December 11, 2008

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

December 11, 2008

Item 1.   Meeting called to order by Mayor Roberts

Council Members Present: Ashley Holcomb, Frank Homiller, Lee Prettyman and  Andrenia Stoner

Council Member John Byrd absent

Staff Present:  Darrell Caudill, City Attorney; Dana Davis, Police Chief; Donna England,  Finance Director;  Michael Chapman, Planner and Eric Wilmarth, City Manager & Karen Jordan, City Clerk

Item 2:  Pledge of Allegiance

Item 3:  Appearances
Ken Bobo representing the North Cherokee Softball and Baseball Association appeared before Mayor and Council to outline plans to improve the existing softball and baseball fields. The plan also reflected the construction of a new ball field.  Mr. Bobo stated the improvements and construction of a new field would cost approximately $117,000.00.

Mr. Bobo informed Mayor and Council that he had met with the County Recreation  Director Ken Hammond to discuss funding of the projects.  Mr. Hammond’s plan for recreation improvements in Ball Ground differed from what Mr. Bobo proposed.  Mr. Bobo stated 2010 was too long to wait to begin the improvements and to build a much needed third ball field.  Mr. Bobo urged Mayor Roberts and Council Members to assist with acquiring financial assistance from Cherokee County to fund the proposed projects.

City Admin. Wilmarth outlined how SPLOST monies are to be disbursed and asked Mr. Bobo to prioritize the proposed list of projects.

Mayor Roberts pledged to Mr. Bobo his support in soliciting the funding from the Cherokee Co. Board of Commissioners to fund the proposed projects.

Mr. Bobo thanked Mayor Roberts and Council for their support.

Item 4: Announcements
City Admin. Wilmarth announced City hall will close at noon on Christmas Eve and remain closed until December 29 and will close on New Years Day, January 1, 2009.

Item 5:  Approve Minutes
Council Member Stoner put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Holcomb to approve the minutes of the November 13, 2008 meeting of Council as submitted in writing by the City Clerk.
Motion Unanimously Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

Item 6: Old Business – None

Item 7: New Business
a) Consider 1st Reading of Application for Alcohol Pouring License for Ball Ground Grill located at 250 Gilmer Ferry Rd.
Mayor Roberts presented the application for Council consideration.

Council Member Prettyman put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Stoner to approve the first read of the application as presented.
Motion Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

b) Consider Request to Amend City of Ball Ground Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter 1 Section 9-1-5, Weapons Discharged in City.
City Admin. Wilmarth presented a written request from Forestar Real Estate Group Land Steward Bob Luke regarding the discharge of firearms on a 500 acre track of land owned by their company.  The request stated that when the property was annexed into the City the property fell under the umbrella of and ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms within the city limits.  We (Forestar) routinely license the hunting and recreational use privileges of our property.  Unfortunately with this encumbrance this option is not available to us, and I hope you will consider the possibility of amending the ordinance for this area of the city. But airsoft guns are allowed, most people buy airsoft guns for fun, if you like guns then check out

The letter further stated that Forestar’s own liability is at stake and they are naturally concerned with the safety of hunters, adjoining land owners and neighbors.  When it makes sense to restrict hunting activities Forestar stated they take the initiate and do it.  However, in this case given the position and size of this property, Forestar is not sure that it makes sense.  Additionally hunting activities are usually confined to a three month period and many clubs continue using the property throughout the year for camping and family outings.

Mayor and Council Members discussed the request.  Following discussion Mayor Roberts asked the Public Safety Committee to meet and further discuss this matter.

Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Homiller to table and defer the request to the Public Safety Committee for further review.
Motion Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

c) Present Draft of Revised Sign Ordinance for Mayor and Council Review
City Planner Michael Chapman presented the final draft of the Sign Ordinance from the ARC for Mayor and Council review.   Michael stated the ordinance is part of the ARC Community Choices Program in which Ball Ground was selected to participate.  A representative from the ARC will come to the January Council Meeting to hear Mayor and Council comments.
No Action Taken.

d) Present Draft of Revised Tree Ordinance for Mayor and Council Review
City Planner Michael Chapman presented the final draft of the Tree Ordinance from the ARC for Mayor and Council review.  As stated earlier the ordinance is also a part of the ARC Community Choices Program.   This ordinance will also be discussed at the January Council Meeting.
No Action Taken.

e) Consider Adoption of Public Comment Policy
Mayor Roberts presented a document titled “Public Participation in City Council Meetings” for consideration by the City Council.

Council Member Homiller put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Stoner to adopt this Public Comment Policy as stated below and to further more it become effective this 11th day of December, 2008.
Motion Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

City of Ball Ground
Public Participation in City Council Meetings
The City of Ball Ground City Council (“City Council”) will hold one regular meeting each month (“meeting”).  The City Council welcomes visitors and will hear comments from any interested citizen of Ball Ground or employee of the City of Ball Ground at that meeting pursuant to the guidelines outlined in this policy.

Procedures for Speaking before the City Council

Individuals desiring to appear before the City Council at any regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the same must first complete a “Public Comment Form” (“form”) which shall be available prior to the commencement of the meeting.  The City Clerk or designee will provide this form to prospective speakers and will be available to answer questions regarding the Public Participation procedures, as outlined in this policy.  Any materials, related to the speaker’s remarks, which the speaker desires for the City Council to receive, shall be given to the City Clerk or designee with the form prior to the commencement of the meeting.

The following items are exempt from the Open Meetings Act of O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 and will not be discussed during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.
a. Any impending real property acquisition;
b. Matters involving the Attorney/Client Privilege; and
c. Matters involving personnel or employees of the City of Ball Ground.
d. Matters involving any pending zoning case in which the public hearing has already been conducted by the Cherokee County Planning Commission.

Speakers will be given up to five (5) minutes to speak before the City Council, with the time per speaker being determined by the Mayor, depending on the number of speakers signed up for Public Comment and the topics listed.  The five minute maximum per speaker may be extended with a majority vote of the City Council.

If appropriate, the Mayor shall have a response communicated to the speaker via U.S. Mail; however, no response shall be given to any question posed to the City Council or its individual members at the meeting.

When appearing before the City Council, the following guidelines shall be adhered to:
a. The speaker shall state his/her name and address, if a response is requested of the City Council;
b. All remarks shall be made to the City Council as a body and not to any individual member; and
c. No speaker shall be allowed to make obscene, derogatory, or slanderous remarks while addressing the City Council.  If any such remarks are made, the Mayor or any City Council member may at any point stop the speaker and not allow any additional comments from that speaker.

As approved this 11th day of December, 2008

/s/ Mayor A. R. Roberts, II
/s/ Karen L. Jordan,
City Clerk
f) Consider Adoption of Service Delivery Strategy Report.
City Admin. Wilmarth presented the following resolution titled “Annexation Notification and Land Use Dispute Resolution Process” for Council consideration.
“This Annexation Notification and Land Use Dispute Agreement is made this 11th day of December, 2008, by and between Cherokee County, Georgia (“County”) and the City of Ball Ground, Georgia (“City”).

The City and County hereby agree to implement the following process for proving notification of annexation and for resolving land use disputes related to annexations:
1. Upon acceptance of an application for annexation, a petition for annexation, or upon the adoption of a resolution for annexation under Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the City will notify the County government of the proposed annexation, as required under O.C.G.A. §36-36-7, by way of a letter substantially conforming to the form attached hereto as Exhibit “A”, as well as providing the County with a copy of the annexation application, the rezoning petition (if applicable), and a completed Annexation Notification Form, in the form attached hereto as Exhibit “B”.
2. If the County has an objection to the proposed land use of the area to be annexed, such objection shall be made in accordance with O.C.G.A. §36-36-113.
3. Any dispute related to the proposed land use for the area to be annexed shall be resolved in accordance with the procedures set forth in O.C.G.A. §36-36-110 et seq.
4. This Annexation Notification and Land Use Dispute and shall become effective on the date first shown above, and shall remain in force and effect until amended in writing by agreement of each party or unless otherwise terminated by operations of law.

/s/ Mayor A. R. Roberts, II
/s/ Karen L. Jordan
City Clerk

Council Member Homiller put forth a motion; Seconded by Council Member Holcomb to adopt the above stated resolution titled “Annexation Notification and Land Use Dispute Resolution Process”.
Motion Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

g) Consider Approval of the Response to the Request for MOU from the Cherokee County School District (CCSD).
Council Member Homiller put for a motion, Seconded by Council Member Prettyman to table this item of business.
Motion Approved 3 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.  Council Member Holcomb Abstained.

Item 8:  City Administrator Report
Finance – An unaudited Statement of Revenues and Expenditures for month ended November 30, 2008 was submitted in writing to the Mayor and City Council.  The report showed $484,234.80 total of all accounts.

Administrative – Staff continues to work on policies and codification of ordinances.  An updated Codification of City Ordinances is being made ready for presentation to Mayor and Council within the next three months.  A new alcohol ordinance is also being compiled for review.

City Admin. Wilmarth stated he has been working closely with Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper regarding the new Service Delivery Strategy Document.

Public Works – The City of Canton has provided written notice that they will be increasing their present charge of $3.28 per thousand gallons to $3.93 per thousands gallons effective January 1, 2009.  The Cherokee County Water and Sewage Authority (CCWSA) are presently charging the City .40 cents pre thousand gallons wheeling fee. The above stated charges total $4.33 per thousand while our sewage charge per thousand is $4.00. Presently we are loosing money and should consider a rate increase for the upcoming fiscal year.

The past two weeks the City Water System has lost a tremendous amount of water because crews were unable to find a leak.  The water was going directly into a storm  drain making it hard to find.  This will result in a much higher water bill from CCWSA for the month of December.

Staff has obtained a proposal in the amount of $24,000.00 to conduct a sophisticated leak detection survey of the water system.  Staff will be meeting to evaluate this proposal.

A map of our water system detailing pipe size, materials and locations has been compiled.  The next phase will consist of identifying locations of valves using cross streets and addresses as reference points.  Once the map is completed it will be sent to Ben Turnipseed Engineers for all the information to be assembled into a master plan of the water and sewage system.

Roads & Streets – Staff is drafting a prioritized list of street repairs and improvements to be considered in the 2009-2010 Budget.

City Admin. Wilmarth requested Council approve the closing of the Valley Street Construction Account at Cherokee Bank and transfer the balance of approximately $1,126.82 and into the SPLOST 3 account.

Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Homiller to close the Valley Street Construction Account at Cherokee Bank and transfer the balance of approximately $1,126.82  and into the SPLOST 3 account.
Motion Approved 4 Yeas, 0 Nays, 1 Absent.

Streetscape Project – Staff has instructed the Pierce Construction to proceed with construction while we continue to await the Department of Transportation’s approval of change order #1 and 2.   Council Member Homiller asked City Admin. Wilmarth to explain why our request has not been approved.

Mayor Roberts stated he has solicited the help of State Representative Calvin Hill in rectifying the problems we are incurring with the DOT.

To date change orders result in a total of $16,150.00.  A total of $100,684.00 remains in the contingency budget.  Provided we limit additional changes we may be able to install the proposed monument and not have to limit the number of benches and trash receptacles purchases.

Public Safety – A written report of the department’s activity for the month ended November 30, 2008 was presented by Chief Davis.

Officer Reeves has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant Contingent upon successful completion of the requisite training and probationary period.

Chief Davis has received the new police vehicle into the Police Department fleet of cars.  The car was purchased through the GMA Lease Purchase Program at an interest rate of 3.57%.  Monthly payments are approximately $732.00 per month for the next three years.

Item 10:  Mayor Roberts and City Council Comments
Mayor Roberts asked the Public Safety Committee to begin compiling a draft Alcohol Ordinance regulating Liquor by the Drink for Council consideration.

Mayor Roberts proposed Council consider holding a planning retreat the first Saturday in February, 2009.

Mayor Roberts reported on his meeting with the Local Legislative Delegation.  Representative Hill asked Mayor Roberts to put together a list of projects to be considered for funding.  Mayor Roberts stated he is not sure if we will get the funding of every project but we will certainly ask.

Council Member Homiller commented on the arrival of Santa at City Hall.  He stated there was very good attendance and he received a lot of positive comments on the design of the City Hall building.

Council Member Prettyman stated he felt future arrivals of Santa should be held at the City Hall rather than downtown for safety reasons.  He stated he understood the reason the downtown businesses wanted the event downtown but felt it best to have it at City Hall.

Mayor Roberts commended the Business Association for their success of the 2008 Christmas Tour of Homes.  He stated he hoped it would become an annual event.

Item 10:  Public Comment – None

Item 11:  Executive Session – None

Item 12:  Adjourn
There being no further business for Mayor and Council consideration a motion was duly made and seconded to adjourn at 8:35 PM.

The minutes of this December 11, 2008 Meeting of Council will be considered for approval the 8th day of January, 2009.

__________________________    _____________________________
Mayor A. R. Roberts, III    Council Member Frank Homiller

__________________________    _____________________________
Council Member John Byrd Council Member Ashley Holcomb

__________________________ _____________________________
Council Member Lee Prettyman   Council Member Andrenia Stoner

Attest __________________________
City Clerk Karen L. Jordan

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