Americus City Council holds monthly agenda-setting meeting

Published 7:51 pm Monday, September 18, 2023

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AMERICUS – On Thursday, September 14, the Americus City Council (ACC) held its monthly agenda-setting meeting. At that meeting, Joe Kellam and Clint Sizemore spoke to Mayor Lee Kinnamon and the city council concerning Ameri-Green Environmental Recycling’s ability to handle all of the city of Americus.

Sizemore stated that he realizes there is a belief out there that Ameri-Green is not large enough to handle all of the city of Americus, but he went on to say that they are available 24 hours a day and that they will be able to service all of Americus.

Sizemore added that his company is currently serving four counties.

The ACC also discussed the Proposed 2023 millage rate. Twany Edwards stated that the rate that is being proposed is 11.12, which is the same as the 2022 proposed millage rate. “This is the actual ordinance to adopt after the public hearing to receive citizen comment on the standing of the 2023 millage rate,” Edwards told the Mayor and the ACC. “The rate will remain the same as the 2022 millage rate at 11.12. Our ordinance stating the millage rate for the 2023 tax digest for the Mayor and the city council of the city of Americus specifying the roll back rate and certified by the Sumter County Tax Commissioner and reported to the state of Georgia and establishing the free report exemption for tangible, personal property,” Edwards said. She went on to say that the Mayor and the City Council are required to set the millage rate for the 2023 tax digest and that finance is making a request for the suspension of rules and the initiation of this action this month to insure compliance with the tax bills for 2023, which is due on October 20, 2023.

City of Americus Finance Director Dedra Powell stated that there will be a public hearing on the matter at next Thursday’s meeting and stated that the ACC is not required to have two public hearings if the millage rate is not being raised.

Powell added that the budget work session the ACC had last year could be considered as the ACC’s first public hearing should there be a need for two public hearings because in the budget work session, they discussed the millage rate and that it wasn’t going to be changed.

Council Member Juanita Wilson asked Powell if the ACC can suspend the rules and then pass the millage rate. Powell replied that they could do that after the public hearing.

In other news from the ACC’s meeting, City of Americus Fire Chief Roger Bivins went before the ACC to request the approval to purchase a Ford F150 truck. Bivins stated the ACC had actual approved the purchasing of this vehicle last month and that he was there requesting the procession of the P.O. for the purchase of the truck. The ACC had already unanimously approved the Purchase of the Ford F150 at its agenda-setting meeting on August 17.

The ACC also heard from Roger Willis, who requested the adoption of a resolution to file a transit grant application. “This is a resolution that y’all should consider adopting,” Willis told the ACC. Mayor Kinnamon asked the City Clerk to put Mr. Willis’s request on file for consent, which means it will be voted on at the ACC’s next meeting on Thursday, September 22.

The ACC also heard from Howard Tibbit, the Jacobs Project Manager, who was requesting the approval and addition of Amendment No. 30 to the agreement for the Waste Water Operations, Maintenance and Management Services with CH 2M.

“This year, unfortunately, we are asking for a 4.7 % increase,” Willis told the ACC. “The cost of electricity, chemicals, all goods and services have sky rocketed, so unfortunately this year, the increase that we’re asking for is 4.7 %.”

Willis elaborated further that everything that his company pays for has gone up more. He gave one example that the amount of money to run the Mill Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant, the power bill was $9,000 a month is now $12-13,000 a month. Dedra Powell responded by saying that the city’s goal is to not increase the usage rates, but to increase the base fees, which should have been adjusted annually, but they haven’t done that. “We’re looking at base fees across the board,” Powell said. “The cost of everything is getting higher, but we haven’t changed anything. We looked at Vienna and places like that that are twice as higher, or two times what we’re talking about,” Powell continued.

The ACC also heard from the city’s Director of Public Works Mike Sistrunk, who was requesting to purchase a new Jetvac Truck from Vacutek for the amount of $504,000.00. Sistrunk stated that for the last year or so, his department has had issues with their current jetvac truck. “This is something that we have to have for the city,”Sistrunk told the ACC. “We are in desperate need for it.”

Twany Edwards stated that she has done a lot of research on this issue and that in her opinion, it would be better for the city to lease this item for five to seven years. She added that the estimated cost will be about $88,000.00 a year. Sistrunk went on to describe what the jetvac truck does and how it works. He stated that they use the jetvac truck to do the least amount of damage to a road as possible and that it actually sucks the material out without having to dig a wide area to do it. “It can actually suck the dirt and material out to get us to the pipe and repair it,” Sistrunk said. “It does it for sewer backups in peoples’ homes. It multitasks. This truck has many options on there that even our old truck doesn’t even have.”

Edwards stated that the city cannot use the regular GMA to finance the jetvac truck and that the money needed to purchase the truck is not in the general fund. Edwards went on to say that if Sistrunk is allowed to purchase the vehicle, she will have to make a payment in November or December of 2023. Mayor Lee Kinnamon suggested that the city clerk add it to the agenda and that it be decided on at next week’s meeting.