August 13, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Mayor and City Council
City of Ball Ground, Georgia
Ball Ground City Hall ~ 7:00 P.M.

August 13, 2020

Mayor Rick Roberts was present for the meeting in Council Chambers. In order to limit the number of individuals present in Council Chambers and at City Hall and to provide for social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council Members Byrd, Homiller, O’Malley, Prettyman, participated via teleconference call. Council Member Stoner was absent.

Item 1: Meeting Called to Order by Mayor Rick Roberts

Item 2: Roll Call of Council Members

Council Members Byrd, Homiller, O’Malley, and Prettyman participated via teleconference call. Council Member Stoner was not present.

Present in Council Chambers were Mayor Rick Roberts, City Manager Eric Wilmarth, City Clerk Karen Jordan, Police Chief Bryon Reeves, City Planner Chris Luly and City Attorney Darrell Caudill

Item 3: Approval of Agenda

Council Member O’Malley put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Homiller to approve the meeting agenda.
Motion Unanimously Approved

Item 4: Announcements/Informational Items/Project Updates – City Manager

City Manager Wilmarth stated he and Tim Cavender, Chairman of the March of the Toys Parade for Toys for Tots, have discussed whether or not to cancel the parade this year due to the COVID Pandemic. A final decision will be made on September 1.

Item 5: Approval of July 9, 2020 Council Meeting Minutes

Council Member Prettyman put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Byrd, to approve the minutes of the July 9, 2020 Council Meeting.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Item 6: New Business
Consider Adoption of Fire District Tax Rate for 2020

Mayor Roberts stated that at the July Council Meeting, Council voted to approve the millage rate adopted by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. However, since that time the Board of Commissioners has been unable to come to an agreement on what the millage rate should be.

City Manager Wilmarth put forth for council consideration a rate of 3.483 mills, an increase from the previous year tax. He asked that council members remember that this is a pass-through tax, meaning the City collects the tax then remits to Cherokee County for fire services.

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley, to set a rate of 3.483 mill for the 2020 Fire District Tax Rate.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Adoption of Amendment to Fire and Emergency Services Agreement with Cherokee County

City Manager Wilmarth stated that Cherokee County Board of Commissioners has submitted a proposed amendment to the existing Fire Services Agreement. In the existing agreement, it is specified how the fire tax is calculated. The addendum to the agreement states how the tax is calculated based on the BOC use of the Insurance Premium Tax.

City Manager Wilmarth stated that in a letter sent to the cities from the BOC explaining the implications should the Cities of Ball Ground, Canton, Holly Springs, Nelson and Waleska fail to approve the amendments to the IGA for fire services on or before Monday, August 17, 2020. The letter further stated that should the Cities fail to approve the IGA amendments for fire services, it could have painful and far-reaching implications for the County, the School Board, the Tax Commissioner, the citizens, and each City. The letter further stated the only thing the Cities are required to do is approve the necessary amendment to the IGA for fire services, which will do nothing more than maintain the City payments at the level agreed to in the original IGAs.

Mayor Roberts asked council members to consider authorizing the Executive Committee to enter into this agreement to meet the deadline for setting the millage rate.

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion to authorize the Executive Committee to enter into this agreement to amend the existing Fire Services Agreement.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Application for Alcohol License (Consumption on premises)
Applicant: 1984 Brewin LLC/DBA Rock Solid Brewing
Location: 345 Gilmer Ferry Rd

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Prettyman, to approve the first reading of the application to grant an alcohol license for an alcohol license for consumption on premises only.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Agreement between the City of Ball Ground and SAFEbuilt Georgia, LLC for Services (Building Inspections)

Mayor Roberts stated that over the years, City Manager Wilmarth has performed the duty of building inspector and done an outstanding job doing it. However, the number of inspections has grown. Because of the continued growth a decision was made to outsource building inspections. After considering a number of companies and options, it was decided to enter into an agreement with Safebuilt of Georgia, LLC.

The terms of the agreement shall be effective on the latest date on which the Agreement is fully executed by both Parties. The initial term of the Agreement shall be twelve (12) months, subsequently. The Agreement shall automatically renew for twelve (12) month terms; unless prior notification is delivered to either Party thirty (30) days in advance of the Agreement. In the absence of written documentation, the Agreement will continue in force until such time as either Party notifies the other of their desire to terminate the Agreement.

City Manager Wilmarth stated that in the agreement to be considered by Council, there is one paragraph in the agreement that presents a concern by Safebuilt. City Manager Wilmarth asked Council Members to authorize City Manager Wilmarth to enter into the contract with Safebuilt once they meet the conditions of the contract drafted by City Attorney Caudill.

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley to enter into the Agreement with Safebuilt of Georgia, LLC as drafted and proposed by City Attorney Caudill.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Purchase of F-250 Vehicle for Water/Sewer Department

Mayor Roberts stated that traditionally when the City purchases a new vehicle, it is purchased through the GMA Lease/Purchase program. However, that is not the case for this purchase. Mayor Roberts asked Council Members to consider the approval of the purchase of a new much needed vehicle for the Water/Sewer Department. The truck would be purchased with monies derived from the fees collected from the Abbington Ridge Apartments development.

Council Member John Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley, to purchase a new 2019 Ford F-250 Utility pickup for the Water/Sewer Department at a cost of $36,742.52. The city will pay cash for the purchase of this vehicle.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Acquisition of Property Parcel 2020-A

Mayor Roberts stated this is a .06 acres narrow piece of property located at the trail head of the Roberts Lake Trail.

City Manager Wilmarth asked Council Members to authorize him to enter into an agreement to purchase said property and to close at a date and time to be determined at the price of $6,000.00 in addition to the cost of the survey and closing cost.

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley, to authorize City Manager Wilmarth to enter into an agreement to purchase .06 acres at a cost of $6,000.00, in addition to cost of a survey and closing cost, with the Zona Lee Haynes Family or the new property owners.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Bid Award for Surplus Property (420 Gilmer Ferry Road aka 420 Main Street)

Mayor Roberts stated this property was advertised for sale on GovDeals. He then asked City Manager Wilmarth to update Council Members on the status of the sale.

City Manager Wilmarth stated the highest bid for the property was $52,000.00.

Council Member Byrd opened the discussion by stating he did not realize the location of piece of property when Council decided to advertise the property for sale.. He stated he would like to wait to sell this property. This property ties to the other property behind the Community Center that Council has yet to decide the future of. This property has other uses or could be used as an access to other city property.

Council Member O’Malley expressed thoughts concerning the sale of the property. He concurred with Council Member Byrd that we should give more consideration to the future use of the property before moving forward with the transaction.

Mayor Roberts stated Council Members would either have to vote on the sell or put forth a motion to reject all bids.

Council Member Byrd then put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley, to reject all bids received.

Council Member Prettyman commented that he would like to move forward with the sale of the property.

No further discussion.

Council Members Byrd and O’Malley voted to reject all bids.
Council Member Prettyman voted in favor of the sale of the property.
Council Member Homiller abstained from voting.

Motion Passed 2-1-1

Consider RESOLUTION 2020-R05 to accept Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Grant established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)

Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley, to adopt A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF BALL GROUND, GEORGIA (CITY) to authorize the execution of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Terms and Conditions Agreement; to authorize the acceptance of grant payments including all understandings and assurances contained within such agreement; to direct and authorize Mayor Rick Roberts as the official representative of the City to act in connection with the grant application; and to provide such additional information as may be required.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Annexation Petition 2020-A01: Ridge Mill Associates, LLC
9.99 Acres located on Northridge Rd.

An Ordinance to annex property in the City of Ball Ground, Georgia, pursuant to Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) was read for the first time. The property to be considered is 9.99 /- acres, identified as parcel 011 tax map 03N07, located in Land Lot 81 and 82 of the 3rd District, 2nd Section of Cherokee County, located on North Ridge Road, Ball Ground, GA. 30107. Applicant is seeking to rezone the property to RZL with conditions.

Council Member O’Malley put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Byrd, to accept Annexation Petition 2020-A01 as a first reading.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Item 7: City Manager Comments

City Manager Wilmarth provided Council Members with an unaudited report of account balances, and statement of revenues and expenditures for the month ended July 31, 2020. The report showed cash on deposit totaled $1,682,320.28.

Chief Reeves presented a written report of the Police Department’s activities for the month ended July 31, 2020.

Chief Reeves stated the long-awaited new police vehicle was recently delivered to the dealership. It is scheduled to be outfitted with the necessary equipment before it will be delivered and put into service.

Appoint Court Clerk and Deputy Court Clerk – City Manager Wilmarth stated that due to the resignation of the court clerk it is necessary to make an appointment to fill that position. He recommended that Karen Jordan be appointed as Court Clerk and Karla Weaver as Deputy Court Clerk. Once Karla receives her certification in September, the rolls will be reversed and Council will be asked to appoint Karla as Court Clerk and Karen as Deputy Court Clerk.

Council Member Prettyman put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Byrd, to appoint Karen Jordan as Court Clerk and Karla Weaver as Deputy Court Clerk.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Roberts Lake Trail Project – City Manager reported on Roberts Lake Trail Project. He stated several items needed to complete the requirements to receive approximately $100,000.00 of grant funds are nearing completion. Although this will be an ongoing project, this portion of the project will be complete.

Lantern Walk Cross Walk Project – The City requested the Georgia Department of Transportation give consideration to a pedestrian cross walk at the entrance of Lantern Walk Subdivision and Hwy 5. A request to reduce the speed limit from 45 MPH to 35 MPH was submitted to GDOT for consideration. If the speed requirements are approved, it would allow construction of a cross walk from Lantern Walk Drive to Coy M. Holcomb.

Item 8: Mayor Roberts stated COVID continues to be a real threat to our community, our region and our state. He shared the current situation. Since July 9, 2020 there have been 121,000 new cases in the State of Georgia. In Cherokee County the number is 2,175. The cases continue to grow expeditiously this summer, however new cases appear to be plateauing somewhat the past week. This could be a contributing factor to the drop in the number of new cases. Nonetheless in the last seven (7) days, Cherokee County daily new numbers have averaged 88 new cases per day. That number is the highest since the onset of COVID. Several of the surrounding counties also have experienced an increase in the number of cases.

Mayor Roberts asked Council Member Byrd to coordinate a Zoom meeting with members of the Downtown Development Authority to inform them of what is going on in the downtown district.

Mayor Roberts commented on the Service Delivery Strategy Agreement we have with Cherokee County. He stated we opted not to join the other Cities in opposing the SDS update. Then after months of our losing our Qualified Local Government status, it was finally reinstated a few months ago. It is expected to expire again in October. Mayor Roberts stated he felt we were moving forward to getting an agreement to SDS that all the Cities and County could adopt. However, based on what some of the other Cites are now doing, it appears we may be back to square one by the end of October.

Item 9: Council Comments

Council Member O’Malley reported that currently the Creekview High School Girls Softball team is using Field #2 for their team practice. The local baseball organizations are now registering players for fall baseball season. The local tennis teams are back playing again.

Council Member Prettyman expressed his appreciation to Chief Reeves and his department for their work.

Mayor Roberts commented on the quality of our Police Department. He stated that in all his years of being involved with the City, he is the most comfortable with the department under the leadership of Chief Bryon Reeves.

Council Member Byrd commended the Police Department on the way the officers handled an incident that occurred downtown recently. He stated they handled the matter with the upmost professionalism. He further commended all the employees for their service to the City. Mayor Roberts commended City Manager Wilmarth for the standard of work ethics he has set for other employees to follow.

Item 10: Public Comments – None

Item 11: Adjourn

There being no further business for Council consideration, a motion was duly made and seconded to adjourn at 8:05PM.

The minutes of this August 13, 2020 Meeting of Council approved this 9th Day of October, 2020.

A.R. Roberts, III, Mayor

Attest: ________________________
Karen L. Jordan, City Clerk

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