May 3, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 19, 2007 meeting, Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the agenda of tonight’s meeting, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Ned Davis with the Woodmen of the World who is helping to coordinate the ceremony for the dedication of the flagpole at the Bloomingdale Community Center. Mr. Davis indicated that the program would be brief, but he would like to see as many people attend as possible and suggested June 14, 2007 (Flag Day) at 6:30pm. It was noted that the Bloomingdale Lion’s Club had their meeting on that same day at 7:30pm, so the day and time should work for their members. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to set the ceremony for June 14, 2007 at 6:30pm. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that Latrelle Kling had requested to be placed on tonight’s agenda for an update on the proposed revisions by Thomas & Hutton on the drainage plan and on the scheduling of a public meeting on the project. Mayor Tipton stated that the engineers were working on the changes and had managed to get the water level going into the Hardin Canal down to ½” and as soon as an update was available from the engineers it would be submitted to council. Mayor Tipton also informed her that when the engineer’s provided their report to council a meeting with the citizens would be scheduled. The Mayor recognized Ms. Kling who made several comments regarding the length of time that it is taking the engineers on the project and expressed her continued concern that Thomas & Hutton had not involved the county in the design. After she directed questions to council about whether or not anyone had reviewed the entire plan and requested information about who was actually doing the follow-up with the engineers, the Mayor informed Ms. Kling that he had been in contact with the engineers and hoped to have more information by the next meeting. Mayor Tipton stated that since there was no new information to report on the drainage project tonight, we would now move on to new business.
Mayor Tipton stated that the Bloomingdale Garden Club had requested the City’s participation in an application to solicit a grant from the Georgia Forestry Department with the assistance of the Coastal Georgia R.C. & D. Council. The Mayor explained that the grant will be used toward the development of a tree ordinance and a landscaping plan for planting trees in the City, the education of the general public about best management practices for forest and urban trees and other related assistance. The Mayor recognized Sue Hargroves, President of the Bloomingdale Garden Club, who reported that the club will be providing $500 in funds toward this project and are requesting that the City of Bloomingdale provide $1,000 in cash matching funds. Ms. Hargroves stated that the Bloomingdale Garden Club has been in existence for twelve years and they hope to renew their efforts for beautification projects in Bloomingdale with this grant. Council was advised that the deadline for submitting the information for the grant is May 11, 2007. Ms. Hargroves stated that one of the requirements to be a “Tree City, U.S.A.” participant is that they had to have a tree planting event which is scheduled for Saturday, May 5th at 9:00am at Taylor Park and she encouraged everyone to attend. Council was informed that the Coastal GA R.C. & D stated that in-kind services were also a requirement of the application, so $3,000 in volunteer and staff assistance commitment had been recommended. Ms. Hargroves advised council that the club would be having fund raising events to help with expenses for other projects throughout the City and stated that she and members of the club appreciated anything the City could do to help them with the grant application. After the discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to participate in the grant application by providing $1,000 in cash matching funds and $3,000 of in-kind volunteer/staff assistance with cash funds to be distributed from the Mayor’s contingency fund. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received an application for a home occupation license from Gerlinde Sanders to operate the office of a jewelry business at her residence located at #447 Wallace Circle, but she was not present at the meeting. Councilman Strozier made a motion to table discussion of the request until Ms. Sanders could attend the council meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that he had received a call from Fire Chief Ferman Tyler earlier in the day and he advised him that he may not make tonight’s meeting for discussion and update on fire issues because he was still in Ware County dealing with the wildfire situation. Mayor Tipton recognized Zeke Boatright who updated council on the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department’s involvement in this situation by reading an e-mail he had received from Chief Tyler. Council was advised that the firefighters that were down there at the present time will be returning on Friday and others may go on Saturday. Joe Reece advised council that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department currently had five fire fighters on the scene. (Note: Fire Chief Tyler arrived later in the meeting and his comments are recorded under committee reports)
Mayor Tipton reported that the City had received information from the Savannah Chatham County Public Schools as a follow-up of a recent meeting held at the Bloomingdale Elementary School related to the maintenance of the sewer lift station. Attorney Dickey advised council that he needed some time to review the documentation provided by the Board of Education and also suggested that once he has reviewed the data it may be necessary to discuss it with the Mayor and Council on an attorney/client basis. The Mayor asked that Attorney Dickey review the information and get back with council as soon as possible as there are currently some repairs at the lift station that needed to be addressed.
Attorney Dickey reported that he had reviewed the City’s Personnel Policy and he suggested some changes that included modification of work hours, overtime pay, and holiday leave to reflect current procedures; the addition of wording of military leave to include federal and state laws; and the addition of wording in the leave without pay section to include reference to the Family Leave Act. The changes are as follows:
Hours of Work:
Reads: Normal working hours for the City Hall administrative and clerical personnel as well as the clerical personnel of the police department are Monday through Friday from either 8:30am until 5:00pm or 9:00am until 5:30pm with one-half hour lunch break. Department heads will determine which schedule the employees in their department will work based on their specific job duties or responsibilities. Normal working hours for maintenance department employees are from 8:00am until 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, with one-half hour lunch break. In certain departments with particular scheduling requirements, employees will be advised by their department heads as to working hours.
Change to read: The administrative offices of the Bloomingdale City Hall are designated as 8:30am until 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. The administrative offices of the Bloomingdale Police Department are designated as 8:00am until 6:00pm, Monday through Friday. Normal working hours for clerical personnel in both of these departments are forty (40) hours per week. Each employee is allowed a lunch break consisting of between one-half hour and one-hour per day to be determined by the department head based on the employee’s particular work schedule. Department heads will determine which schedule the employees in their department will work based on the employee’s specific job duties, responsibilities and/or the administrative offices’ workloads. Normal working hours for maintenance department employees are from 8:00am until 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, with a one-half hour lunch break.
Reads: Occasionally, some overtime work may be necessary for completion of work duties. When regular full-time employees (other than public safety personnel*) are required to work** in excess of 40 hours per week, the employee shall be given either compensatory time off or paid at a rate one and one-half their regular rate for overtime hours worked** at the discretion of the department head and appropriate council committee chairperson. For certain employees designated by the Mayor and Council, such overtime is considered a part of the job responsibility and does not qualify for overtime benefits.
* Approved November 15, 2004 – Note: Public Safety employees work on a twenty-eight (28) day pay cycle requiring 171 hours worked in pay cycle before qualifying for overtime pay.
**Compensatory time as well as personal, vacation, or holiday leave is not considered work hours.
Change to read: Occasionally, some overtime work may be necessary for completion of work duties. When regular full-time employees (other than public safety personnel*) are required to work** in excess of 40 hours per week, the employee shall be paid at a rate one and one-half their regular rate for overtime hours worked**
Salaried employees do not qualify for overtime benefits.
* Approved November 15, 2004 – Note: Public Safety employees work on a twenty-eight (28) day pay cycle requiring 171 hours worked in pay cycle before qualifying for overtime pay.
**Personal, vacation, and/or holiday leave is not considered work hours.
Reads: Police department members will receive an additional eight (8) hours pay in lieu of a day off for holidays, unless work load permits time off.
Change to read: Certified Police Officers will receive an additional eight (8) hours pay for City designated holidays.
Reads: Employees may receive a leave of absence not to exceed ten (10) working days annually for participation in the National Guard or Reserve Armed Forces. Compensation for this period of military leave shall be limited to the difference between military pay received and usual city pay. Requests for such leave must be accompanied by a copy of the official orders requiring such training. A copy of the military pay voucher shall be submitted prior to authorization for payment to the employee.
Change to read: Employees may receive a leave of absence as prescribed by state and federal law for participation in the National Guard or Reserve Armed Forces. Compensation for the required paid period of military leave shall be limited to the difference between military pay received and usual city pay. Requests for military leave must be accompanied by a copy of the official orders requiring such leave. A copy of the military pay voucher shall be submitted prior to authorization for payment to the employee.
Leave Without Pay:
Reads: An employee may be granted, upon approval of the department head and appropriate council chairperson, an unpaid leave of absence for a reasonable period of time for personal reasons. An employee cannot, however, be granted leave without pay unless all applicable vacation and personal leave has been used.
Change to read: Employees shall be allowed unpaid leave pursuant to the federal and state Family and Medical Leave Acts. An employee may be granted, upon approval of the department head and appropriate council chairperson, an unpaid leave of absence for a reasonable period of time for personal reasons. An employee cannot, however, be granted leave without pay unless all applicable vacation and personal leave has been used.
After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to make the changes to the City’s Personnel Policy as suggested by Attorney Dickey, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Latrelle Kling asked questions related to the approval of overtime and timecards and Mayor Tipton advised her that overtime hours and timecards are approved.
Prior to consideration of the next order of business, Mayor Tipton stepped down from the podium due to a personal conflict. Mayor Pro-tem Ray stated that a request has been submitted by Kevin Wiles, General Manager of Site Development Services, Inc. for a six-month extension of the building permit issued for the telecommunications tower to be located off Bloomingdale Road on property of Ottawa Real Estate Development. Mr. Wiles has provided a letter explaining that the reason for the delay in starting construction was due to the buyout of Cingular Wireless by AT&T and a hold being placed on the funding of the project during this process. A copy of Mr. Wiles request has been distributed for council’s review. Note: The building permit was issued on October 25, 2006, but work has not yet started on the project. A question was raised about the relationship between the issuance of the special use permit for the height variance and the building permit. Attorney Dickey pointed out that by approving the special use permit for the telecommunications tower council had also approved the issuance of the building permit, but it was his understanding the permit is void unless work begins within six months. After a general discussion of the request, Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the six month extension of the building permit. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it received affirmative votes from Councilmembers Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, and Rawlings voted against the motion. Attorney Dickey was asked for clarification on whether Councilman Ray would have a vote when he was acting as Mayor Pro-tem and the attorney stated that he did have a vote. Councilmembers questioned what the results of the vote were when there was a tie. Attorney Dickey stated that a tie resulted in no action by council because the motion for an extension did not receive a majority vote and could not be passed. Being no further discussion on this issue, Mayor Tipton returned to the podium.
Mayor Tipton advised council that the EPD has changed the expiration dates on all groundwater withdrawal permits to July 1, 2007 as part of the implementation of the “Coastal Georgia Water & Wastewater Permitting Plan for Managing Salt Water Intrusion–June, 2006”. In order for any consideration of groundwater withdrawal permit renewals, a complete GW withdrawal application package must be submitted to EPD by June 30, 2007. Along with the normal permit information, the EPD has adopted an additional nine (9) special condition requirements for inclusion either in the renewal package or to be submitted between 12 & 24 months from the permit issue date. These special conditions include, but are not limited to, items such as adoption of ordinances requiring all new developments served by public and private sewage service to install purple pipe reuse lines, development of a water conservation education program, conducting a reuse feasibility study, adoption and implementation of a conservation-oriented water rate structure, adoption and implementation of the outdoor water schedule adopted by the Board of Georgia Natural Resources, adoption of a meter calibration, repair, and replacement program, etc. Based on these new requirements and the June 30, 2007 deadline, council needs to determine the best way to proceed with the development of this information as soon as possible. A copy of the list of special condition requirements has been distributed to council for their review. After discussing the various special conditions and the resources available to the City, Councilman Myrick made a motion to obtain technical assistance needed on the application from EMC Engineering, assistance on the water conservation and educational program from the MPC, and to have Attorney Dickey prepare updates to existing ordinances or create new ordinances as may be required by the application. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that the City needed to proceed as soon as possible to have the withdrawal application prepared for submission by the June 30th deadline.
Councilman Strozier presented information to council related to the purchase of a meter to measure all fire hydrant flushing events as required by EPD as part of our groundwater withdrawal permit renewal. Councilman Strozier reported that Ernie had obtained prices for this type meter and the lowest price was $725. It was noted that the funds for the purchase of this meter are available from the existing budget. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to purchase the meter at a cost of $725 from existing funds. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Latrelle Kling asked questions on how often the fire hydrants were required to be tested, who performed the test, and how many of the meters would be needed. Ms. Kling was advised that the fire hydrants are tested once a year and is currently being done by the maintenance department and since the meter can be moved from hydrant to hydrant one meter would be sufficient.
The Mayor reported that the City has received a request from Wesley L. Barnett, Jr. for council’s consideration of the annexation of his properties located at #811 & #821 Osteen Road. The properties are located just south of the bridge on Osteen Road and border the Little Ogeechee. Council was advised that copies of his request along with tax maps and the minutes of the July 15, 2004 when the City addressed annexations in this area have been distributed for their review. Mayor Tipton recognized Mr. Barnett who stated that his property abutted the property of Ferman and Ginger Tyler that is already in the City and was most anxious to come into Bloomingdale before he is annexed by any other municipality. The Mayor advised Mr. Barnett that the City is currently having a survey map prepared to show the exact location of the city limits line along Osteen Road and the Osteen Bridge and once that has been completed council will be in a better position to discuss his request. Mayor Tipton explained that the county has indicated to the DOT that the bridge is in our city limits, but our records do not show that the bridge has been incorporated into the City; therefore, the survey is necessary to clarify this issue. Councilman Ray pointed out that Mr. Barnett’s property crosses Osteen Road and that may be a problem if the City would be required to maintain this portion of the roadway. Attorney Dickey asked if Mr. Barnett could provide the City with a copy of his recorded plat and deed for their review and he stated that he would drop it by City Hall.
The council was advised that a letter was received on April 27, 2007 from Southeast Engineering & Environmental on behalf of Ellis Phillips regarding the Moore & Hickory Street Subdivision project. Michael Willoughby, project engineer with SE&E, indicates in this letter that they have made a site inspection of the project and based on their visual inspection as well as the survey information they gathered, it is their opinion that EMC’s comments in the letter dated January 27, 2005 have been sufficiently addressed and the site is ready for a final inspection. As a follow-up of discussions with Mr. Phillips at the March 15, 2007 council meeting a letter had been sent to him on March 19th advising that when the City received a letter from his engineer verifying that the recommendations included in EMC’s letter of January 27, 2005 are addressed and completed, the City would have EMC Engineering do another site inspection. Council discussed the request, but since Mr. Phillips was not present, questions were raised about proceeding with the request for the final inspection due to the poor quality of the paving work and the apparent lack of proper grading of the lots. Several councilmembers expressed concerns about the approval of this subdivision until some additional work was done by the developer. Council was reminded that according to the information sent to Mr. Phillips, the City would have EMC Engineering do the site inspection once we received this letter from his engineer. Attorney Dickey advised council that if there were other issues that needed to be resolved these could be addressed prior to the final approval of the subdivision. It was also noted that Mr. Phillips had to provide the City with a $20,000 letter of credit and the final subdivision fees before final approval of the subdivision would be presented for council’s consideration. Based on this information, Councilman Myrick made a motion to request EMC Engineering proceed with a final inspection of the subdivision located at Moore & Hickory Streets. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that the City has been contacted by the Corps of Engineers about their Planning Assistance to States Program. According to the information received the program allows for matching funds for financial and technical assistance to be provided to the City for the preparation of data related to our existing water/sewer lines, drainage system, and/or other infrastructure in a format that could then be entered into the GIS mapping system. If the City is interested in applying for these funds, we would have to make a written request to the Corps of Engineers and be willing to execute a cost sharing agreement with them. The Mayor pointed out that prior to making any decisions on proceeding with a funding application, a meeting would be set up with representatives from the corps and the city to discussion what our needs may be and to receive some costs estimates for the work. Also, the City’s engineers would need to be involved in this meeting. Latrelle Kling raised some questions of concern about exactly what the City was committing to and was advised by the Mayor that there were no commitments being made at this time. Councilmembers Myrick and Ray expressed their feelings that the GIS mapping system could certainly be a great tool for use by the City based on information that had been presented to council in the past and agreed that we should meet with representatives from the corps to discuss this option. The other council members agreed.
The Mayor stated that this concluded the items received by the council meeting agenda deadline of Friday, April 27, 2007.
Under committee reports, the Mayor reported that the Attorney has reviewed the contract on the Church & Lynn Street paving project and a pre-construction meeting will be scheduled. Mayor Tipton stated that work on the fencing of the impound yard should start soon. Councilwoman Winn advised council that plans were well underway for the Patriotic Celebration to be held on Memorial Day. There will be a few rides for the kids and fireworks at the end of the event; however, the major emphasis is being placed on the recognition of our veterans and current military personnel. Councilman Rawlings reported that an antiques appraiser will be attending the History Society meeting to be held on May 7th at 7:00pm at the Bloomingdale Community Building and citizens were invited to bring their items by for inspection. Councilman Strozier asked about progress on the City Administrator’s position. Mayor Tipton reported that the deadline for receipt of applications was May 11, 2007. Councilman Strozier stated that he would like to have an opportunity to look over the applications and felt that other councilmembers may also be interested in reviewing them. Mayor Tipton advised him that he had received about six or seven applications and would make them available to him and other members to look over.
Mayor Tipton recognized Fire Chief Tyler who provided everyone with an update on the firefighting activities taking place in Ware Co. and nearby Charlton Co. Chief Tyler stated that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department was involved in the structural division of the fire crews and had been concentrating on the protection of homes and businesses. Council was advised that with the Governor’s disaster declaration state funds are now available for reimbursement of expenses related to the fire fighting activities. The Chief reported that the fires in Ware Co. are about 75% contained, but other fires are starting up in nearby Charlton Co. so crews are being asked to provide assistance in that area. It was noted that with over 100,000 thousands acres burned, it was amazing that only eighteen homes had been lost and there had only been two injuries. The Mayor expressed appreciation to Chief Tyler and the members of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department for their willingness to provide assistance to this area. Mayor Tipton pointed out that prayers of concern and thanksgiving for the firefighters had been expressed at the National Day of Prayer luncheon held earlier today. Chief Tyler also informed council that the testing of the fire hydrants that was currently being done by the City’s maintenance department could now be handled by the members of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department because of the increase in the number of volunteers in the department.
After presentation of the accounts payable by the Mayor, Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 7:50pm, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers were present at the meeting.
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.