The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on September 21, 2009. Mayor pro tem Rebecca Benton called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilmen Bruce Allen, Travis Cowart, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay and Stevie Wall. City Manager Robbie Byrd and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present. Mayor Mike Lamb was absent due to attending a dinner wherein an announcement was made about the “mega” site.
The invocation was given by Councilman Cowart and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Royal.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Allen, seconded by Councilman Royal, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Seay presented the accounts payable information for September, making a motion to approve the bills (August & September) that are in excess of $1500.00. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.
Councilman Allen stated that the police department responded to 1158 calls during the period of September 4th through September 17th and that the fire department responded to 130 calls this month.
STREET/DRAINAGE/ PARKS & TREES
Councilman Cowart reported that the street, drainage and parks and trees departments have performed routine maintenance and that the recycling center remains open six (6) days a week.
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant. Further, that a sewer main was ruptured by Georgia Power crews on September 15th, with repairs and proper notification made. Councilman Wall further reported that an announcement was made earlier in the day about Mitsubishi Power Plant locating on the “mega” site.
Councilman Royal reported that football games continue as well as the late summer tumbling sessions.
Councilwoman Benton reported that four (4) new single family residential and five (5) commercial permits have been issued since the last meeting, totaling 113 residential and 21 commercial permits for the year, with 3074 inspections performed year to date.
Lauren Lewis, Partnership Specialist, addressed Council in regards to the importance of Census 2010, particularly the fact that the State of Georgia is predicted to gain at least one (1) additional congressional seat, possibly two (2), and that Chatham County’s population could be large enough to be considered a “metropolitan” area if numbers reach 250,000, as also predicted. Further, that $400 billion is being spent on the Census this year, asking everyone to spread the word about this very important program, noting that there has never been a breach of confidentiality in regards to personal information being given out by the Census Department.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Second Reading on amendment to hotel/motel tax ordinance regarding definition of “permanent resident”
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the hotel/motel tax ordinance to re-define a permanent resident being any occupant who has or shall occupied any guest room for 31 continuous days or longer. Councilman Allen made a motion, seconded by Councilman Cowart, to approve the amendment on Second Reading. Motion passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Approval to exempt the potential manufacturer at the “mega” site from ad valorem taxes on imported tangible personal property held within a foreign trade zone (after being properly created and authorized)
On August 17th, Lynn Pitts of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) addressed Council in regards to a potential manufacturer (now known as Mitsubishi Power Systems) locating on the “mega” site, requesting Council to approve them being exempt from ad valorem taxes on imported tangible personal property once a foreign trade zone is authorized at the site. Councilman Cowart made a motion to approve the exemption and to submit a letter to SEDA stating such. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.
2. Acceptance of 16" water line installed along Wildcat Dam Road and passing underneath the Georgia Central Railroad
Mr. Byrd presented a request from Carter & Sloope, Consulting Engineers, for the City to accept ownership and maintenance of the 16" water main installed along Wildcat Dam Road and passing underneath the Georgia Central Railroad. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Cowart, to accept the 16" water main. Motion passed without opposition.
3. Award bid for construction of public works communications tower
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the construction of a new public works communications tower to be located on S. Rogers Street near the maintenance shop, stating that the City’s engineer has recommended the low bidder, Sabre Communications Corporation be awarded the contract. Councilman Allen made a motion to award the bid to Sabre Communications Corporation in the amount of $134,538.00. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
4. Award bid for installation of sidewalks at Gleason Park
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the installation of sidewalks at Gleason Park, stating that Fountains ‘n’ Such has agreed to reuse the pavers that were removed when trees were taken down in the park. Further, that funds will come from the “tree bank”. Councilman Cowart made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to award the bid to Fountains ‘n’ Such in the amount of $16,953.00. Motion passed without opposition.
5. Adoption of 2009 millage rate
Michelle McNeely, Finance Officer, presented information from the Chatham County Tax Assessor in regards to the roll-back millage rate proposed for the City, stating that due to regulations of the Stephens-Day Bill and the state of the economy, the roll-back millage rate is actually higher than the 2008 millage rate of 4.5 mills. Therefore, Councilman Allen made a motion to adopt the 2009 millage rate at 4.5 mills. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. Councilman Wall stated that this is the first year since the Stephens-Day Bill has been in affect that the roll-back rate has actually been higher than the previous year’s millage rate, reiterating the fact that the economy has forced property values to decrease.
Councilman Wall made a motion to add Item #6 to the agenda. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
6. Approval of alcoholic beverage license for Samir Bhulabhai at That Guys Place (located in the Quality Inn)
Police Chief C. E. Chan presented an application for alcoholic beverage sales by the drink at a new establishment, That Guys Place, stating that it is located in the Quality Inn that is now under new management. Based on Chief Chan’s recommendation, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the license without Sunday Sales. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed with Councilman Allen opposing.
Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 6:35 p.m. to discuss legal matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.
Mayor pro tem Benton called the meeting back to order at 7:04 p.m.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:04 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.