February 1, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. Mayor Tipton recognized Councilman Billy Strozier who presented the Outstanding Citizen Award to Eli Stafford for the month of January. Councilman Strozier stated that Mr. Stafford was very active in his church and in area civic organizations and he was someone who was willing to help with any project that would make Bloomingdale a better place to live. Councilman Strozier pointed out that Mr. Stafford was currently serving as the Grand Master Mason of Georgia and congratulated him on his appointment. Mr. Stafford thanked Councilman Strozier for selecting him for this honor and expressed his thanks to the Mayor and City Council for the good job they were doing in Bloomingdale, not only for the citizens, but also for the churches in the City.
Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 18, 2007 meeting and the motion was seconded by Councilman Strozier. The motion passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the agenda for the February 1, 2007 meeting with the following changes: 1) to remove Clarence Godbee from the agenda at his request, and 2) to add a personnel issue to the executive session at the request of Councilman Myrick. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized William McCarty who presented for council’s consideration the appointment of Martin Collins to the Ethics Committee as his and Karl Johnson’s choice as the third member. After a brief discussion in which councilmembers indicated the all knew Mr. Collins and did not need to meet with him, Councilman Strozier made a motion to accept their nomination and appoint Martin Collins to the Ethics Committee. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Latrelle Kling who presented the following items for discussion: 1) Ms. Kling advised council that she had checked with the state and found there were no requirements regarding the storage of audio tapes of meetings and asked if there was a specific number of citizens that the Mayor would require on a petition to request that future meetings be tape recorded. Mayor Tipton informed her that even one signature of a citizen would be taken seriously. Those citizens who asked to go on record in support of tape recorded council meetings were Barbara Griffin, Linda Purvis, Bethany Culver, Eutween Griffin and John Heerema; 2) Ms. Kling asked for an update on her letter asking for review of a zoning code violation at #4 E. Highway 80. Mayor Tipton recognized Chief Gossett who reported that during his department’s site visit to this location he found there were fifteen (15) vehicles lined up across the front of the property along with a backhoe, a wrecker and a few other vehicles that were not for sale also parked on the property. Barbara Griffin advised the Mayor that she had recorded the number of vehicles that were parked on this lot for several days and had taken photos and there were more than 15 vehicles on the lot at one time. Mayor Tipton advised Ms. Griffin and Ms. Kling that if they had additional information on this issue for council’s consideration it should be presented to the City Hall; 3) Ms. Kling questioned the purpose of the issuance of the resolution adopted by council on August 20, 1998 designating the Old Central of Georgia Railroad right of way property running from Osteen Road to Wildcat Dam Road as part of the public street system. Mayor Tipton reminded her that in previous meetings she had been advised that the purpose of this resolution was to allow for the police department to operate radar in this area. A lengthy discussion was held as to whether the portion of the railroad right of way to be used for the drainage ditch was a street or not and if it would continue to be used as an access road for property owners. Councilman Myrick explained that there would be an access road that would be used for maintenance of the drainage ditch on the south side of the ditch, but it would not be a public roadway. Linda Purvis asked if the City would still police it and was advised by Mayor Tipton that we would still police the area. Alton Griffin raised questions about the maintenance of the ditch by the county and was advised by Councilman Myrick that until the drainage work is completed it would not appear on a county maintenance list; 4) Ms. Kling asked for an update on the scheduling of the citizen meeting and the meeting with Chatham County on the drainage plan. Mayor Tipton informed Ms. Kling that the meeting with the citizens would not be held until after the City met with Chatham County. The Mayor pointed out that the engineers were currently in the process of addressing some questions that had been raised about the project that were contained in a Chatham County interoffice memorandum dated December 12, 2006 of which we had not received a copy of until the last council meeting when Ms. Kling furnished one to the City. Mayor Tipton stated that the engineers should have this information by the next meeting and once their review has been completed the City will schedule the meeting with Chatham County. Alton Griffin commented that he felt that all citizens should have input on the drainage ditch and Councilman Rawlings agreed. Mary Mitchell stated that she felt that the Planning & Zoning Commission should have been involved in the proposed drainage plans as this would have an impact on future development. Mr. Kling asked if the City would have any problem with a citizen being present at the meeting to observe, but not to participate in the discussions, if this was agreed to by the county. Neither the Mayor nor council raised any objections to a citizen being present, but Mayor Tipton pointed out that this would depend on how the county wanted to handle the meeting; and 5) Ms. Kling stated that she had asked that the Ethics Committee membership be added to the agenda because she felt there were some problems that needed to be addressed related to councilmembers having conflicts of interest on items being discussed by council.
Mayor Tipton recognized Fire Chief Ferman Tyler who reported that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department had just undergone an audit conducted by the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council and they passed with flying colors. Chief Tyler stated that there were a few training issues that had to be addressed, but pointed out that there is nothing wrong with the department’s accreditation. Chief Tyler advised council that the questions that had been raised about the pension plan has nothing to do with their accreditation, but stated that since there could be pending litigation related to this issue he could not make any additional comments. Councilman Rawlings expressed his appreciation to the members of the fire department for their assistance in last year’s Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful Campaign.
Council reviewed a request from Kenneth Atchley to operate the office of a painting & home improvement business from the residence located at #1502 E. U.S. Highway 80. It was noted that the owner of the property, Gail Brantley, has provided written permission for the operation of the office from this location. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the City had previously had some problems with this same type business and wanted to make sure that the only thing being done at the residence would be office work. The Mayor recognized Mr. Atchley who stated that he would not be bringing any left over supplies to the residence and would not be washing out any paint containers or brushes at his home. Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and issue the home occupation license to Mr. Atchley as requested. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented a request from Paul Gaunt to operate the office of a Snap on Tools business from the residence located at #807 E. Highway 80. The owner of the property, Walter Cason, has provided written permission for Mr. Gaunt to operate the business from this location and to park the vehicle he uses at Mr. Cason’s residence at #809 E. Highway 80. Council questioned Mr. Gaunt about the business and he stated that he would only have one truck, but due to space problems he would be parking the truck at #809 E. Highway 80. Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and to issue the home occupation license as requested by Mr. Gaunt. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that the City has received a request from Quality Irri-scape, Inc. for council’s determination on whether they can operate their type of business from the property on Adams Road located between the City’s maintenance shop and the well site. The property is zoned C-2 which allows a contractor equipment/material storage business as a “conditional use”. Council was informed that their business will be operated from a 70’ x 40’ combination office/shop area building to be constructed on the property with a storage yard for small equipment and materials in the rear. Mayor Tipton recognized Glenn Pope who explained that most of the heavy equipment would be parked at job sites, but there would be some dump trucks, trailers, and employee vehicles parked on the property. It was noted that if council determines that this type business would be allowed, the owner understands that the zoning ordinance will require them to submit a site plan to the Planning & Zoning Commission for approval prior to obtaining their building permit. After this discussion and review of the information provided by Quality Irri-scape, Inc., Councilman Myrick made a motion to allow the type business discussed as a “conditional use” on the property located on Adams Road between the maintenance shop and the well site. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City’s current electric energy franchise agreement with Savannah Electric & Power expires on February 5, 2007. Our current electric energy provider is Georgia Power and they have submitted a request for the adoption of a new Ordinance Granting Franchise to Georgia Power for a thirty-five (35) year period to pay the City an annual payment in the sum of money equal to 4% of the gross sales of electric energy within the City limits of Bloomingdale to include residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The current agreement covered a 20 year period, but did not include industrial customers. Attorney Dickey has reviewed the ordinance and found it to be in order, however, our charter only allows franchise agreements for terms of 20 years although the state law provides for agreements up to 50 years. Attorney Dickey stated that he was reviewing the charter and the state law and suggested that the City execute a temporary agreement submitted by Georgia Power which will allow for the extension of the current agreement for a 90 day period to allow the City time to determine the best course to take regarding the franchise agreement. Councilman Myrick made a motion to execute the temporary agreement from Georgia Power to extend the current agreement as noted, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton stated that as discussed in pre-agenda, Councilman Rawlings had pointed out that some portions of the City were being served by Canoochee Electric Co., but we do not have a current franchise agreement with them. The Mayor asked Attorney Dickey to look into this information and advise council of his findings.
Just prior to the next order of business, the City Clerk was excused by the Mayor and Diane Proudfoot took the minutes until the clerk returned.
Planning Commission Chairman Mary Mitchell presented information to council regarding the appointment of alternate members to the Planning & Zoning Commission. Ms. Mitchell stated there were currently two applicants for consideration, Lucy Hamm and Gerald Cook, but pointed out there were actually three positions that needed to be filled. Councilman Rawlings suggested that interviews be held of these two applicants on February 13, 2007 at 6:00pm and council agreed. Ms. Mitchell advised council that due to personal obligations, Randy Slater had requested that he be removed as an alternate member of the commission. Councilman Rawlings made a motion accepting his resignation, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Ms. Mitchell stated that if anyone was interested in serving as an alternate member of the Planning & Zoning Commission they should submit their request, in writing, to her.
Mayor Tipton stated that council had been discussing having an Open House for the newly renovated City Hall for several months, but have decided to postpone the event until after the City Administrator’s position is filled to allow that person to be involved in the event.
The Mayor reported that Attorney Dickey had requested an executive session to discuss litigation issues and a personnel issue had also been added to the agenda at Councilman Myrick’s request. Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The City Clerk returned to the meeting and attended the executive session.
At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn made motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Act, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit is attached to the original minutes.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concludes the items received by the council meeting agenda deadline of Friday, January 26, 2007.
Under committee reports, Councilman Strozier stated that the City had received their Groundwater Withdrawal Permit from the EPD increasing the City’s capacity to 0.256 million gallons per day.
The Mayor presented the accounts payable for approval with Councilman Ray making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 9:00pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting
Note: Section § 50-14-1 of the Official Code of the State of Georgia Annotated requires that the minutes shall, as a minimum, include a description of each motion or other proposal made, and a record of all votes. These minutes meet the minimum requirements. However, in an attempt to provide as much information as possible to the citizens, the recording clerk has included additional background data and discussion on the subjects presented to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.