By Mike Williams
In last weeks edition we were unable to complete all of the items on the agenda for the Swainsboro City Council due to print deadlines, therefore we are picking up where we left off.
Randall Snellgrove was discussing the street light and overhanging limb problem on city streets. The council agreed that this is a public safety issue and Chief Randy Ellison said that his officers will be directed to mark poles with a ribbon where lights are out and then city street employees will replace bulbs or lights where needed. Snellgrove then began to list numerous places where limbs overhanging the street hit the top of trucks potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage to trucks. The mayor asked Chris Morton from Clearwater if they had the equipment to clear such limbs and he said that they did for emergency situations but neither they nor the city are set up for a large scale limb cutting project. The situation is that city ordinances are unclear and possibly need to be updated. City attorney Jon Levis read the current city ordinance as to whose responsibility these overhanging limbs fall to. The ordinance also spoke to there being a “tree board” established through the city council to address this situation. Hearing this, councilman DJ Davis made a motion to form such a board to work on this issue. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Levis again clarified that the board is not to be only council members but also citizens at large, he also recommended to council to the current tree ordinance be updated to accommodate changes in height requirements of overhanging limbs. Secondly, council should come to the next meeting with a list of names to serve on the tree board and then approve those names and accept the terms of the amendment. Snellgove was asked to serve on this board and he accepted.
Swainsboro Police Chief was present to present a request to hire an animal control officer. Ellison asked council to consider his recommendation of Monique Hamil for this position. The motion was made seconded and passed to hire Monique Hamil.
Next on the agenda mayor Bennett presented a request give to old DOT building on Kite Highway to the Joint Development Authority/Chamber of Commerce. Councilman DJ Davis said he spoke with Ken Warnock and he agreed that if the city deeded the building to the Development Authority and they would be responsible for all upkeep of said building. Davis said that he recommends that the council deed the building to the DDA with a clause put in that the city has first right of refusal if and when the DDA no longer wants or needs the building. The tenant of the building would be the state FFA office which is currently housed in the old office of Judge Bobby Reeves. Davis stated that the FFA could go anywhere in the state but their desire is to remain in Emanuel County. A motion was made to deed the building to the DDA with the stipulation that it would return to the city at such time the DDA no longer wants or needs it. Motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Chris Morton, representing Clearwater came before the council to present a quote for repairing the roof of the Operations building at the wastewater treatment plant. One bid of $3500.00 dollars was submitted and council asked if this was reasonable and Morton said that it was. A motion was made to accept this bid it was seconded and passed. Morton then presented quotes for the truck and leaf machine repairs. Morton told council that this machine and truck is a vital part of not only daily limb and leaf removal but also played an important part in the recent storms the city experienced. A motion was made to accept the bid of $11,487.00 for the leaf machine and $14,464.00 to rebuild the engine of truck. It was seconded and passed unanimously.
Last on the agenda was Swainsboro Fire Chief Strowbridge who stated that he had a full time opening and recommended Michael Wilson who is currently a volunteer. He will have to attend fire school. A motion was made and seconded and passed unanimously.
To close the meeting councilperson Collins wanted to thank the council and citizens who participated in the unveiling of signs on August 6 that recognizes the 1969 Rattlers girls state basketball team as well as the 2007 boys state track team.
The council then adjured to executive session.