Adairsville holds first work session of new year
by Neil McGahee
Jan 08, 2014 | 832 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adairsville City Council welcomed a new member to its first work session of the year. New Post 3 councilman Lee Castro was sworn in by Mayor Evan King along with incumbent Post 4 councilman Alton “Buddy” Bagley.

Police Chief Robert Jones led the parade of department heads giving their monthly reports. Jones reported his officers responded to 1,185 calls in December.

“We had an increase in traffic accidents,” Jones said. “I’m afraid that may be something that will carry forward.”

He explained that increased road construction on Highway 140 brought on by more industry moving in may be responsible for more accidents.

“We will have to increase our efforts to educate the public with stronger enforcement,” he said.

Jones also reported that his officers participated in more than 2,500 hours of training last year.

Community Development Director Jamey Cochran reported that the water system experienced two main breaks — at U.S. Highway 41 and Cherry Street and along Oak Hill Road — due primarily to more than 4 million gallons of rainwater inundating the system during recent storms.

At the December meeting, Cochran had announced an agreement with CSX railroad to close the Park Street crossing, which would allow the addition of eight more downtown parking places. Councilman Alan Towe asked if the Downtown Development Authority had been informed and Cochran said they had not.

“As a courtesy, I think we should let them know about it,” Towe said, “and let them weigh in on it before we make any kind of decision.”

Director Susan Gilmore presented the proposal to the DDA and returned with a suggestion.

“Some of our members are concerned that there is no pedestrian crossing at Park Street,” she said. “We feel there needs to be a safe place for pedestrians to cross the tracks, especially when they are attending events.”

Gilmore said the DDA plans to have four quarterly events in 2014 — an Easter egg hunt in the spring, an as-yet-undetermined summer event, Halloween and Christmas in Adairsville.

Gilmore also reported that 66 visitors toured the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum in December.

Interim City Manager Billy Beckett announced that city hall demolition would begin in mid-January. The building suffered considerable water damage last spring and has been closed since. He said every attempt will be made to incorporate the original facade in the new building.

Beckett also reported on the status of the search for a permanent city manager.

“We have received 19 applications,” he said. “Seven of the 19 are or were city managers. Jan. 17 is the cut-off date for applications to be received. We will make a list of finalists during the week of Jan. 20 and begin interviews the next week.”

Beckett also recommended that code enforcement be placed under the auspices of community development rather than the police department.

Finally Beckett recommended that all members of the city administration, officials and staff, attend a two to two-and-a-half day retreat with the new city manager to discuss issues facing the city in the near future.

George Hayes, president of the Friends of Adairsville Library, used the public hearing time to recount a meeting he had with Bill Eager, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bartow Library System, and Carmen Sims, director.

“We wanted to see what the friends could do to implement the Adairsville Library opening on Saturday,” he said. “We were told there was nothing we could do.”

When asked about the cost of opening the library on Saturday, Hayes said Eager told him that he didn’t have to make that information public, but would provide the information to the mayor and council. Hayes presented a letter requesting the information to King and asked him to sign it and deliver to Eager.

The Adairsville City Council will hold it regular meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum.