Wayfinding, garbage, airport wildlife and potholes: city council addresses issues

Published 1:45 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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Tracy K. Hall

Mayor and City Council of Americus met for their regular meeting on Thursday, May 18, 2023, in the public safety building. As was expected, all the items on the consent agenda were unanimously approved. Items on the consent agenda included a salary study, fire department reallocation of funds, Sun Valley storm drain repairs, and alcohol licenses.

The rules were suspended, and 1411 Parker Street was rezoned from residential to industrial by a unanimous vote. The food truck ordinance saw its final reading and the council also unanimously approved. Lastly, the council approved up to $60,000 to pay for half of the fencing needed at the airport. The airport is experiencing wildlife issues, with deer being the primary danger. Deer are using the airport to “pasture” and two landing accidents have happened secondary to hitting them. After much research the ideal solution to the issue is to fence the airport property with a six-foot chain-link fence and add an additional two feet of barbed wire to the top of it. As presented at the agenda setting meeting, the request indicates half of what it cost at the time of presentation. The Sumter County Board of Commissioners agreed to pay half of the cost. In between the agenda setting and the regular meeting, more federal funding was identified, and the cost could be substantially lowered to Sumter County taxpayers. What was over $100,000 could cost about $18,000. However, the deal was not completed and needed legal review to determine the exact amount. In the name of expediency, the council decided to approve the original requested amount, with the knowledge the cost to the city could be much less, around $9,000. The City of Americus will know more about the actual cost sometime during the week of May 22, and with an approval already on record, the airport will have the authority to go forward on the project without having to wait until the next council meeting.

Alicia Ledbetter of One Sumter presented wayfinding signage and a budget consideration for the 2024 city budget. Wayfinding signage is uniform in presentation and will help a traveler get around in the municipalities within the county. As an example, GSW has uniform wayfinding signage that lets the visitors to the campus find particular buildings. This would work in much the same way. Alicia indicated other municipalities in the county are strongly in favor of the signage and One Sumter has done a great deal of leg work on the project to help it come to fruition. She suggests it might cost the city approximately $50,000 and One Sumter can offer the city $10,000 towards the project.

Steve Edwards and some of his coworkers at Waste Management presented before the council. They have created an informational “post card” which will be mailed out to customers detailing what a resident can rely on them to pick up in way of yard waste from their home. Steve and his coworkers were asked several questions and fielded several concerns to include how to get in touch with them as well as the procedure for contractor yard waste versus the typical yard waste a resident makes. Waste Management is not to pick up contractor yard waste, and should they feel a contractor has left waste behind, there is a procedure to get in touch with the city to determine if or when they can retrieve it. At current there was a dispute if yard waste was made by a resident or a contractor at a residence in Daryl Dowdell’s district. At the end of the discussion, it was determined Waste Management followed protocol and as soon as the city requests the waste to be picked up it will be completed. Please be mindful of the forthcoming information as some of the services residents have grown used to are not included in the waste contract and the city intends that the citizens will not have the services which fall outside of the scope. An example of such is Waste Management will no longer be picking up trash that is not in the bin. They will also be following their contractual obligations more closely as it relates to yard waste. In the past Waste Management was more liberal in their collection policies and collected waste which might not meet the criteria. The city has limited the company to pick up only what the contract indicates, leaving some customers/residents without the service they have grown used to out of the trash company. Residents should expect to have to cut their yard waste to certain lengths, bag their yard waste, and not have trash picked up that is not in the bin. Some items which have been picked up in the past will be left to the resident to dispose of at the dump themselves. If the resident has any questions, they are instructed to contact the customer service center of the City of Americus.

In closing comments Daryl Dowdell spoke on behalf of a resident in his district who had suffered a blown tire and cracked rim secondary to a pothole within the city. The resident attempted to make an insurance claim with the City of Americus, however it was denied. Dowdell suggested the costs be absorbed by the city in some fashion. Other council members indicated residents in their districts also had suffered car damage due to potholes. Mayor Kinnamon polled the council for consensus on the city paying for the damage, but the council members were not forthcoming. Finally, the mayor indicated the subject could be revisited next month.

Mayor Kinnamon chose Diane Hall to give the invocation for the meeting. He also chose Punit Kapadia to serve as the Honorary Council Member for the month of May. A proclamation was awarded Kapadia. Another proclamation acknowledging Mental Health Awareness Month was also awarded.

The June agenda setting meeting is scheduled for June 15, 2023, at 6pm in the public safety building. The meeting can also be seen via Zoom.com. Please visit the city website to learn the meeting ID and password to join in this manner. All meetings are open to the public.