Also approved during the called meeting was a motion to increase the maximum hours budget amount for B&M Grading from $3,000 to $6,000. Planning and Zoning Administrator Ron Goss said the increase was necessary, as there is additional, unexpected work needed in the grading areas. However, he said it was unlikely that he would need to use the entire $6,000 as he is carefully watching the number of hours B&M is working every week.
The additional work includes clearing out large amounts of trash, automobile parts and debris that had gathered over the years. Goss said there was a deep trash pit hidden under kudzu, and large amounts of barbed wire hidden under the ground along the side of Joe Cowan Park. He estimated it could take as many as four dumpsters to carry off all the garbage.
Another obstacle to the needed clearing and grading is the foundation of Euharlee’s old gym. While the gym and its school were torn down, a three foot high concrete block foundation still stands. Goss asked if the council wanted it torn down or cleared out.
Mayor Kathy Foulk asked if there were any reasons to keep it standing. Council member Steve Worthington said it was a historical marker and should be saved.
“Historical aesthetics for me. I’m tired of seeing everything in Euharlee torn down and thrown away just because we’re tired of it. I think we need to start keeping some of this stuff,” he said.
Foulk agreed, but added it was a question of committing to a decision. She cited another instance where the city had owned a building and allowed it to deteriorate to the point that demolition was the only option.
“So if we’ve got something and we’re going to take care of it, I don’t have a problem with that. If we’ve got something and we’re not going to take care of it, get rid of it,” she said.
The council asked Goss to clear out the area around the foundation so they could make a closer inspection and base their decision off the findings. Goss said it would be possible to cut an opening into the foundation so the city could keep the area inside the foundation mowed, and added that while he knew the foundation was in the area, he did not expect to find all the trash, auto parts and other items hidden in the underbrush. He said he had looked at the areas as best as he could, but could not see everything hidden in the kudzu and bushes until the clearing started.
The council also approved the purchase of a new Dodge Charger for the police department. Police Chief Terry Harget said the department would trade in two 2005 Ford Crown Victorias and a 2007 Ford Expedition to pay for $16,000 of the $22,648 purchase. The remaining funds would come out of the police department’s budget. Harget noted that he was under budget and would be able to afford the purchase. However, he said the department could not afford a new light package for the vehicle. Lights will be installed on the new Charger after the beginning of next year, and until then it can serve as an unmarked car.
Other council business included:
• Approving a foreclosure registry ordinance.
• Approving a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan modification resolution.
• Hearing the first reading of an animal control ordinance amendment.
• Approving an invoice from City Motors in the sum of $1,628.77 for replacing a wiring harness in a police department Crown Victoria.
• Approving a contract with New Beginning Signs and Graphics of Cartersville in the sum of $37,800 for sign, post and protective netting installation.
• Approving an upfront invoice from Georgia Power in the sum of $103,857 for installing lights along the city’s planning walking trail.
• Discussing an invoice of $32,421.50 from the Bartow County library.
• Discussing plumbing bids for a pressure-reducing valve for bathrooms at Frankie Harris Park.
• Discussing changes to the police department’s impound lot.
• Discussing fee increases for driving under the influence citations.
The Euharlee City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. at city hall.