August 21, 2008
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilwoman Winn leading in prayer. The Mayor presented the minutes of the July 17, 2008 meeting and called meetings for July 28th, August 7th and August 18th for council’s approval. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve these minutes, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn then made a motion to approve the agenda of the August 21, 2008 council meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilman Ray and passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor advised citizens that Councilman Strozier was at home recovering from surgery and would not be present at tonight’s meeting.
Mayor Tipton stated that a public hearing was being held tonight for discussion of the update to the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan and introduced Ms. Terry DeMeo King who has been working with the cities of Bloomingdale, Pooler and Port Wentworth to prepare the West Chatham Solid Waste Management Plan for 2008-2018. Ms. King stated that state law requires the submission of a plan to both the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for their review and approval. An overlay of the plan included current and future plans for recycling opportunities, ordinance review, and contingency plans for waste disposal. Latrelle Kling questioned the costs involved in the plan and its benefit to the citizens. Ms. King advised her that the state requires the preparation and submittal of the report and failure to comply with the requirement would cause the City to lose its qualified city status that would, in turn, prohibit Bloomingdale from obtaining state monies for grants, road projects, and other financial assistance. After additional discussion and comments, Ms. King explained the process for approval of the plan. She stated that council would need to approve a resolution to submit the plan to the state and after their review and comments the plan would be updated to reflect any changes that may be needed. At this point, council would need to adopt the final draft of the plan and submit it back to the state by October 31, 2008. At the conclusion of the discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn the public hearing, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Bloomingdale History Society presented a painting of Frank Jones by local artist Clara Sparks to the City of Bloomingdale Fire Department to be placed in their new building proposed for construction in the near future. Mr. Jones was credited with starting the first fire and ambulance service as well as the creation of the recreation program and water service in the City.
During administrative and committee reports City Administrator Brady reported that he had attended a meeting held by the Department of Transportation in which the cities were advised that the state was facing some shortfalls in funds for paving projects. Mr. Brady stated that although the Stagecoach Road project is still designated for funding by the department there might be other projects that would have to be delayed. Mayor Tipton pointed out that the Georgia EPD may reduce or withdraw the additional 100,000 gpd increase recently approved in the City‘s groundwater withdrawal permit. The Mayor noted that the state wants all cities to pursue the use of surface water rather than ground water for future development. Mayor Tipton stated that the AMB Corporation had acquired their first tenant for the recently constructed warehouse space and introduced Nathan Siebrase, the IC Manager, with the Dorel Company who will be leasing the space. Mr. Siebrase stated that the company would be leasing approximately ½ of the building with hopes to secure additional space in the near future. He explained that the company has been in business since 1939 and will use the site for the distribution of home and office products to their Walmart, Sam’s, and Lowe’s customers. Mr. Siebrase stated it would take about three to four months to move into the building and noted there will be approximately 20 to 25 people employed at this site.
Mayor Tipton presented a resolution for council’s approval authorizing the submission of the document entitled West Chatham Solid Waste Management Plan 2008-2018 to the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review and approval. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the submission of the document as presented, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor opened bids on the surplus items advertised for sale by the City and they were as follows: 1) 1984 Chevy C-10, 4x4 pickup truck – $175 (S. Loyd Williams); $121 (William Taylor); $150 (East of Eden Auto Sales); 2) 1985 Midmark Power Trencher - $2525 (S. Loyd Williams); $1,050 (East of Eden Auto Sales); $1,075 (Carl Nelson); 3) 2000 John Deere, 1435 Mower - $4050 (East of Eden Auto Sales); 4) 1996 - 1230 Massey Ferguson Model MF1230H - $2356 (Lynn Parker); $2300 (Carl Nelson); $2100 (East of Eden Auto Sales); $2125 (Dennis Triplett). After a brief discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to accept the bid(s) from the highest bidder(s), but if these bidder(s) failed to purchase the items under the terms outlined in the agreement, the surplus item(s) would be sold to the second highest bidder(s). Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor asked that City Administrator Brady work with the department heads to come up with lower minimum bids on the surplus items that were not sold which included four (4) police vehicles, a 120 gallon propane tank, and a Wisconsin Engine.
City Administrator Brady reported that Crossroads Construction, Inc. has decided not to do the clearing/debris removal work on the 2 acres of property located at Taylor Park and he presented the bid from S. Loyd Williams for $13,500 for council’s consideration. Councilman Myrick made a motion to award the bid to Mr. Williams, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton provided information on proposed adjustments to the fire protection user fees for commercial properties that would also include churches. The Mayor explained that the proposed fees would decrease from the current fees with the changes to be retroactive to the July 1st billing. Mayor Tipton noted the pastors of the local churches and some commercial businesses had contacted the City about their rates and after reviewing the information, some changes were being proposed. Latrelle Kling stated that she was still of the opinion that a committee consisting of elected officials and citizens should have been involved in the review process prior to the establishment of the fees and was concerned about the fees being based on the county’s appraised value of property scheduled for implementation in January, 2009. Ms. Kling commented that a user fee was merely another name for taxes. Mayor Tipton pointed out that there was a big difference in a user fee and a tax. He stated that when taxes are collected they go into the general fund to be used for many different purposes, but the funds generated from the fire protection user fees would be used strictly for improvements in fire protection services to the Bloomingdale citizens. Citizen Pat Stanfield stated that she was not opposed to the fees, but would have appreciated an opportunity to be heard on the issue. Councilman Rawlings noted that when he agreed to the flat fee it was his understanding that these fees would be charged for six months to allow time for research to be done to gather information on the property values assessed by Chatham County and then the fees would be changed to reflect a fee based on the property value. Councilman Myrick stated that he had the same understanding, but pointed out that the City had to proceed with a fire protection user fee since the existing contract with the fire department was not going to be renewed and there had to be monies collected to operate a City fire department with a paid fire chief. After this discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to make the changes to the Fee Schedule Policy to reflect the adjusted fire protection user fees, to bill the adjusted rate with the September billing, and to make the changes retroactive to the July billing. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Little Miracles Learning Center to issue unconditional approval of their site plan for the annex to the learning center rather than the conditional approval issued at the June 19, 2008 meeting. It was noted that the site approval included the stipulation that the changes recommended by the Planning Commission be made and the Bloomingdale Fire Department be allowed to inspect the buildings prior to occupancy of the annex building. Attorney Dickey pointed out that the inspection by the fire department was for emergency pre-incident planning only and not for compliance with fire codes. However, since there were questions raised about whether the City could require emergency pre-incident planning by its police and fire departments, an ordinance addressing this matter will be presented later in the meeting. After discussing the matter, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the site plan for the Little Miracles Learning Center annex with the condition that the changes are made to the site regarding the fencing, parking, and driveway as recommended by the Planning Commission. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Kenneth Taschner had submitted a request for a home occupation license to be located at #184 Wallace Circle for council’s consideration, but he was not present at the meeting. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to table the matter until Mr. Taschner could attend a meeting. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Department of Transportation has requested the City submit its priority list for the 2009 LARP program before August 29, 2008. Public Works Supervisor Ernest Grizzard has submitted the following streets for council’s consideration for submission to the DOT: 1) Poplar Street from U.S. Hwy 80 to Cregor Street – 2,000’; 2) Cregor Street from Cypress Street to Chestnut Street – 1740’ and 3) Walnut Street from U.S. Hwy 80 to Main Street – 1390’. Councilman Ray made a motion submit the list of streets as presented to the DOT. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s consideration an Audit Engagement Letter from Karp Ronning & Tindol, P.C. to perform the City’s audit for FY ended June 30, 2008. The fee for the service is $9,250 and this is the same amount charged by the firm to do last year’s audit. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to accept the proposal from Karp Ronning & Tindol to prepare the audit, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The council was informed that Public Works Supervisor Ernest Grizzard had received a request from Barrett Van Meter at #407 E. Pine Street to pipe an existing ditch in front of his residence. Since City policy requires council’s approval before ditches can be covered, this matter was placed on tonight’s agenda. During discussions regarding the request, it was noted that cleanouts must be installed to provide for proper maintenance. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the piping of the ditch in front of the residence at #407 E. Pine Street at the expense of the property owner with the stipulation that it included adequate cleanouts to be determined by the Public Works Supervisor Ernest Grizzard. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that J. Hiers Co., Inc. had submitted Pay Request No. 1 for work performed through July 21, 2008 on the Drainage Improvements, ALT 1/ Phase 1. It was noted that Thomas & Hutton has reviewed the request and has recommended payment of $113,983.31. Latrelle Kling asked some questions about the invoicing of the work and after this discussion; Councilman Ray made a motion to approve payment of the request. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
A request was presented to council from the Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board to consider the appointment of Tori Goodman to serve on the board. Council was advised that Recreation Director Joe Young had submitted the request on the board’s behalf. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to appoint Ms. Goodman to the Recreation Executive Board with her term to expire on June 30, 2009. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
City Administrator Brady stated that he had requested that bids for the paving work on Douglas Court be placed on tonight’s agenda, but wanted to table the issue at this time. Councilman Rawlings made a motion to table the issue as requested, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s consideration an ordinance requiring emergency pre-incident planning as a precedent to the issuance of an occupational license or the retaining of an occupational license. During discussion of the ordinance, Attorney Dickey pointed out that the emergency pre-incident planning would be applied to all commercial businesses and churches and would involve both police and fire department personnel. It was noted that this type inspection had nothing to do with any inspections that may be performed by the State Fire Marshall for the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Citizen Pauline Griffin commented that she had kept children in her home in the past and feels that having the police and fire departments do this type inspection would help insure the safety of the children by making sure everything is in order. Additional comments on the need for emergency pre-planning were made by fire fighters who serve with the City of Bloomingdale’s Fire Department. It was noted that, in emergency situations, both police and fire fighters are able to provide better and faster assistance if they know the layout of a building and where the exits are located. After these discussions, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to dispense with the second reading and to approve the ordinance requiring emergency pre-incident planning prior to the issuance and the retaining of an occupational license. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed an ordinance requiring all professional fees, review costs, and all other fees or costs associated with the development of property, which is incurred by the City of Bloomingdale, which results from the property owner or developer submitting a development plan or request for change of zoning be paid by the property owner or developer. Councilman Rawlings commented that he thought that was already in our ordinances. He was advised that the fee schedule policy includes a requirement that the applicant must pay the costs of consultants as may be reasonably required by the planning commission. This ordinance strengthens the policy and requires all fees to be paid by the property owner or developer whether or not they are initiated by the planning commission. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to dispense with the second reading and to approve the ordinance requiring the payment of said fees by the property owner or developer. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
An ordinance requiring that all grinder pumps be installed and maintained by the property owner was presented for council discussion. Councilman Myrick voiced his objection to this ordinance because he felt the City needed to continue to install and maintain the pumps. City Administrator Brady stated that the ordinance would only apply to grinder pumps for permits issued after its passage, but other members also voiced their concerns about making this change. Citizen Pat Stanfield asked if the costs for maintaining the pumps had been reviewed and City Administrator Brady advised her that the maintenance costs were one of the reasons why the ordinance was being proposed. Councilwoman Winn stated that since councilmembers were unsure about the ordinance she would like to make a motion that it be tabled for further discussion at the September 18th meeting and Councilman Waller seconded the motion. During discussions held prior to the vote on the motion, several councilmembers voiced objections to taking any action at this or other meetings on the ordinance. Councilwoman Winn and Councilman Waller voted to table action until September 18th, but Councilmembers Myrick, Rawlings, and Ray voted against tabling the ordinance and the motion failed. There was no further action taken on this ordinance and the council moved on to the next order of business.
The council reviewed an ordinance requiring the fire protection user fees to be listed as top priority for distribution of payments received on utility billings. Latrelle Kling asked for an explanation of the ordinance. Attorney Dickey advised her that the order of the distribution of payments on utility billings would be as follows: any unpaid outstanding balance would be paid first, fire protection user fees next and then in the following order water fees, sewer fees, garbage fees and penalties. After this brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to dispense with the second reading, and to approve the ordinance outlining the distribution of payments for utility billings. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton asked for input from council regarding the disposition of the residential building located on the property off the old railroad bed that had recently been acquired by the City. Council was advised that the residence is currently being rented on a month-to-month basis. Pete Kling asked how much the City paid for the property. Attorney Dickey advised him that the City paid $120,000. Several members expressed a desire to continue renting the residence to the current tenant, if possible, until council decided how they planned to use the property. After a brief discussion on how the funds would be used, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to continue to rent out the residence on a month-to-month basis with the funds to be deposited into the general fund. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor asked that Attorney Dickey prepare a rental agreement for execution and notify the tenant of the City’s plans.
Mayor Tipton presented the proposed plans for the City of Bloomingdale Fire Department building for council’s review and consideration. Councilman Ray questioned why council would be taking any action at tonight’s meeting since they had not had time to review the plans. The Mayor stated that the plans had been distributed at the last meeting and the question at that time was whether to build a three or a four bay station. Councilman Ray stated that until he knew more about the costs related to the building he would not feel comfortable approving the plans. Mayor Tipton explained that what he wanted council to consider tonight would be to approve sending the plans to the engineer to prepare engineered drawings for their use in preparing a bid package so prices could be obtained on the building. The Mayor asked Fire Chief Tyler to go over the plans with councilmembers. The Chief noted that with the projected growth that is anticipated on the south side of I-16, discussions had been held about the possibility of needing a two bay station in that area in the future, so this sketch only included a three bay, double parking station. Fire Chief Tyler stated that he had visited stations of several departments in this and surrounding areas and had prepared a sketch plan of a station to meet what he felt would be the department’s needs for now and in the immediate future. The station included sleeping quarters, a meeting room, bathroom facilities with showers, office space and storage rooms. Also included was a decontamination room for cleaning equipment and an area for filling air bottles. The non-climate controlled upstairs area will be used for bulk storage and has a training maze and a weight room. Councilman Myrick asked about the façade of the building. The Chief stated the building will be similar to the one on Adams Road that has a metal main structure with a brick façade. Questions were raised about having a metal structure rather than a block structure and the Chief noted that the metal structure will meet all wind velocity requirements for this area. The Mayor stated that the public safety committee had reviewed the plans and felt the City needed to proceed with the next step toward construction of the building. Mayor Tipton pointed out that Fire Chief Tyler and City Administrator Brady were currently working on renewing the mutual aid agreements between Bloomingdale and other local fire departments. Councilman Myrick stated that he felt we needed to support the fire department and there was definitely a need for another building. After the discussion, the Mayor asked for council’s approval to send these plans to the engineers to obtain engineered drawings and to proceed with preparing a bid package. Councilman Myrick made a motion to take the action requested by Mayor Tipton, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Rawlings, Waller and Winn. Councilman Ray abstained from voting because he felt he needed more time to look over the drawings before voting.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, August 15, 2008.
The Mayor presented the accounts payable for council’s consideration. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Just prior to adjournment, Chief Tyler reported that the City of Bloomingdale Fire Department had collected $5200 during their boot drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and encouraged everyone to watch the annual telethon to be held on Labor Day. Councilman Rawlings stated he would donate $50 to this cause and challenged other elected officials to do the same.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 8:50pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Myrick, Rawlings, Ray, Waller and Winn were present at the meeting. Councilman Strozier was at home recovering from surgery.
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 present to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.