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Americus Mayor and City Council set agenda for July meeting

Mayor Blount and the city council met to set the agenda for the regular July meeting on Thursday. 7.16.21. All the council members, except for Daryl Dowdell, were present by Zoom. The council covered an agenda of 24 items, most of which will go onto the consent agenda. What is a consent agenda? The Council of Nonprofits offers a simple explanation. “A consent agenda groups the routine, procedural, informational and self-explanatory non-controversial items typically found in an agenda. These items are then presented to the board in a single motion for an up or down vote after allowing anyone to request that a specific item be moved to the full agenda for individual attention. Other items, particularly those requiring strategic thought, decision making or action, are handled as usual.” For the Americus City Council procedure, as is established in Robert’s Rules of Order, a viewer might experience the consent agenda setting as an opportunity for the voting body to offer one motion and vote on various items not requiring further conversation. An example would be paying an engineering firm to complete a task which must be done for the day-to-day operation of the city. The consent agenda is established during the “working” or “agenda setting meeting” prior to the “regular” or “voting” meeting. The consent agenda usually contains the minutes of the prior meeting as well. Since the items on the consent agenda are usually regular operating items which require no further discussion, the vote is typically unanimous to approve the consent items. To place an item on the consent agenda, all voting members must unanimously agree an item can be handled in such a way. If one of the voting body opposes the placement, the item will be voted on individually. Simply put, the consent agenda is utilized to address “business as usual” items at one time, rather than offering each of them a vote, thus allowing for better time management.

Included under the consent vote for July is a proposal for engineering services required by the FCC and the Georgia Regional 10 Planning Committee to process an application for public safety to access a 700 MHz frequency. Several items related the Department of Community Affairs’ Community HOME Investment Program and a contract with Grant Specialists of Georgia will be included on the agenda. The fire department will be removing and replacing bay doors for which a vote is required. A new pricing schedule for Earth Products will be considered. Cabling and camera equipment as well as construction for the new Americus Customer Service Center located on 217 Forsyth Street will be voted upon. Construction work for the Americus Municipal Building will also be voted upon. The city will consider being the fiscal agent for the Sumter County Family Connections.

The items to receive an individual vote include 4 new/amended ordinances regarding parks and recreation, fireworks/noise, cemetery and zoning. The zoning ordinance will address the city establishing an Arts and Cultural Overlay District. Finn Street, the train depot vicinity and portions of Lee Street and Jackson Street will be included in the district. The zoning would require a board of vested individuals to be established and would allow for such activities as opening a gallery in one part of a residence while the owner resides in the living space of the same dwelling. A speedbump placed on Finn Street will receive a vote. Finalized fiscal amounts will allow the council to vote upon streetlights at Cooper Circle and Albert Avenue. Upon suspending the rules, the council will consider taking up a vote upon a new employee position to be known as Senior Management Assistant. The position will assist the city manager and serve in the city clerk’s lieu should the clerk be out of the office.

A public hearing will be held on awarding a Revolving Loan Fund to Amiais Health Family Medicine Practice in the amount of $22,500. There are two citizens slated to address council. Those are Angela Holt, CEO of Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare and Halton Peters, President of Americus Fresh. Any other citizens wishing to address council should contact city clerk, Paula Martin. The voting meeting will be Thursday, 7.23.21 at 7pm and held via Zoom. Zoom information can be found on city’s website, americusga.gov. The city can be contacted by phone at 229.924.4411.