Adairville clarifies DDA changes
by Jason Lowrey
Sep 12, 2012 | 974 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adairsville City Council members, City Manager Pat Crook and Mayor Evan King defended their recent changes to the Downtown Development Authority during their work session Tuesday night. The changes included expanding the authority’s boundaries, altering the term schedule and setting Dec. 31 as the date when a member’s term will begin and end.

DDA member Linda Bass spoke on behalf of the authority’s other members. She said the changes upset DDA members.

“They said they were really offended by this,” she said. “It was almost as if the city did not appreciate what they had been doing and time that they had served. They felt like they were being fired on Dec. 31. and then a whole new group would come in and begin on Jan. 1. ...

“They felt like they had the rug pulled out from under them, and we just couldn’t understand why we can’t continue with the schedule as it is and then just switch over to the four-year terms.”

During its most recent meeting, the DDA reviewed the changes to its charter and, Bass said, a number of complaints were aired. Crook said she was unable to attend that meeting, as she was sick.

She apologized for the miscommunication and explained the rationale for changing the term schedule.

“They can be the same people. It just gives you a definite date of the beginning and the end of the term,” Crook said.

King explained the changes as “housekeeping” procedures. The December date gives the city council a set date for when empty positions must be filled, as terms will begin and end on that date. DDA members, according to Bass, were under the impression their terms would all end on Dec. 31 and they would not reinstated.

“We don’t want anybody to leave,” said council member Alan Towe said. “Please let them know we appreciate what they’ve been doing.”

Other council members agreed with Towe, saying they did not want anyone at the DDA to leave. King added the changes were needed to bring the DDA in line with state law.

Community Involvement Director Ben Skipper spoke to the council about new plans to repair potholes throughout the city. To save costs and improve the quality of repairs, Skipper said he wanted to use hot asphalt.

“It’s much more durable. The patch will last a lot longer than what we’re currently doing,” he said. “What we’re currently using is just the bag asphalt. It’s just a cold patch, so it’s very susceptible to getting beat out, getting water up under it.”

Hot asphalt, Skipper said, costs approximately $65 per ton while the cold asphalt used in the past costs $700 to $900 per ton. He also said he would like to rent a roller and dump truck, which would allow his department to do the repairs in house, rather than contracting it out. Repairs will likely start in October, and public works has started compiling a repair list.

The council also discussed plans for the upcoming Great Locomotive Chase Festival in October. Fireworks, estimated to cost $2,500 to $3,000, were debated. Council member Buddy Bagley asked if the city was liable for any potential damages and if the city could afford the cost. Council member Connie Morrow said it was a case of giving back to the community. King agreed.

“We haven’t had those fireworks since I’ve been mayor because I’ve been known to be called ‘tight.’ ... But there comes a time when you’ve got to look forward and we’ve got to say, ‘Are we going to let the economy rule everything we do?’” he said. “Now I know that’s important, don’t misunderstand me. I know that as much as anybody.

“But there also comes a time when the spirit of the community is to be looked at. I think we’ve got a generation, a small portion of a generation, [of] little children that have never seen fireworks in our downtown. I personally think that $2,500 to $3,000 might bring a smile on a kid’s face.”

King added he was speaking from his personal point of view and was not attempting to sway any council member’s vote.

Other council business included:

•Discussing the approval of an agreement with Infratec Consulting for water and wastewater engineering.

•Discussing the purchase of a copy machine for the police department.

•Discussing a nominee to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

•Discussing the acceptance of a trail grant.

•Discussing the approval of amending and adopting the Bartow County Animal Control Ordinance.

•Discussing the purchase and installation of mobile data terminals for police vehicles.

The Adairsville City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at city hall.