City to review building fees ordinance
By BETH ALSTON
AMERICUS — At its regular monthly meeting of Aug. 21, the Americus City Council voted to discuss the possibility of changing the ordinance dealing with payment of building permit fees. This came after the Rev. Larry Sims, pastor of Union Tabernacle Baptist Church, had addressed the mayor and council at its agenda setting meeting.
Sims has requested the city to waive the fees because the church is in “partnership” with the city, having sponsored several ministries and events for the community. The waiver concerns the building permit fees of $10,713.60 and fees for water tap for for 6-inch and 1-inch line plus meter. Mayor Barry Blount had explained at that meeting that all the other churches in the community are also partners and they all had to pay the fees.
At the regular meeting, Council member Nelson Brown moved to waive the fees. The motion died due to lack of a second. Council member Juanita Wilson said they need to take a closer look at the ordinance and update it. Brown made the motion which was seconded by Wilson. City attorney Jimmy Skipper said any change in the ordinance would require two readings before approval. There was some confusion as to exactly what Brown’s motion had been so Skipper asked him to restate it for the clerk. Brown said his motion was to discuss amending and changing the ordinance. Council members Brown, Wilson, Carla Cook and Shirley Green Reese voted yes with Council member Lou Chase voting no. Council member Walton Grant was absent.
Sumter County Schools Superintendent Donnie Smith was recognized as Honorary Council member for the month. The mayor also recognized the exchange group fro Miyoshi City, Japan.
In other business, the Council took the following actions.
• Approved payment of $14,384.30 to Sumter County for the City’s share of the landfill closure.
• Approved a loan to Cafe Campesino in the amount of $40,000. The business plans to open an upscale coffee shop downtown.
• Approved a bid for uniforms for City workers from Cintas Corporation.
• Approved an alcoholic beverage license for Ardley Burton Cusack for the sale of beer off premises at Longshot Provisions, 114 Cotton Ave.
• Approved the purchase of 35 body cameras from Taser International in the amount of $24,993 for the Americus Police Department. This item is in the budget.
• Approved the purchase of 12 tasers from Taser International in the amount of $13,030.62 for the Americus Police Department. These will be paid for in part from a grant.
• Approved awarding a bid for HVAC for the Customer Service Center to Parker’s Heating and Air Conditioning, in the amount of $8,334, using SPLOST funds.
• Approved contracting with Northwestern Benefit Group to provide health insurance broker service for the City for $40,000 per year for five years.
• Approved paying $15,000 for improvement of infrastructure (new hangars and a road) at Jimmy Carter Regional Airport. Sumter County is also paying $15,000. The rest comes from a Georgia DOT grant and TSPLOST funds.
• Approved appointment of Tom Harrison to the Land Bank Authority to fill the term of Dan McGowan, who resigned.
• Approved appointment of Freida Gardner to the Americus-Sumter County Hospital Authority to fill the term of Connie Blanchard, who resigned.