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Mayor and Americus City Council discuss services to be utilized by Sumter County Schools

The city’s voting agenda was set for March on 3.11.21. Demanding the most discussion was a lift station which will serve the new high school. The only county located lift station owned by the city is in the new high school and South Georgia Technical College area. The lift station is imperative to water and sewer service to the area. Although the city council was working under an impression of a previous agreement, the council received word the Board of Education (BOE) has requested the City of Americus to pay a little more than $11,000. Mayor Blount stated, “I just don’t see us putting $11,000 of city tax money (towards the lift station).” He went further to mention as the lift station ages, there will be costs associated with the upkeep and maintenance which will further add costs to the citizens of Americus. After mentioning some of the monies the BOE has received recently, Blount stated, “I just don’t see the city having to foot the bill for infrastructure they need to do.” Nelson Brown reports there seems to be a lack of communication with the BOE. “I’m totally against putting the burden of $11,000 on the taxpayers based on poor communication and the city not being involved.” Kelvin Pless, Lou Chase, Charles Christmas and Juanita Wilson agreed with Brown’s sentiment. Darryl Dowdell had no input into the topic. Jimmy Skipper, City Attorney, explained the inter-governmental agreements which are required for the city to serve areas outside of the city limits. In 2020, Mayor Blount was accused by another council member of ceasing the water, sewer and gas to the school on his own accord. Mayor Blount’s actions in bringing such a decision to council and having the city attorney enter the conversation has proven to be the appropriate action as the council has had to take a vote, hold several other discussions, and have Skipper draw up inter-governmental agreements to insure there is a clear understanding between the City of Americus, Sumter County and the BOE. Council Members Christmas, Brown, Pless and Chase agreed a revised and clear agreement should be completed by Jimmy Skipper. Dowdell again had no input into the conversation.

The consent agenda for March’s meeting will include a bid for replacement of windows at Fire Station #2 at $12,900. Two alcohol licenses, one for Eleven 42 Daiquiri and Seafood and a second for H&H Meats will be addressed. Additionally, Americus Police Department will request re-bidding for a Ford 150. An invoice in the amount of $10, 326.96 for sludge removal will also be voted upon.

Up for a vote at the regular meeting will be one item. The council will vote on approving 2021 LMIG quote which would ultimately cover paving for both JR Campbell and Cotton Avenue. Although the council thought the monies would be limited to only JR Campbell, there were some left over grant funds that can cover Cotton Avenue. The exact dollar amount of covering the area was questionable so the council will have precise amounts and real estate coverage for the vote to take place next week.

Interim City Manager, Diadra Powell gave several updates on developments in the city. The beautification project on 280/Felder is moving in a timely manner, Eastview Cemetery is seeing progress, sidewalks on US19, and various other projects are being completed so new projects can begin.  Construction updates were also given to include Armory, Magnolia, HW 30, Lester Lane and Sun Valley Drive.

In closing, representatives mentioned the work taking place on beautification/community projects by both volunteers and city workers. Blount reports receiving many positive the remarks from visitors. Mayor Blount encouraged the ongoing efforts to progress in this manner. Lastly the mayor congratulated the Sumter County Development Authority on bringing yet another industry to town, Hardee Foods. “They will be constructing a 200,000 square foot building, and when fully operational will be employing 84 people, that’s another win for our community. Certainly, thankful for the efforts of Rusty (Warner) and the PDA for putting that deal together. That’s 3 new companies who have announced locations in Americus and Sumter County in the last 4-5 months, so we are very thankful and appreciative of those businesses coming to our community and jobs they are creating for our folks.”

Council then adjourned into executive session. The voting meeting of mayor and city council will be next Thursday, 3/18/21 at 6pm.