FEBRUARY 21, 2002
The meeting was called to order with Reverend Ken Otto leading in prayer.
The minutes of the February 7, 2002 meeting were review. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that there has been no contact from TLC Communications concerning their proposal to install an antenna on the City’s water tower.
The Mayor also reported that the sign ordinance was still under review by council.
Mayor Rozier stated that D.K. Morgan had been asked to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss his failure to install bathroom facilities, as agreed, at #1722 E. Hwy 80 by January 31, 2002. Council was reminded that in August, 2001, Mr. Morgan had asked for an extension on installing the bathroom until after the first of the year because he had just obtained the property and needed some time to determine the best use of the building for future tenants. Then, in November, 2001, he had attended the meeting with Dereall Joyner, a prospective tenant, who wanted to use the building for a rental equipment business. Mr. Joyner advised council that he planned to operate the office for the business from #1724 E. Hwy 80 where he had a used car lot business, but would be moving the entire operation to #1722 E. Hwy 80 after January 1st. Council approved the license for the rental equipment business with the understanding that bathroom facilities would be installed at #1722 E. Hwy 80 by January 31st. Mayor Rozier asked Mr. Morgan to explain his failure to install the bathroom facilities to council. Mr. Morgan stated that he did not understand why he had to install the bathroom at #1722 E. Hwy 80 since both businesses are owned and operated by the same person and there was a bathroom at #1724 E. Hwy 80 that could be used by the employees. Mayor Rozier asked Mr. Morgan if he could guarantee that this would be the only tenant in the building in the future and Mr. Morgan stated that he could not make this guarantee. Councilman Johnson commented that his concern was that Mr. Morgan had previously agreed to install the bathroom by January 31st if council gave him an extension, but failed to follow through with its installation. Mr. Morgan explained that at that time he did not know he would be renting both buildings to the same tenant and asked if it would be possible to postpone the installation of the bathroom as long as both buildings were rented by the same business owner/operated. Council discussed the matter at length and finally agreed to release Mr. Morgan from the requirement that he install the bathroom at #1722 E. Hwy 80 at this time. Councilman Waller made a motion to allow a postponement of the installation of bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80 until such time that the same tenant was not renting both buildings, but if it any time a different tenant should rent either one of the buildings that D.K. Morgan would be required to install bathroom facilities in the building located at #1722 E. Hwy 80. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that we have not received a report from Bill Lovett on his contact with developers regarding their participation in a possible increase of Bloomingdale’s capacity at the sewer treatment plant.
The Mayor reported that Attorney Gerard has reviewed the contract from FTB Enterprises, Inc. and recommended confirmation of several items by the company before the City should consider hiring them to perform traffic ticket collection work. Copies of his findings have been distributed to the Mayor and the police committee. Mayor Rozier recognized Lisa Lynn, a representative from FTB who was present at the meeting, who indicated she felt sure the company could answer any questions council may have. Attorney Gerard advised her that he did not think that the state law authorizing the 40% collection fee which FTB plans to charge applied to their type of collection agencies. Ms. Lynn stated she could furnish information to Attorney Gerard showing their authorization to collect the fees. Attorney Gerard pointed out that there should be no limitation on the damages which the City could recover against FTB in case they caused injury or damage to a third party relating to the performance of the service agreement and stated that the City must have the right to audit examine and make copies of FTB’s records relating to the agreement. Ms. Lynn assured him that they could meet these requirements. City Attorney Gerard outlined the requirements for liability insurance that FTB should have in place prior to the signing of the contract, but Ms. Lynn indicated there may be a problem with some of the limits. After a discussion by council of this matter, Councilman Tyler made a motion to table further discussion until FTB could provide Attorney Gerard with the information that he had outlined in his recommendations. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the rezoning petitions for the tracts on Hwy 80 between Wildcat Dam Road and Patrick Avenue have been submitted to Bill Saxman for his review and recommendation to council. This information should be available at the March 7th meeting.
The Mayor reported that the DOT has not contacted the City about council’s decision on allowing them to obtain the 5,000 gallons of water so apparently they made other arrangements before the February 7th meeting.
Chief Anderson reported that he would follow-up on the repairs to the benches at the community park and if these had not been done to the City’s satisfaction he would pursue filing charges against the juvenile who did the damage.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had called Comcast Cablevision concerning their request to discuss the renewal of their franchise agreement but the person who was handling this matter was not available and has not returned Attorney Gerard’s call.
Council was advised the City has received a check for $5,100 from Robert W. Galloway & Associates on behalf of Tim Nettles/Ted Hendley for the payoff of the lien against the property located at #9 Chestnut Street. This lien covered expenses incurred by the City to demolish the uninhabitable structure on the property pursuant to the City’s Nuisance Abatement Ordinance. The Mayor stated that council needed to approve his execution of the Release of Lien to settle this matter. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the Mayor’s execution of said release, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council was informed that the City had received correspondence from David Tyler last fall indicating he wanted to open a portion of Hickory Street between the old and new West Garvin Street and had provided a quit claim to a 40’ strip of right of way to the City. This action was necessary for Mr. Tyler to subdivide a tract of land he owned that abutted this unopened portion of Hickory Street. Mr. Tyler had been advised that he would be responsible for the opening and improving of the roadway to the City’s specifications before it would be accepted as a public right of way. Council was advised that Mr. Tyler has withdrawn his quit claim deed so apparently he has decided not to pursue the subdivision of this tract of land at this time. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City had not approved acceptance of the quit claim deed since he had never made any improvements to the roadway so this information was merely being provided for inclusion in the minutes for future reference.
Attorney Gerard presented council with a new nuisance abatement ordinance incorporating changes in the law by the Georgia General Assembly. Copies of the new ordinance and an outline of the new procedure and appropriate forms have been distributed for council’s review. Attorney Gerard pointed out that some of the changes included the requirement that the County Tax Commissioner collect liens related to nuisance abatement using all available methods for collection of ad valorem taxes. This method would be much better for the City because monies could be received in a timelier manner. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to table discussion of this matter until council members have had an opportunity to review the ordinance. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request for an occupation license from Daniel Miro to operate the office for his masonry business from his home located at #309 W. Maple Street. Council was advised this type business would be considered a home occupation and they had the option to waive the required public hearing. Mr. Miro indicates there will be one (l) pick up truck and a mortar mixing machine used in his business that will be parked at his residence. Mayor Rozier advised Mr. Miro that there should be no outside traffic related to the business coming to his residence and it cannot be used for the congregation of workers. The Mayor also pointed out that there should be no evidence of a business being operated from this location since it was in a residential zone. Mr. Miro stated he understood these restrictions. Based on his understanding of these stipulations related to the home occupation business, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Daniel Miro to operate the office for his masonry business form his home located at #309 W. Maple Street with the above-mentioned stipulations. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the City has received a request from the Christian Way Holiness Church for council to approve a variance to the rear-yard setback requirements for their property located on Elm and Cregor Streets. They plan to construct a new church, but they cannot meet the 25’ rear-yard setback and will need a 15’ variance. Although there could still be a problem meeting the parking space requirements, they needed to know if council would approve the rear-yard variance before they proceeded any further with the project. The two representatives from the church present at the meeting were Veronica Parrish and Gail Perry. Council discussed their request and there was concern expressed about the location of the existing building. It was noted that the existing building currently sits in the middle of Cregor Street and residents in the area have had to drive onto private properties to get around the church. Council asked if the members planned to tear down the existing church, but were advised that they did not know what they would do with the building. Ms. Perry indicated they might use it for storage. They were advised that there could be a problem with changing its use at this time since it was not actually on their property. Attorney Gerard pointed out that council needed make a decision on the issue of the variance for the new church that did not involve the existing building because that situation had no bearing on the question of the variance. After additional discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to grant the 15’ rear-yard setback variance to the Christian Way Holiness Church for their new church to be constructed at #303 Elm Street. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that access to the parking lot of the new church should be from Elm Street rather than Cregor Street to avoid problems with encroaching on private property. Mayor Rozier advised Ms. Perry and Ms. Parrish that the church needed to seriously consider removing the existing church building once the new building was completed.
Council was advised the City has received a request from John J. Jones, whose property is located at the end of Towles Road west of Jimmy Deloach Parkway, to subdivide his property. It was noted that since his property is located off of a privately-maintained access easement and does not abut a dedicated right of way, council will have to approve his extension of the private access road before the subdivision of this tract would be allowed. This will require Mr. Jones to extend the 60’ private access road (currently known as Towles Road) onto his property far enough to allow the subdivided tracts to abut the road by at least 125’ and his subdivision plat will have to show the dedicated 60’ privately-maintained roadway. It was noted that if council approves the extension of the roadway, Mr. Jones can divide his property into three (3) or less tracts, but the Chatham County Health Department will determine the size of the tracts based on a soil scientist’s report with the minimum lot size being five (5) acres. Mr. Jones stated that the road is already on his property and all he wants to do is divide five acres from his tract of land for his son to place a mobile home on the property. Attorney Gerard pointed out that council has the option to allow him to subdivide the property off of a privately-maintained roadway that meets City specifications, but if the road doesn’t currently exist on his plat, council will have to approve its extension. Mr. Jones stated that his plat did not show the road. Mayor Rozier advised him that he would be responsible for the drainage of the property and maintaining the roadway. Councilman Myrick made a motion to allow the extension of the privately-maintained access road onto Mr. Jones’ property with the understanding he will have to meet the City’s subdivision requirements as well as any regulations of the Chatham County Health Department, maintain the roadway and be responsible for the drainage of the property. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Randy Wood to construct a second building, 30’ x 80’, on his property located at #1302 E. Hwy 80. Mr. Wood indicated he will use a portion of the building for storage, but his future plans include renting one section of the building to another business. Council was advised that although the property is zoned C-1, the City’s zoning ordinance only allows one principal building per lot. Council discussed the request and it was determined that Mr. Wood will need to comply with the zoning ordinance; therefore, the buildings must be joined together. It was noted that they should have at least the same roofline, but it may be possible to allow them to be joined by a breezeway provided the connection of the buildings follow the City’s building code and any applicable state building codes.
Mayor Rozier presented a proposal from Republic Waste Service to provide sanitation service to the City at a cost of $8.31 per residence, per month. The Mayor explained that this was a five year contract with an option to extend for another five years. The Mayor stated that he had also obtained a proposal from Waste Management, but their fees were much higher. After a brief discussion, council decided to table this matter to allow time for Attorney Gerard to review the contract and for additional information to be obtained concerning the actual costs related to providing this service with City personnel. Councilman Tyler made a motion to table the matter for further study, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler presented information regarding the purchase of a new fire truck by the City. Council was advised that the 1998-2003 SPLOST referendum included monies designated for the purchase by the City of Bloomingdale of public safety equipment. Councilman Tyler, who also serves as the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Chief, reported that the 1968 fire truck currently being used by the department is in need of replacing as soon as possible and asked if the City would be willing to go ahead and authorize the purchase of the truck before all of the monies have been received from the county. The Chief pointed out that the anticipated SPLOST monies will be approximately $225,000 to $250,000 and the cost of the new truck will be $242,371. City already has about $106,000 on hand and since it will take about six months to build the truck, Councilman Tyler asked if the City could go ahead and order it now. Councilman Tyler stated that Emergency One, the company who would build the truck, offers in-house financing, but the City may want to pursue other options. Councilman Johnson asked if the use of these monies for a fire truck was the fire department’s most critical need at this time. Councilman Tyler stated that in order to maintain the City’s current Class 5 ISO rating, we needed to have two dependable fire trucks on hand and the 1968 is in need of replacing. He pointed out that the 1979 City owned fire truck is still in use. It was pointed out that even with the anticipated SPLOST funds, if the City decided to purchase the truck in advance of receiving all of the monies that there could be some financing costs related to the purchase that would not be covered and would have to be provided by the City. Council discussed the matter at length and agreed that prior to ordering the fire truck; we needed to look into other financing options to make sure we were getting the best rates available. Councilman Myrick made a motion to purchase the fire truck contingent on the City getting acceptable financing that must be approved by council prior to ordering the truck and to approve the City assuming the financing costs for the fire truck if the SPLOST funds did not cover said expense. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler abstained from voting.
Councilman Tyler advised council that there were some apparent drainage problems in the recently developed area at Oak and Maple Streets. Councilman Tyler stated that he and Fett Burke had reviewed the 1999 plot plan showing the approved relocation of a ditch in this area by Donny Tuten, but it does not appear that the changes made to the ditch were constructed as shown on the plan. Councilman Tyler reported that the county had apparently gotten some calls from someone about the drainage and he had met with them regarding this situation. Councilman Ray stated that the area has never drained very well. Fett Burke reported that it does not drain as well now as it did prior to Mr. Tuten making these changes. Councilman Tyler advised council that Chatham County wanted some answers as to why the ditch was not installed as the City approved it and he did not know what to tell them. Councilman Tyler suggested that we have another engineering firm review the work and advise us if the existing ditches will work and if they will we could at least provide this information to the county. Mayor Rozier stated that he had been meeting with the Morgans on some other drainage matters and that Thomas & Hutton Engineering firm is doing their work and suggested we use them in this situation. Councilman Tyler stated that it does not appear that the City ever actually accepted the work after it was completed and asked Attorney Gerard if we could require the developer to pay for the engineer’s review. Attorney Gerard indicated there could be some problems collecting the engineering fees for this work if the engineer reported the drainage would work as installed, but if there is clear evidence the improvements the developer made are not correct we could probably collect the fees. Council discussed this matter at length and considered several possible options for addressing the problem. Councilman Myrick suggested we contact the developer, advise him of the City’s concerns about the drainage and instruct him to provide documentation from an engineer that the ditches, as installed, will properly drainage the area. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City will need to provide the developer with a list of the problems that need to be addressed. Councilman Tyler stated that he would get with Fett Burke and prepare this information. After additional discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to write a letter to the developer that includes a list of the problems with the drainage in the area and advised him that he must comply with the plans for the drainage ditch relocation as approved by council or provide proof that the existing drainage will work. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler was advised to prepare the list of problems and submit it to Attorney Gerard so the letter can be sent to the developer as soon as possible.
Councilman Tyler advised council that in addition to the drainage problems in this area, there were other areas where we need to make improvements, but there are no existing rights of way for their maintenance. Councilman Tyler stated that he planned to discuss these areas with the county and hoped to get some help from them with engineering information at no cost to the City. Attorney Gerard pointed out that if there would be a cost to the City, we needed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement regarding said fees prior to having them do the work. Councilman Tyler stated he would report his findings back to council before committing the City to any engineering fees.
Chief Anderson submitted information to the council regarding police activity for 2001 and 2002.
Council was advised the City had received a proposal from Whitfield & Butler to conduct the audit for the year ending June 30, 2002 for $4600 – the same rate they have charged for the last couple of years. It was noted that this firm has been conducting the City’s audits for six or seven years and is familiar with our operation. Also, the auditors have been working with the police department for the last couple of years to develop a system to verify their accounts receivable on a monthly basis. Mayor Rozier stated that he had a company he wanted to talk with about doing the City’s audit, but had not yet contacted them. Councilman Waller made a motion that we accept the auditor’s proposal of $4600 for the year ending June 30, 2002. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and Councilmen Johnson, Ray and Waller voted for the motion. Councilmen Myrick, Tyler and Wedincamp voted against the motion. Since the vote was tied, Mayor Rozier had to vote and he voted against the motion. Councilman Tyler made a motion to table this matter to give Mayor Rozier time to make contact with another auditor and to make a decision at the next meeting. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that if council decides to pursue another auditing firm, we should go through a bid process to obtain other prices to conduct the audit.
The Mayor and Council were advised that a tentative meeting and training course schedule for the 2002 GMA Annual Convention to be held in Savannah in June has been received and distributed for their review. Council was reminded that the training courses will fill rather quickly so we need to be prepared to register for them as soon as possible. The Mayor stated that if anyone plans to attend any training courses they should advise the clerk immediately.
Mayor Rozier presented a Certified City of Ethics Resolution for council’s review and discussion. The Mayor reported that he would like to see the City participate in this program. Attorney Gerard asked what was involved in the process other than a resolution and Mayor Rozier indicated it involved several steps including the passing of an ethics ordinance. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to adopt said resolution, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented an annexation resolution to council for their consideration. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to adopt said resolution, Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City would have to inform the county of the City’s intention to annex properties in the unincorporated areas of Chatham County and be prepared to negotiation an agreement on the ownership/operation of public facilities. Also, public hearings on the rezoning should be conducted and the MPC must be notified. Mayor Rozier stated that Representative Ron Stephens indicated the City of Savannah was interested in annexing some of these same areas, so we needed to provide the residents with information regarding the benefits of being annexed into Bloomingdale rather than Savannah. Councilman Tyler suggested a committee be formed to develop information regarding the pros and cons for the current citizens if Bloomingdale annexes these areas because there could be some concerns about being able to provide the support services without property taxes. Councilman Tyler stated it would be important to review the costs involved in taking in these areas and compare that with the financial benefits. Mayor Rozier appointed Councilman Tyler to chair a committee to gather and present this information and invited anyone else wanting to work with him on the project to volunteer for the committee. Councilman Johnson stated that all of the council members would need to get involved in this project. The Mayor suggested we extend an invitation, in our next newsletter, to area citizens asking for volunteers to serve on an annexation committee.
Councilman Tyler made a motion to amend the council meeting agenda to add consideration of the City of Savannah’s proposal regarding their supplying the City of Bloomingdale with additional water capacity. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Rozier stated that we needed to decide whether or not we wanted to accept the City of Savannah’s proposal regarding the transfer of up to 100,000 mgd of their permit to Bloomingdale. This proposal included the requirement that we run a water line connecting to Pooler’s water line within twelve (12) months and no longer than eighteen (18) months. Also, any water taps in the existing water service area of Bloomingdale would cost $900 each until the tap was made to Pooler’s line and then the rate would increase to $1415 per water tap. In addition to these charges, there would be a fee paid to the City of Pooler to transport the water and any water usage would be billed at $1.30 per 1,000 gallons. Council discussed the matter at length but most members were concerned about these costs and the requirement that we make the tap onto Pooler’s line within eighteen (18) months. Council agreed that this option was not in the best interest of the citizens of Bloomingdale. Councilman Johnson asked if we had heard anything from Representative Stephens regarding our well water permit but the Mayor stated he had not had any discussions with him lately about the permit. After additional discussion on this matter, council agreed that further negotiation with the City of Savannah was warranted, but did not want to make any commitments until we have exhausted all avenues to obtain an increase to our own well water permit. Council agreed to authorize Mayor Rozier to continue negotiations with the City of Savannah, but before any agreement was signed it must come back to council for consideration and approval. Councilman Johnson made a motion to authorize the Mayor to continue said negotiation with the above-mentioned stipulations. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Tyler made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30pm.
All council members were present at the meeting.