City moves to collect half-million in delinquent storm water feeds

Published 1:37 pm Saturday, June 22, 2019

By Beth Alston


AMERICUS — The Americus mayor and city council met Thursday and accomplished a lot after its lengthy agenda setting on June 10. Council member Nelson Brown was absent.

On Thursday, the council approved the following consent agenda.

  • A bid from E. Kinnebrew Contracting Co. for $17.800 to install a new trash enclosure to house the dumpsters and grease traps behind Baldwin Alley. This will bring the parking lot are up to code, according to Qaijuan Wills, Main Street director.
  • A resolution approving the policies and procedures for the 2019 Community Home Investment Program (CHIP).
  • A resolution approving a Language Access Plan for the 2019 CHIP.
  • A resolution approving a DCA Section 3 policy.
  • The contract of Grant Specialist of Georgia Inc. for the 2019 CHIP.

In other business, council took the following actions Thursday.

  • Unanimously approved a $700 after tax amendment to the city manager’s contract for use of his personal vehicle on city business.
  • Heard the first reading to the Utility Service Ordinance which will include storm water fees in debt collection. The ordinance states that if a customer has not paid natural gas, water, sewage or storm water fees, all service will be cut off until paid. If approved by the council in July, the change will be effective Sept. 1. City Manager Charles Coney told the mayor and council during the work session that almost $500,000 is owed in storm water fees by city customers.
  • Decided not to purchase SeeClickFix, at a cost of just short of $10,000 a year, a program that allows citizens to report various issues directly to the department heads. Council member Daryl Dowdell said he was not against the idea but wants to wait on next year’s budget, as the city is already facing a $400,000 budget deficit. Council member Lou Chase echoed Dowdell’s concerns, as did Council member Charles Christmas. Council member Juanita Wilson said she would rather wait and look at the expenditure during the budget preparations later this year.

Mayor Barry Blount said the matter would come back up during the budgetary meetings. City manager Coney said that even though the amount of the expenditure is less than what is required for him to seek permission from the mayor and council, he brought it to them because it was important for them to hear.

  • Approved the following reappointments.

— Tom McFarland to the Lake Blackshear Regional Library Board.

— Terrance Clemons to the Lake Blackshear Regional Library Board.

— James Miles Jr. to the Alcohol Review Board.

— Paul Joiner to the Alcohol Review Board.

— Krystle Hannibal to the Alcohol Review Board.

— Mark Tyler ­to the Alcohol Review Board.

The honorary council member, Raymond Tookes, invited by Council member Dowdell, was recognized with a proclamation.

Jim Livingston, new executive director of the River Valley Regional Commission (RVRC), addressed the mayor and council about the 16-county area served by RVRC. He said there are two big projects on the horizon and they will need the support of local governments. The first is the TIA (transportation tax) which was approved by the voters of the region and has raised millions in revenues used to fund transportation projects. The current TIA sunsets in 2022, and Livingston told the city leaders that the RVRC will need their support in getting the new TIA approved for the future.

Livingston also mentioned the 2020 Census, and the important of the city having a Complete Count Committee which will work toward making sure every person is counted as federal tax dollars are contingent on Census numbers. He said that 9 percent of the county’s population live in “hard to count communities,” while 31.2 percent of the households don’t have any Internet access or only dial-up. The 2020 Census