December 7, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 16, 2006 council meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the agenda for the December 7, 2006 meeting, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick stated that after Attorney Dickey’s final review of the bids submitted for the design work on Stagecoach Road he reported that EMC Engineering’s bid of $40,000 was the lowest bid. Councilman Myrick made a motion to accept the bid from EMC Engineering for the design work for Stagecoach Road. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick stated that he would like the council to consider having EMC oversee the construction work once the City gets to this phase of the project since they would be designing the roadway.
The Mayor recognized Brian Miller who presented a request for the issuance of a home occupation license for the operation of a fabrication business from his residence located at #313 Conaway Road. Council was advised that Mr. Miller’s work consists of making T-tops for boats and other specialty metal work with some of the welding being done in the 20 x 20 building behind his home. Mr. Miller informed council that he had operated this business from his residence with a home occupation license in the past, but had made an unsuccessful attempt to expand his business at another location and wanted to return the business to Bloomingdale. Mr. Miller explained that he now has two employees-one salesman and one installer. Councilman Strozier asked Mr. Miller about the installation of the tops and he was advised that the installation work was done at the customer site not at the residence and Mr. Miller stated that he would be the only person doing the welding work in the outbuilding. Council was advised that Mr. Miller has informed his neighbors of his plans and provided the City with a copy of the letter that was signed by his neighbors. Councilman Myrick pointed out that to the best of his knowledge there had not been any complaints about the business operation. Councilman Strozier informed Mr. Miller that since the license had to be renewed each year should any complaints arise in the future these issues would have to be discussed and resolved before renewal of the license and Mr. Miller stated he understood this stipulation. Fett Burke, the City’s maintenance supervisor, stated that there had been no increase in the trash pickups at this residence when Mr. Miller was working from his home in the past. Being no further discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and issue the home occupation license to Mr. Miller with the operation of the business to be as outlined above. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received requests from two citizens for individual well permits in areas not served by City water and the ordinance requires council’s approval before the issuance of the permits. The Mayor recognized Sonya Pennington who has requested an individual well permit for her residence located at #235 Adams Road. The council was informed that Ms. Pennington was currently receiving water from a neighbor, but she had been advised that after January 1, 2007 the neighbor would no longer be providing her with water so she had to install a well. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the issuance of the well permit to Ms. Pennington at #235 Adams Road. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton reported that Steve Roberg, a resident at #10 Perry Road, has requested an individual well permit to replace an existing well that serves his residence. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the issuance of the well permit to Mr. Roberg to serve his residence at #10 Perry Road. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that council needs to consider the execution of the Fire Protection Contract with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department at a cost of $40,000 per year for the coverage period of July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007. Mayor Tipton reported that the fire department has executed the contract. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve execution by Mayor Tipton of the Fire Protection Contract in the amount of $40,000 for FY 2006/2007, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed the setting of the annual sanitation rate for D.K. Morgan’s mobile home parks for 2007. It was noted that the City bases Mr. Morgan’s annual fees on the monthly rate times the number of occupied lots in each park as of January 1st and since he pays the fees in advance for all of his parks he receives a discount of $1.00 per month for each lot. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to set the annual sanitation rate for Morgan’s mobile home parks for 2007 at $14.00 per month, per occupied lot, provided he pays the fees in advance, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings presented the following recommendations/reports from the November 21, 2006 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting:
1) The Planning & Zoning Commission is recommending approval of the site plans as presented by Joey Jones for the construction of a commercial building on his property located at #803 Bloomingdale Road. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
2) The approval of a minor subdivision submitted by Herbert Black for his property located at Osteen Road & Main Street is being recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission. The minor subdivision includes a recombination of two previously created lots divided into three lots. Council discussed questions that had been raised about the current zoning of the portion of Lot #1 that abuts Osteen Road (approximately size – 126.9’ x 178.76’). Councilman Ray stated that the plat he recalled showed Lot #1 as a separate lot and it was not included in the re-zoning request. Councilman Rawlings reported that Mr. Black had indicated to the Planning & Zoning Commission that this lot was included in the area re-zoned from RA to R-3/Townhouses, but the clerk noted that the area previously designated at Lot #1 was to have been used for duplexes and was not included in the acreage approved for re-zoning. Councilman Ray stated that the plat that he recalled being presented to council showed Lot #1 as a separate lot and it was not included in the portion that was rezoned. Since additional research would be needed to resolve this issue council discussed tabling the request until the next meeting. Mr. Black stated that he needed to get the minor subdivision approved even if it meant he would need to pursue the re-zoning of this portion of Lot #1 at a later date because he had a sale for the property that required the approval of the subdivision at tonight’s meeting. Attorney Dickey stated that the council could approve the minor subdivision with the stipulation that the portion of Lot #1 in question would remain as an R-A zone until a re-zoning request is submitted and approved. Mr. Black advised council that he would appreciate their consideration in approving the minor subdivision with this stipulation. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minor subdivision of Mr. Black’s property at Osteen Road and Main Street consisting of three lots with the stipulation that the 126.9’ x 178.76’ portion of Lot #1 that appears on the minor subdivision plat dated November 1, 2006 remains R-A until otherwise rezoned. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
3) Councilman Rawlings reported that the Planning & Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing for citizen input on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance related to sign regulations. The hearing will be held on December 19, 2006 at 7:00pm at the Bloomingdale City Hall.
The Mayor recognized John Humphries who had requested an opportunity to address council regarding the issuance of a building permit for the Richard T. Turner Lodge. Mr. Humphries explained that he had been trying to obtain a building permit for a couple of months, but, in his opinion, this process takes too long. It was noted that City ordinance requires the submission of a site plan that has to be approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council and since the initial site plan did not meet the requirements of the ordinance there was a delay in the process. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that the site plan was on the agenda for the November 21st Planning & Zoning Commission, but members had questions and since he was not there to address their questions the matter was tabled until their December 19th meeting. Councilman Rawlings explained that approval of the site plan can be expected at that meeting if the site plan meets the requirements of the ordinance and noted that the Planning & Zoning Commission only meets once a month so the process does take a little time. Mr. Humphries asked what questions had been asked by the commission and Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Mary Mitchell stated that concerns were raised about access to the rear of the building and parking issues, but since he did not attend the meeting they had no choice but to table the matter until the next meeting. The Mayor advised Mr. Humphries that council could take no action on the site plan until it was presented to them by the Planning & Zoning Commission and suggested that Mr. Humphries attend their December 19th meeting to answer their questions to keep the process on schedule.
Council was advised that the City of Pooler has submitted Bloomingdale’s costs related to the upgrade to the sewer wastewater plant that has now been completed. Bloomingdale’s share totals $1.217 million dollars with these funds to come from the SPLOST 2003-2008 collections. The Letter of Credit issued to the City of Pooler on Bloomingdale’s behalf for the payment of this expense will expire on December 14, 2006. The 1.25 million dollars in invested SPLOST 2003-2008 funds will mature in February, 2007 & June, 2007. All or a portion of the General Fund monies currently serving as collateral for the letter of credit could be used for this payment with reimbursement of the funds being made to the general fund when the investments mature. After discussion of this information, Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the $1.217 million dollar expense from the general fund until SPLOST funds are available for reimbursement to the general fund. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that council needed to discuss the possible redistribution of SPLOST 2003-2008 funds to include the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department. Mayor Tipton stated that this matter had been discussed in the pre-agenda meeting and asked Councilman Ray to outline council’s position. Councilman Ray pointed out that council had already addressed the issue of distributing SPLOST funds to the fire department and had decided that once the City’s share of $2.8 million dollars was received from Chatham County they would provide up to $100,000 of funds in excess of the $2.8 million dollars for the purchase of fire department equipment from these SPLOST funds. Joe Reece provided council with bid information on items the department needs and the Mayor stated he would see what the City could do to help to get them.
Mayor Tipton presented information to council regarding the initiation of the 3% cost of living increases for City staff effective January 1, 2007 as approved in the FY 2006/2007 budget and for the distribution of the Christmas bonuses. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the implementation of the pay increases and the bonuses. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a resolution that contained wording to clarify the changes in the calculation of retirement benefits in the City’s Defined Benefit Employee Retirement Plan as previously approved by the pension board and council in 1998 and 2001. Councilman Myrick made a motion to adopt said resolution, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the City’s Actuarial Report for year ended June 30, 2006 has been completed. Since the City’s budget was approved prior to the receipt of the report using estimated employee retirement contribution figures, the council will need to approve an amendment of a total of $19,000 to the FY 2006/2007 general fund and water/sewer budgets to cover the actual contribution required by the plan. It was noted that this figure includes adjustments to the contribution from last year’s calculations, an increase in this year’s cost for the actuarial report as well as expenses related to an update of the Summary of Benefits of the retirement plan for distribution to employees. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the budget amendment for this purpose, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City had received a request from Latrelle Kling, Barbara Griffin, Pauline Griffin, and Alton Griffin to place several items on the council agenda for tonight’s meeting and asked the group who would be the spokesperson for them. Latrelle Kling stated she would be the spokesperson and discussion of these items started with the public safety user fee. Mayor Tipton advised Ms. Kling that a committee had not yet been formed to discuss this issue so there was nothing to report. Ms. Kling asked about the funding of the fire department and was advised that the budget included monies for the fire protection contract. Councilman Myrick stated that the City had always worked with the fire department to help them get what was needed and will continue to do so. Ms. Kling indicated that her questions on the 2006/2007 budget were part of some of the other items on the list and they would be presented later in the meeting. Ms. Kling stated that there had been problems with four wheelers on the old railroad bed and on the Morgan property and she asked if the City had ordinances to control these as well as other motorized vehicles such as golf carts. Chief Gossett stated that the police department does work to keep the ATV’s off public property, but often times the offenders have left the area by the time the police can respond to a complaint. The Chief reported that the problems will continue to be monitored and if violators were caught, they would be cited. Chief Gossett advised Ms. Kling that golf carts are not under the same restrictions as ATV’s. Ms. Kling questioned why the Wildcat Dam Road property was being cleared and how did the City plan to use the property. Mayor Tipton advised her that there were several piles of dirt on the property and he felt these needed to be leveled and the underbrush cleared for cosmetic purposes and the City had not made a decision at this time for the use of this property. Ms. Kling asked questions regarding the City’s past designation of the old railroad bed as a City street. After some discussion of this issue, Councilman Strozier advised her that the reason this step had been taken was because of numerous problems on the old railroad bed with four wheelers and speeding vehicles the City’s attorney had suggested this course of action so the police could use radar to help control the problems. It was noted that the state requires the submission of city streets for the renewal of the radar permit every few years and if a certain street or portion of a street is not listed, the police cannot make use of radar to apprehend violators. Ms. Kling questioned comments in the recent newsletter indicating that the proposed drainage ditch would be good for the entire City since she did not feel this was an accurate statement. Ms. Kling pointed out that there would be no relief to the Bloomingdale Alliance Church or the Conaway Road areas because these were drained by another canal. Ms. Kling also indicated that without both Phase I & Phase II being completed there would not be any relief. Councilman Myrick reminded Ms. Kling that as our engineers have already reported, the City needs to complete Phase I before Phase II would provide drainage relief. Councilman Myrick pointed out that although total relief is not expected, there will be some relief with the completion of Phase I. Councilman Strozier advised Ms. Kling that there will be relief to the areas being served by the Pipemaker’s Canal because a portion of the water currently flowing into this canal will be diverted to the Hardin Canal. Ms. Kling questioned how Councilwoman Winn could not have know that Alternate #2 of the drainage plan would have impacted her property and was advised that Councilwoman Winn was not even in office when the plans were initially presented to council. Ms. Kling was reminded that the engineers had recommended Alternative #1 as the best plan and that was what was approved. After additional discussion regarding the drainage canal, Mayor Tipton stated that he had no problem having the engineers attend another meeting to outline the plan for the citizens and he would check with them to see about scheduling a meeting in January. Ms. Kling expressed her concerns about the City’s canal maintenance program. Councilman Myrick asked if she had received a copy of the plan and she stated she had the plan, but had not received a maintenance log. Councilman Myrick stated that there were no logs available. The Mayor recognized Tom Terry who lived on Adams Road and Mr. Terry stated that there were some large trees in the ditches behind his property. The Mayor recognized Commissioner Dean Kicklighter who stated that his main concern was that the City coordinates this drainage project with the county in regards to discharges into the Hardin Canal as it exists today. Mayor Tipton advised him that the engineers had already submitted this information to the county. Commission Kicklighter stated that he realized the difficult position the elected officials were in with implementation of the city-wide drainage program and wanted them to know he would do everything he could as their county representative to help them. Ms. Kling returned to the podium and stated that she felt there would be major problems if the City proceeded with their current plans to construct the drainage ditch along the old railroad bed and advised them she had over 700 signatures on petitions asking for more input on this issue. The Mayor asked if Ms. Kling would provide the City with a copy of the information, but she stated that she would have to charge the City for the copies. Being no further discussion the Mayor moved on to the next agenda item.
Mayor Tipton reported that an executive session was needed for discussion related to possible litigation issues. Councilman Myrick made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to return to the general session and to approve the execution of the signed affidavit and make it part of the record as required by the Open Meetings Law. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit is attached to the original council meeting minutes.
The Mayor reported that this concluded the items presented by the council agenda deadline of Friday, December 1, 2006.
During committee reports Councilman Myrick reported that bid packages were being prepared by Southeast Engineering for the Church & Lynn Street paving projects so these should be underway soon. Councilman Rawlings stated that the Bloomingdale Historic Society was selling 2007 calendars that included pictures of some of the older homes in the City at a cost of $20.00 each. The Mayor asked where these calendars could be obtained and Councilman Rawlings stated that they were available from Mary Mitchell and his mother, Barbara Rawlings.
Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to adjourn at 8:50pm, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Myrick, Rawlings, Ray, Strozier and Winn were present at the meeting. Councilman Waller was out of town.
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.