City of Vienna officials approved loan and grant applications of more than $1.5 million Monday night during their regular meeting.
If these funds are awarded, downtown redevelopment will get a big boost.
A GEFA loan totaling $1,110,000 will be used to drill a new well and put a water tank on the north end of town. City Attorney Verlin Jones suggested the loan document be approved only if GEFA agrees to 0% interest per the original verbal agreement.
A Redevelopment Fund Grant up to $500,000 will be used to improve the former Henley building at 107 S. 3rd St. if the city's application is okayed.
Also during Monday's meeting, city officials gave the Georgia Department of Transportation the green light to award a contract for the W. Union St. sidewalk and landscaping project, provided the contractor agrees to dispose of all debris according to state and federal environmental regulations.
The property owner at 515 Foundry St. has obtained permission from the zoning appeals board to place a doublewide mobile home on his property, but now, he must secure a variance from the Flood Protection Ordinance. Before council members granted that variance, they heard from Public Works Director Nathan Jordan.
Jordan said he doesn't have a problem with the home in that location; however, when significant rain falls, the yard gets very wet and sometimes a small pond develops. "I don't want the city held responsible for getting that water off the property."
Jones recommended that the owner be required to sign a document holding the city harmless in case of flooding as a condition of the variance. City governors agreed to that suggestion.
When individual councilpersons were asked for comments, Walter Brown mentioned work that needs doing at three of the city parks, Woodward, Oakdale and Still Quarters.
At Woodward, he said, bleachers need repair and cracks in the court need fixing. At both Oakdale and Woodward, some kind of soft material should be placed underneath the playground equipment, he said. Also, the fence at Oakdale needs to be repaired or replaced.
The park in the Still Quarters needs playground equipment and a better basketball court.
Jordan said he would get some price estimates and bring them back to Council.
When Fire Chief Michael Causey was asked for a report, he said the volunteer department answered about 50 fewer calls in 2012 than in 2011, but they were also busy doing other things.
Since the death of an active firefighter, Lee Harris Jr., the department, with assistance from the Harris family has raised $38,000 for the Southeastern Burn Center. Through the boot drive and a rib cooking for Muscular Dystrophy, Causey added, some $8,100 was raised in 2012 for that organization.
Furthermore, the department raised a total of $6,385 during the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
"We hosted a live burn with instructors from all over the state," Causey added. "Personnel from eight counties were involved in the training, and we got a lot of people certified."
Equipment and manpower-wise, the department is in good shape right now, the chief said. "We just need a better place to keep our equipment."
In other business:
• Mayor Eddie Daniels promised Sylvester Granville that his recommendation to name a street or park in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. would be taken under advisement. Granville said federal funds are available to help with street or park improvements.
• Council officially called for an election to fill the positions currently held by Brown and Beth English Nov. 5 and set the qualifying fee at $14.40 each.
• Council reappointed Dr. Bobbie Jean King and Kathryn Braxton to the Historic Preservation Commission, and appointed Yvonne Cross to replace Brenetta Childs on the commission.
• Also reappointed were Marcus Bowens and Beverly Bolden to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning & Zoning Commission.
• English was elected mayor pro tem and other first of the year appointments were made as follows: Gail Bembry, city administrator and clerk; Debbie Spring, assistant clerk; Jordan, public works superintendent; Robert Jones, interim police chief; Causey, fire chief; Jones, city attorney; Donald Easom, accountant; H. E. Allen, auditor; John Sherrer, city judge and recorder; The News Observer, official news organ; Bank of Dooly, PNC and State Bank & Trust, depositories; Willie B. Barnes, election superintendent and Spring and Bembry, absentee ballot clerks.
• Daniels was chosen to represent the city on the River Valley Planning Commission.