Bainbridge City Council discusses hotel land issue, demolition ordinances at meeting

Published 4:40 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023

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The Bainbridge City Council met for their monthly meeting last week. Following the invocation and pledge, the first item on the agenda was an amendment to a bond resolution, in relation to the hotel project on Florida Street/Dothan Road. The hotel is planned to be built on two parcels of land, one being owned by the city, and the other owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps had been directed to transfer ownership of the land to the city five years ago by Congress, as part of the Water Resources Act; this has not happened yet.

City manager Chris Hobby spoke with the Post-Searchlight about the issue after the meeting, saying that the deal is almost finished, “We are told that we’re right at the finish line, we’re just now waiting on somebody in Washington to sign the documents and we’ll be ready to go.” According to Hobby, part of the reason for the delay was the shutdowns brought on by COVID. To account for this issue, Hobby stated that the hotel parking is being modified; rather than having entirely surface parking, a parking garage structure will be constructed.

The bond resolution amendment was proposed to “provide for as much flexibility” for whatever restrictions may be required by the Corps during this process.

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A second amendment was also brought up, this having been a request made by the bank involved in the bond resolution, specifically requesting a deed to secure debt. This would mean that all the funds and monetary amounts involved in the hotel project’s various resolutions and contracts, “could be assigned, and could be securitized.” The resolution was adopted by the council.

Following this, the council heard consideration for millage rate adoption, with this year’s proposed rate being a rollback from the previous 3.604 to 3.511. This was approved by the council.

Next, the council entered into a public hearing on demolition ordinances, with Community Development Director Steve O’Neil presenting. These demolition ordinances were for properties located at 424 West College, 709 Elm Street, and 743 Paulette Street. The council approved the ordinances.

Next, Director of Administrative Services Lisa Taylor presented the council with the city’s third quarter financials. According to Taylor, the amount of cash the city had on hand this time last year was $1,148,966; this year, that amount is now $3,046,107. The city’s current fund balance comes out to 122 days, an increase of 16 days from last year.

Next, Bainbridge Public Safety made a presentation to the council, highlighting new staff additions, as well as some of the new community outreach events BPS has done, such as story time at the library. The council was shown video demonstrating the new fire training facility in action. BPS also informed the council of “Darth Viper”, the undercover investigation by BPS into local tobacco stores selling to minors.

After the presentation, the council heard two bids, the first being for methane delineation activities by TTL from Valdosta, for $88,875. The second bid was a split bid between five companies for shop inventory, namely for oil, grease, hydraulic and transmission fluids, for a total of $43,706.21. The council approved these bids.

Following this, the meeting was adjourned.