After discussion in executive session, the council approved a lifting of the hiring freeze to fill the vacancy. The position will be coded for gas department but will fulfill a variety of responsibilities.
The hiring freeze has kept two vacancies created by retirement open in the gas department, leaving only two dedicated gas department employees. With the workload increasing from deadlines for the incoming Vista Metals and running service to numerous chicken houses, the gas department has been understaffed requiring team members to be pulled from the field to complete administrative duties. This additional employee will complete administrative tasks freeing current gas department employees for field work.
The council also approved the motion to reappoint Susan Gilmore to a two-year term with the Adairsville Downtown Development Authority, the second reading of yard debris removal collection fees and participation with Bartow County in the application for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the updating of the county's Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
After agenda items were discussed and voted on, a member of the public addressed the council and mayor concerning the upcoming vote on increases to water and sewage rates.
"If you have to do it, at least consider -- this is not a rich community, not the people I've met around here. Consider what a strain it is going to put on them," said Hattie Adams, an Adairsville resident.
The increase has been discussed due to the need for system improvements and maintenance that will be needed in the next five years. Adams brought forth questions concerning former interim City Manager Bill McCain's original proposal, the discussed tiered rate structure and industrial uses. City Manager Pat Crook addressed the issues stating that the original proposal, which used estimates from McCains initial studies, will not be adopted as it was presented and that the tiered rate structure will bring the city into compliance.
"Bartow County is a part of the Metropolitan Water District and they require Bartow County, the city of Adairsville, all the other cities and counties in this district to adopt what is called a tiered rate structure. And the purpose of the tiers is to encourage conservation," Crook said, adding that industrial users should not be included in the tiered rate structure to better incentivize job creation and retention.