City Council Minutes December 16, 2019 Work Session



MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2019 – 6:00 PM


MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Jerry D. Roseberry; Councilmembers: Jim Windham, George Holt, Mike Ready, Avis Williams, and Sarah Davis. 

OTHERS PRESENT: Matt Pepper, City Manager; Dave Harvey, Police Chief; Marcia Brooks, City Clerk; Jody Reid, Public Works Supervisor; David Eady; Art & Laurie Vinson; Mike McQuaide; Cheryl Ready; Dean Doug Hicks, Laura Gaffnea, and Danielle Miller of Oxford College; Judy Greer; Peggy Madden; and Laura McCanless.

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

Agenda (Attachment A)

1. Mayor’s Announcements
      The Annual Employee Appreciation Dinner was held December 12th at the Dean’s Dining Hall at Oxford College.  Mayor Roseberry expressed his
      appreciation to Dean Hicks for the use of the dining hall.
      November Police Report:
            Tickets written – 49
            Warnings written – 38
            Arrests – 6 (1 was a felony)

2. Electric Utility Resource Mix Discussion – Some of the Council members and staff met with representatives from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), Oxford College, and Emory University on December 11, 2019 to discuss solar opportunities.  MEAG needs a verbal expression of interest from the City of Oxford for participating in the purchase of solar energy.  Jim Windham clarified that the agreement would be non-binding.  Mike Ready advised this is an opportunity that has not been previously available to the city because it was cost-prohibitive in the past.  It is also an opportunity for customers who cannot invest in partial or total conversion of their homes to solar to still be able to take advantage of solar power options.  Oxford College was included in the discussion because they are the city’s largest customer, and their participation would largely drive the amount of solar power the city would purchase.  All Council members agreed that the Council is interested in discussing this opportunity further.  Matt Pepper will notify MEAG of the Council’s interest.  

Jim Windham asked that if any communication about this issue occurs outside of meetings for the purpose of discussing this matter, that the information be passed on to the Council.  Mike McQuaide asked if it is premature to ask whether solar electricity will retail for the same price as current electricity.  Mayor Roseberry advised it is premature, but he believes there will be little if any impact on price in the near future.  The solar portion will be a small part of the total package.  Initially, those who purchase it from the City will be helping the environment.  As it becomes more economical, more savings will be realized.

Mayor Roseberry noted that City Attorney David Strickland will be kept informed of all discussion regarding this issue.

3. MEAG Power Purchase Agreement 
Matt Pepper explained that MEAG has approached the city about buying supplemental and reserve capacity power from the City of Washington.  The city is required by our power purchase agreement to have 115% of our power for one month to meet peak demand.  The city operates slightly short of its power needs as far as buying enough power for everyone.  To be made whole the city will need to buy enough capacity to provide power to all of the city’s customers.  MEAG has negotiated with the City of Washington to buy supplemental power at a cost of $7 per KW and reserve power at a cost of $2 per KW for a total annual cost of $4,240.  City of Oxford staff recommend that Council designate MEAG to acquire the necessary resources to meet the city’s reserve and supplemental capacity needs.  Mr. Holt asked why the price is different for supplemental vs. reserve capacity.  Mr. Pepper was not sure but thought it may be because supplemental capacity is used every month, and reserve capacity is only used once per year.  Mr. Windham thought it may be because supplemental power is based on peak demand use, while reserve power is not.  Mayor Roseberry stated this issue will be on the January 6th meeting agenda.

4. Mayors’ Meeting (Attachment B)

Mayor Roseberry distributed a summary memorandum of the results of the investigation into the Service Delivery Strategy and water situation with the county to Council members.  The memorandum included ten items for the Council’s further consideration.  Mr. Windham asked why the county has no plans to sell the former Bear Creek Reservoir site.  Mayor Roseberry advised the county thinks they may want to use this land in the future for a reservoir site, even though experts do not consider this location a good site for a reservoir.

5. Transportation System Analysis and Prioritization Study

The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC) is working on a regional plan.  One component of the regional plan is a Transportation System Analysis and Prioritization Study.  NEGRC has reached out to Oxford to see if we would be interested in participating as a pilot community for creating a framework that other cities can 

use when they are analyzing their transportation needs and trying to plan for the future.  There would be a team of three to four individuals who would work with John Devine with NEGRC.  They would study transportation needs in general, transportation needs of the City of Oxford and Newton County.  They would also do a case study analysis on what other communities do. 

The deliverable would be a how-to/facilitator guide for other cities to use as they approach their transportation system analysis.  We would not be doing a transportation system analysis for Oxford but would be helping them create a framework they can use with other cities.  Given that the NEGRC has reached out to us for this assistance, there would be no cost to the City of Oxford to participate.  Mayor Roseberry spoke favorably of Oxford’s participation in this project.  Newton County will be conducting a local transit study through the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).  Participating in this project with NEGRC will put Oxford in a good position for dealing with transportation issues.

Ms. Williams asked if this is a study based on comments and needs or is it a baseline effort.  Mayor Roseberry advised the study with Newton County will be based on need, but the proposed participation by Oxford in the NEGRC project is for the purpose of designing a template that NEGRC can use when working with other cities.  This issue will be on the January 6th agenda.

6. 107 W. Clark Street Renovation Project (Attachment C)
The Committee Chairman was not available to report on the status of this project.  Discussion will be deferred until January.

7. Traffic Calming
Mr. Windham requested that this issue be brought before Council.  Mr. Windham stated it was his understanding we would move forward with three speed tables on East Soule Street between Emory Street and the city limits.  There is a potential for a large increase in traffic along that route in the near future.  Jody Reid advised that he and Chief Harvey measured for two tables.  Mayor Roseberry advised residents on that street have also complained about drivers speeding.  Mr. Windham also stated he had seen tractor-trailers coming through that street recently.

8. Parking Vehicles
Mayor Roseberry advised Chief Harvey and Matt Pepper are doing some studies on this issue.

9. Maintenance Facility Fence
Mr. Windham indicated that part of the fence is still good, and the cost could be spread out over more than one year.  Jody Reid provided the quotes he had received for various options from the original builder of the fence:  replace entire face - $20,000; repair damaged parts of fence, clean, paint - $7,000; replace with chain-link fence with screen blinder - $19,500.  Mr. Holt asked why we are talking about replacing the whole fence when part of it is still good.  Mr. Windham advised Mr. Reid just provided some options.  Mr. Reid will obtain some additional quotes and this issue will be discussed in January.

10. Whatcoat Street Project
Mr. Ready advised the committee has not yet received the final plans, so will defer this discussion to the next Council meeting.

Other Comments
Dean Doug Hicks of Oxford College asked for some time to address the Council.  He advised the Council that some gravestones in the woods in the Confederate cemetery behind Seney Hall and Williams Hall on campus were recently vandalized.  About 31 gravestones were vandalized.  Twelve of them were yanked out of the ground, cracked, or both.  As of December 15th, this is an active investigation under Emory Police Department.  Dean Hicks wanted to share the information with the City of Oxford and work with the city to make repairs and restore them as much as possible.  He also wanted to share with the city what they know and what actions they are taking.

Judy Greer thanked the members of Council who are leaving for their service and to welcome the new members who will begin serving in January.

Mayor Roseberry thanked the Council members he has served with.  He believes the Council has made some significant accomplishments, and he looks forward to the new Council continuing to do so starting in January.

The work session was adjourned at 6:32 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,

Marcia Brooks
City Clerk