November 15, 2001
After the public hearing, Mayor Strozier called the council meeting to order. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 1, 2001 meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilman Tyler and received six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Massey Ferguson tractor w/mower was sold for $4500 as approved by council at the last meeting.
The Mayor reported that work was still underway to obtain information on families to assist with proceeds from the 9-11 Barbecue/Bake Sale Benefit. He stated that one family had already been located. The father has leukemia and his 21-year-old daughter who still lived at home and was helping with the finances during his illness was killed in the attacks. The daughter had no life insurance. Council was advised Reverend Bailey had been asked to find at least two other families to help.
Attorney Gerard reported that the proposed lease agreement with TLC Communications to place an antenna on the water tank may be delayed due to the recent sale of Powertel, but he would keep the council informed.
Mayor Strozier reported that the revised sign ordinance was still being reviewed.
Mayor Pro-tem Waller reported that he, along with representatives from the police department, had attended the meeting hosted by the DOT on the Litter Prevention Pilot Program. Mr. Waller stated that the counties of Bryan and Chatham were chosen to participate this program on a trial basis and there should be some funds made available to assist in its implementation. The DOT encouraged the courts to consider heavier fines for those people cited for littering and asked the cities to do more education of its citizens on the costs involved in cleaning up the roadways and ditches.
Council was advised that the state had recommended a caution light be placed at the intersection of John Carter and Little Neck Road, but they were not willing to participate in the cost of its installation or maintenance. It was noted that since the most of the problems that have occurred at this intersection in the past involved persons going to sleep or being DUI, there was some question as to whether a caution light would make any difference in the people stopping. The Chief and the police committee will continue to monitor the situation.
The Mayor reported that the public hearing conducted prior to the meeting concerning the proposed amendment to the R-1 zone to allow private schools as a “conditional use” will be considered by the Planning Commission at their November 20, 2001 meeting with their recommendation to be presented to council on December 6, 2001.
Mayor Strozier stated that Attorney Gerard was in the process of preparing an agreement with Bill Saxman for council’s review to cover his services as a consultant for the City of Bloomingdale on zoning and land development issues. Mayor Strozier pointed out that although council had approved the concept of using a consultant at the last meeting, the details on Mr. Saxman’s specific duties were still being worked out. The Mayor urged the new Mayor and council members to follow through with the agreement to make sure that future zoning and land development decisions complied with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Mayor-elect Ben Rozier stated that he agreed with Mayor Strozier’s opinion that obtaining Mr. Saxman’s services would be in the best interest of Bloomingdale and planned to pursue the execution of this agreement after the first of the year.
Council reviewed a request from Wendell Terry Cole of #6 East Garvin Street to operate a vending machine replacement business from his residence. Mr. Cole indicated he would be using his personal vehicle for the business and there would be no outside traffic. The Mayor asked him if he would be storing any machines at his residence and Mr. Cole stated that he had rented a storage building for the machines and only the office would be operated from this location. Mayor Strozier reminded him that a home occupation business would only be approved if there would be no evidence of a business being operated from the residence and Mr. Cole stated that he understood this stipulation. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement for this home occupation business, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller made a motion to issue the license with the above-mentioned stipulations, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from Carolyn Griffin at #8 Douglas Court to operate a quilt instruction business over the Internet from her residence. There would be no outside traffic, as all of the transactions would be handled through the computer. Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement for this home occupation license, Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tuten made a motion to issue said license, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Dereall Joyner to operate two businesses from the property located at #1724 E. Hwy 80. One business is a used car lot consisting of up to 15 cars. Council was advised that this property was zoned C-2 which allows auto/truck sales as a “conditional use”. Mr. Joyner provided the City with a site plan showing how he plans to display vehicles and provide for customer parking. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the issuance of the license for the used car lot for up to 15 cars at #1724 E. Hwy 80. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Strozier advised Mr. Joyner that in addition to the occupation license for the used car lot, the City charges a regulatory fee of $150 per year for up to 15 cars. Mr. Joyner also plans to operate the office for an equipment rental business from this same location until January 1st when he will move to the building located at #1722 E. Hwy 80. He has provided a sketch of where he plans to display the rental equipment. It was noted that there are no bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80, but Mr. Joyner understands he must have one installed if he plans to operate a business from this building. After discussing the matter, Councilman Rawlins made a motion to issue the license for the equipment rental business with the stipulation that bathroom facilities be installed in the building at #1722 E. Hwy 80 by January 31, 2002 if he plans to move the business to that location. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to keep the 2002 Occupational License fees the same as the rates charged in 2001. Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Lucille Thomas to construct a 30’ x 30’ picnic/dining room building on her property located at #35 Howard Drive. It was noted that City policy requires approval of enclosed buildings in residential zones consisting of over 500 sq. ft. Councilman Tuten made a motion to approve the building permit for said structure, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The Mayor pointed out that Ms. Thomas would have to provide information needed for the issuance of the building permit before any construction started.
Mayor Strozier suggested the City consider allowing new businesses to obtain 2002 license starting December 1st rather than having to purchase a 2001 license this late in the year and another one in 2002. This would be consistent with procedures followed in previous years. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the issuance of 2002 license to new businesses starting December 1, 2001. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised council that there seems to be a problem with a driveway at #308 E. Garvin Street that was installed by the contractor Ray Butler. The Mayor stated that it appeared the driveway was about 6” too high and could cause drainage problems for the area. The Mayor asked Mr. Butler if he could take out the section of the driveway that would cause a problem with the drainage. Mr. Butler explained that he felt the water would drain to the back of the lot rather than toward the road and did not feel there was a problem with the height of the concrete. Fett Burke stated this driveway was higher than the pavement and would impede the flow of the water. The Mayor asked Mr. Butler if he was prepared to provide a drainage plan showing how the water would drain, but Mr. Butler stated that he would like to have someone meet him at the property so he could better explain his understanding of how the drainage would work. The Mayor asked Councilman Johnson, Councilman Rawlins and Fett Burke to meet with Mr. Butler tomorrow at 10:00 o’clock to look into the situation and report back to council at the next meeting.
Council reviewed a request from Donny Tuten for a recombination of Lot #’s 180 & 181 that currently faced Main Street to turn them to face Maple Street. The lots will meet the minimum lot size and road frontage requirements when they are turned, but the location of the sewer lift station on Main Street would hamper the development of one of the lots unless it was turned to face Maple Street. The Mayor pointed out that the lots are landlocked and face unopened streets. He stated that Mr. Tuten would have to open Maple Street to city specifications and extend the pavement before building permits could be issued. After discussing the matter, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the recombination of said lots, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Tuten abstained from voting.
The Mayor presented a request from Carroll & Carroll for final payment on the paving work they performed on Michael Street. The work has been inspected and since it meets with the City’s approval, the retainer can be released. Councilman Rawlins made a motion to make the final payment to Carroll & Carroll for this paving project. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council also discussed the possible release of the balance of monies owed to Carroll & Carroll on the 2001 Paving projects. It was pointed out that there several things that had not yet been completed on some of the roadways and the state had not yet given their approval on the project. After a discussion by council of the status of these paving projects, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve payment of the balance of the monies owed to Carroll & Carroll once we are satisfied with their work and the state has given their final approval of the project. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier submitted the following recommendations from the Personnel Committee: 1) The initiation of the salary increases included in the 2001/2002 budget effective 12-31-01; 2) In lieu of the optional holiday to designate the employee’s birthday as a holiday; and 3) To add Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the recommendations from the Personnel Committee, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the possibility of canceling the December 20, 2001 meeting. It was noted that it has been customary to cancel the last meeting in December because of the Christmas holidays. Councilman Waller made a motion to cancel the December 20, 2001 council meeting, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request for council’s consideration to close the City Hall on Christmas Eve since it falls on Monday to allow employees to have a four-day weekend. Mayor Strozier pointed out that the offices usually close early on Christmas Eve anyway and employees were willing to take a day of leave if they could be off the entire day. After a brief discussion, Councilman Rawlins made a motion to close the City Hall on Monday, December 24, 2001 provided employees take a day of leave. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the City has received the completed audit from Whitfield & Davis for the fiscal year 2000/2001 and it contains two findings. One finding concerns the collateralization of funds. The City of Bloomingdale had $222,121 in uncollateralized funds at the end of June 30, 2001, however, since the total bank balance per the bank statements was covered, this was not considered material. The city clerk has contacted the SunTrust Bank and advised them of this problem and has initiated a plan to contact this bank, as well as the other financial institutions holding monies of the City, on a monthly basis to insure their compliance with these requirements. The clerk will provide the response required by the Department of Audits on this finding. The other finding involves deficiencies in the internal control design of the police department. The auditors report that the police department fails to provide timely and accurate accounts receivable information even after numerous attempts to have this department put in place a monthly check and balance system to give a more accurate method of accounting. The auditors point out that although they have asked a number of times that the accounts receivable be balanced on a monthly basis, the goal has not been met by the police department personnel. Their recommendation includes continued work on the collection of outstanding receivables, the separation of duties, and the numerical accounting of the police tickets. The Mayor pointed out that the system that is in place is not working and some major changes will need to take place. Mayor Strozier stated that some changes had been initiated in the past in an effort to secure the information requested by the auditors, but it is apparent that the employees in this department are not capable of doing the job. Therefore, it may be necessary to get some additional personnel. The Mayor suggested the police committee follow through with the plans that have already been discussed in an effort to meet the requirements of the auditors. It was noted that the Chief of Police would need to provide a response to this finding related the police department for submission to the Department of Audits and advise them how he plans to correct these problems. Council was advised that there were a couple of other suggestions from the auditors and they included setting a price level for fixed assets of at least $1,000, performing an inventory of fixed assets to insure that permanent cost records are maintained since the new reporting model for local governments now requires a complete and accurate fixed asset inventory, and making sure that the miscellaneous expense accounts be used sparingly by categorizing these expenses as budgeted line items. After council’s review and discussion of the audit, Councilman Johnson made a motion to accept the audit as presented, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Chief Anderson requested approval of payment of medical treatment for injuries received by an inmate at the Chatham County jail. The expenses totaled $1330.74. The Chief stated that the prisoner was being processed when he was injured, but he had not yet been turned over to the jail. Mayor Strozier pointed out that since this expense was not anticipated, it had not been included in the current budget. Therefore, the only budget line item available would be the miscellaneous expense category. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bill and charge it to miscellaneous expenses. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City has received a letter of resignation as plumbing inspection from Donny Tuten effective January 1, 2002. The Mayor stated that the City needed to pursue at least a temporary replacement as soon as possible.
Chief Anderson advised council that there has been problems with illegal dumping along the Harden Canal and is requesting permission to put a gate at Wildcat Dam Road to help restrict access to the canal. The Chief reported that there was currently at least one case pending in court for illegal dumping of debris. He stated that the City could furnish the county a key to the lock for access to the canal for maintenance purposes. The Mayor suggested that the cost of the gate be passed on through the courts to those persons doing the dumping. Council agreed to the installation of the gate.
Council reviewed the accounts payable and Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Tuten made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 8:30pm.
Mayor Strozier and all council members were present at the meeting.