“It’s really important that we have unity in our community,” said councilman John Cook, who was voted in as vice mayor and a member of the planning commission (replacing former city council member Ray Bilbrey) earlier in the evening. “As we were out in the community campaigning there were several comments made and I feel like people are expecting unity and a direction towards bettering the city. A big topic is paving . . .”
Cook went on to discuss the planning commission’s role in creating a Street Paving Plan, which would involve a complete inventory of city streets, the conditions of the roads rated from poor to excellent, the width and construction type of each road, a time frame for improvement.
The plan would allow the planning commission and city council a priority-based list of roads in need of improvements based on classifications and usage and would require assistance from the State Planning Commission.
“This would be of absolutely no cost to the City through the fees we pay each year to the State Planning Commission,” Cook remarked. “I propose we ask the planning commission to request that the State do this for us to come up with a game plan for all of our roads here in the City. That leads to another subject, ditching and culverts in the city are a big a big problem, and I feel like the citizens are wanting to see us move forward on solving some paving issues and some ditching issues and it’s pretty clear we don’t need to pave until we take care of some ditches and culverts.”
Cook also brought the topic of defining the city limits, recommending the use of the Global System of Information, software recently purchased by the county 911 Board.
Using the system, a flyover of the city would identify the city limits within 18 inches of the city’s boundaries. Those boundaries would then be marked.
“It might be good timing where we could piggyback with Lafayette on this project and cut the cost a lot to get this done,” Cook commented.
Cook made the motion to allow Chris Ballou, a Professional Engineer employee that works closely with the 911 Board, to report back on the costs of the GSI service and ditching/culvert service to the City.
“It makes absolutely no sense if we don’t know the boundary lines of our own city limits,” Cook said. “We might have a way here to do it cost effectively.”
The council approved Cook’s requests to allow Ballou to return before the council next month to present the cost of the GSI service, ditching and culverts and to ask the planning commission to come up with a Street Paving Plan.
The council set a special called meeting for Thursday, May 28th, at 7 p.m., when the 2009-2010 city budget will be discussed and voted upon.
Also on the agenda for the special called meeting will be the topics of a Fourth of July community fireworks event and city creeks and sulphur wells.
Following the special called meeting, the council will meet back in regular session on Thursday, June 11th, at 7 p.m. following the public hearing set for 6:30 p.m. regarding the 2009-2010 city budget.
In other business:
City Government Positions – Coby Knight will remain as City Clerk, Jon Wells will remain as City Attorney, John Cook will serve as Vice Mayor, Andrew Stanford will remain City Judge (salary set at $200 month).
Macon County Senior Center – Senior Center Director Jamie Dallas requested a $5,000 donation from the city for the non-profit center. Council members voted to table the request until next month’s meeting when the new budget could be examined to find if such a donation is feasible.
Pay Scale – Discussions tabled until June meeting.
Planning Commission – Number of members was changed from seven to five. “It’s just too hard to get seven people all together for a meeting,” said Mayor Kenneth Hollis. “With five members we only need three for a quorum.” John Cook will replace Ray Bilbrey on City Planning Commission.
2008-2009 Tax Rate – Ordinance #09-4, setting the tax rate, was passed on first reading. The proposed rate is 1.1609 (no increase).
2009-2010 Budget – Ordinance #09-5, the budget, was tabled until the May 28th special called meeting for review and discussion before passing on first reading.
Public Hearing – A public hearing on the proposed budget was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 11th, directly before the June city council meeting.
Police Department – Ordinance #09-1, amending charges for court cost ($10 increase) due to the implementation of a new court management computer program, was passed on second and final reading. Chief Terry Tuck reported that Assistant Chief of Police Steve Evans is out on sick leave prior to having surgery. Evans’ doctor’s note releases him back to work on June 19th but that date is tentative.
Utilities Department – Ordinance #09-2, amending cross-connections, auxiliary intakes, etc., was passed on second and final reading. Ordinance #09-3, deleting the cross-connection policy, was passed on second and final reading.
Sanitation Department – Discussions arose about a truck with a ‘blown motor.’ The cost to rebuild the truck by salvaging the truck’s bed and using a fire truck now out of commission, will be presented to council next month.
Fire Department - A secretary is needed following the resignation of Jesse Gentry.