By Alicia Couch Payne
July 16, 2018 – The meeting was called to order. Commission Chairman Phillip Beard recognized Mike Brown for his twenty years of service to the City of Buford and presented him with a gift. Jim Summerbell from Jacobs, which has been tasked with helping the city update it’s 2040 comprehensive city plan, made a presentation. In his presentation he stated that Jacobs would be researching and then submitting to the city their findings to help Buford submit a new comprehensive plan for 2040. In this will be three phases in which Jacobs will be out in the community at various events within our community to get the public’s feedback on community issues, wants, and needs. Once their research concludes, they will submit their findings in a final report to the city. To learn more about the 2040 project, visit www.buford2040.com.
The first major bit of business brought before the commission was about three plots of land on Charles Street and Saint James Street in which the developer wishes to build three homes with a minimum of 2400 square feet. The request was approved with conditions about streetscape, exterior architectural elements, and landscaping. The commission then approved a request to extend the roadway and right-of-way for Blue Ridge Drive. Commissioner Weeks abstained from the vote.
The commission moved into a public hearing on the proposed city budget for fiscal year 2019. The budget estimates city revenues will be $132,237,815.00 and expenses will be $124,284,200.00 with a surplus of $7,953,615.00. Chairman Beard asked for anyone to come forward with questions or concerns. No one chose to speak up. The budget will be brought back up in a future meeting. Also, a hearing was done on the 2018 property tax millage rate rollback and proposed tax increase. The increase would be 2.57%. For a home valued at $225,000 the increase would be an additional $28.80 per year. An additional public hearing will be conducted at the next meeting on August 6, 2018 at 7 p.m. at Buford City Hall.
Other various pieces of business were brought before the commission which included studies and grant applications for the widening of Buford Highway/SR13, a contract for work detail with Phillips State Prison, change orders for the downtown parking garage as well as landscaping on S. Lee Street, bids for purchasing an additional garbage truck and backhoe loader, and bids for the Hamilton Mill gas relocation project. Various payment requests were approved for projects throughout the city.
Todd Cleveland from the BCC said that set production has begun for the next theatre production, See Rock City which will run August 10th-26th. The next outdoor concert will be Mother’s Finest on August 11th. Gates open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m.
City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his monthly manager’s report which included a discussion on how the city is working to adapt to the new hands free law. He discussed the future fields for the little league in which will have eight fields and a playground. Plans for the parking deck had to be adjusted which has caused a slight delay on the start of construction. South Lee Street project is wrapping up with a few minor details left to finish up and the striping of the road will happen in the next week or two. The asphalt had to properly cure for the striping to occur. The bridge at Thompson Mill Road over 985 is once again open. The traffic light going in at Heraeus and Buford Highway has begun installation. Fall baseball and softball sign ups will begin shortly.
The meeting was concluded after the City Attorney, Gregory Jay had nothing to add nor did anyone in the audience.