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City tackles Walk of Fame discussion … again

By BETH ALSTON
beth.alston@americustimesrecorder.com
www.americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — The Americus Mayor and City Council again talked about the Walk of Fame (WOF) at last week’s agenda setting session. This topic has consumed large portions of time at the October board meeting as well as the October agenda setting session.
Toward the end of Thursday’s meeting, Council member Shirley Green-Reese suggested that Council “hold off on this committee,” and that Mayor and Council need to meet and “figure some things out in detail so we don’t have this problem again.” The Walk of Fame has been meeting illegally because they have not been giving 24 hours’ notice of meetings, according to City attorney, Jimmy Skipper. They were given no direction and didn’t know of the requirement until recently. The previous time this was discussed, it was decided that the committee was to meet with Skipper to discuss Robert’s Rules or Order and to elect a chairperson. That meeting has not yet occurred.
Being that the committee’s last meeting was held without 24-hour notice, and is considered illegal under state law, any action taken during that meeting is consider null and void.
Nelson Brown immediately responded to Green-Reese’s suggestion. “I don’t see any confusion with the committee … it’s not the committee’s fault.”
Green-Reese said the committee needs to run smoothly but until it is, it should be “shut down.”
“I’m not going to be a part of putting this on the committee,” Brown said vehemently. Brown was nominated to the Walk of Fame, which Council will have to vote to approve.
Green-Reese and Brown went back and forth for a few minutes before Mayor Barry Blount said to Brown, “I’m not opposed to you being on the Walk of Fame. I am opposed to anyone sitting on this body … should not be named to the Walk of Fame … If they are nominated, they should respectfully decline. That’s my personal opinion. … We have something in place and I see no reason to change … what’s wrong is how it’s done … We should get the recommendations from the committee in August or September, and have the ceremony in September or October. Council still has to vote on each nominee. We need to move forward with the process.” The Walk of Fame nominates up to five every other year.
Green-Reese said she disagrees.
Blount said Council cannot vote during a work session and asked City Clerk, Paula Martin, to put the matter on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. Skipper said the Council will be asked to approve a letter from the mayor to the Walk of Fame Committee asking that they meet with the city attorney.
At Thursday’s 5 p.m. monthly meeting, a public hearing will be held to receive public comment on a request from Larry D. and Bettie P. Harvey to re-zone property at 1328 Crawford St. from R-1 Residential to C-1 Commercial. Josh Roth, City Planning and Inspection director, said the City’s Planning and Zoning Committee does not recommend re-zoning being that the future land use map shows it remaining residential and that every surrounding property is residential, except for two convenience stores which are zoned Neighborhood Shopping. He said the major concerns are increased traffic in the area and the land use map.
Items that will be on the consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting are the following.
• Approve resolution to open a bank account for 2014 SPLOST funds and ratifying the opening of the account at Citizens Bank by City Finance director, Diadra Powell.
• Approve a bid for $35,599 from Wade Ford in Smyrna for a pickup truck for Americus Fire & Emergency Services.
• Approve renewal of agreement with Corporate Health Partners LLC, Kennesaw, to administer the city’s wellness and health insurance program at a cost of $63.340 per year. City Human Resources director, Dee Jones, said the company plans monthly activities, health screenings, etc., and tells the city how they’re doing. “The purpose is the impact our premiums in a positive way,” she said. “It has increased employee awareness and 85.5 percent of eligible employees are participating. That rate is really good compared to the state.”
• Approve the renewal of the contract for 2016-17 Accela Permitting Program. The 15-month contract is $13,432.50 and has six users in city government, according to Josh Roth. The program computes building permits and is easy to use in the field, he said, adding that the city had about 1,700 building permits this year.
• Approve the lowest bid from Brannen for four 2016 Ford Sedan vehicles with equipment and no camera at $32,101 each for the Americus Police Department.
• Approve the lowest bid for two pickup trucks at a cost of $21,596.28 from Brannen for the city’s Public Works Department.
Items on the agenda include the following.
• Consider approval of an alcohol beverage license for Inland No. 819 at 1204 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., for the sale of beer and wine off premises. Americus Chief Mark Scott said this is necessary due to a change in ownership, and he recommends approval.
• Consider authorizing resolution for Public Transportation Assistance 5311 Program. Josh Roth explained that this is for approval of making application for 2018.
• Consider several appointments.
— The terms of Juanita Wilson, Nema Etheridge, Debra Sykes and Jackie Bryce on the Tourism Council expire on Dec. 31.
— The term of Claire Simmerson on the Andersonville Trail Association expires Dec. 31.
— The terms of Paul Zak and Lee Kinnamon on the Excursion Train Authority expire Dec. 31.
— The term of Nelson Brown on the River Valley Regional Commission expires Dec. 31.
— The terms of Elma Golphin and Shirley Green Reese on the Sumter County Board of Health expire Dec. 31.
— Daron Butler has submitted his resignation on the Americus Housing Authority. This is a mayoral appointment.