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City sets penalties for swiping carts

Police, residents and even some of local grocery store managers have said they are fed up with seeing shopping carts strewn about all over the City of Bainbridge; but those shopping carts could soon become a little more scarce.

At their Tuesday meeting, the Bainbridge City Council approved, by unanimous vote, an ordinance that will make taking shopping carts off of stores’ properties illegal and at the same time, encourage cart owners to develop plans for removing abandoned carts from city streets and yards.

The ordinance will take effect in January 2010.

Violators caught pushing shopping carts after that time could be subject to a fine or jail time through Municipal Court. Stores would have to pick up abandoned carts that belonged to them in a timely manner. If they didn’t, they would have to pay a $25 impound fee per cart or risk having the cart be sold at auction.

City officials have suggested people who have a legitimate need to take their purchases home using a shopping cart could ask for written permission from the store to take the cart off the store’s property. Having that paper on their person would keep them from being cited under the ordinance, Major Walter Landrum of Bainbridge Public Safety said previously.

Other business

In other business, the City Council:

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a request from the Bainbridge-Decatur County Council for the Arts to close the portion of Water Street, between West and Crawford streets, from 4 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 12. The temporary street closure will allow the Arts Council to conduct their annual fund-raiser, the Chefs’ Sampler, at the Firehouse Center;

 Honored Public Safety booking and processing clerk Patricia Wimberly as the City of Bainbridge’s Employee of the Quarter for the three-month period ending Oct. 1. Wimberly has worked for BPS since 2003 and prepares paper work for the media and processes citations bound for City Court, according to a nomination letter submitted by BPS Fire Chief Dennis Mock.

 Heard a presentation by employees of architectural firm Clemons, Rutherford and Associates of Tallahassee, Fla., concerning their bid on a proposed redesign and renovation of City Hall, as well as initial findings concerning the three city-owned buildings, which would be included in the project. Consideration of entering into a contract for development of design plans was ultimately tabled until the next council meeting on Oct. 20;

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a resolution authorizing the transmittal of a draft update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan to the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission and to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for their review;

 Heard from citizen Ted Snell, who reiterated his previous request that the Council spend more money on economic development, with the goal of creating new local jobs.

Bids and Bills

By unanimous vote, the council approved the following bills and bids:

Bills: $42,124.85 from Decatur County Board of Commissioners of Bainbridge for monthly inmate housing and landfill charges; $3,027 from the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission of Camilla, Ga., for quarterly membership dues; two invoices of $72,000 and $27,500 from Hodge Enterprises of Loganville, Ga., for work on natural gas lines associated with the Tallahassee Highway Gate Station No. 1 and Commodore Decatur upgrade project and Butler Ferry Road improvements, respectively; $10,500 from Donald A. Belcher, Decatur County Tax Commissioner, for collection of the city’s 2009 property taxes.

Bids: $578,911.01 from JCI of Moultrie, Ga., for work on the second phase of the city’s Streetscape project, expected to begin later this year; and $1,629,271 from Popco, Inc., of Sylvester, Ga., for improvements to the grit collection and aeration systems at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The improvements are being made to comply with new standards mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to City Manager Chris Hobby.