Lingering projects and postponed action took the spotlight at the February 5 meeting of the Swainsboro City Council this past Monday evening. Reverend Kenneth Edge of the Emanuel Worship Center provided the Invocation which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Appointments to the city committees of Finance, Water/Sewer, Parks/Cemetery, Streets/Sanitation, Animal Control and Ethics were made. Councilperson Bobbie Collins was elected Mayor Pro Tempore. Under old business, council members approved the alcoholic beverage application for Atul Y Pandya at 227 West Main Street. The vote was tied with Mayor Bennett casting a vote in favor of granting the license. Council members next considered the long-delayed replacement of the elevated water tank on Old Nunez Road. A new water tank had been scheduled for construction in early 2022 but had been postponed and later was rebid with significant cost overruns. Even though water rates were recently increased, the latest bid price was still beyond original estimates. Administrator Middlebrooks told council that another water rate increase would be required unless the City used 2018 SPLOST funds. American Rescue Plan (Covid Relief) money and borrowed an additional amount of money to complete the needed water tank replacement. Council voted to borrow more funding to complete the project. Another delayed project was next on the agenda. The council considered establishing a “guaranteed maximum price” in connection with construction of a community multipurpose building at 615 Gumlog Road. A lengthy discussion followed questioning the bidding process and the lack of competitive bids received for the building. $576,000 was a low bid received most recently. With no plan for moving forward, a motion was made and carried to table the project.
The first item under new business actually was a result of the previous old business. Mrs. Betty Davis addressed council as the head of Community Action for Youth. This group has worked for a number of years renovating the old gymnasium on Gumlog Road. Mrs. Davis gave the council a history of the efforts toward that goal, both from private citizens and from the City of Swainsboro up until 2022. She questioned the future involvement of the City and encouraged renewed assistance and partnership by the City to complete the project. Next, Mrs. Jacqueline Brantley once again came to speak to council about her problems with the derelict property next to her on Green Street. She expressed her understanding of the delay in correcting the unsightly and unsafe situation but asked again for the help of the City. Another application for advertisement for alcohol beverage license was received from Denise Miles, dba as Lounge 2020. The application was accepted for advertisement. Council next accepted and approved the LMIG, 2024 application for street resurfacing. Clearwater Solutions, the City contractor for utilities, street and water operations presented two estimates for the repair of city equipment totaling approximately $21,600. Council approved the expenditure for payment. In an action that is certain to please city employees, council voted to add two days to the list of holidays observed by the City of Swainsboro. The final action of the meeting by the council dealt with a presentation by City Attorney Jon Levis proposing changes to the city alcohol ordinances. Levis discussed eight articles in the revised ordinance that would encompass slight modifications and advised that comments from council members could be heard during upcoming meetings prior to adoption.