City council honors Employee of the Quarter, discusses Young Recycling

Published 3:32 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023

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This week’s regularly scheduled city council meeting was pushed back slightly, from the usual 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM, to give the council members time to participate in the Bicentennial opening ceremony.

Following the standard approval of minutes, the council recognized visitors to address any issues not on the evening agenda. Bruce Kirbo came forward to address the council, briefly requesting the city be more consistent in making meeting minutes and agendas available to the public on the city website. He also thanked council member Rosalyn Palmer for her work on the Bicentennial festivities. Lastly, Kirbo addressed the transfer of the Smithco lease to Doug Young, referring back to the previous city council meeting, where Young addressed the council about equipment held by the previous owners of Smithco, which Young stated was poorly maintained. According to Kirbo, as per the new Smithco lease between Young and the city, the current owner of Smithco assumes the liability’s of the old lessee. “I would again say to the city, that if there was a responsibility that that equipment be maintained, that it’s just not the right treatment of the citizens of the city, or of contractual obligations, to just allow that equipment to be turned back in or just released from obligations,” Kirbo said.

After this, the council acknowledged city maintenance worker Rufus Walker as Employee of the Quarter.

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Next, Mayor Reynolds read a proclamation recognizing this month as Donate Life Month.

Following this, the council considered a resolution for recognizing next week as Georgia Cities Week. According to Chris Hobby, this is an “annual week that the Georgia Municipal Association sets aside,” and will feature some undisclosed celebration and activities. The council voted to adopt the resolution.

Following the agenda, the council heard a resolution concerning Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund (DDRLF) loan applications. This loan application was submitted by Higdon Enterprises, LLC., which is looking to build a restaurant in the old library on W Broughton Street. The council agreed to adopt the resolution.

Next, the council members heard from community development director Steve O’Neil on planning commission recommendations. The recommendation pertained to a conditional use application for a short-term rental on Potter Street. The commission had also been working on a draft for an ordinance, but O’Neil stated that it was not yet ready to be presented at a meeting. The council voted to accept the commission’s recommendations.

The council then moved into a discussion about Smithco/Young Recycling and the potential renegotiation of the lease. According to Hobby, “We’re not ready to do that yet,” but rather, the city proposed amending the lease. As Hobby stated, one paragraph would be deleted, and replaced with the following: “That beginning on March 1, 2023, during the remaining term of the lease agreement, that the amount the city is charged be increased to $47 per ton of waste. All other provisions of the lease were reaffirmed, and will remain in effect, until such time as the lease is negotiated, or if that time even occurs.”

According to Hobby, the goal is to increase traffic to the Decatur County landfill. The council voted to approve the amendment.

Next, the council heard a proposed mayoral appointment for Mike Holt to the Historic Preservation Commission, which was approved.

Lastly, the council members heard both a bill and bids, the bill involving the renewal of the city’s property and liability insurance. According to Hobby, this has seen a 10% increase based on the city’s claim history. The total amount for the insurance came to $318,470. As for the bids, the first was for fiber optic supplies, with the lowest bid coming from Walker & Associates at $153,891.56. The second bid was for gas pipe boring, with the lowest bid being $101,232. The council voted to pay the bill, and accept the bids.

Following this, after some brief statements from Mayor Reynolds about upcoming events such as the Bicentennial, the meeting adjourned.