Members of the Cartersville City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to allow Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini the ability to file an application requesting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding.
According to an administrative department summary recommendation, the grants would go towards “costs related to activities conducted to address immediate threats to life, public health and safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
City documents do not indicate how much money the local government may request from either FEMA or the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA.)
Councilmen Jayce Stepp and Taff Wren attended the public meeting virtually via Zoom. Councilwoman Kari Hodge was not present at Thursday evening’s gathering, physically or digitally.
Council members also voted unanimously to approve a resolution allowing the City to request an ordinance amendment pertaining to swimming pool safety standards from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
A department summary recommendation indicates the proposed amendment would require local pool owners with lockable covers to also install fences around the pool areas — a requirement that is waived under the 2018 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code.
“All this resolution is proposing to do is authorize staff to send our proposed changes to them for their review and comment,” said City of Cartersville Planning and Development Director Randy Mannino. “We are not presenting the actual ordinance change to you at this time — we would like to get their feedback first and move forward with that."
Atlanta-based applicant CF Real Estate Services, LLC sought the rezoning of a 27.7-acre tract near the TRU by Hilton hotel in development from R-20 residential and general commercial to MF-14 multifamily.
The City of Cartersville Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning request along 26 Overlook Parkway, with the condition that the development consists only of one- and two-bedroom units.
“It would be enforceable if you did it," said Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell. "But from a practical manner it gets a little difficult to enforce."
Also approved was an intergovernmental agreement between the City and the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority (DDA.)
“Our auditors recommended that we formalize an agreement with our relationship between the City and the downtown development authority,” Lovell said. “It keeps pretty much everything the same as we’ve always done it, it just puts it in writing … the big difference is that the DDA will be writing their own checks now, but it will still be supervised through the City.”
Santini concluded the meeting by addressing the cancellation of the annual Independence Day festivities.
“This’ll be the first time in about 20 years I won’t get up early on the Fourth of July to help put a parade together,” he said. “I want to reiterate for everybody that the City of Cartersville does not organize the parade or activities, it’s actually a fundraiser for the Etowah Rotary Club … the decision was made by the club, with the current conditions, to not be able to have those events.”
As the case with many residents, Santini said he wasn’t happy about the decision — although, at the end of the day, he also said the cancellation was more than understandable.
“We felt it was the prudent, right thing to do,” he said. “And I just want everybody to know it’s not a lack of patriotism or wanting to get together and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy — it just simply isn’t possible with the current conditions. And when all of this is over with, we’re going to have one heck of a party.”
Other items approved by council at Thursday evening’s meeting include:
— A fire department request to pay annual Target Solutions software and records management fees in the amount of $7,178.58, which is a budgeted item.
— A gas department request to pay Massachusetts-based Ark Engineering and Technical Services, Inc. $11,710 for the installation of electrical grounding and a gradient mat system at the Williams/Transco Dalton Expansion delivery point.
— A police department request to purchase an engine for a 2014 Dodge Charger patrol vehicle from Robert Loehr for $8,511.50.
— An administrative request to approve a renewal premium from Travelers Insurance and Liberty Mutual in the amount of $733,242. “The premium has increased from $688,030 for FY 19-20,” a department summary recommendation reads. “The increase of $65,212 is mostly due to a $47,496 increase in the automobile liability and physical damage coverage … Apex and Terry Watkins sent out proposals to other carriers for competitive bids, but the other carriers declined to bid due to loss history.”