The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on February 3, 2003. Mayor Buddy Carter called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilmen Jack Brewton, Robert Bryan, Travis Cowart, Jr., Wayne Seay, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Billie Tyler. City Manager Dennis Baxter and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The invocation was given by Mr. Baxter and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Cowart.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Cowart, seconded by Councilman Bryan, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Bryan presented bills for payment and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Councilman Wall reported on the community service program, gave the police and fire reports and presented a letter commending Chief Chan and Major Mark Revenew for assistance in a case.
Councilman Cowart reported that the drainage department is working on several fabri-forming projects for the canals and that the street department has been working on identifying streets for paving under the State’s Local Assistance Road Program.
Councilman Brewton reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance and that all parameters at the wastewater treatment plan have been met.
Councilman Seay reported that basketball is in full swing, with 19 teams participating and that baseball and softball signups have begun.
Councilman Seay reported that the first draft of the Charter is complete. Councilwoman Tyler stated that she has received a letter from Kay Sapp, Senior Citizen Director, and asked that this be brought up during the Executive Session under personnel matters.
Councilwoman Tyler reported that 43 new single family residential permits were issued in January and that the Mayor and Council recently attended the Mayor’s Day seminar in Atlanta where they met Governor Perdue.
Mayor Carter presented letters of commendation to Major Mark Revenew, Sergeant Randy Lindler, Corporal John Schmitt, Corporal Jim Ward, Officer John Reid and Officer Damon Aanerud for their hard work and diligence in bringing a perpetrator to justice.
Chief C. E. Chan stated that the police department has received State certification.
There was no OLD BUSINESS to discuss.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Approval of revised plat for Bridgewater Subdivision, Phase IV
Councilwoman Tyler presented the revised plat for Bridgewater Subdivision, Phase IV, stating that all comments have been addressed, and made a motion, based on Planning & Zoning and staff recommendation, to approve. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition.
2. Approval of Pooler Medical Campus Road drainage improvements
Mr. Baxter presented the drainage improvements for Pooler Medical Campus Road, stating that it meets all requirements. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to approve. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.
3. Release of maintenance bonds for Pooler Parkway Loop and Pooler Parkway Connector Road
Mr. Baxter stated that the inspections were made to these roads and that they have been approved for acceptance. Councilman Cowart made a motion, seconded by Councilman Bryan, to release the maintenance bonds for Pooler Parkway Loop and Pooler Parkway Connector Road. Motion passed without opposition.
4. Approval of recombination of Lots 13 and 14, Pooler Park of Commerce at Godley Station, Phase II
Mr. Baxter presented this recombination of Lots 13 and 14, Pooler Park of Commerce at Godley Station, Phase II. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to approve this recombination. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.
5. Award bid for performance of 2002 audit
Mr. Baxter presented two (2) bids for the performance of the 2002 audit, noting the low biddier, Karp, Ronning & Tindol, CPAs. Councilman Cowart made a motion, seconded by Councilman Seay, to award the bid to Karp, Ronning & Tindol. Motion passed without opposition.
6. Approval of budget adjustments for 2003
Mr. Baxter presented budget adjustments for (1) the fire department, transferring $1020 from account #53.1103 (material and supplies) to account #52.2321 (rental equipment) to cover the cost of renting an ice machine; (2) for the recreation (senior citizens) department, transferring $3300 from account #37.1005 (donations) to account #52.3931 (leisure services) for the donation to the senior citizens; and (3) for the recreation (senior citizens) department, transferring $1704 from account #57.9001 (contingency) to account #52.2201 (repairs/maintenance) to cover the costs of repairing the damages done to the new van. Councilman Bryan made a motion to approve these budget adjustments. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.
7. Approval of purchase of back up weapons and radios for police department
Councilman Wall stated that in order to meet the requirements of the State certification, the police officers needed uniform back up weapons, which were cut from the budget during the hearings last year. Further, that the purchase of two (2) radios was necessary to out fit the officers. Chief Chan reiterated the importance of this equipment. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve these purchases in the amount of $9500, to be transferred from the contingency account to the capital outlay account. Motion was seconded by Councilman Brewton and passed without opposition.
8. Approval of site plan for new fire station on Pooler Parkway
Councilman Wall presented the site plan for the new fire station on Pooler Parkway and made a motion, seconded by Councilman Cowart, to approve. Motion passed without opposition.
9. Approval of resolution regarding increase to mayor and council salaries
Mr. Baxter presented this resolution regarding an increase to the mayor and council salaries, to be effective January, 2004, for those that are elected during the November election. Councilman Wall expressed his concern that the rate of increase for the mayor should be equal to the increase for the councilmembers. Councilman Seay stated his opposition of any increase, due in particular to the shortages in the various departments throughout the city which are caused by the entry salary being so low. Mayor Carter stated that this increase will not go into effect until 2004 and that he donates his salary back to the city. Further, that the positions need to be compensated, due to the increased volume of time being spent on city matters. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this resolution. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed with Councilman Cowart and Councilman Seay opposing.
10. Discussion concerning SEDA’s alternate plan for masonry wall behind Country Homes Subdivision
Councilman Cowart presented a request from SEDA for an alternative solution to the masonry wall that is a contingency to the approval of the re-zoning of property adjacent to Country Homes Subdivision. Mr. Rick Winger of SEDA addressed Council, presenting concern that there is a high cost factor involved, with a masonry wall costing $600,000 and asked that a 75' buffer area with a 10' berm for natural vegetation or a 100' buffer with a landscaping allowance of up to $10,000 for the owner of each parcel which is adjacent to the re-zoned property be considered. Further, that at this time the State is facing a tremendous budget crunch and any consideration into reducing the cost of this project will be appreciated. Ralph Forbes of Thomas & Hutton Engineers addressed Council, stating that a mistake was made at the time of the re-zoning and he presented a proposed plan for the mega site to include a 100' buffer along with a detention pond that would abut Country Homes Subdivision. Councilman Bryan expressed his concern that it was up to Council to make sure the citizens were cared for, and that there was poor planning on SEDA’s part . Mr. Winger stated that at the time (May 2002), the issue was to remain private, due to having to compete with Charleston and that in no way was it out of disrespect to the residents. Mayor Carter stated that there was intense planning for this project and that SEDA got into a situation where a mistake was made and that the cost for this wall turned out to be higher than anticipated. Councilman Wall questioned the landscape allowance SEDA was offering. Mr. Winger stated that the State is willing to allow each adjacent property owner $8000 to $10,000 to be used for landscaping as well as there being a 100' buffer and detention pond separating their land from the mega site. Councilman Brewton questioned if the pond would encompass all eight (8) adjacent properties. Mr. Forbes stated that it could run the entire length, that it was still in the planning stages. Councilwoman Tyler stated that the residents’ main concern was having the noise blocked out and asked if SEDA could look into using some other type of material for the 10' fence. Mr. Winger stated that he would like to find a solution that everyone will be happy with. Mr. Gary Smith of Country Homes Subdivision and adjacent property owner to the mega site, stated that Mr. Burke Wall approached him several months ago about this matter and stated that the residents needed time to look at the options being requested. Further, that the residents’ main concern was that they do not want their quality of life to be destroyed and that they are willing to meet, as a whole, with SEDA to discuss an economic solution. Mr. Burke Wall, property owner on Dean Forest Road, stated that originally the entire site was supposed to be re-zoned I-2 (heavy industrial) and that after meeting with city officials, he agreed to compromise for an I-1 (light industrial) zoning for the property adjacent to Country Homes, asking the residents to consider a compromise also. Councilman Cowart stated that Council was not aware of this compromise, and stated they are willing to come up with an alternative that is in the best interests of the citizens of Pooler. Mr. Winger asked that a meeting be set with the adjacent property owners and himself to discuss this matter. Mayor Carter asked the property owners to get with Mr. Winger to determine a time that would be convenient.
11. Discussion concerning proposed annexation of land south to Little Neck Road
Mr. Baxter presented a map showing the area proposed for annexation from the present city limits south to Little Neck Road as discussed in the planning retreat held recently. This proposed area is to be known as Phase I, with Phase II consisting of lands further to the south to Highway 204. Councilman Bryan stated that he is not in favor of annexing this land. Mayor Carter presented a map of West Chatham County to the citizens, pointing out areas that the City of Bloomingdale is interested in annexing, stating that the intent of Pooler’s proposed annexation is to control what develops to the area adjacent to Westbrook Subdivision (Savannah Quarters). Mr. Baxter stated that the city’s plan is to hold a dual majority referendum in November to allow citizens in both the current city limits as well as the proposed annexation area to vote on whether or not they want this annexation. Mayor Carter instructed Mr. Scheer to prepare a resolution to begin annexation proceedings.
Mr. John Lee, representing the senior citizens, addressed Council with their concern over the possibility of one of the employees at the center being let go due to lack of participation and requested a meeting be set up with members of Council and the senior citizens as soon as possible. Further, that the seniors are worried that the center may be forced to close altogether. Mayor Carter promised the seniors that a meeting would be set very soon.
Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:42 p.m. to discuss legal and personnel matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Mayor Carter called the meeting back to order at 8:04 p.m.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Bryan made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:05 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.