September 18, 2008
Mayor Tipton called the meeting to order and Pastor Bryan Smith led in prayer. The minutes of the August 21, 2008 meeting were reviewed with Councilman Myrick making a motion to approve the minutes. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the agenda of the September 18, 2008 meeting with the addition of discussion of a litigation issue to the executive session. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings stated that there would be a tree planting ceremony in memory of Ann Williams held on Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 3:00pm at Taylor Park and invited everyone to attend.
Pastor Bryan Smith, on behalf of the congregation of the New Life Sanctuary, presented Mayor Tipton with a plaque of appreciation for his positive impact on the community.
Under administrative and committee reports Mayor Tipton reported that Phase 1 of the City’s Drainage Plan was well underway and the City expects to have the plans for the proposed fire department building in about 30 days. The Mayor also stated that work on a water/sewer agreement with JDH Capital and Caudell developments was underway.
Mayor Tipton reported that the minimum bids had been lowered on surplus equipment/vehicles that were not sold at our last meeting and the proposed minimum bids are as follows: 1) 1992 120-gallon propane tank ¾ full, Serial #25A0-00211 - $250 to $200; 2) Wisconsin Engine, Model VG4D, Serial #4130612 - $250 to $150; 3) Sulaire Generator (hit by lightning) - $400 to $200; 4) 1999 Ford Crown Vic, VIN #7269 - $2,000 to $1500; 5) 2001 Ford Crown Vic, VIN #9567 - $2,000 to $1500; 6) 2001 Ford Crown Vic, VIN #6468 - $2,500 to $2000; 7) 2002 Ford Crown Vic, VIN #3532 - $2,500 to $2000. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the solicitation of bids with the lower minimum bids as proposed. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilwoman Winn made a motion to remove from the table the discussion of paving work on Douglas Court. The motion was seconded by Councilman Ray and passed with six affirmative votes. City Administrator Brady reported that the cost for the re-paving of the front portion of the roadway was about $20,000, so the committee felt it would be more economical to patch the road. Council was advised that the contractor that was making the repairs to Cypress Street had been contacted about doing the patchwork. It was noted that Douglas Court is being resurfaced under the LARP program and the work is scheduled for next month, so the City needed to move forward with the repairs right away. Councilman Strozier made a motion to allow Administrator Brady to obtain prices for the repairs and to proceed with the work as soon as possible. Mayor Tipton asked if they knew how much the work was going to cost and Councilman Strozier advised him it would be approximately $10,000. The Mayor stated he felt the motion needed to include a $10,000 cap on the work. Councilman Strozier amended his motion to include a $10,000 cap on the repair costs, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizen Pat Stanfield stated she would like to ask a question and Mayor Tipton allowed her to address council. Ms. Stanfield questioned whether City property should be utilized for personal use. The Mayor asked her to be more specific. She stated that it was her understanding that a lawn mower belonging to an elected official was at the maintenance shop to be repaired and questioned whether this was ethical. Citizen Barbara Griffin commented that she was not aware of this particular situation until just now, but was concerned that employees were doing maintenance work for City officials on City time when the ditches were not being cleaned and there was other work that needed to be done. Councilman Strozier stated that the lawn mower in question belonged to him, but it was not being repaired by maintenance department personnel during office hours. Mayor Tipton stated that he had been made aware of this situation a day or two ago and had asked City Administrator Brady to look into the matter. Public Works Superintendent Ernest Grizzard stated that there was absolutely no work being done by maintenance department personnel on anyone’s personal equipment during regular office hours. Councilman Strozier advised Mayor Tipton he would like an opportunity to explain the circumstances around the lawn mower being at the shop and the Mayor allowed him to address the matter. Councilman Strozier stated that his wife had damaged a lawn mower tire while cutting the grass and he had gone to Tom Terry’s saw shop to get another tire. Steve Terry gave him a price for the tire and stated that if he would take the wheel off the lawn mower and bring it by he would put the new tire on the rim. Councilman Strozier explained to him that he had just had surgery and was not able to remove the tire, so Steve stated he would come by his house to do the work. However, Steve did not come by the house, and Councilman Strozier mentioned the matter to the City’s mechanic, James Sikes, who offered to come by and fix the tire for him. Councilman Strozier stated that he had initially agreed for him to come to the house, but after thinking about it and realizing James would be driving a City vehicle, he felt it would be best if he took the lawn mower to him at the shop to change the tire one day after work. Councilman Strozier stated that he had driven the lawn mower to the shop and told James that if he could fix the tire after work one day, he would come back and pick it up. Councilman Strozier stated that he did not feel that there was anything wrong with James fixing the tire at the shop after work hours, but if someone felt there was a problem, he would see that it did not happen again. Councilman Strozier also pointed out that for many years the City’s employees have been willing to lend a hand to many of our senior citizens when there was a need. He stated that now that he has gotten older and with his recent surgery, he felt this was something he needed some help to get done, however, he would not have handled it this way if he had any idea there would be complaints from these citizens. Mayor Tipton stated he would work with City Administrator Brady to address these concerns.
City Administrator Brady reported prices for general liability insurance for the fire department had been obtained from VFIS and GIRMA. Mr. Brady noted that after a review of both plans and discussions with Chief Tyler it was determined that the coverage offered through VFIS was more applicable to fire departments using volunteer firefighters and it was his recommendation to obtain the coverage from them. Attorney Dickey questioned whether the coverage was the same in areas of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other areas related to personnel since the department is no longer strictly a volunteer agency and is subject to compliance with state and federal regulations related to these issues. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion authorizing City Administrator Brady to proceed with the securing of liability insurance for the City of Bloomingdale Fire Department with VFIS once Attorney Dickey has compared the policies of GIRMA and VFIS to make sure the City receives the appropriate coverage. Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Dexter Shearouse, Chairman of the Planning Commission, advised council that the commission members were recommending the submission of the Partial Update to the City of Bloomingdale’s Comprehensive Plan as prepared by Lott Barber to the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Mayor Tipton recognized zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, who stated that a public hearing to receive citizen input on the plan had been held on September 9th. She further stated that the plan included the proposed land use for the entire City and she answered questions from Councilman Rawlings regarding the property along Osteen Road. After this discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve a resolution authorizing the plan to be submitted to the CGRDC & DCA. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
City Administrator Brady submitted the state recommended Flood Ordinance for council’s consideration and adoption. He noted that there were a few changes in the ordinance from those included in our current ordinance. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of said ordinance, to dispense with the second reading and to adopt the Flood Ordinance as presented. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Ray made a motion to remove from the table discussion of a request for a home occupation license from Kenneth Taschner that was tabled at the August 21st meeting because Mr. Taschner was not present to discuss the issue with council. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The Mayor recognized Mr. Taschner who stated he would be operating the office only of a business selling fiberglass storm shelters/safe rooms from his residence located at #184 Wallace Drive. Mr. Taschner advised council that the manufacturer delivers the shelters directly to the customer and there would be no storage of units at the residence. When asked if he would be doing any installation, Mr. Taschner stated he would consider the installation of units if customers requested that service. Councilman Rawlings asked him if the installation would require any special equipment to be stored at the residence and Mr. Taschner stated installation required only shovels and/or jackhammers. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license for the office only of the business to Mr. Taschner at his residence at #184 Wallace Drive. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized James & Evelyn Maddox who were requesting a home occupation license to operate the office only of a commercial construction business from their residence at #9 Walnut Street. The business will send out employees to do maintenance and repair work on heavy equipment in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Ms. Maddox stated that at this time, there was only herself and her son operating the business, but if it was successful, they hoped to have four employees. Council was advised there would be no equipment parked at the residence since only the office would be operated from this location. Being no further discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license for the office only of this business at #9 Walnut Street. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Matthew Davis & Roland Guajardo to operate a lawn care business from their residence located at #107 Oak Street. Mayor Tipton recognized Mr. Davis who stated that the business would have two employees and the lawn care equipment will be in a 7’ x 14’ enclosed trailer pulled by a pickup truck parked at the rear of the house. Mr. Davis advised council that they were both in the military and were going to be doing this work on a part-time basis. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license for the lawn care business from #107 Oak Street. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Lawrence Powell who was requesting a home occupation license to operate the office of a towing business from his residence located at #234 Wallace Circle. Mr. Powell explained that he tows vehicles for motor clubs, such as AAA, and salvage companies, but no vehicles would be stored at the residence. Council reviewed the site plan provided by Mr. Powell showing off-street parking for his tow truck. After being advised by council that the license would not allow him to bring any towed vehicles to the residence, Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the license for the office only of a towing business at #234 Wallace Circle. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The council reviewed a request from Kristy Pilgrim to operate an in-home preschool/childcare program at the residence located at #205 Cherry Street. Council was advised that Ms. Pilgrim was seeking a state license to provide the preschool/childcare program for up to seventeen (17) children, but did not expect to have that many initially. Ms. Pilgrim is renting the property and has obtained written permission from the owner to operate this facility from the residence. Since there would be outside traffic coming to the residence, council agreed that a public hearing needed to be held to obtain input from neighbors. Councilman Myrick made a motion to schedule a public hearing on this request, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Council advised Ms. Pilgrim that the hearing be advertised and she would be notified of the date of the hearing as soon as possible.
Council was advised that a request had been submitted by Glenda Key to relocate her home occupation license for a one-chair hair salon from #305 Miller Street back to #210 Cypress Street. Since Ms. Key was not at the meeting to discuss the request with council, Councilman Ray made a motion to table the request until she could attend. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton stated that the City had received a request from Kevin & Kay Heritage to renew the “medical hardship” permit for the secondary mobile home located on their property at #1230 Bloomingdale Rd. According to Dr. Troy Murphy, the medical condition of Kay’s mother, Ho Shim Shaw, still exists and she requires daily assistance from her daughter. Ms. Heritage is requesting a six-month extension of the permit as allowed by the zoning ordinance. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the six-month extension, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed Pay Request #2 for $107,199.41 from J. Hiers Construction, Inc. for work on the Drainage Improvements Alt 1/Phase 1 project. City Administrator Brady stated that Thomas & Hutton had reviewed the invoice and recommended payment. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve payment as requested and Councilman Ray seconded the motion. Citizen Barbara Griffin questioned council about a cave-in she observed along the canal and asked if the City would have to pay the contractor extra monies to repair the work. City Administrator Brady advised Ms. Griffin that until the job was completed and done to the satisfaction of the City the contractor will not receive final payment. After this discussion, the motion passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Mayor Tipton opened bids for a New Kubota Tractor; model L3400 HST, with a finishing mower, for the Recreation Department. The bids were as follows: 1) Hendrix Machinery, Inc. - $14,748 for tractor with new Land Pride 6’ finishing mower - $2,195—total bid $16,943; Emanuel Tractor Sales, Inc. - $15,385 for the tractor only; and Southside Equipment Co. - $15,800 for the tractor only. Councilman Myrick questioned why the other two companies did not include the finishing mower in their bids. City Administrator Brady stated he was not sure since all three companies were asked to bid on both the tractor and the finishing mower. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to proceed with the purchase of the Kubota Tractor with the finishing mower from Hendrix Machinery, Inc. for a total cost of $16,943. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized former mayor Ben Rozier who advised council that a company wanting to place a cell tower on his property located at #467 Adams Road had contacted him. The tower would be 130’ tall and require a 100’ x 100’ area. The tower would be placed in a wooded area that would be hidden from the view of nearby residents. Mr. Rozier stated that although there was a height restriction of 50’ on towers placed in RA-1 zones, it was his understanding that a variance had been issued for a tower to be placed on property owned by H.B. Waller that is located in this type-zoning district. Although the tower is yet to be constructed on Mr. Waller’s property, Mr. Rozier stated that he would like to know if council would consider granting a variance for him to place a tower on his property. Mr. Rozier was advised that the request would have to be presented, along with the appropriate plans and documents, to the Planning Commission for consideration before council could take any action. It was also noted that a public hearing would also be required. Mr. Rozier stated that he was not sure if the company would want to pursue the matter unless they knew if council would approve the variance. Attorney Dickey advised him that the request would have to go through the appropriate process before council could address the variance. Councilwoman Winn made a motion that Mr. Rozier submits the request to the Planning Commission at their October 14, 2008 meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizen Joey Jones presented information to council regarding the health problems that were occurring when poultry waste was being used as a form of fertilizer for the hay fields at Ottawa Farms located on Bloomingdale Road. Mr. Jones explained that on September 8th he had to send two employees home because they became sick from the terrible odor generated by the fertilizer and he had to close his office early because the smell penetrated his air-conditioner ducts. Mr. Jones stated that although he realizes that some agricultural activities are necessary, he felt that consideration should be given to residents and business owners in the immediate area. Councilman Myrick asked how long the odor continued and Mr. Jones stated it was about three (3) days, but was lessened when it rained on Thursday. Citizen Eutween Griffin stated that she could smell the odor from her residence on Church Street. Citizen Wilene Stone, whose residence is on property that abuts the farm, stated that she had filed a police report on the offensive odor because her 95 year old father, who has COPD and is on oxygen, was having breathing problems related to the smell. Questions were raised as to why it was necessary to use this type fertilizer. The Mayor recognized Citizen H.B. Waller, the owner of Ottawa Farms, who stated that there were no state or federal laws prohibiting the use of organic fertilizers and he followed EPD’s rules and regulations regarding its use and the controlling of stormwater run-off. Mr. Waller was asked how often he fertilized his hayfields with this type material. Mr. Waller stated that this material was used once a year in the fall and he had been using it for several years. Mr. Waller advised council that when he had it spread on the fields rain was in the forecast, but it did not rain. Citizen Dexter Shearouse, who also farms and harvests hay in the area, commented that the cost of other types of fertilizer had increased dramatically in the last several years and these costs along with increases in fuel prices made it necessary to seek less expensive forms of fertilizer. Mayor Tipton stated that this was a difficult situation and would like to be able to come up with a solution that would benefit both parties, but there would have to be some comprise on everyone’s part. The Mayor asked that City Administrator Brady get with Mr. Waller and the citizens to see if a solution could be worked out. Councilman Strozier asked Ms. Stone and Joey Jones if it would help if they received notification prior to the distribution of the fertilizer. Both agreed that would help and Joey Jones stated that if the work could be done on a Thursday afternoon, he was closed on Friday, so the worse of the smell may be over before they returned to work on Monday. Mr. Waller agreed to work with them on both of these requests, but noted that he did not spray if it was windy, so that would also have to be considered when he determined when to schedule the work. Mr. Waller was asked if the fields could be irrigated after they were sprayed, but he stated that the equipment was cost prohibitive. The Mayor pointed out that by giving prior notice to the residents and the business nearby and doing the work on the weekend maybe there would not be as many problems in the future as had been experienced this year. Mayor Tipton thanked Mr. Waller and the citizens for their willingness to work together on this issue.
City Administrator Brady requested approval from council to proceed with the receipt of Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) from engineers for Phase II of the Drainage Improvement Program. Councilman Myrick made a motion to allow Administrator Brady to proceed with obtaining said proposals, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that an executive session had been called for the discussion of litigation issues and possible land acquisition. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. After completion of the executive session, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to return to the general session, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Records Act, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the Friday, September 12, 2008 deadline.
Mayor Tipton presented the accounts payable for action by council. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 8:15pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers 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.