December 14, 2020 — Buford commission chairman Phillip Beard called the December Buford Commission meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena. Students from FBLA and FCCLA clubs at Buford Middle School were recognized by the commission.
Five annexation/rezoning requests for properties located on Brown Road that would make way for light industrial were tabled per the applicants’ request. A special use permit was approved for Susan Lewis for 406 E. Main St. to allow an outside special event venue. ALM Holding LLC (Atlanta Luxury Motors) requested a special use permit to allow for the expansion of its used car business located at 4250 Buford Drive. The permit was approved so long as city staff approves the plans once submitted.
An annexation request was approved for P & B Georgia LTI LLC for 7.677 acres located on East Maddox Road with R-100 zoning. The applicant intends to build five single-family residences. An annexation request was approved for Patsy J. Thornton for 1.929 acres located at 5459 Shadburn Ferry Road with R-100 zoning.
Rachel Jones’ request for a zoning modification to reduce the setback from 15 feet to 10 feet for a covered entryway for 2136 Sterling Park was approved. A second zoning modification request by Rachel Jones for 2251 Kate Moore Way to reduce the rear setback from 25 feet to 19 feet for a rear patio was approved. The zoning modification request was denied for Brightwork Real Estate for 4040 S. Bogan Road (Holland Point Shopping Center). The applicant wanted to adjust zoning requirements so a full-service car wash could be outfitted there. Neighbors feared the extra noise and the commission felt their concerns were valid.
Results from the Nov. 3, 2020, special municipal election that put into effect the homestead exemption were certified. The commission adopted the Bond Resolution for Refunding of Revenue Bonds Series 2021 and Intergovernmental Agreement between the Board of Education of the City of Buford and the City of Buford. This is essentially refinancing bonds that will free up funding for other projects with rates being at historic lows. The city manager and city attorney were authorized to purchase properties on Moreno Street across from the new parking deck to improve the area. The commission voted to further investigate surplus property on Old Swimming Pool Road instead of accepting the bids on the property due to a dispute in ownership. The $80,000 bid for surplus property located on Mount Salem Road was accepted.
The chairman has been authorized to enter into an agreement with the city of Calhoun to purchase excess reserve power capacity. The chairman and the city manager have been authorized to sign election forms with MEAG Power to place off-system energy sales margins for the power supply year of 2021. The commission approved the best bid of $353,000 for the Bona Road sidewalk improvement project. The city received a grant of $305,000 to go toward the cost of the project. The commission approved the donation of Christmas decorations, 12 days of Christmas or similar, by Stacy Britt. The commission authorized the city manager to issue a donation letter. The display was once part of the Magical Nights of Lights at the lake. The commission voted to amend the FY 2021 budget to accommodate an extra $121,000 for employee pay raises and pay rate increases.
The commission approved pay requests for the Church Street stormwater improvements project, Moreno Street water improvements project, Buford parking deck project, legion fields improvements project, SR 13 left turn lane extension project, Buford Water Works replacement membrane filtration system project, Southside Wastewater Plant Flow Diversion Structure and the final payment for the Buford Multi-Use Trail project.
City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his monthly report, which included notice that the youth basketball games will be delayed until at least the first of the year due to the increase in COVID cases. Electric consumption is still down by 6.1 percent year over year, but sales are slowly recovering. The city received $1.525 million from the CARES Act. The parking deck opened on Nov. 24 and the city will be installing mirrors in the turns in the deck to increase visibility. The parking deck features 26 security cameras and the security cameras along Main Street are in the process of being changed out. Bids for the Buford Water Works Expansion project will be delayed for a month due to the impacts of COVID on the bidding process. Todd Cleveland from the BCC told the commission about several upcoming shows and a new ticketing system the BCC will be using. Chairman Beard closed out the meeting by acknowledging the Gwinnett PD North Precinct police chief as he is retiring. The commission thanked him for his service to the community.
With no further business, Beard adjourned the meeting by wishing everyone happy holidays. The next Buford Commission meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
— Staff Reports