2016 October Regular Meeting

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OCTOBER 6, 2016


The regular monthly meeting for October 6, 2016 of the City Council of Tallulah Falls, Georgia was called to order at 6:00 o’clock p.m. by Mayor Hayes.

  • Mayor Dan A. Hayes
  • Councilperson Deb Goatcher
  •  Councilperson Bill Coldren
  • Councilperson Larry Hamilton
  •  Councilperson Teri Dobbs
  • Police Chief Bill Goatcher
  • Fire Chief Robbie McCutcheon
  • Town Administrator/Clerk Marcia McKean
  • Deputy Clerk Patti Polk

See attached sign-in list. (for attachments, contact Town Clerk)

A Motion was made by Councilperson Hamilton to accept the minutes of the August 4, 2016 meeting.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Goatcher and passed unanimously.

Mayor Hayes reviewed the Council’s Workshop discussion that took place on Thursday, September 29, 2016 regarding the Terrora Building Lease Listing Agreement.  Prior to the Workshop, Attorney Allyn Stockton provided his analysis of the Listing Agreement content.  The listing agent, William J. “Pepper” Kelly with Commercial Broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers, agreed to all changes requested by the Council as a result of Mr. Stockton’s feedback.

Mayor Hayes asked for a decision from the Council on the Listing Agreement.  Councilperson Hamilton asked for an Executive Session to discuss the final draft prior to a motion being made.

Fire Report:

Attached hereto and made a part hereof. (for attachments, contact Town Clerk)

Fire Chief Robbie McCutcheon stated the fire trucks have been tested and serviced.  The annual maintenance will be done this month.  Also, having the trucks maintained properly by appropriate vendors reduces the liability for the Town.

Chief McCutcheon also noted the service personnel conducting the tests commented on how well the Tallulah Falls firetrucks were maintained.

Chief McCutcheon announced the activities for the Founder’s Day BBQ Fundraiser are well under way and commented on the activities surrounding the event, including slack lining.

Mayor Hayes recognized the Fire Department for the hard work they do to assist the Town and State Park and announced Tallulah Falls is in need of volunteer firefighters.  Currently, an additional four (4) to five (5) firepersons are needed.

Police Report:

Attached hereto and made a part hereof.

Police Chief Goatcher reminded everyone of the Twin Rivers Race sponsored by Tallulah Falls School on October 29, 2016.

Mayor Hayes discussed the DNR helicopter training activities conducted in the Gorge in which he took part at the invitation of DNR.  The eight (8) DNR pilots were simulating basket rescues.

Water Report:

Attached hereto and made a part hereof. (for attachments, contact Town Clerk)

Chief Goatcher announced the 2-inch water line installation on Hickory Nut Mountain is complete.  The next step is for Rabun County Road Department to repair the road next week.

Chief Goatcher indicated the next project is to work on the new well.  An engineering firm has agreed to assess if there is a need to frac the well or if a geologist will be required.  The firm agreed to assist the Town at no cost.

Chief Goatcher requested the Council’s permission to fracturing, or drill deeper, and if there is no success, to hire a geologist.  Councilperson Hamilton made the motion authorizing Goatcher to proceed.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Coldren and passed unanimously.

Chief Goatcher stated after the well is fixed with enough water, the pump project will follow.  Currently, Chief Goatcher has two bids in and is waiting on a third.  The estimated cost is $20,000.

Chief Goatcher advised the Town had received a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) Project Review for the City of Cornelia and indicated he sees no impact to the Town.  He recommended the Mayor sign with no comments.

Councilperson Dobbs made the motion authorizing the Mayor to sign the DRI Review for the City of Cornelia.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Mayor Hayes discussed the initiation of the Tallulah Falls Water Project.  To prevent other cities or entities from stepping in, as an initial step, a permit application to draw water from our lake must be submitted with the intended long term goal of selling our water to those cities downstream from Tallulah Falls.

Councilperson Dobbs commented on her attendance, as Water Commissioner, in the Archway meetings and she constantly encounters other cities asking questions about access to the Town’s water.  As such, she agreed with the urgency to file for the permit.

Councilperson Dobbs made the motion to move forward with obtaining a permit and paying any fees for same.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Councilperson Hamilton discussed his historical knowledge of the water situation and agreed if Tallulah Falls is to “control its’ own destiny,” the Town needs to “move forward to see where this takes us.”

Councilperson Dobbs suggested the Town begin obtaining engineering bids to understand what this project will entail as well as the cost for same.

Councilperson Hamilton made the motion to move forward as suggested by Councilperson Dobbs.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Goatcher and passed unanimously.

Street Report:

Police Chief Goatcher announced no additional grant money will be received until the water issue between Rabun County and the City of Clayton is resolved.  The Town will continue to work on any issues using the funds currently available.

Financial Report:

Attached hereto and made a part hereof.   (for attachments, contact Town Clerk)

Mayor Hayes read through the Financial report and commented on available funds to repair road damage that resulted from digging for water leaks.

Public Safety Report:


Mayor’s Comments:

Mayor Hayes asked the Council to authorize sending letters to partnering state agencies to request assistance for the Town of Tallulah Falls.  Letter one is addressed to DNR Tallulah Gorge Park Manager, Danny Tatum, asking for the donation of the old ranger station at 105 Main Street to the Town for the purposes of a Welcome/Community Center.

Letter two is addressed to DOT Supervisor, Glen Gosnell, requesting help to remove the high angled hill in front of the Terrora Building so it can be leased/sold more easily.  There has been concern for the lack of visibility and interest because of the angle making it a safety issue.

Letter three is addressed to DNR Captain Johnny Johnson, Law Enforcement, requesting assistance in establishing policies and protocol for the Gorge during extreme weather conditions to reduce the number of emergency Gorge calls.

Councilperson Dobbs made the motion authorizing the Mayor to sign and send all three letters.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Mayor Hayes recognized Andrea Harper with the Habersham County Commission who spoke on the Habersham E-911 Children’s Fun Festival.  The event is free and being held at the Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville.  It gives children an opportunity to meet with fire fighters and policeman in a non-traumatic way.

Chief Goatcher stated Tallulah Falls Police and Fire Departments will be participating in the Children’s Fun Festival and asked the Council for approximately $200 to buy candy for the children.

Councilperson Coldren made the motion authorizing approximately $200 to purchase candy for Habersham E911 Children’s Fun Festival.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Goatcher and passed unanimously.

Mayor Hayes gave an update on MuniCode codifying the City Ordinances.  The updated ordinances have been received and forwarded to Attorney Allyn Stockton for analysis.  The next step is to conduct a teleconference between Mr. Stockton and the MuniCode Attorney to discuss any issues raised in the analysis.

Open Floor:

Mayor Hayes recognized Joy Purvis, Volunteer with Friends of the Tallulah Gorge State Park, who announced the Tallulah Gorge “Jail Tales Trail” event on October 21, 2016, 6:30–8:30pm.  There will be a $5 parking fee and donations to Friends will be accepted.

Mayor Hayes recognized Mr. James Aton with James Hayes Engineering.  As a follow up to obtaining the water permit, authorized by the Council, Mr. Aton discussed his knowledge of the importance of Tallulah Falls obtaining such a permit.  Once the permit is obtained, the next step is to conduct a Stakeholders meeting and seek a commitment for funding so that the Town has no more debt than when the project started.

Resident Joy Purvis asked if a water plant would be built.  In response, Mr Aton explained Habersham is downhill from Tallulah Falls and would drain by gravity.  Water would be drawn and shipped to Demorest, for example, by pipeline.  There is already an existing connection in place.  Also, the Town can specify the architectural design of tanks and/or plant to be constructed.

Councilperson Hamilton responded to Mrs. Purvis by indicating if Tallulah Falls does not do this, someone else will.  Tallulah Falls should control its water and should be first in line to sell it.

Councilperson Teri Dobbs publicly thanked Mayor Hayes for his leadership regarding the water project as he always makes sure Tallulah Falls has a voice at the table.

Mayor Hayes graciously accepted the public acknowledgement of his efforts and informed the residents he is planning another Town Hall Meeting in January for a report card on him and feedback on the job he is doing.

Mayor Hayes also thanked the Tallulah Falls citizens and reiterated he welcomed their suggestions and ideas.  As a community, he reminded residents they have a lot to be thankful for and the water project would be a good thing.  He stated while the Town wants to embrace the history of Tallulah Falls, it is time to move forward in a methodical way to protect their investment.

Councilperson Teri Dobbs requested an executive session at 7:10 p.m. to discuss real estate and personnel issues.

Mayor Hayes called the regular Council Meeting back to order at 8:13 p.m. and announced the Council discussed real estate and personnel issues.  No action was taken.

With reference to the Lease Agreement, Councilperson Goatcher made the motion to accept the revised agreement.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Coldren and passed unanimously.

With reference to Personnel, Councilperson Dobbs made a motion to make the transition for:

  • Polk to full time responsibilities of Court Clerk, City Clerk, and Finance Officer effective immediately;
  • Move Ms. McKean into a full-time support role through the end of October 2016 and effective November 1, 2016, part-time (2 days per week) through December 31, 2016.
  • Draft letter for Ms. Polk state employment date, title, and salary.
  • Both to attend Court Clerk training in November 2016.
  • Prepare written job description.

The motion was seconded by Councilperson Coldren and passed unanimously.

Councilperson Hamilton made the Motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilperson Coldren.  The Motion passed unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.