September 15, 2005
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. The minutes of the August 18, 2005 council meeting and August 25, 2005 called council meeting were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Attorney Dickey reported that there was nothing new to report on the lawsuit against EPD regarding water issues. The Mayor stated that it was his understanding that Carol Couch, the EPD Director, would be coming to Savannah next week to discuss the possibility of blending groundwater with river water. Mayor Rozier advised council that this information had come from Representatives Johnson and Carter.
The Mayor stated that he had not been able to contact Al Bowen about the abandoned vehicles parked on his property located at #301 E. Hwy 80, but as discussed in previous meetings, if these vehicles had not been moved by tonight’s meeting, the council would initiate steps to have them moved. The Mayor directed Chief Gossett to dispatch an officer to tag the vehicles and if they were not moved in the required length of time to take the steps necessary to have them removed from the property.
Council discussed how to proceed with the acquisition of maintenance easements along the Pipemaker Spur that would allow for Chatham County to maintain this canal. Councilman Johnson reported that there would be no problems getting the easements from him or members of his family. Attorney Dickey stated that a survey would have to be prepared to be filed with the easements. Council agreed that the City should send a letter to the property owners on the north side of the canal and let them know that we needed to obtain the easements for drainage purposes and Councilman Johnson stated that he would get with the City Clerk to help identify the owners involved.
Mayor Rozier reported that conditions along Stagecoach Road had been greatly improved by work that had been done by City crews, private individuals and the Effingham County maintenance department. Council was advised that Susan Rogers indicated that she felt that DOT’s participation in the improvements to the portion of Stagecoach Road in Bloomingdale may be more than the normal 50%, but the Mayor stated that it may require a trip to Atlanta. The Mayor pointed out that Representatives Johnson and Carter had both went to the DOT to discuss the problems with the road on our behalf. Mayor Rozier also reported that we would be required to have an engineer prepare construction plans on this roadway.
Attorney Dickey advised council that Attorney Yellin had submitted a written request for a continuance until October 6, 2005 on his client’s request for a variance on roadway access off Cheyenne Road.
Councilman Ray reported that the overgrown conditions at #109 Chestnut Street had not been completely resolved and council decided the City should send the owner a written notice requiring that he take care of the problem within thirty (30) days to avoid legal action by the City. Councilman Tyler made a motion to send said notice, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the overgrown conditions on the vacant lot located at #502 Pine Street owned by Charles Layton have been taken care of.
Attorney Dickey stated that he had received and reviewed the contract prepared by R.B. Baker covering the installation of the utility sleeves under Hwy 80 and everything was in order except the inclusion of insurance requirements. Attorney Dickey pointed out that this information was being obtained from the contractor. The City Clerk informed council that the contractor needed to order the pipe and had asked if it would be possible to obtain a purchase order from the City which would provide them with the authorization they needed to order the supplies. Attorney Dickey stated that since the council had already approved the awarding of the project to R.B. Baker, he saw no problem with the issuance of the purchase order since the insurance issue should be resolved next week. Councilman Myrick made a motion to issue the purchase order to R.B. Baker for the project, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler reported that Southeastern Engineering had been contacted about preparing cost estimates for engineering firms to prepare plans showing the location and size of the existing water and sewer lines and to determine the calculated flows for these services. Councilman Tyler informed council that in reviewing documents on hand, they had concluded that the City already had plans showing most of the water and sewer line locations, but the information was on several sets of plans and merely needed to be transferred to one document. Councilman Tyler stated that he had directed Toss Allen to prepare plans showing all of the existing water and sewer lines and provide the calculated flow information as soon as possible.
Councilman Wedincamp stepped down from the podium during the discussion of the next agenda item.
Mayor Rozier stated that a public hearing had been scheduled for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input regarding the request from Kellie Robertson to erect a utility building on her property located at #68 Cheyenne Road. The accessory building will consist of 600 sq. ft. and City policy requires that council approve these permits if the enclosed area is over 500 sq. ft. At the last meeting, Attorney Dickey pointed out that since there had been questions raised about the access to properties along Cheyenne Road he would recommend that the council consider this request as an appeal with a public hearing to be held for citizen input. Mayor Rozier called the hearing to order and asked for input from the citizens regarding the request. Citizen Thurman Murphy, who lives at #56 Cheyenne Road, asked Ms. Robertson where the building would be located and what would it be used for. Ms. Robertson advised him that the accessory building would be constructed behind her mobile home and would be used for a storage shed. Citizen Charles Rogers also asked about the location and if a business would be run from the building. Ms. Robertson stated that she had a grass cutting business, but it was not going to be operated out of the building although she may store some equipment inside of it. Councilman Myrick asked if there would be water or electricity in the building and Ms. Robertson stated she did plan to run electricity to it. Citizen Charles Rogers questioned the access to the property because Cheyenne Road was a private road. Councilman Tyler asked Attorney Dickey how council should address the access issue because the size of the building was not actually the problem. Attorney Dickey stated that council had the authority to issue the variance for the accessory building and pointed out there was already a residence on the property and a storage shed is one of the customary accessory uses. Attorney Dickey noted that the current use of the property is not changing from that of a residence and the access to the residence already exists. Being no further comments, Mayor Rozier closed the public hearing. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick stated that since the variance request was for an accessory building, not living quarters, he made a motion to grant the variance and approve issuance of the building permit. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Wedincamp returned to the podium.
Council was advised that a public hearing has been scheduled for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input on the operation of a one-chair beauty shop from the residence of Glenda Key located at #210 Cypress Street. It was noted that Ms. Key had received approval at the May 19th meeting to operate the shop from #305 Miller Street, but she has decided to change locations. Council was informed that this public hearing had been advertised and the adjoining property owners were notified. Mayor Rozier asked if there were any comments from citizens, but there were none. Council was assured that there would be limited traffic generated by the beauty shop and there would be off street parking for the customers. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the issuance of the home occupation license to Glenda Key for a one-chair beauty shop to be operated from #210 Cypress Street. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council reviewed a request from Lorrie Shearouse Crosby to obtain a home occupation license to operate a family day care from her residence located at #189 Wallace Circle. Ms. Crosby advised council that she has been operating the day care for nine years and it was opened prior to her annexation into Bloomingdale and pointed out that there had been no previous complaints from her neighbors about the day care or traffic problems. Ms. Crosby stated that apparently her next door neighbor had complained to the police and she had been advised to come to City Hall about a license. Ms. Crosby advised council that she had a petition that had been signed by the neighbors indicating they had no complaints or problems with the day care. Ms. Crosby stated that the day care is open Monday through Friday with children arriving from 6:30am until 9:00am and being picked up between 4:30pm and 6:00pm. She submitted a copy of her Certificate of Registration with the State of Georgia for a Family Day Care Home to provide day care services for a maximum of six (6) children. Council was advised that her property is located in an RA-1 zone where a child care center is allowed. After a brief discussion, council agreed to set up a public hearing to receive citizen input on the request during the council meeting to be held at 7:00pm on October 6, 2005 and advised Ms. Crosby that she could continue operating the day care until that meeting when the home occupation license would be considered. A copy of Section 800 of the Zoning Ordinance as it pertains to the permitting of a home occupation license was given to Ms. Crosby and she was advised that she needed to make sure that she could comply with the requirements as listed.
Mayor Rozier advised council the City had received a request from Charity & Scott Tidwell to operate the “office only” of a home improvement and repair business from their residence located at #6 Horne Street. Mr. Tidwell reported that there would be two employees working with the business and both reside at this residence. Mr. Tidwell also assured council there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and to issue the home occupation license. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from Eutween Griffin to obtain a building permit for an accessory building on her property located at #305 Church Street. The proposed structure is a 17’ high, 16’ x 16’ two-story building consisting of 512 sq. ft. of enclosed area. A copy of her site plan and a picture of the structure were distributed for council’s review. Ms. Griffin stated that the building would have wood siding. Since this size accessory building requires council approval, the request was placed on tonight’s agenda. Ms. Griffin was questioned as to the use of the building and stated it would be for storage purposes only. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve issuance of the building permit, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier recognized Gaddy Turner who stated that he was requesting approval to replace the 1969, 12’ x 64’ trailer located on his property at #124 Towles Road with a 1995, 22’ x 44’ trailer. Council was advised that when the City annexed this property in 1998, there were two residential structures on the property and this trailer is one of the structures. The City’s Zoning Ordinance, Article IV, Section 403, only allows for one principal building per lot. Although the continuation of this nonconforming situation has been allowed since it existed prior to annexation, the Zoning Ordinance, Article VII, Section 700, does not allow for the enlargement or alteration of the structure(s) to increase their nonconformity. It was noted that there is about 200 sq. ft. difference in the size of the existing trailer and the one the Turners are asking to move in as its replacement. A similar request was received from the Turners in August, 2004, but they were advised, in writing, that if they planned to increase the size of either the mobile home or the
existing house, one of the structures would have to be removed. Mr. Turner stated that due to the age of the mobile home, he did not want to put any more money in to repairing it and it was very small. Mr. Turner advised council that he uses the rental of this mobile home as monthly income and it had been on the property about thirty (30) years. Attorney Dickey stated that if council was considering the possibility of granting the request, there needed to be a public hearing to allow for input from the adjoining property owners and council would have to provide justification for their varying from the requirements of the zoning ordinance. Councilman Tyler made a motion to hold a public hearing on the matter at the October 6, 2005 council meeting and to notify the adjoining property owners about the hearing. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizens Tammy Davenport and Anthony Wiruth, residents of #7 Boulevard Street, requested they be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss with council their concerns about a serious speeding problem with residents, non residents and school bus drivers traveling on Boulevard Street. It was noted that their concerns had been discussed with Captain Pike and with Laidlaw, but the problems continue. The Mayor asked for Chief Gossett’s input on this issue. The Chief stated that the department would do everything they could to help them solve the problem by increasing the patrols on the street, but what often happens is that when police are in the area, motorists do not speed. Citizen Pasquinel Ellison, who lives at #5 Boulevard Street, expressed his concerns about the safety of neighborhood children. These citizens asked that council consider the construction of a speed bump along Boulevard Street similar to the ones at the Home Depot. Fett Burke stated that motorists would then be complaining about damage to their vehicles from the speed bumps. It was noted that the speed bumps being discussed were constructed to allow motorists to drive over them at 25mph. Mayor Rozier asked Chief Gossett to look into the costs related to this type of traffic control device and report back to council, but in the meantime to increase the patrols in the area.
Council was advised that an application for a driveway permit had been received from Gene Autrey for his property located at #1203C E. Hwy 80 and his request was for the City to install a driveway at the rear of his property which abuts the old Central Railroad. Mr. Autrey’s property is currently accessed off of Highway 80 using an existing private driveway that is also used by other property owners. It was noted that the driveway would be located over a drainage ditch that exists on his property; however, there would still be a portion of his property, along with a drainage ditch on public right of way, between the old Central Railroad and where he wants the driveway installed. Council was informed that the driveway permit request was placed on the agenda since the portion of the old Central Railroad bed where the driveway would be installed has been established as a part of the public street system of the city, but is not an improved roadway. The resolution adding it to the public street system was passed in 1998 and states that when funds were available the City would take whatever action was necessary to lay out, grade, construct, and maintain a sufficient street, however, funds have not been available. Councilman Johnson advised council that when improvements were being made to the drainage in the area, the City was required to bypass Mr. Autrey’s property and dig a second ditch on public right of way along his property line because he did not want us to clear the brush in the existing drainage ditch. Mr. Autrey stated he did not want the City on his property doing any clearing. Mr. Autrey advised council that he wanted the City to cover up their ditch since the ditch on his property was actually providing the drainage. Councilman Johnson informed Mr. Autrey that the City had no plans to cover up their ditch without assurance that adequate drainage would be provided to the area. The Mayor advised Mr. Autrey that the City would like to work with him on his request, but he was going to have to work with us. Councilman Johnson stated that Thomas & Hutton could probably provide us with information about the drainage. Mayor Rozier advised Mr. Autrey that he would set up a meeting with the engineer, and he, along with Councilmen Wedincamp and Johnson, would discuss the matter with them to determine which ditch was draining the area and after obtaining this information council could then consider his request.
Council was informed that the City has received information from First Chatham Bank regarding our participation through their bank in the Georgia State Pledging Pool Program in which depository institutions may now establish a pool of collateralized securities pledged to public deposits. This program was made possible with legislation enacted by the Georgia General Assembly effective in January, 1999, but this pooled approach is optional at the discretion of the bank and the public depositors. Council was advised that the State of Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services has contracted with GBA Services, Inc. to be the administrative agent for the purpose of approving substitutions and withdrawals of pooled collateral pledged to public deposits. The information provided by First Chatham Bank which includes details about the program and a copy of the actual legislation has been reviewed by Chris Lightle with Karp, Ronning & Tindol, the City’s current auditing firm and stated that he does not feel there would be any problems with the City participating in the Georgia State Pledging Pool Program. Councilman Tyler made a motion to authorize execution of the “Public Depositor Election Form” by the Mayor for participation in the pledging pool through First Chatham Bank. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised council that Paula Morris, Vice President of First Chatham Bank, has asked that the City allow their bank an opportunity to assist in our banking needs for the general and money market accounts. Ms. Morris provided some general information for council’s review. It was noted that First Chatham Bank has provided the highest interest rate quotes on most of our certificates of deposit for about 18 months and we currently have one money market account and the payroll account with the bank. After discussing the bank’s request, Councilman Ray made a motion to move these accounts to First Chatham Bank. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed a request from Jimmy Kerby for the release of a certificate of occupancy for the residence he constructed on Adams Road. It was noted that on February 17th, council approved the extension of a 2” sewer service main down Adams Road to property owned by Brandon Paul to serve this residence proposed for construction by Jimmy Kerby provided the extension was installed as shown on plans submitted by Stevenson & Palmer Engineering and approved on the City’s behalf by Southeast Engineering & Environmental. On March 3, 2005, council agreed that before acceptance of this sewer main extension, Jimmy Kerby’s engineer must provide a letter to the City certifying that the sewer main extension has been constructed as shown on the plans and during construction that Southeast Engineering & Environmental must oversee the project on the City’s behalf to insure its compliance with the approved plans with the expense of these fees being the responsibility of Mr. Kerby. Letters were mailed to Mr. Kerby and to Toss Allen with Southeast Engineering outlining this information. Mr. Kerby does not have a letter from Stevenson & Palmer Engineering providing certification that the sewer main extension was constructed as shown on the plans; however, he has submitted a letter from Thomas B. Terry with Southern Champion Construction, Inc. providing his comments regarding the sewer line extension. Mr. Kerby requested that the council authorize the release of his certificate of occupancy with this information rather than a letter from his engineer. Councilman Ray asked if Mr. Terry was an engineer, but was advised by Mr. Kerby that he was not an engineer, but was involved in the construction of the sewer line. Councilman Ray asked why his engineer was not providing the letter as requested. Mr. Kerby stated that according to his engineer, this was something that the contractor who installed the line should provide since it was his responsibility to install it as designed by the engineer. Councilman Waller asked who had made the hook ups at both ends and was advised that the City’s water/sewer personnel made these connections. Councilman Tyler asked if Southeast Engineering had inspected the line. Mr. Kerby stated that he had tried to contact the engineer and left the trench open one day, but he did not think the engineer looked at the work, but Ernie checked it. Mr. Kerby stated that if necessary, he could dig up portions of the line for the engineer to check. Councilman Tyler asked Ernie if the line looked alright to him. Ernie advised council that it appeared to be installed as shown on the plans. Councilman Tyler expressed his apprehension about approving a line that had not been inspected by our engineers and asked Attorney Dickey how the City should handle this matter. Attorney Dickey stated that council would have to use their discretion about approving this request, but his concern would be the handling of similar situations in the future. Councilman Johnson stated that he was also concerned that the steps that were outlined by council were not followed. Councilman Myrick advised Mr. Kerby that he was not questioning his contractor’s ability to install the line, but felt that a procedure had been established by council and should have been followed. Mayor Rozier stated that he saw the lines and felt that we should give Mr. Kerby his certificate of occupancy. Council continued to discuss their concerns about not having an engineer’s certification that the lines were properly installed. After this discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to grant the certificate of occupancy, but to require Mr. Kerby to contact Toss Allen with Southeast Engineering and have him provide the City with a letter verifying the construction of the line as outlined on the plans even if it required him to do spot inspections with any expenses involved in obtaining the letter to be the responsibility of Mr. Kerby. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion. The motion passed with affirmative votes from Council members Johnson, Ray, Tyler, Waller and Wedincamp. Councilman Myrick voted against the motion and stated that he felt the procedures should have been followed during construction of the line and both engineers should have provided the letters based on their inspections during the installation.
Councilman Johnson reported that after a review of the increases in the cost of pipe and in consideration of increases in other related expenses, it has been determined that the City is not recovering its cost for the installation of driveways at its current rates. It was noted that the current rates were adopted in January, 2002. Councilman Johnson proposed the following rates for driveway installations requiring drainage pipe:
Concrete pipe (16’minimum width)
$27.00 per foot – 15”
$29.00 per foot – 18”
$31.00 per foot – 15” Elliptical concrete pipe
A.D.S. pipe (20’ minimum width)
$20.00 per foot – 15”
$23.00 per foot – 18”
$28.00 per foot – 24”
General Maintenance Supervisor, Fett Burke, stated that the rise in the cost of pipe was the main reason for the increases. Council agreed that the City needed to recover its costs for these installations. Councilman Johnson made a motion to increase the rates for driveway installations effective October 1, 2005. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Mayor and members of the General Services Committee had met with representatives from Republic Waste Services, Inc. last week and they had requested council’s consideration of an amendment to their current contract to address the addition of a fuel surcharge. It was noted that the current contract expires in February, 2008. The council discussed their request and members agreed that some adjustment would be warranted due to the higher than anticipated fuel costs. Councilman Johnson pointed out that the current contract allowed for up to a 3% annual increase which Republic has indicated they will be initiating and he was recommending that we allow for an additional 4% increase to help cover the fuel costs. There were concerns expressed about locking the City into this figure for the duration of the contract in the event that fuel costs dropped. After additional discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to add an addendum to the current contract to allow for an additional 4% increase for a six month period with renegotiation of the addendum to the contract at the end of the six months. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Attorney Dickey stated that he would prepare the appropriate documents for execution by the Mayor.
Mayor Rozier reported that this concluded the items submitted by the agenda deadline of Friday, September 9, 2005.
During committee reports, Councilman Myrick reported that some changes had been made in the football/cheerleading program to eliminate the crowning of a homecoming queen due to the expense and confusion related to this event. Councilman Johnson advised council that the maintenance department’s activities during the last month included grass cutting, trash routes, road grading, limb grinder services and the installation of driveways. It was noted that the fourth class of the Police Academy is currently underway.
After a review of the accounts payable, 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 8:20pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and all council members were present at the meeting.