May 14, 2020

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

May 14, 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, O’Malley, Prettyman, Stoner, and Homiller participated via teleconference call.

Item 1: Meeting Called to Order / Approval of Agenda
Mayor Roberts called the meeting to order.

Council Member O’Malley put forth a motion Seconded by Council Member Homiller to amend the Agenda to correct: Item 5: Approval of February Minutes to consider approval of March 12, 2020 Council Meeting Minutes.
Motion Unanimously Approved

Item 2: Roll Call of Council Members

Mayor Roberts requested a Roll Call of Council Members participating via teleconference. The following Council Members announced their presence and participation:

John Byrd
Frank Homiller
Mickey O’Malley
Lee Prettyman
Andrenia Stoner

The following City Staff were present for the meeting.

Eric Wilmarth
Karen Jordan
Bryon Reeves
Darrell Caudill

Item 2: Pledge of Allegiance

Item 3: Appearances – None

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

Annual Fireworks display tentatively scheduled for June 27
City Hall is tentatively scheduled to reopen Tuesday, May 26

Item 5: Approval of: March 12, 2020 Council Meeting Minutes
March 26, 2020 Emergency Special Called Council Meeting Minutes
April Council Meeting Canceled
Council Member Stoner put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Prettyman to approve the minutes of the March 12 and 26, 2020 minutes as submitted in writing by the City Clerk.
Motion Unanimously Approved.
Item 6: Old Business – None

Item 7: New Business

Consider Resolution to Accept Grant ($100,000 reimbursement grant for Roberts Lake Acquisition)

City Manager Wilmarth stated by accepting the grant money the city is obligated to maintain the already acquired property as greenspace. And, since the property has already been purchased the grant funds would be used to either make a lump sum payment on the existing GEFA loan or if approved by the National Park Service, the grant funds would be placed in an account from which the monthly payment would be made from.

Council Member Prettyman put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Homiller to agree to the terms of the contract for a state grant between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the City of Ball Ground for a grant of financial assistance to assist in the acquisition of 49.65 acres for property to be known as Roberts Lake Park.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider 1st Reading of Proposed 2020/2021 Operating Budget

Mayor Roberts presented the FY 2020-2021 Operating Budget to Council and provided a brief overview of the significant changes over previous years.

Council Member Stoner put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley to approve the first reading of the 2020-2021 Operating Budget as presented. The budget for the year 2020-2021 totals $3,732,040.00
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider Budget Hearing date of June 4, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Council Member Stoner put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Prettyman to schedule a Public Hearing to solicit comments from city residents on the proposed budget, Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 5:00 PM in Council Chambers.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Consider CDBG Cooperation Agreement

City Manager Wilmarth stated The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved the revisions to the Cooperation Agreement between the County and Participating Cities who wish to have CDBG activities conducted within their respective bounds to provide community improvements with CDBG funds at the April 7, 2020 Regular Meeting. The agreement has the same terms and provisions as have previously been included in the Cooperation Agreement executed in 2008, or 2011 where applicable, but it was updated to include specific language to prohibit the sale, trade, or transfer of CDBG funds. This agreement covers the fiscal years 2021, beginning October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2023. The agreement also has the automatic renewal option every three years, and you will be notified and given an opportunity to continue or terminate for each three-year renewal cycle.

Council Member Homiller put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley to enter into this agreement as outlined above for certain qualified projects to be determined.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

Item 8: City Manager Comments

City Manager Wilmarth provided Council Members with an unaudited report of account balances, and statement of revenue and expenditures for the month ended April 30, 2020. Accounts on deposit totaled $1,461,924.71.

A written report of the Police Departments activity for the month ended April 30, 2020 was presented to Mayor and Council Members for review.

A new electronic sign has been installed in front of City Hall to better communicate with city residents upcoming city events.

City Manager Wilmarth thanked the City Staff for their continued efforts to keep the City operating during the COVID Pandemic.

Item 9: Mayor Roberts

Consider Proclamation National Garden Week June 7-13, 2020 in honor of the Ball Ground Garden Club (Anestsa-Ga-Da)

Mayor Roberts presented a Proclamation declaring June 7-13, 2020 as National Garden Week in the City of Ball Ground for Council Consideration. He commended the Ball Ground Club on their work and dedication to the Ball Ground Botanical Garden.

Council Member Homiller put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Prettyman to declare the week of June 7-13 as National Garden Week in the City of Ball Ground.
Motion Unanimously Approved

Consider Proclamation Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week

Mayor Roberts presented a Proclamation declaring the week of May 11-15, 2020 as Police Week and May 15, 2020 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in the City of Ball Ground.

Mayor Roberts, and Council Members commended Chief Reeves, and his department on their dedication to protect and serve the City of Ball Ground and its residents.

Council Member Prettyman put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member Stoner to approve the Proclamation as presented.
Motion Unanimously Approved.

City and state emergency orders have been put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in a balancing act between the safety of the people and economics. Most of the businesses and residents are to be commended for their compliance. The community is encouraged to continue to support the local businesses, while at the same time staying safe and continuing to practice social distancing and extra sanitation efforts.

According to Mayor Roberts “through GMA and along with the other mayors in the county, I have been on approximately 20 conference or zoom video calls since our last meeting in March. These calls have kept Ball Ground and its officials better informed about what is happening both county and state wide”.

There are several items at the city level that will have to be delayed due to the Covid-19 threat. These include the creation of a Historic Preservation Ordinance; an update to the city sign ordinance; the adoption of the county’s property maintenance provisions which would allow the Cherokee County Marshall to enforce those in the city; and the creation of a youth council. The delay will probably be three to six months before action can be taken on these important items. However, these items will remain on the agenda for 2020.

Thanks to City Manager Wilmarth, Mayor Roberts was able to tour the new hiking trails that are being developed at Roberts Lake Park. The mayor stated “I was very impressed with the work that has been done. In all likelihood, this will be a lasting legacy for the city.” The city has approved the acceptance of a grant in the amount of $100,000 to help fund this project. Hopefully there will be a council tour of the landmark in the near future. The mayor was very impressed with what has been done to develop this trail system, and also with the beautiful nature preserve along the trail and surrounding the ruins of the old dam on Long Swamp Creek. He again expressed his thanks to city manager Eric Wilmarth, the public works department, and the Creekview High School wrestling team for their assistance in carving out this trail.

Mayor Roberts concluded his remarks by commenting on the new electronic sign in front of City Hall, stating that the sign looked great, and would allow the City to easily update information provided to the residents of Ball Ground concerning upcoming events. Mayor Roberts said, “it will certainly help us to continue to be #BallGroundStrong”. He also thanked the city team that has kept Ball Ground operating in a safe manner by observing social distancing, sanitation, and teleworking. We are all in this together.

Item 10: Council Comments

Council Member Homiller encouraged everyone to comply with the mandatory CDC Guidelines for operating during COVID-19. He also encouraged everyone to get outdoors, but not to congregate in large groups.

Council Member Stoner, and Byrd commended the city staff on working to keep the city operating as normal as possible during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Council Member O’Malley commented on the new electronic sign. He said it was a great addition to City Hall.

Item 11: Public Comments

City Manager Wilmarth stated he had received 4 emails regarding the opening of the baseball field. The comments stated the Ball Ground Youth Baseball Association is scheduled to host opening day games on May 16th and encouraged the City to allow the association use of the field for the games.

Mayor Roberts and Council Members discussed the request before unanimously deciding not to allow any ball games to be played on the City fields at this time.

Council Member Stoner stated she had received an email from city resident Judy Haygood requesting the City have a cleanup/dumpster day so residents can dispose of unwanted household items.

Mayor Roberts stated he also received, and responded to Mrs. Haygood’s email. Mayor Roberts stated he, and City Manager Wilmarth are working to schedule a cleanup day (date to be determined) for city residents that subscribe to trash service provided by the City.

Item 12: Executive Session (If Needed)

Item 12: Adjourn
There being no further business for Mayor and Council consideration Council Member Stoner put forth a motion, Seconded by Council Member O’Malley to adjourn at 8:00 PM.

The minutes of this May 14, 2020 Ball Ground City Council Meeting approved this 11th Day of June 2020.

A.R. (Rick) Roberts, III, Mayor

Attest: _________________________
Karen L. Jordan, City Clerk

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