City Council Minutes September 16, 2019 Work Session

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Jerry D. Roseberry; Councilmembers: Jeff Wearing, George Holt, Jim Windham, Sarah Davis and Mike Ready. Staff Members Present: City Manager Matt Pepper, Deputy City Clerk Stacey Mullen, Utilities Superintendent Jody Reid, Chief Dave Harvey.

OTHERS PRESENT: Linda Allen, Molly McGehee, Laurie & Art Vinson, Erik Oliver, David Eady, Dave Huber, Dana Payne, Melissa Madden, James & Adrienne Waddey, Cheryl Ready, Robert Bayliss, Laura Gafnea of Oxford College, and Lynn Branham Bohanan.

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Jerry D. Roseberry.

Agenda Attachment A

1. Mayor’s Announcement

The Mayor began the meeting by announcing he spent some time at Piedmont Newton over the weekend due to complications with an Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).  He noted that the AFib is under control and he is doing much better.  Mayor Roseberry congratulated the Police Department on a job well done regarding a felony arrest conducted by Officer Caleb Jackson.  The arrest involved two suspects who Officer Jackson attempted to stop for suspended registration on Emory Street.  The suspects failed to stop, ensuing a chase into Covington (Hwy 278), at which point Georgia State Patrol assisted in their capture, just before reaching Interstate 20.  The suspects were found to be in possession of several gift cards, as well as firearms and fraudulent identification cards.  The Mayor thanked Officer Jackson for his professionalism during the ordeal.    


2. Little Library Attachment B

Molly McGehee (406 Emory St), spoke to Council regarding a proposal to install a Little Free Library at Asbury Street Park.  The Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that has been around for approximately 14 years.  There are 90,000 registered Little Free Libraries around the world.  The basic principle of the Library is to promote literacy.  You can take a book from its collection, leave a book, or do both.  Ms. McGehee expressed she and her husband, Daniel Parsons (Organic Farmer for Oxford College), would like to construct the library- covering all costs- including building materials, replenishing books, its sustainability and maintenance.  Ms. McGehee said they would also incur the $39 registration fee.  The registration fee comes with a plaque, and an online registration, which offers map details to locate libraries in the area.  Due to the Little Library’s success and minimal costs, Councilmember Windham suggested that the city consider installing more than one within the city.  Councilmember Mike Ready asked Ms. McGehee what she and her husband’s vision was for the Library. Ms. McGehee said she hadn’t given much thought to the design, other than a basic construction.  She did mention that there were several designs available and that a kit could be purchased for $200-300 to design the Library but it would be more cost effective to construct one.  This matter will be moved to the October Regular Session for approval.  


3. Moore Street Sidewalk Project Attachment C

Matt Pepper presented the Council with the list of bidders for the Moore Street Sidewalk Project.  Of the seven bids that were received, HCS Services was the apparent low bidder at $228,835.75; approximately $6,000 over the budgeted amount for the project.  HCS Services is the company that constructed the Asbury Street Park, as well as the completion of some trails and drainage work for the city.  The second bidder was Ryde Grading, whose bid was about $40,000 more than HCS Services.  Jordan Engineering recommended accepting the bid from HCS Services.  Councilmember Windham questioned whether the contract for the Moore Street Sidewalk Project would be done by the city or Jordan Engineering. Matt Pepper responded that the contract is usually done jointly.  Councilmember Windham questioned whether it would be a turn-key project, due to a concern of potential add-on charges for miscellaneous items outside of the contract.   Councilmember Ready questioned how retainage would be addressed in the contract.  Councilmember Windham said it is usually spelled out in the contract how it will be handled.  This matter will be on moved to the October Regular Session for approval.


4. Residential Parking Discussion Attachment D

Chief Harvey discussed the many complaints and concerns he’s received from citizens about the high volume of vehicles in the front and back yards on residential premises. During his investigation of the matter, he witnessed a house that had at least 11 vehicles on the property at one time.  His assumption was that the location was being used as a parking lot during work hours, as the vehicles were not on-site in the evenings.  He also observed residential lots in the same neighborhood that possessed 4-6 cars that belonged to residents who occupy the homes.  Chief Harvey observed this trend more often in the Oxford Square subdivision and most recently on Longstreet Circle.  To address these matters, he researched other cities’ policies and presented Council with options to consider for adoption. 

The Mayor advised that the city’s main objective is to prevent the appearance of junk yards and used car lots.  This matter will be further discussed at the scheduled October work session.


5. Amendment to Section 34-26-Vehicle Gross Weight Attachment E

Chief Harvey discussed an amendment of the city ordinance which prohibits through vehicles with weight in excess of 10,000 pounds.  The amendment is due to an ongoing issue with residents who require use of such vehicles for financial stability.  Chief Harvey advised that there were residents that were cited, who had been parking vehicles such as a tree service truck (bucket truck), an 18-wheeler and a dump truck on their residential lot for numerous (up to 30) years.  Chief Harvey is requesting an amendment to provide a waiver from the requirements of this provision with subject to review and approval.  Melissa Madden (103 Emory Way) expressed to Council (on behalf of her husband, Christopher) that requirements of this ordinance has caused a financial strain, having to relocate their service truck.  She asked that Council take this matter into consideration. Mayor Roseberry advised the matter would require further discussion and will be scheduled for the October work session. 

6. Shared Active Transportation Devices Discussion Attachment F

Council discussed the use of shared active transportation devices (e.g. e-scooters) within the city limits. 

Matt Pepper spoke about a trend where some cities allow private companies to provide motorized transportation, controlled by an app on your mobile phone.  The concept is to pay a fee and be able to select an available motorized device (bicycle/scooter) and ride it to a location within the boundaries. Users have the convenience of leaving the motorized device at roadside (right-of-way) without having to return it to its original location. Matt Pepper advised that a lot of cities have been challenged with how to provide a safe environment for these devices to operate.   He provided Council with ordinances from Smyrna & Marietta, that have regulated these devices, as recommendations for Council, should the city be faced with these issues in the future.  Mayor Roseberry asked if any cities had banned the use of said devices and Matt Pepper replied Smyrna, Marietta and Lilburn.  Mayor Roseberry expressed that these devices could be dangerous to pedestrians and that Council will need to further review the matter to develop an ordinance.  This matter will be scheduled for a future work session. 


 7. Small Cell Technology Model Ordinance Attachment G

 Matt Pepper presented Council with a model ordinance which would regulate the placement of small wireless facilities in the public rights-of -way for the City of Oxford.  He explained that the State of Georgia passed Senate bill 66 to address the challenges of the large telecom and cable companies on properly deploying such technology within cities.  GMA, along with ECG, has been developing a model ordinance for cities to adopt to help regulate the deployment, installation and construction of such devices within the city’s rights-of-way.  Matt Pepper advised that the model ordinance details guidelines such as the permitting process, the renewal, removal, and relocation of the devices, as well as the basic aesthetic standards like, restrictions on the placement in historic districts.  He also advised that this was an across- the-board ordinance that cities were adopting, which would give the City of Oxford more authority on what happens within the city.  The Mayor requested the model ordinance be sent to the City Attorney for review.  The matter will be moved to the regular session meeting in October.


8. Planning Commission Attachment H

Matt Pepper discussed the Council’s plan of codifying an attendance requirement for members of the Planning Commission, as well as updating the city’s code of ethics for employees, and appointed and elected officials for the City of Oxford. As an overview, Matt Pepper spoke about the Council’s previous discussion on requiring each Planning Commission member to attend at least 2/3 of the meetings in a calendar year. And if they are unable to do so, they would be subject to removal by the Mayor and Council.  He further detailed, as far as a proposed amendment to the city’s ethics code, it would essentially change from “public officials”, to “all elected and appointed officials, and employees are subject to these ethics’ codes of conduct.” The amendment would also include an all-encompassing clause.  The Mayor questioned if the Planning Commission had any recommendation in regard to attendance or quorum.  Matt Pepper advised that, per his discussion with Planning Commission members, they would be in favor of the requirement, but some members would prefer changing the attendance to 3/4 of the meetings in a calendar year, with no response regarding the quorum. Mayor Roseberry had concerns that limited attendance would prevent the Planning Commission from conducting business, like the approval of development permits.  His recommendation would be to reduce the quorum requirement or increase its members.  This matter will be scheduled for approval on the regular session in October.


9. Retirement Plan Attachment I

Mayor Roseberry discussed the adoption of the restated pension plan that Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System (GMEBS) requires its member employers to adopt, as mandated by the IRS. The amendment, which was made to the master plan, was reviewed by the City Attorney, as well as the Mayor and Councilmember Holt and there were no objections to its adoption.  The Mayor did insist that other members of the Council read over the documents.  This matter will be moved to the October regular session for a vote.


10. Water Fountains and Pet Sanitation Stations Attachment J

Councilmember Windham gave his recommendation for the installation of water fountains and pet sanitation stations in locations within the city.  His ideal locations would be on Watson Street and the trail, Old Church and the trail, George Street Park and the trail, Moore Street and the trail, then in between, have pet sanitation stations at E. Soule Street, and Clark street and the trail.   Councilmember Windham also advised that he discussed the matter with Jody Reid and there were no objections in getting the project completed.  He further explained that he would prefer to research cost to get the project completed at a lower cost than those installed at Asbury Street Park. Jody Reid advised that the project would not require contracting, providing there was no boring required for the placement of the water fountains.  Councilmember Wearing suggested verifying that the city ordinance requires pet owners to clean up any pet waste.  Mayor Roseberry advised that the matter will be moved to the October regular session for a vote, providing the pricing for the project has been determined. 


11. 107 W. Clark Street Renovation Project

Councilmember Wearing reported the progress on the Yarbrough House Renovation.  He explained that there was a meeting with the architects, which they are waiting for a response on the plans.  Councilmember Wearing is hopeful that he will have an update by the October regular session. This matter will be placed on the regular session meeting for October.


The Regular Session meeting was adjourned at 6:43 pm.


Executive Session

A motion was made by Windham-seconded- Wearing, to enter into executive session at 6:52 pm.  Motion unanimous 6/0.

Council discussed personnel matters regarding the vacancy of the city clerk position.

Motion was made by Windham- seconded- Wearing to leave the executive session at 7:10pm. Motion unanimous 6/0.

Motion was made by Windham- seconded- Wearing, to adjourn the meeting at 7:10pm.  Motion unanimous 6/0.


Respectfully submitted;

Stacey Mullen

Deputy City Clerk