The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on February 2, 2009. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilmen Bruce Allen, Travis Cowart, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Rebecca Benton. City Manager Robbie Byrd and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The invocation was given by Councilman Cowart and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Seay.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Allen, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Seay presented the accounts payable information for January, noting that information for the remainder of the 2008 bills was included.
Councilman Allen reported that the police department responded to 1300 calls from January 16th through the 31st and that the fire department responded to 160 calls in January.
STREET/DRAINAGE/ PARKS & TREES
Councilman Cowart reported that the street, drainage and parks and trees departments have performed routine maintenance.
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant. Further, that several topics were discussed at the recent Planning Retreat, including the capacity at the wastewater treatment being increased from 2.5 mgd to 4.6 mgd, plans for an elevated water storage tank near I-16 and information regarding the City’s water withdrawal permit.
Councilman Royal reported that youth basketball games continue and that signups for baseball, softball and t-ball are ongoing.
Mayor pro tem Benton reported that one (1) multi-family permit has been issued since the last meeting, with 271 inspections performed year to date.
Mayor Lamb announced that Councilman Allen and he have just received a “Certificate of Recognition” from The University of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for satisfactorily completing the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute for Elected Officials.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Request for median cut on Pooler Parkway & Grand Central Boulevard
Craig Zuck of Thomas & Hutton Engineering Company presented a request for a median cut at Pooler Parkway & Grand Central Boulevard on behalf of Jerry Cramer, property owner. Mr. Zuck stated that the proposed median cut meets the Department of Transportation’s required minimum spacing of 1320 feet between intersections at Isaac G. LaRoche Drive (entrance to the YMCA) and Godley Station Boulevard and that it has been designed with sufficient width to provide vehicular refuge. Mr. Byrd stated that traffic lights are proposed at these intersections, but that funding sources are still being obtained. Further, that allowing this median cut before the lights are installed was not recommended. Councilman Wall questioned the need for a median cut and whether the property owners were willing to pay for a traffic light if needed in the future. Mr. Cramer replied that the two (lights) proposed at the other intersections will slow traffic enough to allow vehicles to cross through the median safely, making access to the property more convenient than having to travel past the property and make a u-turn. Councilman Wall stated that when the Parkway was planned, there were median cuts approved in the master plan and that the City did not want numerous red lights to make the Parkway appear like Abercorn Street in Savannah. Councilman Allen questioned whether the property owners should help pay for the lights, which Mr. Cramer replied that the developers, not just property owners, should be responsible for the funding. Councilwoman Benton cautioned that there are already too many median cuts. Hart Odum, representing the Towne Lake Homeowners Association, stated that the homeowners are in favor of a median cut. Robert Green, owner of Car Wash Express, noted that the roadways to the south of the Parkway were constructed so as to loop through the properties, while the roads on the north side all intersect with the Parkway, making median cuts necessary. Mr. Cramer asked Council if approval could be contingent upon the traffic lights being installed, which Mr. Scheer replied that since the installation date is uncertain, Council could not approve the request without a definite time being set. After further discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to deny the requested median cut. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed with Councilman Cowart opposing.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Approval of preliminary construction plan for a seven (7) lot commercial subdivision in the Pooler Marketplace located behind Regions Bank
Hal Kraft of Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung Engineers presented the preliminary construction plan for a seven (7) lot commercial subdivision (Pooler Marketplace), located on the east side of Pooler Parkway, behind Regions Bank. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve the plan, contingent upon EPD approval. Motion passed without opposition.
2. Approval to name road going into new recreation complex “Preston Stokes Drive”
Mayor Lamb stated that the new recreation complex was ready for its grand opening on April 4th and that after much consideration, a name has been selected for the road leading into the park. Councilman Royal made a motion to name the road “Preston Stokes Drive”, commemorating the years of volunteer service Mr. Stokes who has since passed away, provided for recreation in the City of Pooler. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. Mayor Lamb then presented Mr. Stokes’ family with a wooden sign similar to the street sign that will be placed at the park.
3. Approval of alcoholic beverage license for Colleen M. Hunter at Longhorn Steakhouse
Mr. Byrd presented an application for alcoholic beverage sales for the new corporate agent, Colleen M. Hunter, stating that Police Chief C.E. Chan has recommended approval. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the license to include Sunday sales. Motion passed with Councilman Allen and Councilman Cowart opposing.
4. Approval of revision to Education Reimbursement Policy for City employees
Mr. Byrd presented a revision to the City’s Education Reimbursement Policy, stating that a change was made to the maximum amount allowed per class, per year. Councilman Cowart made a motion to approve the revision. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.
5. Approval of revision to Harassment Policy for City employees
Mr. Byrd presented a revision to the Harassment Policy, noting that Julie Moore, Human Resources Director, has reviewed the original policy and made minor changes. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Cowart, to approve the revision. Motion passed without opposition.
6. Approval of PTO (Paid Time Off) Policy for City employees
Ms. Moore presented a PTO (Paid Time Off) Policy for employees, stating that it will provide for an all-inclusive, flexible “paid time off” program that will provide income protection for “no-fault” time away from work for full-time regular employees. Ms. Moore added that more companies are switching to this type of program, rather than “vacation” and “sick leave” programs, noting a significant savings to the City. Mr. Scheer and Councilman Cowart recommended minor changes to the Policy. Councilman Cowart made a motion to approve the PTO Policy. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
7. Approval of Personal Appearance/Dress Code Policy for City employees
Ms. Moore presented a policy in regards to personal appearance and dress requirements for City employees, noting that she has been approached by several department heads to implement such a plan. Councilman Cowart made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the Policy. Motion passed without opposition.
8. Approval of amendment to Schedule of Fees regarding multi-family building permit fee and disposal fee for tires
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the City’s Schedule of Fees stating that the increase to the fee for multi-family permits was inadvertently left out at the last amendment and that the City will now offer a courtesy to residents to dispose of vehicle tires (DOT approved) for a small fee. Councilman Allen made a motion to approve the amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
Steve Hartley, resident, addressed Council in regards to the ongoing problem with signs being placed in the rights-of-way, asking Council to consider fining business owners.
Councilman Wall presented information in regards to a recent meeting in Atlanta with the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, stating that plans are being made to allow a “right of entry” to Pooler Parkway to allow City crews to cut the grass and clean up the portion of the Parkway that is still under contract. Councilman Wall added that DOT is still in negotiations with the contractor to complete the construction.
Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss legal and personnel matters at approximately 7:20 p.m.. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.
Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:03 p.m.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:03 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.