City Commission Meeting – New Board Member of the Downtown Development Authority Sworn In

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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The Cordele City Commission met on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 9a.m. at the Cordele City Hall Courtroom with Chairman Joshua Deriso, Commissioner Vest Beal Shepard, Commissioner Isaac H. Owens in attendance via phone call, Commissioner Royce Reeves, Sr., Commissioner Wesley Rainey and City attorney, Tommy Coleman were all in attendance. The meeting started off with a public hearing regarding Pearl Somja Lyons and Gilbert Lyons requesting a variance to locate a single wide Manufactured Home at 406 West 4th Avenue. The zoning classification of this property is R-4, Multi-Family Residential District. There was some discussion between the public and commissioners. A motion was made by Royce Reeves, Sr., to close the public hearing, it was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously. We then heard from the Downtown Director, Monica Rentfrow who gave a report on what is going on downtown Cordele. The mural over is Perlis Park has been completed, that was paid for by a community art council grant. There are a few more things that still need to be done at the park such as, landscaping, and some cleaning up. Rules have also been posted in the park as there has been some issues. They are hoping to have a rededication in June, the Perlis family have said that they would be interested in partaking in that event. Unfortunately two businesses have recently shut down, Kathy & Company and Cotton Alley. There is current talk with some ladies in regards to opening another business downtown. There are buildings under rehabilitation, some are being sold and there are a lot of big plans to get Downtown Cordele looking beautiful. Rentfrow also mentioned the Autism Stroll will be April 22, 2023 from 10am to 12pm at the Perry Busbee walking Track. We then were suppose to have a presentation by CGI regarding their Digital Community Showcase, there were some technical difficulties, we received a brief overview from City Manager, Angela Redding. CGI is a company that created videos at no cost for the city to help them showcase the city, the videos would be posted on the city website and social media. There would also be an opportunity for businesses to have videos made at a cost, to help market and showcase who they are and what they do. A new board member Alyssa Wilkerson was sworn into the Downtown Development Authority of Cordele, under a 4 year term.

The meeting continued with reports from department heads starting with the Finance Director, Rusty Bridgers with nothing to really update. Following was an update from the Interim Fire Chief, Frank Bullington and new Fire Chief, Todd Alligood saying that there is a command staff meeting tomorrow April 19th, there is also a vacant sergeant position that they are wanting to get filled, they will also have three firefighting positions open, one for each shift. These positions have been posted, they will also be going to the high school to speak with this years graduating class on the opportunities they could have with the fire department. Bullington added to the report saying that they are still in the process of testing hoses along with getting other equipment tests scheduled, along with other updates. Bullington also thanking City Manager, Angela Redding for allowing him to step in as interim chief. We then heard from the Housing and urban Development Director, Irene Cantrell with not much to update, but did speak about some sewer projects that are going on. Redding added on with discussing the projects and clarifying what the cost would be for the city. We then heard from Chief Codes Official, Jack Wood, there are two more demolitions by owners as well as, housing pending demolition increased by four. In regards to the large building project being done around the city, the carwash being built in front of Walmart is said to be ahead of schedule even with all the rain we have had. He also spoke about signs that are being put up need to be bigger, and it is something that will be looked at and changed. We then heard from the Personnel Director, David Wade regarding a few things going on one being the Employee Health Fair that is suppose to be going on April 25th, if there isn’t enough interested that will be cancelled. We then heard from the Cordele Police Chief, Jalon Heard with a report, he highlighted some of the yearly goals of the police department, they will continue with their community policing efforts through public contacts, another events in the community. They are still focusing on their training, and increasing the quality of training at the police department with more in house training. Heard will be attending classes and conferences over the next couple weeks to learn about mental health in the policing and other subjects. He also wanted to recognize the promotion of Cpl. Andy Stokes Heard to Sargent. He also recognized the officers that attended the shooting on Easter Sunday, they performed life saving measures which saved the life of the victim as well as front desk clerk followed the suspect and her efforts led to their arrest. Following we heard from the Director of Public Works, Steve Fulford with not much to update. Finally we heard from the UC&T director, she discussed some of the accomplishments there most recent test of cyanide and another chemical came back clear and they can go four more months then they will be able to save $250 a months. She also spoke about the aerators, two have been removed and they may need to be rebuilt, if they are unable to be rebuilt it will cost over $7000 to buy a new one. May 7th to the 13th is national drinking water week. If anyone needs the water quality report it is on their website.

Agenda item number one, was the board member swearing-in of Alyssa Wilkerson for a position with the Downtown Development Authority of Cordele for a four year term. This was completed prior to hearing from the department heads.

Agenda item number two, was to consider and approve the agreement with CGI Digital Community Showcase Video Program. Although there was some technical difficulties with the presentation this was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number three, was to consider and approve as alcohol license for Kenny’s Food Mart on 902 W 16th Avenue. The owner is Ketan Jashvantlal Patel. This is for beer only to be consumed off the premises. The application was approved by Chief Heard on April 13, 2023 and was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number four was to consider and approve alcohol renewals for 16 East and Love’s Travel Stop which would be consumed off the premises as well as, Tri-County Seafood which would be consumed on the premises. This was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number five was to consider and approve the second reading of an ordinance amending the City Code of the City of Cordele to prohibit kennels in residential an certain areas of the city; repealing all ordinances in conflict herewith; and for other purposes. This was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number six was to consider the proposal from TTL, Inc for watershed monitoring, bioassessment and annual report. Background and summary; the scope of work includes sample collection, sample analyses and reporting for five sampling locations. This project is required by EPD under the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) wastewater permit. This was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda Item number seven was to consider and approve the SPLOST distribution formulas, this was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Finally, we heard from City Manager, Angela Redding who gave her report. Redding’s report included the violation in terms of the Food Truck Ordinance, there was some conflict with this as the penalty is set as a regular misdemeanor with a fine of $1,000 and 180 imprisonment. There was a lot of discussion surrounding this and it came down to needing to speak with the city judge and ensuring he has an understanding. It was mentioned that it is very unlikely that anyone would get sentenced with 180 imprisonments for not getting a permit for their food truck. She also spoke about enforcing the weight limits on trucks and that technically being controlled by local police, which would not be possible, as the county would still need to get involved in some circumstances. Georgia Cities week is April 23rd through 29th. Activities such as the employee appreciation luncheon will take place on Friday April 21st from 11;30 -1pm also, there will a family movie night at the community club house at 7:30pm. This event is a collaboration with the City of Cordele and the Crisp County Community Council. Free popcorn and drinks will be handed out to the first 100 kids. The movie that will be shown is Slumberland, there will also be board games available for the kids to play prior to the movie. Thursday April 27th Southwest Georgia United will be hosting a housing resources summit; from 5pm to 7pm. The community club house has implemented a new fee schedule for rental of tables and chairs, due to some tables and chairs getting damaged. There will be a $250 deposit and a $250 rental fee for those from the community and $300 for others. There will also be someone to put the tables and chairs up and take them down to ensure that they don’t get damaged, as prior they wouldn’t know who was damaging the tables and chairs.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:46am.