Mayor Buddy Duke called to order the Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, meeting of the Adel City Council.
Members present were Mayor 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.
Councilman McClain gave the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of minutes Councilman Paige made a motion to approve the minutes of Oct. 17, 2022, as presented. Councilman McClain seconded. Councilman Greene noted one correction to the minutes – his comment should have read that he doesn’t recall a dollar amount for “specific” projects on recreation. There were no further additions or deletions, and all were in favor of approval.
City Manager John Flythe noted that after the last declared disaster, funds became available to help with mitigation efforts. “We explored utilizing these funds for an antenna system to connect Adel and Cook County with surrounding counties,” he said. “After much discussion, it ended up with just us. We will be connected to the switch in Tifton.”
This system will result in there being no “dead spots” for emergency communication in Adel or Cook County, if they go with the system, Flythe said.
He said the amount of the grant was $1,918,507. When the project was sent out for bids, there was only one company to pick up a bid package. After speaking with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (bid awarding agency), it was re-advertised as recommended. “We still only received one bid,” he said.
He asked that the bid be awarded to Motorola in the amount of $1,667,488. The City of Adel and County went together with a $50,000 match. “The engineers have said there will be a sum total of a little over $6,500 to $7,500 that comes out of our pocket,” he said. “We will spend, all together, around $60,000 out of pocket total for over a $1.6 million dollar system.”
Councilman McClain asked if this was all inclusive. Flythe replied there would be a little expense to connect to the switch in Tifton, but the system will work independently until that is accomplished.
Glenn McCrary with Motorola was present and spoke about the system. He noted that it is a P25 communications project and the good thing is the City won’t have to purchase a switch that costs $700,000 to $800,000 by connecting with Tifton. “It is a win/win situation, and many systems are partnering together across the state,” he said. He noted, “This is a great move for public safety.”
Councilman Paige made a motion to approve the bid. Councilman Greene seconded. The decision was unanimous.
Health insurance quote
The City has received its renewal quote from United Healthcare for calendar year 2023, and it is a 3.50% change from the current rates.
A second plan was also presented that included a larger out-of-pocket amount for the employees.
The renewal quote represents a total annual dollar change from the current plan in the amount of $54,663; $49,196.70 is the total employer change, and $5,466.30 represents the total employee change.
Flythe noted the amount of this increase was “a pleasant surprise.” Councilman Greene made a motion to approve renewing the current plan. Councilman McClain seconded. All were in favor.
Bids were received for the demolition of seven dilapidated houses.
Following the submittal of bids, two of those units were torn down by the owners. The bids below reflect the demolition of the remaining five houses and are as follows:
• Wild Boar Land Management , $48,750.
• Allen’s Land Clearing, $20,300.
Councilman McClain made a motion to accept the low bid. Councilman Greene seconded. All were in favor.
Request to close alley
The City has received a request from Donnie Quick, owner of Universal Millworking, to close the alley between 213 W. Fifth St. and 215 W. Fifth St. Quick now owns the properties on both sides of the alley and asked that the City consider closing the alley.
The city manager spoke with Bruce Roberts, owner of the business south of Universal Millworking, and he is not opposed to the closing. A resolution would be required to close the alley if the Council decides to take that action; however, the city manager advised the City would need to retain an easement for utilities.
Councilman Paige asked if this was the alley beside the old shirt factory building and was advised, yes, that is the alley. Paige said he uses that alley when the train has Ninth Street blocked, and added, “I hope you guys would stand with me and not block it.”
Mayor Duke asked if there was a road on the south side, as “this has been opened forever and used as a thoroughfare.”
There hasn’t been a plat of the property presented for review. City Attorney Tim Tanner said “the City could have it by implication,” so the City would have to take action. Tanner further said that to close a street, the City would have to make a finding that it’s in the best interest of the City to close.
Mayor Duke said, “We would need to identify what is street/alley and what belongs to the City before moving forward.”
Councilman Paige made a motion to table this item until the next meeting. Councilman McClain seconded. All were in favor.
Street paving estimated costs
The City’s engineers have prepared a preliminary construction estimate for the paving of Bill Street, Ayers Street, and Lavind Way. That cost is $163,381.90.
The Council had proposed that the City utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to complete this project.
The city manager said the Council needed to advise if they wanted this project sent out for bid.
Councilman Paige said he “would like to see us move forward.” Councilwoman Hayes asked why the City had to use ARPA funds. She said she had a page where the Council voted on it for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). City Manager John Flythe said, “If the SPLOST is voted in and we get those funds, we could use it for that.” He said it is up to the Council as to whether they wanted to use ARPA funds or not. “This is what the Council had asked us to do,” he said.
Councilwoman Hayes said that “instead of giving a $400 credit to residents on their utility bills, we could give more credit if we didn’t use the ARPA funds to pay for the paving.”
Flythe explained that he wasn’t sure when the collections would start on the new SPLOST monies, pending that the vote passed Tuesday, Nov. 8, and it was approved. He said the only other option would be to borrow money, using the projected SPLOST as collateral “if you have done the paving before the money comes in; however, you would have to pay interest on the loan.”
Councilman McClain asked if the next step would be to go ahead and get bids. The city manager said that with the way pricing is changing, a bid would probably not be good for longer than 30 or 60 days. He would not recommend bidding it out if the funding source has not been identified. He also said paving would not begin until at least March or so, when it is warmer weather.
Councilman Paige made a motion to table any action until after the Nov. 8 election to determine the funding source. Councilman Cowart seconded. All were in favor.
Sharon Harnage on holiday events
Mrs. Harnage came before the Council to share good news. The Annual Tree Lighting will be held on Nov. 26. She noted that other activities have been added in this year, including roasting chestnuts over a fire pit. The City will not need to close any streets, and this event will be held the same day as the Small Business Saturday.
She noted they have teamed up with Bud Fuller, the manager of Reed Bingham State Park, who will be assisting with the activities. She also noted that the Friends of Reed Bingham group is now in Cook County, instead of Colquitt County. They had over 1,000 people in attendance at the Halloween event hosted at Reed Bingham State Park last month.
Bank account approvals
The city manager advised the Council of required paperwork that needed approval by the Council for checking accounts at Renasant Bank. The authorized signatures on the accounts will be the city manager, city clerk and mayor.
Councilman Cowart made a motion approving the authorization to open the accounts. Councilman Greene seconded with all in favor.
Councilwoman Hayes -Stated that at the last meeting, Dr. Treva Gear had asked about Jim Battle Park. She further stated that Councilman Greene had said there wasn’t a specific amount; however, she had a paper where it was on there for $150,000 to $200,000. That was the amount presented for consideration.
The city manager advised Councilwoman Hayes that this would need to be done at budget time.
John Flythe – Thanked Councilman Paige, Councilman Cowart, and Councilwoman Hayes for attending the event in Douglas, to pick up the check from the Department of Community Affairs that will be used for paving in the Industrial Park.
Flythe noted the proposed pellet mill is on the hook for the balance of the road paving. One of the requirements is that DCA has to sign off on it, so this is not a done deal yet, but he wanted to advise.
Mayor Duke – Reminded the Council of the Veterans Day event to be held on Nov. 11.
Trulieve was scheduled to have a tour of its facility at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Council was invited to attend.
There was no further business, and the meeting was adjourned.