City council’s February meeting: Stewards of Lake Seminole, water main extension and more

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Members of the Banbridge City Council met last month to a full agenda. After the usual prayer, invocaton and approval of minutes the council allowed several members of the community to address items not on the agenda.

Following this, the first new item on the agenda was a special presentation by Steve Dickman founder and executive director of the Stewards of Lake Seminole. Dickman began by recounting his history with Lake Seminole, and the disagreements that have occurred with the Army Corps of Engineers. “I’m here tonight to tell you that we’re changing all of that, and that Lake Seminole, our golden goose, is sick, and if we don’t fix it or save it, who will?” He elaborated, stating that the goal of the Stewards is to manage invasive species that have infested the lake, collaborating with the Corps of Engineers. According to Dickman, the Stewards have worked with the Corps to develop an annual Aquatic Plant Management Plan, incorporating input from members of the local community. Some of the items included in this action plan include agreements for spraying around boat docks, as well as the creation of a task force to deal with the invasive Cuban bulrush.

“Initial spraying of Cuban bulrush actually starts this week… Our plan is to begin intensive spraying in mid-March,” Dickman explained, before moving to what the Stewards would like from the city. “So how can you help? We would like membership at our board,” he said. “Our bylaws say that we have to have a balanced board membership between Decatur County and Seminole County, and right now we have two board members in Seminole County.” Dickman concluded by accepting any questions the council had.

Email newsletter signup

Superintendent Tim Cochran followed by giving an update on the Decatur County schools system (this was the same presentation he had previously made to the county commissioners and Rotary club.)

After Cochran’s presentation, the council heard a proposal for a water main that, according to city manager Chris Hobby, “would loop our water system between East Shotwell Street and Vada Road.” This was described as a cost-saving measure that would allow the city to “piggyback” off the GDOT’s construction on Whigham Dairy Road, the main stipulation being the engineering would have to be complete by mid-April. The estimated cost was put at $2 million, with a potential loan forgiveness rate of 60%. “We may end up with about $800,000 in the project when all’s said and done, so significant saving, still a very expensive project, but it does allow us to meet the goal of looping that system,” Hobby said. The proposal was accepted by the council.

Next, the council heard the introduction of a demolition ordinance pertaining to a burnt house on Lake Douglas Road. This was merely an introduction; a public hearing is set to follow this month.

The council was then presented with a one-day alcoholic beverage license application from the Chamber of Commerce for this weekend’s Rivertown Days festivities. The council approved the application. Next, the council was presented with four standard alcoholic beverage license applications, all of which were approved.

Following this, the council was brought a contract with the Humane Society, in regards to the construction of their new facility. Hobby stated that the total grand maximum price of the project was $5,166,862, though he hoped the project would come in under that price. Following some questions from the council, the contract was approved.

Steve O’Neil spoke to the council about recommendations from the Planning Commission, which included two conditional use requests by members of the community, which the council approved.

The council next heard quarterly financials. One item of note was that the city has been attempting to get to a six-month reserve in their general fund balance; as of the latest quarter, they have a reserve of about $5,232,866, a reserve of about 3.7 months, an improvement over the previous year’s reserve of just under 3 months.

Lastly, the council heard a bid for three submersible solids handling pumps from Goforth Williamson, Inc., with a total cost of $31,840. The bid was accepted.

Following this, the meeting was adjourned.