2017 August Regular Council Meeting Minutes

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 TOWN OF TALLULAH FALLS

STATE OF GEORGIA

REGULAR MEETING

AUGUST 3, 2017

MINUTES

 

The regular monthly meeting for August 3, 2017 of the City Council of Tallulah Falls, Georgia was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Teri Dobbs.

  • Mayor Teri Dobbs
  • Councilperson Deb Goatcher
  • Councilperson Bill Coldren
  • Councilperson Larry Hamilton
  • Councilperson Robbie McCutcheon
  • Attorney Allyn Stockton
  • Police Chief Bill Goatcher
  • Fire Chief Mike Early
  • Town Administrator/Clerk Patti Polk
OTHERS PRESENT:

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

 

Mayor Dobbs welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked Donna Verdino to open the meeting with prayer.

A Motion was made by Councilperson Goatcher to accept the minutes of the July 6, 2017 Regular City Council Meeting and Executive Session as well as the July 20, 2017 Special Called Meeting.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson McCutcheon and passed unanimously.

A Motion was made by Councilperson Hamilton to amend the agenda for the August 3, 2017 Regular City Council Meeting to include the Tallulah Falls School Building Permit.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson McCutcheon and passed unanimously.

Mayor Dobbs presented the Building Permit application submitted by Higgins Construction on behalf of Tallulah Falls School.  The proposed plans for an 8’ x 10’ Security Guard House valued at $135,000.  A $175 check for new construction was submitted with the permit application.

A Motion was made by Councilperson Hamilton to accept the Tallulah Falls School building permit for a security guard house.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson McCutcheon and passed unanimously.

 

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Attorney Report:

Town Attorney, Allyn Stockton, advised the Town in response to the letter dated July 5, 2017 from NGN Connect requesting confirmation of the applicable franchise fee rate.  A rate of up to five percent (5%) can be charged for State franchise fees for cable and/or video service.

A Motion was made by Councilperson McCutcheon to charge a five percent (5%) franchise fee for cable and/or video service.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Attorney Stockton also noted under new General & Liability Insurance Carrier, GIRMA, one of their services is to review and negotiate franchise fee agreements.  It would be beneficial to have them review all Tallulah Falls agreements.

 

Fire Report:

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

Fire Chief Mike Early requested the Fire Department be allowed to purchase needed equipment (i.e., hoses and batteries) with SPLOST funds.  Three bids were received with Municipal Emergency Services coming in the lowest.

A Motion was made by Councilperson McCutcheon to authorize the purchase of fire equipment with SPLOST Funds.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

 

Police Report:

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

Chief Goatcher announced the new police is now on-site and is in service with installed computers for new e-Mobile ticketing.

Police Chief Goatcher gave an update on the security and security personnel planned during the Eclipse Event scheduled for August 21, 2017.  Tallulah Falls will be hosting Bluegrass Singing on Saturday and Sunday.  Parking for singers will be taped off.

Chief Goatcher requested funds to cover the replacement of the cracked front windshield on the F150 Police truck.

A Motion was made by Councilperson McCutcheon to authorize the F150 windshield replacement charge.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Water Report:

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

Water Superintendent Bill Goatcher gave an overview of the recent courtesy evaluation of the Town’s water system by Tallulah Falls School’s Jeremy Pirkle.  Several recommendations were suggested including a SCATA Monitoring System and enhanced maintenance program for flushing lines, pin-point mapping of leaks and other issues, and for the high level of iron and manganese, a detection kit to measure the PH and hardness of the water.  These kits can be purchased for approximately $250.

A Motion was made by Councilperson Hamilton to authorize the purchase of the water testing kit for iron and manganese.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson McCutcheon and passed unanimously.

Water Superintendent Bill Goatcher stated the City of Demorest has completed the installation of the pressure reducer valve and is waiting to be tested.

Mayor Dobbs stated the agreement between the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission (GMRC) and Tallulah Falls had been signed.  The agreement authorizes GMRC to perform “FREE” grant writing for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) application with the intent of receiving Federal funds to support the Town’s vision for a new water system.  The new water system would service Tallulah Falls and the Habersham County Region as a drought response plan.

 

Financial Report:

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

Mayor Dobbs reported on a recent finding by Mixon and Associates during the payroll set up for the Town’s full-time employees not having their health insurance premiums taken on a pre-tax basis.  This resulted in an inflated amount of taxes to be taken from the employee(s) and paid by the Town.  According to Mixon, the amount equaled to be approximately $400 per quarter and the Town can go back three years to file amended taxes with amended W2s.

A Motion was made by Councilperson McCutcheon to authorize Mixon to reissue amended W2s for the affected employees and file amended tax returns for the Town.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Coldren and passed unanimously.

Police Chief Goatcher asked the Town to pay for affected employees to file their amended returns since it was no fault of their own.

A Motion was made by Councilperson McCutcheon for the Town to pay for each employee’s invoice to submit their amended tax returns.  The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed.  Councilperson Deb Goatcher abstained since the decision directly impacted her.

Mayor Dobbs commented on other issues outlined by Mixon in the FY2017 audit regarding the segregation of duties.  All issues have now been resolved with new procedures and processes put in place for segregated duties.

 

Street Report:

Police Chief Goatcher stated certain locations within the Town is scheduled for asphalting in the late summer and will be paid by LMIG funds.  Once work is completed for this year, Chief Goatcher will file for next year’s funds.

 

Public Safety Report:

 

Mayor’s Comments:

:  Mayor Dobbs reviewed last month’s decision on July 6, 2017 for the Town to move its’ property and liability insurance to a new carrier, GIRMA, offered under the Georgia Municipal Association.  As a result, there is a gap coverage policy being suggested by GIRMA to cover any issues that may arise going to an “occurrence based” coverage from a “reporting based” coverage.  The following two options were presented for purchasing a gap policy from the new carrier, GIRMA, versus the current carrier, GLATFELTER.

 

  • Option 1 – GIRMA can offer Prior Acts Coverage for 3 years, dating back 3 full years from the effective date that Tallulah Falls joins GIRMA. The additional premium will be $331.
  • Option 2 – GLATFELTER indicated the premium for Public officials would be $5,309. The premium for Excess would be $1,593.

 

A Motion was made by Councilperson Goatcher to accept GIRMA’s Prior Acts Coverage for 3-years from the effective date that Tallulah Falls joins GIRMA for an additional premium of $331. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Hamilton and passed unanimously.

Mayor Dobbs commented on the 183 signs in Tallulah Falls and the complaints received from residents on lost visitors.  There is a need to review the current sign ordinance and organize a committee to address the issue.  The Town currently has five (5) volunteers to serve on the committee but the desire is to have two (2) more individuals serve.  For anyone interested, please contact Town Hall.

Mayor Dobbs gave an overview of her recent meeting with the Department of Transportation regarding the flashing sign for large trucks not working on 441 South, the paving project on 441 North slated to begin in 2020, the grass being cut 4 times/year on Highway 441, and the Quick Response Program offered for issues costing less than $200,000 (turning lanes for example).

Mayor Dobbs stated, in the near future, public meetings will be scheduled to review the Town’s vision and mission.

Mayor Dobbs recognized Dan Hayes and asked him to give an update on the Habersham Bicentennial.

Mr. Hayes gave an overview of the public relation activities planned and ideas for marketing flyers.  Each city is being asked to provide content and pictures overviewing its’ history for the Habersham Bicentennial web site.  Each city is also being asked to develop a brochure for distribution at public events.  Other promotions for the Bicentennial include purchasing flags for each town, web site updates, 350-word historical write up with photos, Windstream Channel 4 documentary, and Big Red Festival Kickoff.

Mayor Dobbs recognized Donna Verdino and asked her for an update on the October 7, 2017 Founder’s Day celebration.

Ms. Verdino gave an overview of activities being planned to include BBQ, Car Show, Community Yard Sale, Local Artists, and Silent Auction.  Mr. Tony Allen, a retired firefighter, volunteered to organize and manage the car show the day of the event.  Contacts have been made to advertise the event in the local paper, various web sites, radio stations, as well as personally handing out and posting flyers.

Mayor Dobbs reminded residents of the upcoming November 2017 election and stated qualifying for the two Council seats would be August 21 through August 25, 2017.  The fee to qualify is $27.

Mayor Dobbs stated she would be attending the Economic Development Leadership Academy began August 10, 2017.  There are four (4) full day classes over the next four (4) months.

 

Open Floor:

No comments were made.

 

Mayor Dobbs called for an Executive Session at 7:14 p.m. for the Council to discuss personnel and real estate.

 

Mayor Dobbs called the regular Council Meeting back to order at 8:19 p.m. and announced no actions were taken.

 

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

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m.