January 7, 2019 – Commission Chairman Phillip Beard called the first meeting of 2019 to order right at 7 p.m in the Commission Chambers at Buford City Hall. After the Pledge of Allegiance was said, the agenda and December 2018 meeting minutes were approved.
At this point, the Commission Chairman and Vice Chair for 2019 were elected, as well as, make various appointments. Phillip Beard said he would step back and not be elected as Commission Chairman but neither Chris Burge nor Brad Weeks chose to be nominated for the position. Commissioner Weeks nominated Beard for Chairman and Vice Chairman Burge seconded the nomination which passed unanimously. Chris Burge was elected unanimously as Vice Chairman.
The list of Department Heads, with the addition of a City Engineering Consultant, were appointed for 2019 as presented by staff. Harley Bennett was reappointed to the City Planning and Zoning Board.
A revised exemption plat that adjusted the property lines for three lots on Charles and Saint James was approved. A qualifying fee of $35.00 was approved for the November 5, 2019 election.
The developers of the Lanier Harbor development will be spending a considerable sum of money to upgrade the pump at the nearby pump station. Taking that into consideration, wastewater allocation and a credit for the pump station improvements was approved. The pump station serves a number of residences in the Lanier Harbor area and is a substantial upgrade to public sewer infrastructure in the area. Wastewater allocation was approved by Burge and Weeks for the North Gwinnett Street Townhome Development. Beard abstained from the vote.
The Commission authorized the City Manager and Finance Director to sign a resolution with BB&T Securities, LLC, appointing them as Designated Individuals for Debt Service Payments for General Obligation Bonds utilizing ESPLOST funds. The Chairman was authorized to sign a letter of intent to participate in Hall County’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Georgia Municipal Association’s membership fee for 2019-2023 was approved in the amount of $5,185.91 for the year 2019.
Amendments were approved for the Buford Community Center Banquet Space Rental Agreement, Theatre & Stage Rental Agreement, and associated fees. Amendments to the City of Buford Massage Establishment Ordinance was approved and updated an ordinance adopted in 2007. The ordinance sets forth regulatory provisions in order to operate in the City.
A resident contacted the city to donate $3,500 to the Museum of Buford and $7,237.43 to the Buford High School Scholarship Fund. The donations were approved. The Commission authorized the Chairman to sign necessary documents to transfer City property located on Buford Highway to the Downtown Development Authority. This site is located at the intersection of Sawnee Avenue and Buford Highway has been in the process of being prepared for a new parks and recreation facility. The City will take bids on the property and utilize those funds and SPLOST funds and begin looking at renovations at the current Legion Fields located on Sawnee Avenue. No timeline for renovations was set but the Commission is looking forward to updating the facility.
The low bids were approved for the Bailey Road and SR 324 at SR 124 gas facilities relocation projects. The low bid for the Water Plant Pump 5 Emergency Generator was approved as well. Payments were authorized for the parking deck project, Hamilton Mill Road gas relocations project, South Lee Street project, and Jackson Street Stormwater project.
Todd Cleveland from the Buford Community Center said that the BCC had a successful holiday season and recent concerts were also a success. He stated that they are getting extremely busy with wedding season coming up. Lots of facility tours and bookings for weddings.
City Manager, Bryan Kerlin, gave his report. The parking deck project is making progress despite the weather and is slated to open mid-summer 2019. Final warranty items were still being addressed at the city gym. Various final punch out list items are being handled on South Lee Street. The City is still working with the GA DOT on issues with the Moreno Street project. Plans for the expansion of Buford Waterworks was progressing with data reports on filter testing being reviewed with selection pending for use in the expansion. The plant continues with general maintenance and repairs. At the new BHS, bleachers at the fields are being installed, exterior lighting was installed, sidewalks as well as final planning for landscaping and guardrails. The interior is farther along than the exterior but everything is still progressing on schedule. Various gas and electric projects are being worked on. Parks and Recreation Department is busy with youth rec league basketball. Tennis just recently held a tournament and it was a success. This ended the Manager’s report.
Chairman Beard asked if Burge or Weeks had anything to add to the meeting and they did not. He checked with City Attorney Gregory Jay and he did not either. Beard then went around the room to ask meeting attendees if they had anything to add. A lady who resides in the Lanier Springs subdivision in Sugar Hill asked about the smell the landfill was causing. Stating that it was putting off a strong natural gas type smell and it was so strong that it was entering her home at times. Darren Perkins, Gas Department Superintendent, said he would speak with her after the meeting was adjourned to address her concerns. The gas department responds to calls by residents that report a smell of natural gas, some of which were a result of the landfill odor. The City has contacted the contractor operating the landfill, Republic Services. A flare that burns the naturally occurring methane gas that is extracted from the landfill has not been operable. The City has provided an update and on Friday, January 4, 2019, the flare was put back into operation. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division inspected the facility on January 9, 2019, and found the operation to be in compliance. The City will continue to monitor events.
With no further business to add to the meeting from attendees, Chairman Beard asked for a motion to adjourn. It was granted.