Bainbridge City Council discusses traffic-calming device moratorium, hotel tax and more

Published 5:06 pm Friday, October 20, 2023

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The Bainbridge City Council met for their monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. Following the invocation, pledge and approval of minutes, the council recognized any visitors for the evening; only one did, Johnny Payne, program director at the Friendship House, who spoke about speeding around the area and inquired about potential speed bumps.

Following this, Mayor Reynolds read a proclamation recognizing Blind Achievement Equality Month, presenting it Ronnie Sheppard, president of the Bainbridge chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.

After the proclamation, the council discussed a traffic-calming device moratorium. According to Assistant City Manager Roy Oliver, the moratorium was initially put into place in 2015, and was not lifted during a following meeting in 2017; this moratorium specifically prevented the installation of new speed bumps. “We’ve gone through eight years, and we’ve had a lot of requests to deal with speeding,” he said. With the moratorium in place, the city has had to use other methods to try and reduce speeding, including crosswalks and four-way stops. Oliver also addressed Payne’s earlier request for speed bumps on Rust Street near the Friendship House; according to the policy prior to the moratorium, the stretch of road in front of the Friendship House is too short, and at least 67% of adjacent property owners must also sign-off on the bump’s installation. He added that the city had previously added a four-way stop at one end of the street to try and curb speeding. The mayor and council discussed potential alternate methods to discourage speeding the Friendship house could consider.

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Next on the agenda, the council considered a resolution for the imposition of an additional 3% hotel/motel tax. Council member Don Whaley clarified that, according to hotel representatives consulted, the tax will “have zero impact on people staying at hotels.” The funds raised from this tax will support Chason Park. “That money will be put right back into Chason Park, so as we do things there to keep that park looking as good as it does now, it will just be a way for us to do that without having to tax our citizens,” Whaley said. The council approved the tax.

Following this, the council heard six street closure requests; these included requests for the closure of parts of Water Street and West Street on Friday; a request to close the streets surrounding the square, including Jackson Street, on Tuesday, October 31, for the Scare on the Square; closures for the Veteran’s Day Ceremony in November; as well as closures in December for the Yuletide Jubilee and Christmas Parade. These were all approved.

Next the council heard six alcoholic beverage license applications, all of which were approved.

After this, Steve O’Neil addressed the council regarding planning commission recommendations. This included the rezoning of a property at 1036 Lake Douglas Road to office professional with conditional use for a special event venue, which was recommended for approval by the commission. The second recommendation was a conditional use application for 1300 Conger Drive to be a short-term rental, which the commission also recommended for approval. The city approved both.

Next, the city discussed city employee Christmas incentives, which would be distributed as Bainbridge Bucks; the total amount for all employees would cost $36,200. The city approved this.

After this, the city heard an audit presentation, with the fiscal year having ended on September 30.

Lastly, the city heard three bids; the first was for demolition services for condemned houses, with the lowest bid at $2.85 from All Pro Taylor Services. The second bid was on insurance for the city gas distribution system, with a bid of $9,956 from Palmer Insurance, and the third was a bid on supplies for the city fiber project, specifically supplies for residential homes and businesses. The lowest bid was $167,037.80, from Walker & Associates Inc. The council voted to approve all three bids.

After this, the meeting was adjourned.