City to have lengthy agenda at Thursday meeting

Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — There was a full house at the May 17 agenda-setting meeting of the mayor and city council. That open session lasted two hours prior to a vote to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters and appointments.
This week, according to social media, there will be another full house at the city council’s regular monthly meeting, in spite of the fact that the meeting room’s sound system is not working.
The May honorary council member, Tripp Pomeroy, invited by Council member Charles Christmas, will be introduced. Representatives from the Representatives from the GAWP will present five awards for the city’s water and wastewater plants.
Two citizens are on the agenda to address the mayor and council. Shirley Green-Reese has requested to speak concerning street paving and other concerns, and Tracy Hall has requested to speak to express concern of the recent directions chosen by council.
Other items on the agenda for Thursday include the following.
• The second and final reading of an amendment to the Alcohol Beverage License Ordinance to amend closing times for businesses to 1:45 a.m. for last call and premises cleared by 2 a.m.
• Consider approving a resolution approving the issuance of refunding revenue bonds by the Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority (PDA) for the benefit of the USG Real Estate Foundation VIII, LLC. This relates to the construction of two sets of dormitories on the Georgia Southwestern State University campus. One of the federal requirements regarding the refinancing of the bonds is that the local governing authority, in this case the city, approves the issuance of the bonds to refinance the debt of the PDA. The city has no financial liability for the repayment of the bonds, as explained by city attorney, Jimmy Skipper.
• Consider paying for repairs needed at the city’s water and wastewater treatments, at a cost of about $1 million. This includes $64,000 in contingencies which may not be necessary. The city has the money to pay for the improvements, which are required by EPA and EPD. There is $154,385 in the current budget for the wastewater treatment plant, and $262,735 budgeted for the water treatment plant. In addition, the city has $1.1 million from revenue bonds in 2010 and 2013.
• Consider purchase of a new street sweeper at cost of approximately $250,000. A lengthy discussion was held on whether to finance through a local bank or through the lease pool. City attorney, Jimmy Skipper told mayor and council that they can skip the local bids process and go to a state contract but the ordinance would have to be amended. He is to bring the amendment wording for consideration at Thursday’s meeting.
• Larry Riner, the city’s public works director, also is asking to purchase a new backhoe at a cost of between $105,000 and $115,000. He told the mayor and council that the one they have, a 1993 model, is broken and repairs will cost about $11,000. Riner said they did a “$7,000 patch-up” so current projects can be completed. He said it was in the original budget but was later taken out when department heads were asked to make cuts. The mayor said, “We’ve got to have the equipment to get the work done.” Council member Nelson Brown told Riner he wants everything in writing to “look at” before voting.
• Consider ratifying purchase of a pump for water and sewer at a cost of $16,018. Riner said the pump has already been purchased and installed because the pump went out. “Sometimes you can’t wait 30 days if the cost is over $10,000,” Riner said, referring to the city policy that purchases over $10,000 must be approved by mayor and council first. He said this pump failure occurred in February. Council member Daryl Dowdell asked why council had not been notified and said, “this is unacceptable.” The mayor reminded Dowdell that former city manager, Steve Kennedy, had the authority to approve purchases over $10,000. “It’s just an email,” Dowdell said.
• Consider approving an agreement for bio-solid procurement. Riner reported that the company the city uses, Erth Products, LLC, will pay the city $49 per wet ton, versus $47 in the last contract.
• The RMS contract for transit services expires June 30, 2018. This was a discussion item at the agenda setting meeting. It will be discussed again.
• Consider a request from Freddie L. Evans of 512 W. Church St. to be added to the city’s historic district. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has met, held a public hearing, and recommends approval. The same request has been made by Jeraldine Hoston-Holley at 504 W. Church St. Attorney Skipper reminded the mayor and council that there are criteria for property to be in the historic district. He recommended that mayor and council review the code section prior to Thursday’s meeting.
• Consider an alcohol beverage license for a change in ownership from Dimpalben Patel to Dineshkumar Patel at Pepo Food No. 4 located at 540 Tripp St. Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said they had met all the requirements and recommended approval.
• Consider approval of security updates for the Public Works Complex, not to exceed $40,000. Riner explained that the complex had been broken into twice the previous weekend and about $3,000 worth of lawn maintenance equipment had been stolen from vans, and another $7,000 worth of equipment stolen from the barn. He said two vehicles drove through the fence, resulting in damages. He also wants to install security cameras.
• Consider approving additional funding for South Jackson Street landscaping not to exceed $10,000 which will come from SPLOST. This area is around the new train depot and will be the site of the Red, White and Blues Festival on June 2. Riner said there’s about $3,000 left from the depot construction which can be used for installing irrigation and preparing the site for sodding, according to the contractor, Ricky Arnold. He said money is still available from the SPLOST budget. The mayor asked for hard numbers for Thursday’s meeting.
• Council will also consider 12 appointment to various city commissions and boards.
Two items were put on the consent agenda.
• Consider approving the water tower lease agreement amendment which sets forth the lease amount at $9,000 per year.
• Consider purchase of a new breathing air system for Americus Fire & Emergency Services at a cost of $39,870. Fire Chief Roger Bivins told mayor and council that the current system is 22 years old and has been “on its last leg for about three years.” The cost is budgeted.