March 7, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Reverend Leonard Daugherty leading in prayer.
The minutes of the February 21, 2002 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised the City has not yet heard from TLC Communications on their response to the Attorney’s review and comments on their proposal to install an antenna on the City’s water tank. Councilman Mike Wedincamp asked if this matter could be deleted from old business until we received a response and the council agreed to remove it from future agendas.
The Mayor reported that council is reviewing the proposed sign and nuisance abatement ordinances.
Mayor Rozier stated that he had received copies of letters sent to developers by Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc. on behalf of the City asking if they were interested in obtaining sewer capacity at the treatment plant to make a commitment by March 15th. These letters were distributed for council’s review.
Attorney Gerard reported that representatives with FTB Enterprises, Inc. had not yet submitted adequate information regarding their legal authority to assess the additional 40% “add-on” fee to outstanding fines they proposed to collect on behalf of the Bloomingdale Police Department. Attorney Gerard stated that they had referred him to Thunderbolt’s City Attorney to provide this information, but their attorney indicated he had not done any research on the matter to verify their claims. Also, the company has not furnished the proper insurance coverage and the contract lacks hold harmless and professional malpractice clauses that are basic items in any contractual agreement. Attorney Gerard advised council that until FTB Enterprises, Inc. provided this information he could not recommend the City entering into a contract with them for their services. Councilman Mike Wedincamp asked why the City would be liable for any wrongdoing of the company and Attorney Gerard advised him that if they were acting on the City’s behalf and could not legally collect these fees it would be considered consumer fraud and the City could be held accountable. Attorney Gerard was asked about the legality of the probation services charging a fee and he advised council that there was a state law that specifically addressed probation fees and a company’s authority to collect them from persons sentenced to probation by the judge.
Council was advised that the City had received a response from Bill Saxman concerning the rezoning requests for properties on Hwy 80 between Wildcat Dam Road and Patrick Ave. Mayor Rozier suggested any action on this information be tabled until council has had an opportunity to review the information. Councilman Myrick made a motion to table this matter, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had not been able to make contact with representatives from Comcast Cablevision regarding their request to discuss our franchise agreement, but since our agreement does not expire until December, 2004, he felt we had plenty of time to renegotiate our current agreement. Attorney Gerard was advised that the City has received some documents concerning the merger of Comcast Cablevision and AT&T Corporation and these will be provided to him for his review and comments.
Mayor Rozier advised council that Attorney Gerard had reviewed the contract with Republic Waste Service and outlined some questions he had regarding their proposal. The Mayor stated that he was not sure if the information submitted to Republic Waste Service and Waste Management was the same and wanted to table further discussion on this matter until he could obtain a quote from Waste Management for the same service proposed by Republic Waste. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to table discussion on this matter, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that Councilman Tyler was out of town and wanted to table discussion on the drainage problems at Oak & Maple Streets until the next meeting. Mayor Rozier reported that Thomas & Hutton had been looking into the drainage in this area. Councilman Waller made a motion to table discussion on the drainage issue, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that council needed to make a decision on the proposal from Whitfield & Butler regarding the June 30, 2002 audit. It was noted that a decision on this matter was tabled at the last meeting to allow Mayor Rozier to secure information from another auditing firm, but council needed to decide if they want to approve Whitfield & Butler’s proposal or go through a bidding process to solicit prices from other firms. Councilman Myrick asked if the City has been satisfied with their work and the clerk reported that the firm was familiar with the City’s operations, they were very thorough, and had been most helpful throughout the year on all matters related to the City’s accounting activities. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to go through a bidding process to solicit prices from other firms. The motion failed due to the lack of a second. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the proposal from Whitfield & Butler to conduct the City’s audit for the year ending June 30, 2002 at a cost of $4600. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmen Johnson, Myrick, Ray and Waller. Councilman Wedincamp voted against the motion.
Council was advised that information has been distributed for their review on two options for the financing of the fire truck. Mayor Rozier suggested this matter be tabled until next meeting so Councilman Tyler, who is also the Fire Chief, can be involved in the discussion of the financing options. Councilman Johnson made a motion to table the discussion, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The council was advised the City had received a request from Del Ferguson for a license to operate a construction business from his residence located at #390 Adams Road. The Mayor pointed out that this type license would be considered a home occupation license and council has the option to waive the required public hearing. Mayor Rozier recognized Anthony, Mr. Ferguson’s son, who was present at the meeting to answer any questions council may have regarding the business. Council was advised that Mr. Ferguson has indicated he will be using two trucks and a 16’ trailer in his business and these will be parked at the residence. The Mayor advised Anthony that a home occupation license is allowed in a residential zone provided there is no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence he pointed out that this is one of the stipulations for approval of the license. Anthony Ferguson stated they understood the City’s requirements and stipulations for the license. Based on their understanding, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Del Ferguson at #390 Adams Road, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from the Church of God of Prophecy to set up a 40’ x 60’ tent for a revival to begin March 24th and last through April 6th. The council was advised this same event took place last August and the church was asking permission to do this again. It was noted that last year council approved the permit for the tent with the stipulation that the City’s building inspector approve the electric hook-ups and the set up of the tent prior to the start of the event and with the understanding there would be portable toilets available and the church would provide the necessary traffic control. A representative from the church was present at the meeting and he indicated they planned to provide the toilets and the traffic control. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the permitting of the tent with the same stipulations as last year, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented a request from Henry Morgan to rezone two tracts of land near I-16 from residential to commercial. Council discussed this request and some questions were raised about the access from the property to major thoroughfares. Mayor Rozier stated that Mr. Morgan had indicated to him that he was only interested in placing billboards on the property., but this information was not included in the application. Attorney Gerard pointed out that once the property was rezoned any uses approved for that particular zone would be allowed on the property, so access could be an issue. Councilman Ray suggested we have our attorney look at the area involved to determine if access was available before we submitted this information to Bill Saxman for review. Councilman Johnson made a motion to have Attorney Gerard review the parcel maps provided by Mr. Morgan to determine what kind of access to the property was available before the council submitted the requests to Bill Saxman. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented an invoice from Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc. for $735 for their preparation of annexation maps that were needed for submission to legislators with the annexation resolution. It was noted that since this item was not included in the 2001/2002 budget we needed approval from council to pay the bill. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to approve said payment, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick asked for council’s consideration of the construction of a second baseball/softball field at Taylor Park. He reported that with the reduction of fields available behind the school and with only one field at Taylor Park, there were problems with scheduling practices for all of the teams and the kids were having to practice much too late at night. Council discussed several options on development of a second field at Taylor Park with Councilman Wedincamp suggesting that the bids for any dirt needed for the fields include spreading and compacting. Councilman Johnson stated he felt we needed some professional help to determine how much dirt was needed for proper drainage of the field so we did not end up with the same kind of problem we had with the football field. After a lengthy discussion, Mayor Rozier appointed Councilmen Johnson, Myrick and Wedincamp to serve on a committee to obtain some prices to develop a field and bring these back to council for discussion and approval prior to proceeding with construction. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the appointed committee and delay construction of the field until council approved the costs. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Wedincamp asked if the City had ever considered using the fences on the fields for advertising businesses as he had seen in other cities. Councilman Wedincamp was advised that we currently have three advertising signs on the outfield fence of the baseball/softball field. Joe Young stated that these signs have been posted for a couple of years.
Council reviewed a request from Ms. Billie-Jo Harkleroad with Angel Star Twirlers to rent the community building for a recital/pageant in May. Council was advised that since there is a potential problem with baton twirlers causing damage to the fans/lights, they needed to determine if it would be appropriate to rent the building knowing, in advance, of this situation and decide if the City should attach any specific stipulations to the rental. Council agreed that they needed to discuss this rental with Ms. Harkleroad and Councilman Ray made a motion to have Ms. Harkleroad attend the March 21, 2002 meeting and table discussion of this matter until that meeting. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Johnson advised council that the Ford Explorer did not seem to be in very good mechanical condition and asked that we get someone to look at the vehicle. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to have Fett Burke, Jr., General Services Supervisor, pursue getting some professional help to service the Ford Explorer. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that there have been some questions raised about the City’s firearms ordinance in regard to the distance from a highway that a firearm can be discharged. It was noted that there seems to be a difference in the state regulations and those imposed by the County and City. This matter was discussed at length by council. After this discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion that Attorney Gerard supply council with the state regulations so we can determine whether or not adjustments need to be made to our local ordinance. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council considered a request by employees to place a coke machine in the City Hall. The Mayor advised council that the cost to lease a machine from Savannah Coca Cola would be $35.00 per month, including service, and this cost can be paid through the sale of the drinks. The City would be required to enter into a lease agreement that would automatically renew from month to month until either the Lessee or Lessor gives notice to the other to terminate the agreement. It was noted that the City would purchase the drinks and stock the machine ourselves and based on previous drink sales we would need to charge at least 60 cents per drink to cover the lease fees. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to sign a lease agreement with Savannah Coca Cola to place a drink machine in City Hall with the stipulations as outlined above, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that some questions had been raised about his recent orders concerning controlled access to City Hall and the release of information to the former Mayor and council members and council agreed these matters should be tabled for further discussion. Councilman Johnson made a motion to table said matters, Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Joe Young asked council if any steps had been taken to hire another person at the maintenance department to provide assistance for the Recreation Department. He pointed out that the current budget provided labor funds for a part-time employee to help with field maintenance, cutting of the grass, weed control and other duties at Taylor Park and behind the school, but no one has been available from the maintenance department to assist him since the adoption of the budget. Joe advised council that he could use someone for about four hours a day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and with baseball season starting on April 13th there was lots of work that needed to be done. Council agreed to pursue getting someone to help him as soon as possible.
Councilman Johnson stated that there was still some concern about the condition of the football field and offered to obtain the services of a friend of his, Bill Bella, to survey the football field to determine exactly what needs to be done to this field. Mr. Bella has had extensive experience in this type work and would offer this service at no charge to the City. Council agreed to have Mr. Bella check out the field and report his findings to them for their review.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Citizen Betty Tucker asked if citizens had to get a permit from the City before they could conduct a controlled burn in the City. She stated that someone had recently contacted the Forestry Department about some burning that was going on near her home and had been advised that the City would have to be contacted about the situation. Chief Anderson stated that if the fire was already going on they may have been directing the citizen to report it to the Bloomingdale Fire Department, but Ms. Tucker indicated it was for a permit. Ms. Tucker was advised that to the best of the City’s knowledge, the Forestry Department controlled the issuance of burn permits and their permits covered anything that fell from the trees or yard clippings, but no debris or major land clearing activity. Ms. Tucker indicated she wanted to burn off an area to plant a garden. Councilman Johnson stated that he thought there may be restrictions for the burning off of land for counties having a certain population, but Citizen Dexter Shearouse stated that there were no restrictions for the burning off of land for agricultural purposes. Ms. Tucker was directed to contact the Forestry Department for a permit.
Mayor Rozier thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and recognized Planning Commission member Jackie Lowman and former council member Herman Rawlins who were present at the meeting.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn at 7:55pm. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
All members were present except Councilman Ferman Tyler who was out of town.