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Adel Council agrees to land swap and natural gas expansion

During the Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, meeting of the Adel Mayor and Council, members present were Mayor Buddy Duke and Council Members Terry McClain, Greg Paige, Walter Cowart, Celestine Hayes, and Jody Greene

Others present were City Manager John Flythe, City Clerk Rhonda Rowe, City Attorney Tim Tanner, Police Chief Chad Castleberry, and members of the public and press.

Councilman McClain gave the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approval of minutes

Councilman Paige made a motion to approve the minutes of July 5, 2022, as presented. Councilman Greene seconded. All were in favor.

Alcohol license (Albertana Gonzalez)

Albertana Gonzalez has applied for a license for the retail sale of beer for La Mexicana Gonzalez, located at 128 S. Burwell Ave. All fees have been paid, and there was no criminal history record found on the applicant.

Councilman Paige made a motion to approve the license with Councilman Greene providing the second. All were in favor.

Texas Road property swap

City Attorney Tim Tanner discussed with the Council the proposed real estate exchange with Williams Investment Company.

In the exchange, the City will give the existing Texas Road right-of-way consisting of approximately .305 acres and will receive real property to relocate a new Texas Road consisting of approximately .686 acres. The new tract of property will align with Alabama Road.

Tanner noted that the City will be receiving double the amount of property compared to what the City is giving.  After appraisals were completed, the value of the .305 acres is $98,000, and the .686 acres is $220,000.

This exchange is being done for the new Circle K store.

In addition, Williams Investment Company (Winco) will remove all utilities from the existing Texas Road and put in a new road. They will also build the new road out.

Tanner said this would be a two-step process. “At the next meeting, we will need to get permission to close the existing Texas Road,” he said.

There is also an option included that the properties will revert back if Circle K does not come to fruition.

Councilman Cowart made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute the swap of property. Councilman McClain seconded. The decision was unanimous.

Natural gas main expansion

The Council was advised that Valdosta Plant Company has requested the City to run natural gas to their facility.

City Manager John Flythe noted that for every 1 MCF, it takes 7 gallons of propane. He said he hadn’t checked the numbers that date, but earlier it was estimated that it would be an approximate 60 percent discount for the company to use natural gas.

Flythe asked for permission to contact MGAG (the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia) concerning the financing of the expansion project, since their interest rate is less than 3 percent. It appears that will be a four-year payback on the investment, so Flythe would like to get a four-year loan.

The City will also be asking for a letter of credit from the company for the same amount.  Each year, 25 percent would drop off from the required credit amount as payments are completed.

Councilman Paige made a motion giving authority for the city manager to proceed with the retaining of funds. Councilman Greene seconded.  Councilwoman Hayes asked what the company needed gas for, and was told they use it for their green plants; to keep them warm in the winter.

Councilman McClain asked what the next step would be.

City Manager Flythe said city officials will get the documents from MGAG, and will then have to be sure that the City has the letter of guarantee and that both entities agree. Flythe noted the price of the project has increased from $125,000 to $200,000 in six months.

After a call for the votes concerning the motion, all members voted in favor.

MEAG (Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia) Vogtle 3 & 4

City Manager John Flythe advised the Council there is an opportunity to sell part of Units 3 & 4 of Plant Vogtle, the newest nuclear power plant,  to Georgia Power. The plant is expected to be in operation at the end of the year.

The agreement contains a option that when it has reached a certain level of expenses, it gives the partners an opportunity to sell part of the energy back to Georgia Power. There has to be a 100 percent agreement among the MEAG participants in order to sell. Most cities do not want to sell, but MEAG has asked that the Adel Council vote on the matter for the record, Flythe said. Since most have voted no, he was recommending that the Adel Council do the same.

Councilman Greene made a motion that the City does not sell its interest to Georgia Power. Councilman McClain seconded. All were in favor.

Board appointments

City Manager John Flythe advised the Council there are several seats on boards represented by City appointments that have expired or are soon to be expiring. He previously sent those seats to the Council. He further noted that current members have been contacted and are willing to continue serving, if reappointed.

Those boards are:

• Airport Authority: Ted Holt – New Expiration Date, 12/31/2024 (3 year term). David Fausett – New Expiration Date, 12/31/2024 (3 year term).

• Tourism Board: Mary Sue Ward – New Expiration Date, 04/07/2026 (4 year term). Steve Schramm – New Expiration Date, 04/07/2026 (4 year term).

• Library Board: Jan Lindsey – New Expiration Date, 06/30/2025 (3 year term).

• Land Bank Board: Joey Schramm – New Expiration Date, 12/31/2023 (1 year term).

• Cook County Economic Development Commission: Buddy Duke – New Expiration Date, 12/31/2025 (3 year term). Jody Greene – New Expiration Date, 12/31/2025 (3 year term).

Councilwoman Hayes asked, “What if someone else wants to be on the board?”

Mayor Duke advised her that the person would have to be nominated.  She asked if she could nominate herself and was advised, “Yes.”

She said she wants to be on the Economic Development Commission.

After discussion with the city attorney, Councilman McClain made a motion to approve the board nominees for the Airport Authority, Tourism Board, Library Board, and Land Bank Board. Councilman Greene seconded. All were in favor.

The floor was then opened for nominations for the EDC.

Councilman Hayes nominated herself. There were no further nominations.  Councilman Paige made a motion to close the nominations. Councilman McClain seconded with no opposing votes.

The city attorney advised they would need to be voted on in the order in which they were presented. That would be Mayor Duke, Councilman Greene, and Councilwoman Hayes.

Councilman Greene made a motion to reappoint Mayor Buddy Duke. Councilman Cowart seconded. All voted in favor.

Councilman Cowart then made a motion to reappoint Councilman Jody Greene. Councilman McClain seconded. Councilman Greene abstained from the vote. Members voting in favor of Greene’s reappointment were McClain, Paige, and Cowart. Councilwoman Hayes cast the only opposing vote.

Being that two members had received the majority votes, Mayor Duke and Councilman Greene were reappointed to the board.

Dr. Treva Gear

Dr. Gear addressed the Council, stating that at the last meeting she discussed the application process, hiring process, and discriminatory data being received.

She said that after two years, she was asked to meet: “Thank you, Mr. Flythe. We met last Wednesday and talked about changes and made suggestions.” City Clerk Rhonda Rowe, Councilwoman Hayes, and Altheia Paige also sat in on the meeting.

“We talked about changes to the application, made suggestions and talked about reasons they were there,” Dr Gear said. “Statistical data was being used for other reporting processes, but not at this time. We talked about removing those or using them for diversifying staff. We talked about some standards of procedure for the departments.

“Mr. Flythe heard these things; we talked about how to diversify staff and leadership. We talked about increasing accessibility, about placing the applications online, and how the web master can help with this so we can pull people outside of Adel.”

Dr Gear said it was “a very fruitful meeting,” and added that “the Concerned Citizens Group is for the people and wants to see the City be better and for the City to thrive.” Dr Gear said they are open to meet with any Council Members: “Don’t be afraid to meet. It’s great when we can break the bread of knowledge together.”

City Manager John Flythe said he thought it was an excellent meeting as well.

Altheia Paige

Mrs. Paige said she had two parts to discuss. Concerning a light bill, her mother passed away two years ago. She had the gas and then lights turned off. Then, because of a freeze, she had the water turned off. She just got a light bill, and was charged for water and sewer.

She spoke with the city staff and was told that usage had gone through the meter. Someone from the City came over and stated the lock was rusted, and the water had been off for some time. John Flythe had advised her she needed to come before the Council, because “we can’t issue you a credit.  Although it was a small amount, any penny you have to pay over is not what we intend to do”; so she needed the Council’s approval on that.

Mrs. Paige then said that she, along with some others, had attended the Sparks Council meeting. In that meeting, she said, there was “some stuff brought up in reference to some names that was calling some stuff that had been done, that was done illegally.

“One of the guys called out our city manager’s name and that he had told him some information that one of the other Councilmen had said, which was untrue.

“I want to be on record that I did talk with the Council that night.  I haven’t addressed Mr. Flythe about it,” Mrs. Paige said, because she felt like the City Councilman’s name that was called needs to address it. That was all she had.

Mayor Duke advised it would be up to the Council on whether they want to act upon her request concerning the water bill issue. He’s not sure they know the full story, he said, adding that it would be up to her to tell them the story, or they can wait until whatever the attorney deems necessary.

City Attorney Tanner said the City Council “may need to come back after we get additional information concerning the discrepancy and the amount.”

Mayor Duke asked Mrs. Paige to allow the staff to get the information to the Council, and then they would come back and make a decision.

Ron Mozzo

Mozzo addressed the Council stating that he was here about the taxes.

He filed an appeal on his taxes this year. It was found that the Tax Assessor’s Office had no record of a screened patio he has had for 32 years, or an addition he did 15 years ago. “That’s a problem,” he said, adding that it’s not his fault. “Permits were issued on both. That is number one.”

He said the second thing is that he is retired Navy, so why should he have to pay school taxes when he has had no children in school for the last 25 years and he is 76 years of age.

“There’s a bunch of vets here in the county as well,” Mozzo said. “They should not have to pay, or either get a reduction in school taxes when they are over 75 years of age.” This was brought up to him, he said, so he’s bringing it forward.

“The permits were issued,” Mozzo said. “If a permit is issued, where does it go? It should go to the tax office.”

He said his taxes jumped from $1,200 to $1,800 for a screen house he paid $2,800 for and the addition, for which he paid $14,000. He said the County Tax Assessor never would have come to his house if he hadn’t filed an appeal. “Where is the taxation without representation?” he asked.

Mozzo added, “Veterans up north get a 30 percent discount.” Who does he go to, he asked, “the Board of Education or City Council? The average age for the City of Adel is over 55 years of age. School taxes went up $160.00 per year.”

He also brought up the school bond issue to her. “It’s been going up every year for the past 10 years,” he said. “It should be paid off by now. It’s $46.89 this year. That high school should be paid off. Just tell me what I have to do. Permits were issued on both pieces; it’s your problem, her problem.”  Mayor Duke advised Mozzo he might be better suited to talk with the school board to get some answers. The Mayor commended Mozzo for his efforts.

New Birth Ministries

Pastor Leon Roughton of New Birth Ministries at 401 S. Hutchinson Ave. addressed the Council. They want to put a tent up in the empty lot next to the Presbyterian Church to bring people in. They’ve had great success with young people, and they want to continue that, Roughton said. They are also feeding them on Sundays. They “want to reach out to the community and grow the community and let the Lord have his way.” They have a tent someone is going to let them use.

Roughton doesn’t have a date for the events at this moment.

Mayor Duke said city officials would need to know the time and date of his events, and the number of days he wants to have the tent revival.  Roughton said they wanted to do it maybe three nights to let people know they are there.

Mayor Duke said he would ask City Manager Flythe to look into any certain requirements. Duke asked Pastor Roughton to let the Council know when they had some additional information.

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