August 15, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Waller leading in prayer.
The minutes of the July 18, 2002 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier recognized Richard Chilton, the general manager and Steve Walton, the operations manager of Republic Waste Services, who discussed with council the service their company would provide if the City decided to contract with them to provide sanitation service to the citizens of Bloomingdale. Mr. Chilton pointed out that Republic presently provides sanitation service to Bryan and Effingham counties and the cities of Richmond Hill, Springfield, Rincon, Guyton, Riceboro, and Midway. He explained that the service would include once a week pickup and each customer would be provided one (1) 95 gallon garbage container. He pointed out that additional containers could be provided at a cost of $4.00 per month for each one. Councilman Myrick asked if residents would be billed directly for the extra carts and was advised by Mr. Chilton that these should be billed through the City. Councilman Johnson asked if they were willing to go onto private property to collect the garbage if they had the customer’s permission and Mr. Chilton confirmed that this arrangement could be worked out. Fett Burke asked about the procedure for making repairs to broken carts. Mr. Chilton stated that they had a full-time employee who made these repairs and the company tried to make the repairs within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. Council was advised that he could provide the City and/or customers with information on how to contact them with any problems. Mr. Burke asked if they would need someone to ride with their driver to learn the garbage route and Mr. Chilton stated that this usually worked out the best and he preferred this method since it would cause the least interruption to service. Some questions were raised as to whether or not their company picked up anything that was not in the cart. Mr. Chilton stated that during the holiday season they tried to pickup some overflow items, but ordinarily, they only pick up items inside the cart. He pointed out that customers having appliances, old furniture or large amounts of debris could contact them and for an additional fee they could arrange to have this picked up. Councilman Johnson stated that the City currently offered this same type service to its citizens. Citizen Shelia Lowe asked where in the yard the container would have to be placed. Mr. Chilton stated that the container needed to be placed in the front yard away from fences and mailboxes facing the roadway, but just prior to the first pickup someone would come by and mark the desired location in orange spray paint. He also pointed out that when the containers were delivered an instruction sheet on its positioning would be left with the customer. Mayor Rozier thanked Mr. Chilton and Mr. Walton for coming to the meeting and stated that this matter would be taken under advisement at a later date by council.
Attorney Gerard stated that he had not yet received anything back from Attorney Blackburn concerning the water agreement with the City of Savannah.
Councilman Tyler stated he had been talking with Thomas & Hutton Engineering firm concerning a sewer treatment plant and had sent them a copy of our latest agreement with the City of Pooler. Councilman Wedincamp stated that EPD has indicated that those private wells that were no longer being used would have to be poured with concrete to avoid possible contamination to the aquifer. Councilman Ray asked how the state planned to enforce this requirement, but Councilman Wedincamp did not have this information. Councilman Tyler stated that he did not have an update on Pooler’s Miocene test well.
Mayor Rozier recognized Diane Cantor, a candidate for President of the Chatham-Savannah School Board, who asked for the council and citizens’ support in her re-election campaign. Ms. Cantor stated that she felt that education in Chatham County was improving and we had a good school superintendent. Ms. Cantor outlined plans for determining the best location for additional schools based on growth patterns throughout the county. Ms. Cantor thanked the Mayor and the City Council for allowing her to attend the meeting and encouraged everyone to get out and vote.
Council was advised that Attorney Gerard had sent a letter to the City of Pooler advising them that the Mayor and City Council has authorized him to make a formal demand that the meter which is supposed to be measuring sewage flow from Sangrena Woods into the Bloomingdale sewer system be repaired or replaced within thirty (30) days from receipt of his letter dated July 25, 2002 or Bloomingdale will either repair or replace (if necessary) the meter and charge the City of Pooler for the cost. In his letter, Attorney Gerard pointed out that although it is Pooler’s plan to re-route the sewage discharge through the new YMCA lift station within six (6) months, Bloomingdale is not willing to wait that long. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he had recently been informed that the YMCA was not agreeable to having the discharge go through their lift station. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he had made arrangements to rent a meter at a rate of $750 per week to measure the sewage flow from Sangrena Woods and if the City decided to purchase the meter that 50% of the rental fee would be deducted from the cost of the meter. Councilman Wedincamp stated that the meter was battery operated and would be placed on the line in the box where the other meter was located. Council discussed this matter at length and after the discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to install the meter at a cost of $750 per week for a two week maximum. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion. Council members Johnson, Tyler, Waller & Wedincamp voted for the motion. Councilman Ray voted against the motion stating that he felt it was too late in the game to try to start metering this sewage flow when Pooler was going to divert the discharge away from Bloomingdale’s lift station. Also, there were costs involved in renting a meter and he felt that there were other places we could use these funds. Councilman Myrick voted against the motion because he did not feel metering the flow was a solution to past problems and also felt there were other areas where these monies could be better used. Councilman Johnson stated that he felt all of these points were well taken. Mayor Rozier stated that the motion passed with the vote of four to two.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had talked with Dennis Baxter with the City of Pooler and Mr. Baxter advised him that our portion of the monies paid to Pooler for the loss of the drain field of the sewer treatment plant due to the construction of the Pooler Parkway would be credited toward the cost of the upgrade to the plant, thus reducing the amount that Bloomingdale would have to provide for their share of the cost. Councilman Myrick asked if Bloomingdale could get an accounting of the costs related to the operation of the sewer treatment plant and Attorney Gerard stated that he would contact the City of Pooler and request this information.
Attorney Gerard stated that there had been no new developments on the questions regarding the location of the Maple Street Lift Station.
Council discussed the lack of progress on the demolition of the burned structure at #108 Church Street. Councilman Tyler stated that she had asked that the fire department burn the debris, but he had advised her that due to the construction materials used in the dwelling they would not be able to burn the structure. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the next step to getting the structure demolished would be to initiate the nuisance abatement process by issuing a subpoena to Ms. Reynolds and she would have to explain to the Recorder’s Court Judge why she has not taken care of this nuisance. Council instructed Attorney Gerard to proceed with the subpoena.
Councilman Myrick reported that work on the football field at Taylor Park was still underway, but with the installation of a sprinkler system that is needed to maintain the field, it is apparent that the well currently serving the park will not provide adequate water pressure needed for the system. Councilman Myrick stated that he had discussed the problem with EMC Engineering and they had advised him they could perform a test on the well that would give us information we need to know about its depth, the size of the pump currently on the well as well as let us know if this well was in the Miocene. The cost of this service would be $2800 and if we decided to put a new pump on the well there would be an additional cost of between $2500 and $3500. Councilman Myrick advised council that the committee was considering installing a 5hp pump on the well. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he felt sure it was a 4” well so the 5hp motor would work. Attorney Gerard was asked if the City was required to obtain other bids for this work and he advised council that since this was not a public works project it was not necessary to solicit other bids. Council discussed the proposal and agreed that this work needed to be done and, if necessary, the cost could come from funds on hand from previous years. It was also noted that if the well proved to be in the Miocene, it could probably be considered as a test well to meet future permitting requirements with the State. Council agreed that these prices were much more acceptable than the $28,000 test well that was proposed by another engineering firm. Councilman Myrick made a motion to contract with EMC Engineering and to finance these items with funds on hand from previous years with the total not to exceed $7,000. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Johnson then gave a report on the football field as it currently exists. He pointed out that the field is not rectangular and neither is the fence. The electrical power for the light poles runs under the playing surface of the football field about 18” below the ground. Councilman Johnson stated that as far as Bill Bella was concerned this would not pose a problem with the work he planned to do on the field, but council needed to know about it so that if they want to move the lines this would be the time. Some questions were raised as to whether or not there was a code violation with the lines running under the playing field and it was suggested that the committee get back with the original contractor to find out why the lines were run this way. Ernest Grizzard stated that the work was done by Total Phase Electrical and reported that the cost to run the lines around the field would have been three or four times higher than what the City paid so that may be the reason the lines were run the shorter distance. Councilman Johnson reported that work was progressing on the field and the sprigging of the grass was scheduled; weather permitting, for next week. Councilman Johnson pointed out that once the grass was in the ground, we needed to be able to keep it watered and, as previously discussed, the current well does not have the pumping capacity to handle the job.
Councilman Myrick advised council that he had contacted nine (9) contractors to obtain bids for the drainage work at Taylor Park, but had only received three (3) bids. The bids were from Sidney Williams for $9500, Bella Vista for $14,050 and Quality Irri-scape for $10,500. Councilman Myrick pointed out that all of the companies that submitted bids were capable of doing good work. Councilman Johnson stated that he saw no reason not to go with the lowest bid. Councilman Ray stated that we may need to put this project off until funds were available, but was advised that if we have a large amount of rainfall the football field could be damaged. Council discussed the possibility of using the funds that were recently approved through the Local Assistance Grant Program. These funds totaling $25,000 were initially requested for the lighting of a baseball/softball field, but since the awarded grant was less than the original request of $75,000 there will not be enough monies to complete this project. Attorney Gerard stated that he would contact our representatives to see if these funds could be diverted to the drainage project. After additional discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to accept the bid from Sidney Williams to do the drainage work at Taylor Park for a price of $9,500 on the condition of securing the funds for said work. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray voted against the motion because he felt we should wait until funds were available before accepting a bid for this project.
Council was advised by Attorney Gerard that Richard Meyer’s attorney had contacted him about taking title to the portion of the old Stagecoach Road which goes through his property. In addition to this issue, Mr. Meyer is questioning placement of large ditches on the new road. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City would be required to follow certain statutory procedures regarding the transfer of property and if this took place the same opportunity must be afforded to all owners of property being acquired for the right of way. It was noted that the initial information provided to the council was that the two property owners were willing to donate the right of way needed to widen the road; however, if the exchange of property was required it could delay the process and be costly for the City. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he felt we needed to pursue the widening of this dangerous stretch of road and asked that he be given some time to contact Mr. Meyers about his requests. The matter was tabled for further discussion until Councilman Wedincamp makes a report to council.
Councilman Johnson reported that he had talked with Bill Saxman regarding the preparation of the contract between himself and the City to do the consulting work on the update to the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Saxman stated that he was still working on the contract document, but there was plenty of time to complete the update to the plan. Mr. Saxman advised Councilman Johnson that there were some specific details, such as the channeling of questions to the City regarding the update to the plan, which needed to be addressed by council prior to the approval of the contract. The estimated cost for the update is approximately $15,000, but this amount could be reduced provided the members of the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council were willing to do some of the detail work. In addition to this cost, there would be some funds needed for the preparation of maps. Councilman Johnson stated that it was his understanding that the RDC had already been involved in preparing some zoning maps for the City, so some of this expense could be reduced. Councilman Johnson pointed out that in order for Mr. Saxman to prepare an update that would best suit the City of Bloomingdale it was very important that all of the council and as many citizens as possible get involved in determining their short and long term goals and objectives for the development of the City.
Council was advised that council members Johnson and Wedincamp, along with City staff, met with representatives from DOT who were able to pinpoint the exact location of the additional right of way needed for the proposed construction along U.S. Hwy 80. Based on the location of the right of way, it does not appear that there will be a need to move any water or sewer lines. Council was advised that the City needs to choose one of the following options: 1) Receive the appraised Fair Market Value for the property, 2) Donate the property for the right of way and either waive or not waive the right to an appraisal of Fair Market Value, or 3) Agree to an amount of money or services as may be mutually agreed upon based upon an estimate of appraisal calculation. Councilman Tyler stated that the fire department has decided to sell their right of way to the DOT and suggested the City do the same thing. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to agree to option #3. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council discussed the proposed fence ordinance and being no suggested changes, Councilman Ray made a motion to refer the ordinance to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their review and to begin the process for adoption. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. It was noted that since this ordinance is an amendment to the zoning ordinance a public hearing will be required.
The Mayor presented a request from Tracey Restiva to operate a house cleaning business from her residence located at #45 Godley Road. This license would be issued for the “office only” operation of this home occupation business and there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Council was advised that they have the option to waive the public hearing requirement. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue a home occupation license to Tracey Restiva for her residence located at #45 Godley Road for the “office only” operation of a house cleaning business. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed a proposed ordinance providing for the reduction in water service charges for senior citizens experiencing water leaks. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to approve the adoption of said ordinance, but the motion failed due to the lack of a second.
Council was advised that the City needed to approve the execution of the Intergovernmental Agreement between Chatham County and the cities of Bloomingdale, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt and Tybee Island for the NPDES Stormwater Program. This agreement must be approved in order to continue the current arrangement which provides significant financial benefits to all the co-permittees by allowing them to share the cost of water quality sampling and educational programs. Attorney Gerard has reviewed the agreement and advises that he sees no problem with the City signing it. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute said Intergovernmental Agreement, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented a request from the DOT for a priority list of our anticipated resurfacing needs under the LARP program. Fett Burke has prepared a list consisting of portions of Cregor, Oak, and Maple Streets for submission to the DOT. Councilman Waller made a motion to submit these three streets as the City’s priority list for the LARP program. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Mayor needs authorization to execute the contract with the State of Georgia for the $25,000 in Local Assistance Funds for use toward the lighting for the Taylor Park baseball and softball fields. Councilman Johnson made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to sign said contract for the $25,000 grant, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Since Attorney Gerard is to check with the state regarding a possible change in the use of the funds, it was noted that execution of the contract should be delayed until council can review his findings.
The council was informed that the City has received a request from Chatham County to provide them with a list of our suggested SPLOST projects. After a discussion by council, Councilman Ray made a motion to submit the following projects to the county: 1) Recreation projects including, but not limited to, additional fields and improvements to drainage at Taylor Park,
2) Paving projects, and 3) Improvements to City Hall and construction of a public safety building. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick reported that the Public Safety Committee had obtained bids for the replacement of video cameras for the police department, but after it was brought to the attention of some of the committee members that the lowest bid came from a company owned by Councilman Tyler, questions were raised about a potential conflict of interest. Attorney Gerard asked if Councilman Tyler had disclosed his interest in the company before submitting his bid, but was advised that he had not done so. Attorney Gerard pointed out that state law provides that any elected official who, for himself or on behalf of any business entity, sells any personal property to the City shall be guilty of a felony unless the sale meets certain criteria and in addition to the state law, the City’s Ethics Ordinance includes guidelines that must be followed prior to the submission of any bids from elected officials. Attorney Gerard suggested that the City vote to reject all the bids and start the process over again. Councilman Myrick made a motion to reject all bids received on the video cameras, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler abstained from voting. Attorney Gerard stated that the committee should prepare a spec sheet listing the type cameras they wanted to purchase and make this available to all potential bidders and before Councilman Tyler’s company submitted his bid he should provide written notice to the City clerk advising the City of his interest in said company. After he has provided this information to the City Clerk, a waiver of the prohibition can be issued.
Chief Anderson submitted a request to promote Officer Shane Tatum to the rank of Corporal. Councilman Myrick stated that the Public Safety Committee feels this officer qualifies for the promotion based on his meeting the criteria provided by the Chief. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve said promotion, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick advised the council that the police department has purchased a used 2000 Chevy Blazer rather than purchasing a new vehicle to replace the one that was totaled in the accident that occurred on July 23rd. The detective will be using the Chevy Blazer and his vehicle will be transferred to the Chief. The Chief’s vehicle will be used as a patrol car to replace the wrecked car. The purchase of a new vehicle has been placed on hold until a decision is made concerning CNT. If the CNT is dissolved, the officer representing the Bloomingdale Police Department will return to duty within the City and another patrol car will be needed at that time.
Council considered a request from Terry Jones who lives at #114 Conaway Road to construct a “pool house” on his property. Since the structure will include over 500 sq. ft. of enclosed space the council must approve the building permit. The plans submitted by Mr. Jones indicate that there will be 926 sq. ft. of living area on the ground floor and the upper floor, consisting of approximately the same square footage, will be used for storage. There is a full kitchen, bathroom facilities and an office area shown on the plans. Questions had been raised as to whether this type construction could be considered a “pool house” since it contained the potential for living quarters and the City’s zoning ordinance only allows one principal building per tract of land. Mr. Jones assured council that it was only going to be used for entertaining guests and would not be used as living quarters. Attorney Gerard pointed out that he had just recently handled a case for a client in the City of Pooler with a similar situation and his research showed that if the structure included a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom, it would be considered a dwelling. Although Mr. Jones has shown the sectioned off area in the plans as an “office”, it could still be used as a bedroom. Council discussed this matter at length and suggested that Mr. Jones remove the wall between the kitchen area and the office and bring the plans back to council for review. It was suggested that the Attorney could prepare something for Mr. Jones to sign prior to the issuance of the building permit assuring the City that the structure will not at any time be used as a guest house or a dwelling and would be restricted to being used to entertain guests and as a storage building. The matter was tabled until Mr. Jones returned with the amended plans.
Councilman Tyler stated that some questions had been raised about multiple users for water meters and/or grinder pumps and he would like for some definite policies to be established for situations where this might be appropriate. Councilman Wedincamp pointed out that he is currently paying three base charges for water and sewer at his place of business as well as three sanitation charges and he does not think that this is right. Councilman Wedincamp was advised that prior to his renting the building; the previous tenant had come to council about placing a second business in the building. Since these businesses were being run by two different individuals in two different portions of the building, some questions were raised by council about how the water/sewer/sanitation bills should be handled. Although council could have required the separation of the water and sewer lines and the installation of another water meter and grinder pump by the property owner, they agreed to allow the second business to merely pay base charges for the water and sewer and let the two tenants work out an agreement on the billing of the water/sewer usage. Also, the second tenant was billed a sanitation bill. Since that time, Councilman Wedincamp has rented the building and there are now three businesses in the same building run by different individuals using different portions of the building. Based on council’s previous agreement regarding the water, sewer, and sanitation services for the two businesses, additional base charges for water and sewer and a third sanitation bill were initiated when the third business opened. Councilman Wedincamp was advised that the other tenants should be paying him for their base water and sewer bills as well as a sanitation bill, but it would be up to him how he distributed the cost for the water and sewer usage that was billed. Councilman Tyler stated that there were other policy issues that did not seem to be in writing and he would like to pursue getting these policies defined and approved by council. The Mayor asked that the water and sewer committee review the policies he is questioning and bring their recommendations back to council.
Council was informed that the City has received a request from CEMA to advise them if the City plans to use one of the designated shelter locations for personnel or vehicles and if so, the number of people or vehicles we will place at each shelter. Councilman Tyler stated that several years ago arrangements had been made to use the Bloomingdale Elementary School as a staging area for personnel and vehicles in the event of a hurricane up to a Category #3. If evacuation was necessary, City and fire department personnel would seek shelter somewhere off Interstate 16. Based on this information, the clerk was instructed to complete the sheltering request accordingly and indicate the City planned to use Bloomingdale Elementary School. Council was also advised that CEMA will be hosting training for any new EOC staff and this training is crucial for members who will be required to staff a workstation in the EOC during times of activation. The classes will be held August 19th, 20th, & 21st from 10:00am until 12:00 noon. Only one training session is required, but space is limited to 10 persons per class. Since Mayor Rozier would probably be required to staff a workstation in the EOC during times of activation, he stated he would try to attend one of the sessions to be held next week.
Council was advised that we have received notice from the insurance company that there will be some major increases in health insurance rates for employees and dependents effective September 1st. Since the City currently pays a portion of the cost for dependent insurance for those employees having this coverage, council needs to decide how to handle the increase in these fees. Council agreed that due to time restraints this matter should be discussed in a work session at a later date. Councilman Ray made a motion for the City to cover the increase in the dependent insurance costs until a work session can be held and a recommendation brought back to council. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier asked if council was prepared to submit a candidate for the Ethics Commission and Councilman Johnson asked that this matter be tabled until the next meeting to give them an opportunity to contact a prospective candidate. This matter was tabled until the September 19th meeting.
Council was advised that a hearing will be held by the Public Safety Committee on August 19th at 7:00pm to consider an appeal from an officer regarding disciplinary action proposed by Chief Anderson.
Council was reminded of a public hearing to be held on August 20, 2002 at 6:00pm regarding rezoning issues and the sign ordinance.
Mayor Rozier advised council that arrangements had been made with a photographer to take pictures of the City officials on September 19th at 6:00pm. Council agreed to wear their City shirts for the pictures.
The accounts payable were reviewed by council. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Kenneth Selman, a Bloomingdale citizen living at #1414 Pine Barren Road, who voiced a complaint about his neighbor, Jerry Usher, who was operating industrial sandblasters at his residence located behind Mr. Selman’s home. Mr. Selman stated he had contacted the police department, but Mr. Usher was still doing the work. Councilman Johnson stated that it was his understanding that once Mr. Usher built his home on the property he could no longer operate the business. Diane Proudfoot, an employee of the City who was present at the meeting, confirmed that Mr. Usher does not have a current business license with the City. Attorney Gerard asked that Mr. Selman allow him an opportunity to review the files concerning this issue which has been going on for several years and if Mr. Usher was in violation of any agreement with the City he would pursue the matter on behalf of the City.
Mayor Rozier stated that he had received the letter from OMI advising him that they could not provide the same level of service to the citizens of Bloomingdale for less money than the City was currently budgeting. The letter also commended Fett Burke and Ernest Grizzard on the fine job they were doing for the City.
Citizen Shelia Lowe stated that Osteen Road needed some attention. Fett Burke stated that the road had just been scraped last Friday. Ms. Lowe advised council that the road needs some major work because the ditches are higher than the road and this causes problems when it rains because the water just stands in the road. Mr. Burke stated that there have always been problems in maintaining Osteen Road. The Mayor asked Mr. Burke to see what he could do to handle Ms. Lowe’s complaints.
Councilman Tyler asked if council was interested in having the council meetings video-taped. Some members asked what kind of cost would be involved in having this done and Attorney Gerard pointed out that one of the educational channels was taping Garden City’s meetings at no cost to the City. The Mayor asked him to get information about who to contact and let us know.
Councilman Wedincamp asked if the bill for the repairs to the well had been received and was advised by Ernest Grizzard that we have not yet received a bill.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 9:45pm.
The Mayor and all council members were present at the meeting.