Cartersville council considers future growth, current needs

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 The Cartersville City Council's Thursday meeting centered around planning for future growth while serving the city's current needs.

In a first reading, T18-04, a zoning request from Trinity United Methodist Church, 814 West Avenue, asked for an electronic sign boundary revision, that would allow the church to replace its existing monument sign for an electronic monument sign. 

"Right now under the current ordinances, those types of signs aren't allowed east of the intersection of Henderson Drive and West Avenue," said Director of Planning and Development  Randy Mannino "The applicant is looking to move the boundary 500 feet east from the Henderson Drive intersection to be able to accommodate electronic monument signs for their church."

Mannino said the planning and zoning board approved the request, however, because it was a first reading no action could be taken. A second reading will be heard at the June 7 meeting.   

Derek Hampton, assistant director of the electric system, told the council that the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), which supplies the City of Cartersville with wholesale power, was asking the city to approve an amendment to their sales contracts to eliminate the comprehensive engineering report (CFR).  

"MEAG has traditionally submitted the comprehensive engineering report every year," Hampton said. "They did not have the staff to do it in house, so they had to contract it [to] an outside source, which has cost about $100,000 a year."

He said they now have enough staff to produce the engineering report in house, using the information contained in MEAG's  annual Information statement. By producing the report in house, MEAG  will be able to reduce their expenditures by $100,000. 

"Cartersville Electric System is requesting that council authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to sign the amendment to the power sales contracts," he said.

The request was approved unanimously.

Council also approved an intergovernmental agreement with Bartow County to repave Douthit Ferry Road between State Route 61/113 and Old Alabama Road. However, there has been a delay in the widening of Douthit Ferry. 

Since the road is in both the city and county jurisdiction, Assistant City Manager Dan Porta said, the city and the county reached an agreement that the county would repave the road. 

"Based on the linear feet that are within the county, we estimated their cost to be $90,000 and the city's cost for our part is $120,000 coming from the 2014 SPLOST funds," he said.

Porta said the county plans to pave the road this summer, when schools are out. 

The addition of a hotel at the Clarence Brown Conference Center required new considerations.

"The Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) board has approved the hiring of Lyman, Davidson & Dooley, the original architect of the Clarence Brown Conference Center, to provide preliminary architectural work for future expansion at the center," Porta said. "They need to get the architect back on board to make some redesigns to accommodate a covered walkway and additional parking that will be necessary due to the hotel."

Porta said the CVB would like to use tourism product development funds, but approval is needed from the city and the county in order to use those funds. 

"In order to continue to host more events, additional hotel space, especially adjacent to the Conference Center is needed, therefore, I recommend approval to use tourism product development funds from the city’s hotel/motel tax collections to hire Lyman, Davidson & Dooley," he said.

Porta made another architectural request asking the council to approve an agreement with Pond & Company, the architectural/engineering firm that was selected in February 2017 for the first phase of the building of the new Gas Department headquarters, storage building, fuel station and recreation pond at 155 Old Mill Road. The original architectural/engineering services agreement included pre-design work through completion of the building at a cost of $472,500 plus an additional $75,000 for construction administration services. 

As the first phase winds down and the second construction phase begins, a payment of $75,000 was authorized to Pond & Company.

The second phase of the gas headquarters construction, which involves steel and concrete work, was awarded to Balfour Beatty, who submitted a guaranteed maximum price of $5,517,350, raising the current estimated total project cost to $10,196,871.

After spending millions, the council got some hopeful news.

"In January 2017, the council approved SOL Construction's $1.5 million bid to replace two high service pumps at the Water Treatment Plant," director Bob Jones said. "We have completed that project — it is completely finished — and the pumps have passed the required test period, so tonight I am asking your approval to not spend $20,062.82, lowering the total cost to $1,510,982.18."

The request was unanimously approved.

In other business, council:

• Proclaimed May 19-25 as National Safe Boating Week and May as National Foster Care Month.

• Reappointed Lamar Pendley to the Board of Zoning Appeals until June 2022.

• Appointed Randi Sonenshine to the Cartersville-Bartow Library Board, replacing Ginny Weaver whose term expires on June 30.

• Approved $89,643.18 to upgrade the core network infrastructure that handles all City/County network and telephone communication.

• Approved $8,202.61 to Travelers Insurance for deductibles for three different property and casualty insurance claims.

The Cartersville City Council will hold a work session on Thursday, May 3, at 6 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.