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Commission approves railroad crossing closure

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — City Commissioners here approved a resolution for the formal closing of the 22nd Avenue railroad crossing requested by the Norfolk Southern Corporation.

City Manager Edward Beach informed commissioners that the city had notified both Norfolk Southern and the Georgia Department of Transportation to inform both parties of the city’s willingness to close the intersection. According to Beach’s report the GDOT has an incentive match of $7,500 for the closure and Norfolk Southern will provide a $25,000 incentive for a total of $32,500. Beach informed commissioners that he received an email from the manager of grade crossing safety informing him that Norfolk Southern would provide all the closure work, including barricades. Commissioners approved Norfolk Southern’s for the resolution by a unanimous vote.

Also in his action report Tuesday night, Beach submitted a request to the commission for an event permit. Robbie Edalgo is the applicant for the permit on behalf of FAM (Friends Against Meth). The group requested the permit to hold a public rally/walk against drug addition to be held at the Cordele Community Clubhouse on November 5, 2016 from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Commissioners unanimously approved the permit for the event.

As an item for information Beach notified the board the city had received notification from the Department of Community Affairs that the OneGeorgia Equity Grant for infrastructure improvements to the Stella Jones Corporation has been reviewed and accepted ans is now formally closed out.

Beach also updated commissioners on the lease agreement and funding for the city’s new firetrucks. The paperwork and funding for the lease on the new fire pumpers has been completed with the GMA’s Direct Lease Program.

Beach also advised commissioners on reporting requirements and some new laws that went into effect on July 1. He presented a brief written synopsis of those new laws to commissioners;

New reporting rule by the Department of Revenue stated cities are required to adopt an ordinance to implement a provision of reporting alcohol violations issued to “bars” (75% or more of gross revenue from alcohol sales consumed on premises) within a 45-day period. Beach submitted a copy of the ordinance from GMA to Attorney Tom Cotton for review.

The state changed calculations and timing for penalties on unpaid taxes to 120 days at which time 5% can be charged and another 5% after each successive 120 day period up to 20%. Interest calculations on unpaid taxes will now follow Federal Prime Rate plus 3% annum. This rate will change annually in January and the interest rate will have to adjust accordingly. For this year the interest rate is 6.5% or .542% monthly.

In regards to the Millage Rate Adoption Process the state now requires that the “Current and 5 year History” advertisement to set the millage rate be posted in a prominent location on the levying authority’s website. Any increase in property tax millage advertisements must be posted to the website as well.

Comissioners also heard reports from various departments. Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shepard commented on Sunday’s prayer vigil outside city hall. She said the event had a good turnout.

Attorney Tom Cotton informed commissioners he was still working on obtaining Right of Way acquisitions for the 8th, 10th and 13th Streets, south of 24th Avenue. He said citizens are excited about the coming sidewalks.

Debbie Wright reported that the city received 1.7 inches of rain as measured at the treatment plant. She advised for citizens to use water wisely and conserve whenever possible.