Climax City Council holds first meeting of 2013Published 5:16am Tuesday, January 22, 2013
By JEAN OUZTS
After the roll call where all Climax City Council members were present for the Monday, Jan. 14, council meeting, and the minutes for the December meeting were approved, Climax Mayor Charles Hadsock gave the 2012 annual report for the city of Climax as follows:
“The economic state of our economy continued to be weak during 2012,” Hadsock said. “This year continued to present many ups and downs to the operation of our city government. Our revenues continued to decline in 2012 and our expenses, to maintain the same level of services, increased steadily during 2012.
“Federal and state agencies continued to shift responsibilities and cost down to the local municipalities. Although our revenue is shrinking, we did not increase our millage rate, there were no reductions in city services and we had no employee layoffs or furloughs. I am pleased to report as we enter into 2013 the city of Climax is solvent.
“We are able to meet our obligations. For the past three years we have held the line on expenditures, spending only what was necessary for the operation of our city government. We continue to search for ways to improve the operational efficiency of our employees and the operation of our city government. This will be a continuing process through my term as mayor.
“I would like to thank the citizens of Climax for allowing me to serve as your mayor, and with your help and cooperation we will continue to make Climax a better community to live in. I also thank the city council and our city employees for their support and cooperation and dedication to work as a team to move Climax forward.
“There are signs in our economy that are encouraging for 2013, with regard to lower unemployment rates, increased sales of existing houses and increases in new housing starts on the national and state levels. Unfortunately Decatur County’s unemployment rates remains above the national average, at approximately 10.2 percent. We hope and pray that this unemployment rate will be drastically reduced in 2013, to allow more opportunities for our citizens of Decatur County and the municipalities located within Decatur County.”
Hadsock went on to say some of the items of interest for 2012 were: CDBG Water Improvement Grant came close to conclusion, school zone lights were re-activated in compliance of state and federal codes and regulations, approval was received from GIRMA, allowing the city to keep the burn pit in its present location, and the council was able to prepare an up-to-date job description for its employees.
The city council is also currently working on an employee manual for the City of Climax. Each employee will be required to certify their understanding of the requirements and rules and requirements listed in the employee manual, as well as the consequences for violations of the rules. This manual also puts the city in compliance with GIRMA policies.
Other 2012 highlights that Hadsock discussed included:
• The city obtained a GIRMA safety grant in the amount of $5,037, for the police car Watch Guard Video System.
• The city replaced carpet in the Tiger Den with vinyl plank flooring for easier upkeep and appearance. The city also increased the rental to $100, plus a $50 refundable deposit if the facility is left in good order.
• The city replaced its existing utility billing system with a more efficient QSI system. The city also installed a credit/debit card terminal, to allow water payments and traffic fines to be paid by credit card.
• The city received a $10,000 allocation from Decatur County for its fire truck payment.
• The city collected approximately 3.5 tons of trash and transported it to the Decatur County landfill during April free trash days. Climax also ranked No. 1 for recycling tonnage, among the smaller municipalities in Decatur County.
The 2013 standing committee members were announced during the Jan. 14 meeting. The council members serving on the 2013 standing committees are:
• Street and Roads: Gwen Wingate, chairperson; Robert Jones, co-chair.
• Parks and Recreation: Robert Thomas, chair; Gwen Wingate, co-chair.
• Water and Garbage: Robert Jones, chair; Vanessa Martin, co-chair.
• Buildings and Grounds: Robert Thomas, chair.
• Operations/Revenue Improvements/Efficiency Improvements: Vanessa Martin, chair; Robert Jones, co-chair
In old business:
• The council voted to accept the employee manual, as revised in November.
In new business:
• The council approved George Washington as the private sector appointee to the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission.
• The council also approved Bruce D. Mann as the 2013 city auditor.
• The council approved a $500 limit for the present mayor for necessary expenditures without council approval.
• Hadsock announced that the Local Option Sales Tax is pending in superior court for arbitration between Decatur County and the four municipalities — Bainbridge, Climax, Attapulgus and Brinson.
• With this being an election year, qualifying fees for candidates were set at $20 for mayor and $18 for council members. Two council seats — the seats currently held by Robert Thomas and Gwen Wingate — will be up for re-election in 2013, along with Mayor Charles Hadscock’s seat. Qualifying will be held in Bainbridge and will be announced late in the year.
• The council voted to not allow any cell phones in the courtroom.
• The city will continue to accept applications for police chief, until February.