was presented by the Planning & Licensing Committee, along with the Chairman of the Planning Commission, to amend the City’s Zoning Ordinance to add to the “List of Permissible and Conditional Uses” a massage therapist business as a “conditional use” in a C-1 and C-2 zone and to add a massage parlor business as a “conditional use” in a C-1, C-2, and in an I-1 zone. The Mayor opened the meeting to council for questions or comments. Susan Rogers stated she had some questions about the massage parlor ordinance and was advised those questions could be presented during discussion of the ordinance under old business. Being no other questions or comments, Mayor Tipton closed the public hearing.
Councilman Crosby presented a motion for the approval of the second reading and adoption of the massage therapist/massage parlor business ordinance and the “touch” (CSTTOM) business ordinance with an effective date of January 18, 2011 and with the following amendments to the Fee Schedule Policy: Regulatory fees for massage and CSTTOM parlors of $150 each; annual non-refundable application license fees of $150 for a massage parlor and $5,000 for a CSTTOM parlor; and an annual non-refundable CSTTOM agent permit fee of $2500 per agent. Councilman Crosby’s motion also included submission of a request to the Planning Commission to proceed with the steps necessary to amend the List of Permissible & Conditional Uses in the Zoning Ordinance to include CSTTOM parlors. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion. Mayor Tipton recognized Susan Rogers who commented that the ordinance included items that should not apply to her business because she was not operating a massage parlor. Councilman Crosby pointed out that the massage parlor ordinance included regulations for businesses in which massage therapists operated. Attorney Dickey noted that Ms. Rogers’ current license covering a cosmetology business would not include massage therapy, so she would have to obtain a separate business license for that type business. Ms. Rogers expressed her concern that the layout of her business location may not be able to comply with the regulations contained in the ordinance. The Mayor recognized Eloise Wilson who expressed concerns about the “openings” for viewing into the rooms that were required in the ordinance and stated that as a licensed massage therapist, she could lose her state license should she expose her patients in any way to the public or if she did not keep the treatment room locked. Ms. Wilson also pointed out that her patients would not be comfortable receiving a massage if they were exposed to the public. Councilman Baxter stated that the City needed to make sure the ordinances were in compliance with state laws to protect both the massage therapist and the operator of the massage parlor. Citizen Betty Burke questioned the size of the openings being discussed and was advised the ordinance calls for “an unobstructed opening 6” x 6” in size capable of clear two-way viewing into and out of all cubicles, rooms or booths and the opening shall be not less than 4½’ from the floor.” Citizen Martin Collins asked for an explanation of CSTTOM and Councilman Crosby advised Mr. Collins that CSTTOM is an anonym for “Commercial Soft Tissue Touch or Manipulation” Massage. Mr. Collins stated that the City could not change the state laws for electricians, plumbers or other state licensed occupations and should not be able to amend our ordinances to be less than the state requires and suggested that if the massage therapists did not want to follow the ordinances, the City may need to put them on hold until a state representative could explain the regulations. Ms. Wilson commented that they were not trying to get the laws changed, but they just have questions about these regulations and she noted that the state also gives the massage therapists guidelines they have to follow. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that the City is regulating the business to take the responsibility off of the massage therapists and inspecting the sites to make sure they are in compliance with state law. Ms. Rogers asked for a definition of a massage parlor and Attorney Dickey provided this information to her. Mayor Tipton called for a vote on the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby presented a motion to approve the first reading, to dispense with the second reading, and to adopt an amendment to the “List of Permissible and Conditional Uses” in the Zoning Ordinance to include a massage therapist business as a “conditional use” in C-1 and C-2 zones and to add a massage parlor business as a “conditional use” in C-1, C-2, and I-1 zones. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Citizen Susan Rogers stated that the additional fees for massage parlor businesses seemed to be intended to discourage these businesses. Councilman Rawlings commented that was not the case since the City could have charged $1500.00 per year for one of the massage parlor fees, but chose to only charge $150.00.
Councilman Crosby presented a motion to approve the issuance of an occupational tax certificate to Eloise Wilson to operate a massage parlor business at #1718 E. Highway 80 upon the issuance of a massage parlor license as set forth in said ordinance to include the payment of all required fees and upon her meeting all application requirements, but not before the effective date of the ordinance of January 18, 2011. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion. Councilwoman Barbara Griffin asked Ms. Wilson why she chose Bloomingdale as her business location. Ms. Wilson advised her that some of her clients who lived in the Pooler area had informed her that there was not a massage therapist operating in Bloomingdale and she stated that she wanted to be the first one. Councilwoman Griffin asked her what type massages she offered. Ms. Wilson informed her that she had hot and cold stone and deep tissue massages as well as sports, hip replacement, and prenatal massages. Ms. Wilson stated that she offered a wide variety of therapeutic massages to persons of all ages. Councilwoman Griffin asked if she had a business location in South Carolina and was advised by Ms. Wilson that she did not. After this discussion, the Mayor called for the vote and the motion passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented for council’s approval the City’s Annual Financial Report for FY ended June 30, 2010 as presented by the auditing firm of Karp, Ronning & Tindol. Mayor Tipton stated that this firm has been preparing the City’s audit for several years. Councilman Myrick reported that the City’s finances are in very good shape and the auditor commended the City for the amount of reserve and emergency funds we had on hand. Councilman Myrick made a motion to accept the audit as presented for FY ended June 30, 2010, Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Tiffinie Deal to obtain a well permit for her property located at #327 Conaway Road for her personal household use only. It was noted that the City does not provide water at this location; however, City ordinance requires council approval prior to issuance of a permit. Councilman Crosby made a motion to issue the well permit as requested, Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed the appointment and compensation for the Recorders’ Court Judge for 2011 and the appointment of Judge Pro-tems for 2011. After a brief discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to appoint Judge Tom Edenfield to continue serving as the City’s Recorders’ Court Judge for 2011 at a salary of $1200 per month as included in the FY 2010/2011 budget and to appoint Bob and Brandon Galloway to continue serving as the City’s Judge Pro-tems for said court. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that in January of each year, council designates a floating holiday to be observed by all full-time employees and the holiday to be considered for 2011 is Presidents’ Day to be observed on Monday, February 21, 2011. Councilman Myrick made a motion to designate February 21, 2011 as the floating holiday for all full-time employees for 2011, Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from R.B. Baker for payment of Pay Request #4 in the amount of $31,110.12 for their work on Stagecoach Road. It was noted that this pay request was to have been placed on the October 7, 2010 council agenda, but was overlooked. Council was informed that Mark Mobley with EMC Engineering, Inc. had recommended payment of this request, but was also advised that the City is still holding Pay Request #7 in the amount of $20,054.14 that includes the retainage on the project until we receive final approval on their work from the Department of Transportation. After a brief discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve payment of pay request #4, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby presented a motion for the renewal of terms to run from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 for Planning Commission members Robert Wellmaker (Seat #1, Vice-Chairman), Dexter Shearouse (Seat 2, Chairman), Susan Rogers (Seat 3, Secretary), and Doug McCurry (Seat 4). Councilman Myrick seconded the motion. Councilman Crosby stated that these members had done a good job and had longevity with the commission. The motion was approved with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that after interviews with the final three applicants for the City Administrator’s position, the council considers Charles Akridge as the best candidate for the position. Councilman Myrick made a motion to appoint Charles Akridge to the position of City Administrator and Councilman Baxter seconded the motion. Former Mayor Billy Strozier asked for the names of the three finalists and the approved salary for this position. He was advised by Mayor Tipton that the finalists were Alice Derian from Hilton Head, S.C., Trey Wilkins from Rincon, GA., and Charles Akridge from Moultrie, GA and the salary was to be approximately $64,000. After this discussion, the motion to hire Charles Akridge passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that Chief Gossett had requested an opportunity to address council regarding personnel issues related to the Bloomingdale Police Department and possible budget adjustments. Chief Gossett reported that due to several illnesses experienced by his officers over the last several months, production was down and the other officers were overworked and morale was low. Chief Gossett stated that he felt with some adjustments in positions that production would increase. The Chief proposed the following: The hiring of an additional clerical employee, specifically Jody Sheffield, to handle the evidence room and other administrative duties, the placement of Captain Pike as the Patrol Division Commander, the promotion of Sergeant Foune to Lieutenant, and the promotion of Detective Elliott to Sergeant to be assigned as a watch commander and replaced as investigator by Lieutenant Walker. Chief Gossett reported that he felt the costs related to the hiring of the additional personnel and promotions would be off-set by increased production. Councilman Baxter, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, stated that he had talked with the Chief and the public safety committee and suggested that council postpone any action on these matters until the City Administrator has an opportunity to meet with the committee and the Chief to further discuss his requests. Councilman Baxter then made a motion to take no action on the Chief’s requests at this time, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion. Mayor Tipton asked Chief Gossett if he was aware of how much he was over-budget in overtime. Chief Gossett stated he was not sure of the exact amount, but realized he was over the budgeted figure. The Mayor asked if he had filled the CNT position and the Chief advised him that he had just hired an officer. Mayor Tipton noted that this officer and all their benefits were reimbursed to the City by Chatham County. After this discussion, the motion to take no action at tonight’s meeting passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that tonight’s agenda had been amended to add an executive session for discussion of possible litigation. Councilwoman Griffin made a motion to adjourn into executive session to discuss possible litigation, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Wednesday, December 29, 2010.
The accounts payable were reviewed with Councilman Myrick making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Baxter made a motion to adjourn at 8:40pm. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Respectfully submitted, Sandra Jones, City Clerk
Mayor Tipton and Council members Baxter, Crosby, Griffin, Myrick and Rawlings were present at the meeting. Councilman Kerby was out sick.
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.