Official Minutes of the November 4, 2010 council meeting
as approved by council on November 18, 2010
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilwoman Griffin leading in prayer. The draft copy of the minutes of the October 21, 2010 council meeting were presented for council approval. Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve the draft copy of the minutes, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Crosby made a motion to approve the agenda for the November 4, 2010 council meeting with the addition to Old Business for the consideration of the lease agreement between the City of Bloomingdale and the Bloomingdale Garden Club and History Society for the use of the City-owned property located at #205 E. Highway 80. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton reported that Councilman Myrick was working and would be a little late for the meeting.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilman Kerby reported that the Stagecoach Road Paving project was about 95% complete with grassing and seeding underway. Councilman Rawlings suggested the City place some kind of warning device at the beginning of the newly paved area along Stagecoach Road to warn motorists of the changes in the roadway. Public Works Supervisor Ernest Grizzard stated that he would place barricades with flashing lights in the area. Councilman Baxter reported that the new fire station was beginning to take shape and anticipated the framing to be finished in the next couple of weeks. Councilman Crosby stated that a public hearing would be held during the November 9, 2010 Planning Commission meeting for citizen input on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance regarding massage therapist and massage parlors. Councilman Crosby advised council that Attorney Dickey had prepared an ordinance to cover these type businesses and copies should be available to the Mayor and Council tomorrow to allow time for them to review it well before the next meeting. Councilman Kerby raised the question as to how the City can monitor and report outages of street lights. Councilman Baxter stated that the best way would be to have the police officers make note of any outages during their night patrols and report the information to the City Hall so it can be passed on to Georgia Power. Councilman Baxter pointed out that the police officers will need to make sure the outages they report are on City street lights which are normally in the rights of way with arms extended toward the roadways. Councilwoman Griffin reported that the football/cheerleading season has just ended and expressed her appreciation to the police and fire departments for their assistance during last Friday night’s bonfire event at Taylor Park and Saturday’s homecoming parade. Councilwoman Griffin also stated that the new ball field at Taylor Park was nearing completion with plans to use the field next season. Councilman Rawlings reminded everyone that the next “Evening in the Park” event will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 5:00pm until 8:00pm at the Bloomingdale Community Park Pavilion with elected officials participating in a “Chili Cook-Off”. Councilman Rawlings stated that votes for the best chili will be made with canned food that will be donated to the local food bank and he encouraged everyone to attend for an evening of good food and free musical entertainment.
Council discussed the details of a proposed lease agreement between the City of Bloomingdale and the members of the Bloomingdale Garden Club and the Bloomingdale History Society for the use of the City-owned property located at #205 E. Highway 80 for the development of a historic museum. Attorney Dickey reported that the lease had been prepared to comply with state laws with the initial term of the lease to be from November 10, 2010 through December 31, 2010, at which time the lease will terminate with the lease fee being $10.00 at the time of execution of the lease agreement. At the end of the initial period, the agreement shall automatically renew for an additional calendar year unless action is taken by the City to terminate the agreement with the yearly lease fee of $10.00 to be paid by the clubs. The renewal periods for this lease cannot exceed ten (10) years from the date of the execution of the agreement and at the end of the ten year period the lease shall terminate in full and the parties may enter into a new lease. Attorney Dickey stated that according to the lease agreement the City would be responsible for the utilities fees, lawn care, and insurance on the property. Councilman Crosby noted that the clubs plan to take the renovation of the structure on as a joint project and will furnish most of the materials and some labor. Councilman Crosby reported that contacts had been or were in the process of being made with Home Depot, Lowes, & Wal-Mart Stores about being part of the renovation of the structure for use as a museum and so far the response has been very positive. Mayor Tipton pointed out that there were currently safety issues at the building and wanted to make sure that these were addressed before it was used by the public. Councilman Baxter stated that a building permit would need to be issued for any renovations to include building, electrical, plumbing, etc. and after the construction had been completed and inspected, a certificate of occupancy would be issued. Councilman Baxter noted that the City should maintain the insurance on the building, but suggested that the insurance on the contents be the responsibility of the clubs or the owner of the artifacts. Discussion was held about ownership of items dedicated to the museum and council was advised that anything that was donated to the museum would become the property of the City of Bloomingdale and, therefore, the City would need to insure the items. After this discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve execution of the lease agreement between the City of Bloomingdale and the two clubs. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Alan Hamrick for a temporary permit to sell Christmas trees from property located at #506 W. Highway 80. The sale will take place from November 24, 2010 thru December 24, 2010 with the hours of operation being Monday thru Thursday from 2:00pm until 9:00pm and Friday thru Sunday from 8:00am until 10:00pm. Council was advised that the site plan mirrored the same as submitted last year with well lit two-way traffic in and out of the property, parking in the rear of the existing residence, and a turnaround for vehicles. It was noted that the property is located in a C-2 zone and a temporary permit for up to 45 days is allowed for the open lot sales of Christmas trees. Councilman Myrick stated that Mr. Hamrick has been selling Christmas trees from this location for numerous years without complaints from citizens and made a motion to issue the temporary permit for the sale of Christmas trees as requested. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that Citizen Ray Sparks is requesting permission to have chickens on his property located at #5 Michael Ave. Councilman Myrick stated that he had discussed this matter with Mr. Sparks when complaints had been received about his roosters disturbing the neighbors. He had advised Mr. Sparks that he needed to submit a request to the City for a permit to keep the chickens on his property since it is zoned R-1 and requires council’s approval for the issuance of the “conditional use” permit. Councilman Myrick noted that there were no complaints from the neighbors about the chickens, only the roosters. After the discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve the issuance of a “conditional use” permit to Ray Sparks to have chickens on his property located at #5 Michael Street with the stipulation that he does not have roosters on the property. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council was advised that Kern-Coleman & Co., LLC is recommending payment of Pay Request #2 in the amount of $37,335.17 submitted by Marchese Construction, LLC for work performed on the fire station project. Councilman Baxter reported that the request covered the balance owed, less a 10% retainage, for the concrete work, but there were some problems with the slab and the public safety committee was recommending a $15,000 additional hold back on the payment until the problems are addressed. After additional discussion, Councilman Baxter made a motion to approve a partial payment of Pay Request #2 from Marchese Construction, LLC in the amount of $22,335.17. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Clayton Scott, Director of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, who reported that the 2010 Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Plan for Chatham County and area municipalities had been conditionally approved by FEMA. He noted that final approval will be granted once the Plan is adopted by local governments. Council was advised that the purpose of the plan is to consolidate and organize data from natural and technological hazard assessments and prioritize mitigation actions in order to make Chatham County and its municipalities eligible for project grants to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Director Scott reported that the plan would need to be reviewed every two years, but the plan could be changed at any time to add new facilities or other critical information. Councilman Crosby made a motion to adopt the resolution as presented to approve the 2010 Chatham County Multi-jurisdiction Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Plan. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Fire Chief Tyler stated that at the Mayor’s request, he had been working with Deltacom to prepare a quote for council’s consideration to provide various communication services to the City at a lower price than AT&T or Bellsouth. Deltacom representatives Shelley Stringer and Courtney Spurlock explained that their proposal included two phases. Phase 1 would save the City approximately $360 a month for telephone, long distance, and internet services without any upfront expenses and most of the work could be done in-house with assistance from City personnel. Phase 2 would allow for interconnection of all of the City’s sites and provide for intercom service between personnel in other buildings, however, since this step would require a major expenditure for the replacement and upgrades to equipment, this information is merely being presented for future consideration. Council was advised that the department heads had met with Deltacom representatives and reviewed the proposal and service options. Councilman Baxter commented that he was not interested in having the City’s telephones answered by an automatic answering machine and was advised that Phase 1 did not include this service. Councilman Baxter asked if proposals from other companies were obtain and when he was advised the only one received was from Deltacom, he questioned Attorney Dickey as to whether bids were required. Attorney Dickey advised him that changing providers for this type service did not require bids unless council wanted to obtain more than one price. Attorney Dickey pointed out that he had reviewed the contract documents and there would have to be a change in the multi-year provision to allow the City to terminate the contract at year’s end without penalty since council cannot commit to more than one year agreements. Attorney Dickey stated that the contract could have an automatic renewal clause. Ms. Stringer advised council that she could work with Attorney Dickey to have the correct verbiage inserted into the contract. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute the contract with Deltacom once the agreement had been changed to include the verbiage as outlined by Attorney Dickey. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Crosby reported that he had been asked by the Bloomingdale Garden Club and the History Society to present information to council related to the “Rails to Trails” program. He stated that the clubs’ ideas had been submitted to representatives with Kern-Coleman & Co. and Ron Sadowski with the Coastal Regional Commission. Mark Crapse, a landscape architect with Kern-Coleman & Co., stated that the firm had prepared conceptual plans for the development of four blocks of the old railroad bed to be utilized for community gatherings and to accommodate vehicular traffic. He noted that with the railroad being such a significant part of the City’s history, the theme of the development would be centered on the railroad. The blocks would include a “trailhead” that would be a gravel parking lot with restroom facilities using old railroad timbers for wheel stops and the focal point of the next block would be a replica of an old water tower filled with plants with benches being placed in the area. The next block would include the caboose that would be relocated from the present site on Highway 80 that could be opened to the school system for use as an outdoor classroom and/or other uses by the community. The fourth block would contain a clock tower and possibly a pavilion for community gatherings. Mr. Crapse stated that the blocks would be connected by pedestrian walkways and noted that these plans were subject to change. Council was advised that there were grant monies available for these type projects that included T-grants from the Georgia Department of Transportation that were awarded every two years and had a deadline of November 30, 2010. Recreation Trail grants were also available with a submittal deadline of December 15, 2010. Ron Sadowski with the CRC stated that the Recreation Trail grant, if approved, would cover 80% of the cost up to a maximum of $125,000 and suggested that the “trailhead” be the first portion to be developed. Councilman Baxter asked if the 20% match could include in-kind services and was advised that it could, but very specific documentation was required by the state. Council was informed that the state would allow the conceptual plans that had been prepared by Kern-Coleman to be submitted with the grant application. Councilman Baxter stated that the engineers had donated their time up to this point in the development of the conceptual plans and asked Mr. Crapse if they understood that even if the City submitted the plans and obtained the grant, there could still be a chance the City would have to walk away from the grant monies if they did not have the matching funds to follow through with the project. Mr. Crapse stated that he understood that this was a possibility, but pointed out that some money could be donated and part of the work could be performed by citizens. Councilman Baxter reported that the final design would need to include plants and shrubbery that were low maintenance with development of the project in phases. Mr. Crapse stated that he felt the City should apply for the full project that was estimated at $822,000 and support for the project needed to be solicited from state representatives. Councilman Rawlings commented that he felt the firm had done a good job on the plans. Citizen Sue Hargrove advised council the installation of the playground equipment at the pavilion and the painting of the equipment in front of the school had proved to be good for the citizens by the increase in the amount of usage and felt that this type project would have a positive impact on the community. Mark Crapse noted that prior to the submission of the grant applications; the City Council would have to pass a resolution approving the grant applications and offering their support for the project. Council was advised that the CRC would do the grant writing for the project. Councilman Myrick expressed his concerns about whether the City could afford the project at this time due to the very slow economy and stated that we had already committed some SPLOST monies we have yet to receive. He commented that the City already had several other projects underway and the police department had approached the public safety committee about needing more vehicles and officers. Councilman Myrick stated that he felt the City needed to fulfill the financial obligations they had already made. Councilman Baxter advised council that between now and the time the City could receive the grants, if awarded, we could be working on obtaining in-kind services from area contractors and/or our citizens. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the new fire station had already accumulated an additional $40,000 in change orders and by the time the project is finished, the City will have to provide more funds than were originally budgeted. Councilwoman Griffin asked when the grants would be awarded and was advised that announcements would be made in April, 2011. Councilman Baxter stated that the council was not being asked to make a decision tonight and pointed out that if things did not work out financially, we could always back out. Councilman Myrick advised council that prior to final decisions on the project we needed to check with the engineers to see if there would be any impact to the drainage project. Citizen Patrice Russell commented that although the project looked very nice, she felt the City needed to help its citizens in other ways such as reducing expenses rather than decorating the railroad bed. Citizen Mike Hargrove stated that this could serve the citizens for decades. Citizen Billy Strozier, former Mayor, stated that citizens had just received notices on increases in water, sewer and garbage rates and encouraged council to look very closely at the City’s finances before committing to the project. Councilman Crosby commented that one of his campaign promises had been to reduce rather than increase utility bills for the citizens, but after taking office, he realized that money is earmarked specifically for projects and most could not go toward reducing the cost of utility services. Councilman Kerby stated that the engineers had done a good job on the plan. Mayor Tipton advised council that with all that has been said, it still comes back to the cost and the City had to fulfill its current financial commitments before making plans to spend additional monies and felt it would be wise to review the materials that had been provided and revisit the issue in two weeks. Councilman Rawlings noted that he felt this type project would improve the quality of life for our citizens, but understood the needed to check out the City’s money situation before proceeding. Councilwoman Griffin stated that this was an awesome plan, but felt we needed to put it on hold until the next meeting so council could weigh its wants with its needs and determine our priorities. Council was advised that a sample resolution would be provided to Attorney Dickey for his review prior to the next meeting.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concluded the items presented for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of October 27, 2010.
The accounts payable were presented with Councilman Myrick making a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Respectfully submitted, Sandra Jones, City Clerk
Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting. (Councilman Myrick arrived during old business discussions.)
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.