Official Minutes of the March 4, 2010 Council Meeting
approved by council on March 18, 2010
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with the Reverend Darrell Bailey leading in prayer. The draft copy of the February 18, 2010 council meeting minutes were reviewed. Councilman Crosby made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to approve the agenda of the March 4, 2010 council agenda. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes
Mayor Tipton recognized Dr. John King, Principal of the Bloomingdale Elementary School, who updated council on plans for the 2010/2011 school year. Dr. King reported that the Bloomingdale Elementary School would be changed to a neighborhood school which should be a tremendous help with traffic and parking problems experienced in the past. Dr. King stated that with the change, the number of students would reduce from between 700-800 to 300-400. He also provided information on repairs that would take place that included a new roof, updated bathrooms, a general cleanup of the building and campus, and work on the turnaround at the end of the parking lot. Dr. King thanked the Mayor and Council for the support they had provided to the Bloomingdale Elementary School.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilwoman Griffin reported that the construction work at Taylor Park was almost finished. She informed council that at the March 1, 2010 Recreation Executive Board meeting, members had discussed the many citizens who had contributed their time and monies to the recreation program over the years giving specific recognition to Judge Hearn who passed away on Tuesday morning, March 2nd. Councilwoman Griffin noted that softball/baseball signups were underway with the season to begin soon and stated that at the board meeting members had asked that council earmark funds in the upcoming SPLOST receipts for construction of a gymnasium. Councilman Baxter reported that he had met with Kern-Coleman & Co. and they had made some adjustments to their proposal for engineering and architectural services for the fire station and the information would be presented under new business. Mayor Tipton stated that the Recreation Committee was discussing the possibility of purchasing some playground equipment for the Bloomingdale Community Park. The Mayor noted that they had also discussed having some signage changed and the opening of the bathrooms during the day to promote more usage of the park. Councilman Rawlings reported that the History Society meeting would be held on Monday and asked that council pursue the use of the building next to the community building for meetings of this group and others that may qualify. The Mayor asked Ernie Grizzard to look over the building to see what type repairs would be needed to use it as meeting space and report back to council at the next meeting. Attorney Dickey advised council that the Service Delivery Strategy for Chatham County had been signed and submitted after adjustments were made to the Fire Service Districts map. Councilman Crosby stated that Fire Chief Tyler was working on obtaining the names and addresses of the property owners in the unincorporated areas of the county being served by the Bloomingdale Fire Department to submit to the county for reimbursement of service fees to the City. Councilman Baxter noted that the original agreement with Chatham County for the fire department to serve the unincorporated area was made when the department was a private entity, but now that it is owned and operated by the City, he felt the agreement was null and void. Attorney Dickey stated that he was probably right and agreed the City would need to approach Chatham County about providing compensation to the City for the fire protection services. Fire Chief Tyler stated that the cities of Port Wentworth and Garden City were currently in negotiations with the county to compensate them for the areas in unincorporated Chatham County that they were serving with fire protection and advised council that the City needed to have an elected official representing Bloomingdale in similar negotiations. Fire Chief Tyler reported that there were about 70 structures being served in unincorporated Chatham County with at least 95% being residences. The areas included were on Osteen Road past the bridge across I-16 to John Carter Road. Mayor Tipton asked Councilman Baxter, as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, to represent Bloomingdale in these negotiations and he agreed. Mayor Tipton advised council that he anticipated some of the residents living along John Carter Road to approach the City once again about annexation. During the reports, Citizen Jim Meyers questioned the need to have the Bloomingdale Fire Department soliciting funds on U.S. Hwy 80 and Cherry Street since he felt the City should be providing them the monies necessary to operate the department. Mr. Meyers also pointed out that he felt this was not safe for the motorists or the fire department members. Councilman Myrick stated that the fire department had not been collecting monies for the operation of the fire department. Fire Chief Tyler commented that the Explorers were involved in a national collection drive for MDA. Mayor Tipton pointed out that there had already been discussions about eliminating this type activity due to safety concerns and any exception to this policy would require coordination through the Public Safety Committee. Councilman Myrick reminded those present that it was imperative that everyone complete their U.S. Census 2010 forms so there could be a good count of our citizens. Councilman Crosby noted there would be a Planning Commission meeting on March 9th and invited interested parties to attend.
Mayor Tipton stated that Councilman Baxter had a report on the proposal from Kern-Coleman & Co. regarding engineering for the fire station. Councilman Kerby advised council that since he planned to bid on the fire station project he would excuse himself from any discussion of this issue and left the podium. Councilman Baxter reported that when he had met with representatives from Kern-Coleman & Co. to discuss their initial proposal, he advised them that the City felt there was room for improvement on the cost estimate to perform the engineering and architectural work and asked that they revise their proposal. Kern-Coleman & Co. had presented another proposal that he felt was more in line at about 6% of the cost of the project. Councilman Baxter stated that Kern-Coleman & Co.’s revised proposal for professional engineering and architectural services for the Bloomingdale Fire Station Update was $19,750 and he made a motion to accept it. Councilman Crosby seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes from Council members Baxter, Crosby, Griffin, Myrick and Rawlings. Councilman Kerby abstained from voting.
Attorney Dickey reported that he was in the process of contacting the members of the Impact Fee Study Committee concerning the amendment to the Impact Fee Ordinance and noted that the City needed to have two public hearings before approval of the amendment. Mayor Tipton asked Attorney Dickey to proceed with the hearings as soon as possible.
Councilman Myrick stated that at the February 18th meeting, he had requested council table a decision on the acceptance of the bid for fuel purchases because he expected to receive a comparable bid from the current vendor, however, the bid was not received, so he made a motion that this matter be removed from the table and that the City accept the low bid from Strickland Oil Co. Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and the motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized the Reverend Darrell Bailey from Bloomingdale First Baptist Church who had submitted a request regarding the use of the Bloomingdale Community Park for an egg hunt. Reverend Bailey stated that his initial request was for the City to waive the rental fee for the use of the park on April 3, 2010 from 2:00pm until 6:00pm; however, he had received a donation for the fee and was withdrawing this request. Reverend Bailey asked that the City consider the waiver of fees for the use of the park for churches, preschools, or other non-profit agencies if any changes were made to the rental policies in the future. Council asked Attorney Dickey to review the current policy and prepare an amendment for council’s consideration that would allow for the waiver of fees for non-profit organizations.
Council discussed engineering for Phase II of the City’s Master Drainage Plan. Councilman Baxter stated that during the pre-agenda meeting he had suggested the City seriously consider using the engineering firm of HGB for Phase II of the plan, however, he would prefer to table a decision on the issue until after council could have a work retreat to discuss this as well as other issues. Councilman Kerby made a motion to table this issue until after council has a work retreat, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton recognized Ray Pittman with Thomas & Hutton Engineering, Inc. and the Mayor asked if council would allow him to present information from this firm regarding Phase II of the plan and there was no objection from council members. Mr. Pittman stated that he had been with the firm since 1986. He stated that when T & H presented their proposal for the City’s Master Drainage Plan, their recommendation had been to proceed with the development of a major outfall before working on the smaller canals and ditches. Mr. Pittman commented that with the amount of rain that has fallen in the last several months he felt that everyone would agree that the canal was working and the drainage in that area was much better than it was before it was constructed. Mr. Pittman advised council that there were some critical issues that needed to be addressed in Phase II and his firm would welcome the opportunity to complete the drainage project. He pointed out that they had already surveyed the existing conditions and been involved in the drainage issues during Phase I and felt they could do a better job for the City because of their knowledge of the area. Council questioned whether there had been any design work done on Phase II and was advised that although there had been no official design prepared, Thomas & Hutton had done a lot of field work in the preparation of plans for Phase I and a general exhibit had been presented to council. Councilwoman Griffin questioned him about design plans for Phase II because she thought she recalled seeing easement detail information on the second phase during review of information on Phase I. She was advised by the engineers that there were no design plans presented to the City. Doyle Kelley stated that T & H had a working model they had used in their calculations, but when asked if the City of Bloomingdale had paid for the model he advised council that the City had not paid for it. Councilman Baxter commented that he was not interested in advertising for bids on the engineering work. Councilwoman Griffin stated that she wanted to assure the citizens that she was not against the City’s drainage plan, but wants to fully understand the process before moving forward. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that although the location of Phase I was not his choice of routes, the canal does work and he would do his part to get Phase II constructed to provide drainage relief for the citizens. Councilman Myrick stated that he felt that whatever decision was made regarding the engineering for Phase II, that the Mayor and City Council would make the best choice for the citizens.
Council was advised there had been concerns raised about the Bloomingdale Community Park not being used as much as was originally anticipated and some felt it was due to the lack of playground equipment and the bathrooms not being opened during the day. Councilwoman Griffin stated that the Recreation Committee had met and discussed obtaining some playground equipment that would be suitable for the park. Councilwoman Griffin informed council that she had been looking at playground equipment at various parks and after talking with committee members, it was determined that the City could obtain equipment for around $15,000 and would like to proceed with the purchase. Citizen William McCarty asked if the park would be supervised in the event a child was hurt and for liability purposes and was advised that there were no immediate plans to have a supervisor at the park. It was noted that the City would probably need to post a sign at the park that those using the equipment would do so at their own risk. The Mayor pointed out that the playground equipment being considered was constructed for use by children between the ages of two and twelve and felt that there would be parents or older siblings at the park with these children. There was a brief discussion about the possibility of getting some citizens to supervise activity at the park. Councilwoman Griffin stated that there was a possibility that the metal playground equipment in front of the school could be donated for use at the park by the Bloomingdale Lion’s Club. Councilman Baxter noted that GIRMA, the City’s insurance provider, may question the safety of metal equipment since the older items did not have the protection against injuries that would be installed on the newer equipment. Councilman Myrick pointed out that a representative from one of the playground equipment companies would be meeting with the committee on Monday night and he would probably be able to give them some guidance on the use of the metal playground equipment. Councilman Baxter stated that he would like to make sure that the City had the funds to purchase the equipment beforehand and would like to postpone a decision until the council could review the finances. He suggested a work session be scheduled for discussion of the finances before moving forward. After additional discussion, Councilwoman Griffin made a motion to purchase playground equipment in an amount not to exceed $15,000 and to amend the budget to obtain the monies from general funds on hand. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion. The motion received three affirmative votes from Council members Griffin, Kerby and Rawlings. Council members Baxter, Crosby, and Myrick voted against the motion. Those members voting against the motion assured the committee that they supported getting the equipment, but wanted to make sure the City’s finances would warrant the purchase at this time. Mayor Tipton stated that he supported the committees request to purchase the playground equipment and voted for the motion.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, February 26, 2010.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Baxter seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Kerby made a motion to adjourn at 8:00pm. Councilwoman Griffin 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.
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.