March 2, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the February 16th council meeting and the called meetings of February 22nd & 23rd were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton reported that Councilman Myrick was out of town this week.
The Mayor asked Attorney Dickey for his report on the proposed agreement between Utility Services, Inc. and the City of Bloomingdale. Attorney Dickey pointed out that after Mr. Duke’s presentation at the last meeting and his review of the agreement; he felt it would be in the City’s best interest to contract with this company for the placement of telecommunication tower(s) on the City’s water tank. The Attorney advised council that by having their company working with the telecommunication companies, they would be responsible for seeing that the contractors had adequate insurance coverage and approved OSHA safety site plans. Also, Utility Services would oversee future maintenance of the water tank without additional costs being passed on to the City due to the existence of tower(s) on the tank. Council discussed the matter and agreed that the 70/30 split of the monthly rental was reasonable. Councilman Strozier made a motion that the City proceeds with the execution of the agreement with Utility Services, Inc. for them to work with the telecommunication companies interested in placing towers on the City’s water tank. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Winn and passed with five affirmative votes. Attorney Dickey stated that he would contact Utility Services, Inc. with this information.
Councilman Strozier advised council that the cost to replace the flow meter at the Maple Street lift station was approximately $4100 and since this meter measures the sewer flow sent from Bloomingdale to Pooler for treatment, it needed to be repaired as soon as possible. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to replace the flow meter and amend the repairs and maintenance line item of the sewer budget to cover this expenditure. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that the Planning & Zoning Commission has requested that they be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss the “Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful” campaign. The Mayor recognized program coordinator, Mary Mitchell, who provided an update to council on the campaign. Ms. Mitchell stated that in conjunction with the “Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup” program, the Planning & Zoning Commission decided to promote a “Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful” campaign during the month of April. Ms. Mitchell reported that she and Susan Rogers had visited all of the businesses and churches along Highway 80 and had received favorable responses from everyone. Ms. Mitchell stated that in response to the City’s application for participation in the “Great American Cleanup” the State of Georgia had provided stickers, banners, trash bags and flyers for distribution. Ms. Mitchell reported that arrangements had been made with the Recreation Department to use the concession building during the kick-off and cookout events. Ms. Mitchell asked if council could advise her as to where she could obtain a stage. Councilwoman Winn informed her that Chatham County Recreation Department has two stages for this type activity and one of them might be available. Ms. Mitchell outlined some of the activities that will be taking place during the April 1st kick-off event and they included health and dental screenings and the Groves High School Band will be performing. Ms. Mitchell asked for council’s help in obtaining two banners to place along the Highway 80 corridor welcoming visitors to the City during this special event. Mayor Tipton asked Ms. Mitchell if members had prepared a budget for the campaign and she advised him that she would address this later in her presentation. Ms. Mitchell expressed her thanks to the office staff for all of the help they have provided for the campaign and advised council that the committee wanted to make sure that the Mayor and City Council had an opportunity to help as well. She presented posters for sign-ups for contributions, donations, and volunteer services. Ms. Mitchell stated that use of a sound system would be appreciated and volunteer groups were needed to work in yards of elderly or disabled people who were not able to do this work themselves. She noted that items that were needed were food, trees and plants, as well as cash donations. Ms. Mitchell pointed out that although the month of April will be the focus month, the beautification and cleanup projects should be ongoing. Ms. Mitchell invited the Mayor and members of council, as well as Attorney Dickey, to meet with Planning & Zoning Commission members on March 7th to finalize plans for the campaign. Mayor Tipton stated that a budget need to be submitted for this activity and Susan Rogers advised him that until they knew which items would be donated, they were not sure what the total costs were going to be. Councilman Rawlings advised the Mayor that he felt sure the committee could formulate a budget for presentation to council at the March 16th meeting. Tommy Bragg stated that he had been informed just prior to the meeting of a commitment to a $1,000 donation to the campaign, but the contributor wished to remain anonymous. Ms. Mitchell encouraged everyone to keep the campaign in their prayers and to especially pray for sunny days on April 1st, 22nd, & 29th.
Council was advised the City had received a request for a home occupation license from Brenda Cordell to operate the “office only” of a residential cleaning business from her residence at #7 Conaway Road. The Mayor reported that Ms. Cordell has obtained written permission from the owner of the property, Jesse Wilson, Jr., to operate the office of the business from this location and Ms. Cordell will be the only employee. Council was reminded that they have the option to waive the public hearing requirement for the home occupation license. The Mayor asked if there would be any outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence and was assured by Ms. Cordell that there would be none. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray then made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Ms. Cordell for the office of the business, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton informed council that the Bloomingdale Alliance Church has submitted a request for the installation of a 4’ high chain link fence on their property located at #501 West Highway 80. The fencing will be placed between the sanctuary and the gym. It was noted that since the property is zoned C-1 and chain link fencing is not allowed in a commercial zone, the council would have to grant a variance before the church could obtain a permit for the fence. The Mayor asked if there were any comments from council. Councilman Ray stated that the church was actually moving the fence around the new playground. The fence already existed, but for the safety of the children it was being re-located between the buildings. After a brief discussion by council, Councilman Strozier made a motion to issue the variance to allow the fence permit to be issued to the church for the relocation/construction of the 4’ chain link fence, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Ray abstained from voting.
The council was advised that a request has been submitted to the City by the DOT for the execution of an L.A.R.P. Certificate of Ownership and Agreement for the resurfacing of a 0.200 mile section of Maple Street. It was noted that although the City requested the resurfacing of all of Maple Street in July, 2005, the DOT only approved the resurfacing of a portion of this street. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the execution of the certificate of ownership and agreement as requested by the DOT, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
A discussion was held regarding the schedule for council meetings during the summer months. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to hold one regularly scheduled meeting during the months of June, July, August & September on the third Thursday of each month. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Fire Chief Ferman Tyler who asked that a meeting be scheduled in April for the presentation of information to council or to the public safety committee related to the contract costs for fire protection for FY 2006/2007. He pointed out that new requirements by the Homeland Security Act may add additional expenses to the operation of the fire department. Mayor Tipton advised Chief Tyler that he was in receipt of his letter questioning the servicing of the AMB project by the Pooler Fire Department and assured him that this decision was based on their accessibility to the property. Although plans are to provide access from Bloomingdale to the project in the future, the immediate access will be off Pooler Parkway. Councilman Waller stated that the public safety committee would be available to meet with the fire department and bring back the information to council.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City had received a request from Gordon Jones to be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss the issuance of a building permit on his property located on Cheyenne Road. The Mayor reported that copies of his request had been distributed to council along with the minutes of the October 6, 2005 meeting when this issue was last discussed with Attorney Yellin who was representing Mr. Jones. Council was advised that there have been no further updates from Mr. Jones or his attorney regarding the access to Highway 80 that he must acquire before he can obtain a building permit. Mr. Jones stated that he had been in contact with Randall Butler who was overseeing the Hwy 80 widening project and he was informed that the DOT would not give permission to add an additional culvert for access to Highway 80 from his property. Mr. Jones informed council that in a previous meeting Attorney Dickey had stated that he could get a building permit for his property. Attorney Dickey stated that at no time had he advised Mr. Jones or the council that a building permit could be obtained for the Cheyenne Rd. property unless the requirements of the City’s ordinances regarding access to the property were met. Mr. Jones advised council that his property did access Highway 80, but Councilman Ray pointed out that a 15’ strip may go to the ditch, but there was no culvert for access to Highway 80. Mr. Jones was questioned as to whether he had been able to obtain permission from property owners Mike Wedincamp and Charles Rogers to use the existing road as his access to Highway 80, but council was advised that the owners of the property were concerned about the status of their PUD if there were any changes to the road. Mayor Tipton informed Mr. Jones that the City would like for him to be able to get his permit, but until he has the proper access to Highway 80, they cannot approve the issuance of the permit. Councilman Strozier asked Attorney Dickey what could be the future consequences if the City agreed to give him a building permit and he used the existing road as his access. Attorney Dickey pointed out that if he does not have a legal document giving him use of the existing road as his access the owners of the private road could stop him from using it. Attorney Dickey stated that he had advised Mr. Jones and his attorney on numerous times the process that needed to be followed regarding the legal use of the road. Councilman Strozier reminded Mr. Jones that the City did not create this problem and could not get involved in civil issues related to this issue. Mike Wedincamp stated that although he would be willing to give Mr. Jones use of his portion of the road it would not be enough to provide the access footage he needed and he expressed his concerns about the liability he could face if someone got hurt traveling his portion of the road. Mr. Wedincamp advised council that if the City would assume responsibility for the road and make it a City street he felt these issues could be resolved. Attorney Dickey reminded him that there were still legal issues that would need to be handled and the road improvements, including paving, that would have to be completed before the City could accept the road as a public street. Mr. Wedincamp was advised that the City would not build the road. Mayor Tipton stated that he felt this issue should be tabled until a workable solution could be presented by the property owners. Mike Wedincamp and Susan Rogers stated that they did not want to have to spend any more monies on surveys or legal fees and did not want to have to go back through the Planning & Zoning Commission or council to make changes to the PUD that may be required if the road was going to be changed to allow access by Mr. Jones. Mr. Wedincamp advised council that the developers of the PUD understood that they had to put the road in according to City requirements, but questioned having to pay the costs related to the portion of the road from Highway 80 to the PUD. After additional discussion, Attorney Dickey agreed to meet with the parties involved for a few minutes after we adjourned to discuss these issues and Councilman Strozier stated that he would also be willing to sit in on the meeting. Councilman Waller made a motion to table this matter until a workable resolution to this issue could be presented to council. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that the council needed to go into executive session to discuss personnel and legal issues. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
At the completion of the executive session, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Waller made a motion to execute and place on file the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items that were submitted by the Friday, February 24, 2006 council agenda deadline.
The Mayor presented the accounts payable with Councilman Ray making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 8:50pm, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Council members Ray, Rawlings, Strozier, Waller and Winn were present at the meeting.