Regular Meeting of the Mayor and City Council
City of Ball Ground, Georgia
Ball Ground City Hall-7:00 PM
December 13, 2007
Item 1: Mayor Rick Roberts called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to our first meeting in the new City Hall.
Council Members Present: John Byrd, Ashley Holcomb, Frank Homiller, Lee Prettyman & Andrenia Stoner
Staff Present: Darrell Caudill, City Attorney; Dana Davis, Police Chief; Karen Jordan, City Clerk; Randy Westbrook, Finance Director; Eric Wilmarth, City
Item 2: Pledge of Allegiance
Item 3: Public Comment
Phil Thomason asked Mayor Roberts if a PA system was installed in the new council chambers.
Mayor Roberts replied we did not have one at this time.
Jennie Way, owner of Packrat’s Daughter asked if there was any promising news related to the opening of new businesses in the “Rock Shops”.
Mayor Roberts responded there was no news at this time but hoped the beginning of the streetscape project would encourage some downtown revitalization.
Mrs. Way also asked how long could an empty building be used for a tax write off.
Mayor Roberts responded he did not know.
John “Shorty” Jordan asked if Mayor and Council had considered making plans for off street parking.
Mayor Roberts responded that he and members of Council are very much committed to finding alternative parking.
Mayor Roberts, Council Members and Mr. Jordan discussed different sites that would be
suitable for off street parking.
Mrs. Way asked if the City Park could be used for alternative parking.
Mayor Roberts answered no and further discussed locations suitable for locating off street parking.
Heidi Pryor asked how long real estate companies, etc can display “For Sale” signs.
Mayor Roberts responded that the city manager is in the process of compiling a list of property owners who are believed to be in violation of City Ordinances. Once the list has been completed they will receive proper notice asking them to comply with the particular ordinance they are in violation of.
Mr. John “Shorty” Jordan asked council to consider constructing a sidewalk linking downtown to Calvin Farmer Park.
Mayor Roberts responded that the city manager is currently seeking funding for this purpose.
Mrs. Jennie Way asked if a letter could be written to the Department of Transportation requesting signs be posted on I-575 advertising the “Historic Downtown”.
Mayor Roberts stated that once the downtown is officially designated as a Historic District we should be able to get a sign.
Item 4: Announcements
City Manager Wilmarth announced the following closing dates for City Hall:
Christmas Eve close at noon, Christmas Day, January 1st & 21st.
Radio Read Water Meter Installation Project – City Manager Wilmarth reported that the radio read water meter project is 99% complete.
Well Site – A verbal agreement has been reached for the acquisition of two potential well sites. The City has compiled an agreement for the property owner to sign which will allow the city to access and test drill the property. Should there be sufficient quality water found on the site then the City would have the option to purchase the property. City Manager Wilmarth stated there are a couple of options in addition to a dollar amount for the purchase of the land which Council will need to discuss during an executive session.
City Hall – Mayor Roberts has approved a landscape plan for the new City Hall site. We are currently working with the landscaper on how to implement the plan due to the drought conditions.
Valley ST. – City Manager Wilmarth reported the engineering plans for the construction of Valley Street have been completed and forwarded to the NOI and LDA and EPD for their review. The remaining portion of right of way needed has been purchased. Next step will be to advertise the project for bid.
Downtown Streetscape Project – City Manager Wilmarth announced that Mayor and Council will consider entering into a contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation to begin the bidding process of this project.
City Clean Up & Unsafe Buildings – City Manager Wilmarth stated he had compiled a list of property owners that are believed to be in violation of a number of City Ordinances. The list has been forwarded to the Police Department for their review. Should the PD determine the properties are in violation of City Ordinances then a letter will be sent to the property owners notifying them of said violation. The property owners will be given 30 days to comply with the code violation. If after 30 days they fail to comply they will be cited and ordered to appear in a special session of the City’s Municipal Court.
Item 5: Approval of Minutes
a) November 8, 2007 Regular Scheduled Meeting
b) November 17, 2007 Special Called Meeting & Work Session
Council Member Stoner moved to approve the minutes of the November 8, 2007 Regular Scheduled Meeting and November 19, 2007 Special Called Meeting and Work Session with the following correction: Page 1 of November 19, 2007 Special Called Meeting and Work Session should read as follows: Monday, November 19, 2007. Council Member Holcomb seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
Item 6: Old Business
a) 2nd Reading of Annexation Petition 2007-A019 Gerrell and Slatton, LLC, Applicant. The property consists of 4.9516 acres & is located on the northeasterly side of Commerce Lane. The property is described as that tract or parcel of land lying and being in Land Lot 309, 4th District, 2nd Section of Cherokee County, Georgia and further described as Cherokee Co. Tax Map 04N04B, Parcel 0311A. This property is presently zoned LI. No change in zoning is requested at this time. (This property is formerly part of the Ingram Truck Body Property).
Mayor Roberts presented the application No. 2007-A019 for a second reading.
Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion to accept Annexation Petition No. 2007- A019 as a second reading. Council Member Prettyman seconded the motion.
Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
Item 7: New Business
a) Presentation of Audit Report by Rick Hartley of Mauldin & Jenkins, Certified Public Accounts, LLC
Mr. Hartley submitted two reports for Mayor and Council review. The Financial Highlights for period ended June 30, 2007 and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report which contained the following Independent Auditor’s Report:
The accompanying financial statements of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, and each major fund of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia (the “City”), as of and or the year ended June 30, 2007, which collectively comprise the City’s basic financial statements as listed in the table of contents. These financial statements are the responsibility of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s management. Our responsibility is to express opinions on these financial statements based on our audit.
We conducted our audit in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America and the standards applicable to financial audits contained in Government Auditing Standards, issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and the significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinions.
In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities, the business- type activities, and each major fund of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia as of June 30, 2007, and the respective changes in financial position and cash flows, where applicable, thereof and the budgetary comparison for the General Fund for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
In accordance with Government Auditing Standards, we have also issued our report dated December 11, 2007, on our consideration of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s internal control over financial reporting and on our test of its compliance with certain provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements and other matters. The purpose of that report is to describe the scope of our testing of internal control over financial reporting and compliance and the result of that testing, and not to provide an opinion on the internal control over financial reporting or on compliance. That report is an integral part of an audit performed in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and should be considered in assessing the results of our audit.
The Management’s Discussion and Analysis (on pages 3 through 13) is not a required part of the basic financial statements but is supplementary information required by principles generally accepted in the United States of America. We have applied certain limited procedures, which consisted principally of inquiries of management regarding the methods of measurement and presentation of the required supplementary information. However, we did not audit the information and express no opinion on it.
Our audit was conducted for the purpose of forming opinions on the financial statements that collectively comprise the City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s basic financial statements. The introductory section, Schedule of Expenditures of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Proceeds and statistical section as listed in the table of contents are presented for purposes of additional analysis and are not a required part of the basic financial statements. The Schedule of Expenditures of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Proceeds has been subjected to the auditing procedures applied in the audit of the basic financial statements and, in our opinion, is fairly stated in all material respects in relation to the basic financial statements taken as a whole. The introductory and statistical sections have not been subjected to the auditing procedures applied in the audit of the basic financial statements and, accordingly, we express no opinion on them.
Mr. Hartley stated that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was prepared by Randy Westbrook CPA, Finance Director. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report also contained the following information: A letter prepared by Randy Westbrook CPA, Finance Director. The letter states that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia (the “City”), for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, is hereby submitted as mandated by both local and state government. These ordinances and statutes require that the City issue annually a report on its financial position and activity, and that this report be audited by an independent firm of certified public accountants. This report prepared by the City’s Finance Department. Responsibility for both the accuracy of the presented data and the completeness and fairness of presentation, including all disclosures, rests with the City. To the best of our knowledge and belief, the enclosed data is accurate in all material respects and is reported in a manner that presents fairly the financial position and results of operations of the various funds of the City. All disclosures necessary to enable the reader to gain the maximum understanding of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s financial affairs are included.
The City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s financial statements has been audited by Mauldin & Jenkins, CPAs, LLC. a firm of licensed certified public accountants. The goal of the independent audit was to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements of the City of Ball Ground, Georgia for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, are free of material misstatement. The independent audit involved examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements; assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management; and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. The independent auditor concluded, based upon the audit, that there was a reasonable basis for rendering an unqualified opinion that the City of Ball Ground, Georgia’s financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, are fairly presented in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The independent auditor’s report is presented as the first component of the financial section of the report.
The financial reporting entity for the City of Ball Ground, Georgia included all funds of the primary government, the City of Ball Ground, Georgia. The City provides a full range of services including police, building inspections, zoning code enforcement, municipal court, the construction and maintenance of streets and infrastructure, recreational activities and cultural events, water and sewer service, and sanitation.
Management’s discussion and analysis immediately follows the independent auditor’s report and provides a narrative and overview of the basic financial statements and should be read in conjunction with the transmittal letter.
The letter also contained History and Information, Governmental Structure, Local Economic Conditions and Outlook, Financial Information including but not limited to the following: Accounting System Internal Controls, Budgeting Controls, Risk Management, Pension and Deferred Compensation Plans and Acknowledgements.
Mr. Hartley commended Mr. Westbrook for his hard work in completing the City’s first ever Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Mr. Hartley stated the report would be sent to the Government Finance Officers Association where the report will be reviewed using a checklist designed to determine compliance with both generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and program policy as established by the GFOA’s Special Review Executive Committee and the GFOA Executive Board.
Mr. Hartley further explained that Ball Ground, if awarded the Certificate of Achievement will be the first city of its size to do so in the State of Georgia. Every city can apply but very few achieve this status. It’s a very elite group stated Mr. Hartley.
Mayor Roberts and Council commended Mr. Westbrook for his hard work in striving for this fist time achievement in the history of the City of Ball Ground.
b) Consider advertising for bids for the construction of Valley Street
City Manager Wilmarth asked Council Members to consider approving the notice to bid for construction of Valley Street. The notice will be published in the Cherokee Tribune.
Council Member Byrd put forth the motion to advertise the Notice to Bid for construction of Valley Street in the Cherokee Tribune. Council Member Stoner seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 4 Yeas 0 Nays Council Member Ashley Holcomb abstained.
c) Consider Georgia Department of Transportation Contract for construction of Downtown Streetscape Project No. TEE-0006-00 (584), P.I. No. 0006584, Cherokee
City Manager Wilmarth presented for council consideration the following agreement for Transportation Enhancement Activities between the Georgia Department of Transportation and the City of Ball Ground.
The agreement states the following:
a) City of Ball Ground approves GDOT to carry out a Transportation Enhancement Activity which consists of: Project TEE-0006-00(584), P.I. No. 0006584, Cherokee County.
b) GDOT is authorized to receive federal funding for Transportation Enhancement Activities for Georgia pursuant to provisions of Title 23, Chapter 2, Subchapter 1, Section 133.
c) The Project is expected to positively impact the quality of transportation in the State of Georgia.
d) The Department desires to financially participate with the City of Ball Ground in the implementation of the Project.
e) The City of Ball Ground has represented to the Department that it has the authority to receive and expend federal funds for the purpose of this PROJECT and is qualified and experienced to provide such services necessary for the construction of the PROJECT and GDOT has relied upon such representations.
f) Under Section 32-2-2(a) (7) of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, GDOT is authorized to participate in such an undertaking.
g) GDOT and The City of Ball Ground, both governmental entities of the State of Georgia, pursuant to Article IX, Section III, Paragraph 1(a) of the Georgia Constitution of 1983, and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenant contained herein, do hereby agree to the following:
Article I described as Scope and Procedure
Article II described as Time of Performance
Article III described as Contingent Interest
Article IV described as Covenants Against Contingent Fees
Article V described as Employment of Department’s Personnel
Article VI described as Review of Work
Article VII described as Responsibility for Claims and Liability
Article VIII described as Compensation and Payment
Article IX described as Final Payment
Article X described as Right of First Refusal
Article XI described as Substantial Changes
Article XII described as Maintenance of Contract Cost Records
Article XII described as Subletting, Assignment or Transfer
Article XIV described s Termination
Article XV described as Ownership of Documents
Article XVI described as Publication and Publicity
Article XVII described as Copyrighting
Article XVIII described as Contract Disputes
Article XIX described as Insurance
Article XX described as Compliance with Applicable Law
Mayor Roberts asked City Attorney Caudill if he had reviewed the contract.
City Attorney Caudill replied he had and stated that we had no option to negotiate changes to the document if we want to proceed with the project.
City Manager Wilmarth stated the estimated cost of the project is $900,000.00. GDOT is responsible for $720,000.00 and the City of Ball Ground will contribute $180,000.00. The City of Ball Ground will also be responsible for any and all amounts in excess of the maximum amount of GDOT’s obligation.
Council Member Prettyman put forth the motion to accept the contract and empower City Manager Wilmarth to sign any and all documents related to this “Project”. Council Member Holcomb seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
d) Consider acceptance of Howell Bridge Road East into City Inventory.
City Manager Wilmarth reported that the streetlights have been installed and therefore recommended approval of acceptance of the street.
Council Member Byrd moved to accept Howell Bridge Road East which presently ends at the east side of the rail road tract into the City inventory upon final determination and acceptance by the Chief of Police. Council Member Stoner seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 4 Yeas 0 Nays Council Member Ashley Holcomb abstained.
e) Consider call of Special Called Council Meeting
Mayor Roberts announced that the City Council will meet in a joint session with the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Jury Assembly Room at the Cherokee County Justice Center for the purpose of adopting a joint transmittal resolution for the Joint Comprehensive Plan.
f) Consider approval of proposal to design sewer lift station
City Manager Wilmarth asked Mayor and Council to consider a proposal submitted by G. Ben Turnipseed Engineering in the amount of $25,000.00 to design a new lift station to be built south of Pump Station “A”. Two additional proposals were received from Paul Lee Engineering with a price of $26,500 and Rindt McDuff with a price of $43,780.
City Manager stated as the City continues to grow the need to enlarge the size of our main lift station will increase. The recent and future development proposed south of the intersection of Howell Bridge and Canton Hwy will allow us to increase the size of the lift station at the cost of the developers of these projects and extend our service area to Sharp Mountain Creek.
Following discussion by Mayor Roberts and Council a motion was made by Council Member Holcomb to award the bid to design a sewage pump station to G. Ben Turnipseed Engineering in the amount of $25,000.00. Council Member Homiller seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
h) Consider the surplus of the following Properties
- Furniture remaining at the 210 Valley St., Suite 200 location described as desk, chairs, computer keyboards, monitors.
- 1990 Ford Dump Truck VIN # 1FDNF60H7KVA492439D
- 1976 Ford Dump Truck VIN# F61DVY60335
- Excess property purchased from the Fox Estate located between Old Canton Rd and stream.
- Acreage located at 155 Depot St. described as tax map 94N05, parcel 008A
- Acreage located on Lowery St. described as tax map 94N05, parcel 020A
- Acreage located behind the Community Center described as tax map 94N06, parcel 005B
- City Hall Building located at 301 Gilmer Ferry Rd described as tax map 94N04, parcel 069
- Acreage located at Corner of Strippling St.. and Old Canton Rd. described as tax map 94N02, parcel 029
Mayor Roberts presented the above listed items as consideration for surplus.
Council Member Homiller stated it is his belief that two of the identified properties be removed from the list.
Mayor Roberts then asked that a motion be made for each individual item.
* Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, seconded by Council Byrd to surplus the furniture remaining at the 210 Valley St., Suite 200 location described as desk, chairs, computer keyboards, monitors. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
* Council Member Homiller put forth a motion, seconded by Council Member Holcomb to surplus one 1990 Ford Dump Truck VIN # 1FDNF60H7KVA492439D.
Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
*Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, seconded by Council Member Homiller to surplus one 1976 Ford Dump Truck VIN# F61DVY60335.
Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
*Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, seconded by Council Member Byrd to surplus excess property purchased from the Fox Estate located between Old Canton Rd and stream. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
City Manager Wilmarth outlined the possible uses of the Depot Street property. Council Members discussed the options.
*Following discussions Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion, seconded by Council Member Byrd to surplus the Depot Street Property described as tax map 94N05, parcel 008A. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
*Council Member Holcomb put forth a motion; seconded by Council Member Prettyman to surplus acreage located on Lowery St. described as tax map 94N05, parcel 020A. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
Council Member Homiller spoke in opposition of disposing of the acreage located behind the Community Center.
Council Member Holcomb stated he would not want to do anything that would negatively impact our park area but that would be a good opportunity to see what worth the property has.
* Council Member Holcomb then put forth a motion, seconded by Council Member Byrd to surplus the seven acres located behind the Community Center described as tax map 94N06, parcel 005B. Motion Approved. 4 Yeas 1 Nays
Council Member Homiller stated he felt the building held significant historic value and did not need to be sold without stipulations.
Council Member John Byrd echoed the comments made by Council Member Homiller. Council Member Byrd further stated he would hate to sell the building and then have regrets of doing so.
Council Member Holcomb stated he had mixed feeling about the building but felt that it would be needed in the future for transportation plans.
Council Member Homiller asked to consider the possibility of allowing the Downtown Development Authority to renovate the building and find a suitable tenant for the building.
Mayor Roberts answered that it would be important to get a business in the building. It doesn’t matter if the building is sold or not but that the building houses a business. It’s always best to have a professional install a home security system to ensure maximum protection for your family.
Council Member Homiller stated he feared that an absentee landlord would purchase the building that would do nothing with the building.
Mayor Roberts and Council Members continued discussion.
Following discussion a motion was put forth by Council Member Holcomb, seconded by Council Member Homiller to table the surplus of City Hall located at 301 Gilmer Ferry Rd. Motion Approved. 4Yeas 1 Nays
*Council Member Byrd put forth a motion, second by Council Member Holcomb to surplus the acreage located at Corner of Strippling St. and Old Canton Rd. described as tax map 94N02, parcel 029. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
h) Consider adoption of Master Plan
Motion by Council Member Byrd, Seconded by Council Member Holcomb to adopt the Master Plan submitted by Lew Oliver, Incorporated with the stipulation that the maximum density be 10 units per acre. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
Item 8: Financial Report for Period Ended November 30, 2007 – Finance Dir. Randy Westbrook
Finance Director Randy Westbrook presented a written report of account balances and statement of revenue and expenditures for the period ended November 30, 2007. The report showed a total of $708,617.51 cash on deposit.
Item 9: City Manager’s Report
City Manager Wilmarth reported on the following departments:
- Water & Sewer Department
- Public Works Department
- Administrative Department
- Police Department – Chief Davis presented a written report of the department’s activity for Mayor and Council review. Noted in the report is an update on the hiring of an additional officer. Chief Davis anticipates making a conditional job offer to the selected candidate within the next several weeks.
Item 10: Mayor Roberts and City Council Comments
Mayor Roberts welcomed Carsten Jack Holcomb to our council meeting. Carsten is the latest addition to the family of Jenny and Council Member Ashley Holcomb.
Mayor Roberts thanked City Manger Wilmarth for his contribution to the construction of our new city hall. Mayor Roberts stated City Manager Wilmarth proved himself during the construction of the sewer system but went a step further during this project. Very Glad to have Eric on staff stated Mayor Roberts.
A report on the joint GMA/CMA meeting held at Canton City Hall was given by Mayor
Roberts. Everyone was encouraged by Mayor Roberts to pay close attention and talk to local elected official concerning the issue of the “Great Tax”.
Council Members expressed their joy to be in the new City Hall.
Item 11: Executive Session (if needed)
Council Member Holcomb moved to adjourn into executive session for the purpose of discussing real estate transaction no.2007-07. Council Member Stoner seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
City Attorney Caudill stated that Mayor and Council would release information related to this possible transaction at the January meeting.
Council Member Stoner moved to adjourn the executive session and reconvene back into the regular meeting. Council Member Holcomb seconded the motion. Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
Item 12: Adjourn
There being no further business for Mayor and Council consideration a motion was made by Council Member Stoner, seconded by Council Member Holcomb to adjourn.
Motion Approved. 5 Yeas 0 Nays
The minutes of this December 13, 2007 Meeting of Council approved this 10th Day of January, 2008.
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
City Clerk Karen L. Jordan