Mayor Report

The Year 2016

The City of Crawfordville is proud of the accomplishments made in 2016.

City Finances – The city’s finances are in good shape. Even though the tax base evaluation dropped, we did not find it necessary to increase the millage rate. By increasing worker efficiency, and better planning, we were able to cut expenses. The accounting system has been simplified and is now in full compliance with state guidelines. A Certified Public Accountant comes in once a month to check our books and make suggestions and/or corrections. The utilities software has been upgraded and is now incorporated as part of the accounting system instead of just being used to print utility bills. Utility charges were not being collected in a timely matter, and thousands of dollars were owed on water bills. These uncollected funds were not reflected in our profit and loss statements because they were still listed as assets. We have made tremendous progress in collecting past due bills and will continue to improve even more in the coming year. We will write off truly uncollectable accounts and our utilities reports will reflect a true standing of where we stand. The city will have no local control over raising utility bills unless we can demonstrate we are following state guidelines and have a good system in place to control utility costs. The city has been under pressure to raise water rates for several years, but we were able to delay increases in 2016, and hope to do so again in 2017.

Streets and Sidewalks - We finally paved the residential section of Sandy Cross Road and the section of MLK adjoining Broad Street. Most of these expenses were covered by accumulated Local Option Sales Tax and Special Local Option Sales Tax.

We have made many improvements in keeping streets and right of ways clean, and will continue to improve, especially with input from the citizens. Several more efficient procedures are being planned for the coming year.

Employees – Our city clerk is well versed in software and the Internet. She has been well trained by the utility software company, and continues to be trained by the CPA that oversees our accounting. Her responsibilities now follow the Georgia Municipal Association’s guidelines, on which she has continuous training and follow-up.

The new utility and street employees are working under new guidelines, and the new efficiencies are paying off. We are required by state law to test our wells every day, seven days a week. We now have two employees trained to do this, so this gives us total backup in case of sickness or time off. These are very important functions, and the city could be fined by the state if it was discovered this requirement had not been followed correctly.

Additional job training is available to all employees. Professional employees are always a sign of good government.

Security - Security cameras have been installed, recording all events along Broad Street from the court house to the post office. Security videos are also installed inside city hall.

Private security cameras record Goluke Park, Monument Street from the light to Moore Street, the alley behind the city hall, and sections of Moore Street. Night vision cameras are in effect, so even if it seems the area is in complete darkness, recordings are still being made.

The sheriff’s department has done an excellent job of keeping the city safe and passing on very good advice to the city. Everyone please support our law enforcement officers. They just never seem to get all the appreciation they deserve.

Utilities – We have had numerous water leaks throughout the city, and mechanical breakdowns of the sewage department and utility systems. We are now stocking emergency parts and have several options always available for out of town backup when necessary. We are taking the necessary steps to prevent and shorten water and sewage outages for our citizens.

City Vehicles and Equipment – Preventive maintenance will continue to be a priority during the coming year. Expenses can be much better controlled if emergency repairs can be prevented.

Animal Control – We have had a number of problems with loose dogs attacking and/or killing smaller dogs and cats. We have taken steps to correct this, and continue to ask all of you to immediately report seeing any loose dogs. The state has very strict laws on this, and the city will enforce them in their entirety.

We have improved the city dog pound, but the Helping Hands Humane Society has been a lifesaver for the city and the county in helping us implement the new state animal control laws. We are working to come into full compliance with the state laws.

Taliaferro County – It has been a pleasure working with the county personnel. We have received so much good advice during our first year of making improvements in the city.

We are also working on several joint projects that will benefit all our citizens, including getting a medical clinic back in the county (more on this later).

Chamber of Commerce, Historical Society, and Alexander Stevens State Park – The City is working with these organizations to keep our city and county current in services to our citizens and visitors. Examples of the cooperative activities include the joint efforts to restore the Holden Block sign after being knocked down and damaged by wind, and the coordination of the Christmas lighting and decorations. We look forward to maintaining a good relationship to continue improving the county and city during the coming year.

Taliaferro County School – Many changes have been made at the school, and currently we are all working together to improve health care in the city and county as well as the school. We look forward to working closely with the school during the coming year.

Citizens Committee - The Citizens committee was formed to make long term plans for improving the city. Some of the projects include updating illegal and non-productive ordinances, obtaining grants to aid us in beatifying the city, and getting as much citizen input as possible. Linda Franklin, who heads up this committee, is well known inside and outside of Taliaferro County for very productive grant writing, obtaining numerous grants for many worthwhile causes. We are very pleased to be working closely with her.

Dollar General - Approved for building in 2015, was constructed and opened in 2016, much to the excitement and well wishes of the citizens of Crawfordville.

Many thanks to our Council Members, our Citizens, and all our Supporters.

Larry Stewart, Mayor

 

Mayor’s Report

January

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS – The recent wind caused a tree located at Farm Bureau to fall across Broad Street, blocking all lanes. Thanks to DOT and all involved in moving the tree out of the street and cutting it up into manageable pieces. We are fortunate no accidents or injuries resulted.

 

We have four streetlights not working. Georgia Power will be replacing bulbs or repairing lights soon.

 

BUDGET - The city budget amendment is straight forward with only minor corrections.

 

UTILITIES – Water bill payments were down in December, probably because of the holidays. Cut-offs have been held off until the middle of January to assist our delinquent citizens in getting their finances back in order.

 

We started out the first week of the new year with a city wide power outage lasting several hours. Our sewage disposal facility measured up to its periodic testing:

 

Generators came on automatically through the night and kept the plant working efficiently.

 

CHRISTMAS IN CRAWFORDVILLE - The City wants to thank the businesses and individual citizens who decorated for Christmas. The additional decorations were a tremendous aid to the overall festive appearance of the city.

 

TALIAFERRO COUNTY HEALTHCARE MEETING – A meeting to bring improved healthcare to Taliaferro County was held December 16. Just to let you know, this is really something to look forward too. Details will become available as plans progress.

 

CITY EQUIPMENT SALE – The city is selling a Ditch Witch, model 2020, by sealed bid. The Ditch Witch has not been started for several years. It has been parked unattended behind City Hall. A new set of wheels and tires, and a new battery are included. The equipment is being sold as is/where is, with no guarantees of any kind. Bid opening will be January 26 at 11 AM. Please contact City Hall for details.

 

THIS COLUMN WILL BE PUBLISHED AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR CITIZENS INFORMED AS TO THE HAPPENINGS IN THE CITY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2016

 

 

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS – The city limit signs are now correctly placed. I hope there will be no more confusion about the city limits.

 

The special street lamp that was knocked down on Park Street at Memorial Drive has now been replaced. Many thanks to Georgia Power.

 

 

BUDGET - The city budget hearing resulted in no objections to the proposed budget. The budget will remain the same as it was this year.

 

 

UTILITIES – We are currently removing meters in most locations where water has been turned off for at least two months. The pipes are being capped and sealed to prevent water theft. Periodic checks at various times are also being made in these locations.

 

We have had a number of water leaks develop by and under the streets across the city. We are not sure of the cause, but repairs are being made as soon as we can schedule.

 

 

SECURITY CAMERAS – Security cameras have been installed, recording all events along Broad Street from the stop light to the post office. These recordings will be made available to anyone who has a need.

 

 

CHRISTMAS IN CRAWFORDVILLE - The City Christmas decorations were turned on November 25th to coincide with the state park opening of the Christmas displays. A good number of people gathered at Goluke Park for the celebration, and were served hot chocolate and cookies.

 

 

ANIMAL CONTROL – An unusual amount of complaints concerning loose dogs still exists. Keep your dogs on your own property unless on leash and fully under your control. Maximum fines as well as state laws will now be fully enforced in order to get better control of this situation.

 

 

UGA EXTENSION PROGRAM – The health and wellness grant approved for Crawfordville and Taliaferro county is now in effect. Barbara Twilley has been assigned to coordinate the nutrition and obesity programs. Please support her to the fullest in this most important program for the health of the county.

 

 

November 2016

 

This is a continuation of ongoing reports to keep the citizens of Crawfordville informed as to the happenings in the City. You are most welcome to come by City Hall at any time to express concerns and suggested solutions.

 

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS – You may have noticed the city limit sign on Sharon Road has been moved approximately three tenths of a mile closer into town. This is incorrect, and was done by the DOT without our consent. After consulting with a DOT supervisor and engineer, it was determined the sign was incorrectly moved, and will be placed back in its original position. Thanks to DOT for the prompt attention and correction.

 

A special street lamp was knocked down on Park Street at Memorial Drive. If you have any information on this, please contact city hall. A reward for information may be available under some circumstances. Please check with the City Clerk for details.

 

BUDGET - The city budget will be approved at the December city council meeting, after a budget hearing. Time for the budget hearing will be posted in city hall and announced in the paper.

 

UTILITIES – We are currently determining locations where water may illegally being used.

 

BANK ROBBERY – The recent bank robbery verifies the value of security cameras. Every business and resident should consider installing security cameras.

 

ANIMAL CONTROL – An unusual amount of complaints concerning loose dogs attacking and/or killing cats and smaller dogs has resulted in more drastic means being used to correct this totally unnecessary problem. Keep your dogs on your own property unless on leash and fully under your control.

 

UGA EXTENSION PROGRAM – UGA has received a health and wellness grant for Crawfordville and Taliaferro County. Watch the paper as more information becomes available.

 

THIS REPORT WILL BE PUBLISHED AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR CITIZENS INFORMED AS TO THE HAPPENINGS IN THE CITY.

 

October 2016

This is a continuation of ongoing reports to keep the citizens of Crawfordville informed as to the happenings in the City. You are most welcome to come by City Hall at any time to express concerns and suggested solutions.

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS –  Finally, the section of Sandy Cross Road that was previously paved has now been repaved. Also, MLK that connects to broad street has been repaved.

A section of sidewalk is being added in front of the Dollar General store to give access to the store to wheelchair ridden citizens at Deerfield apartments.

BUDGET - The city budget should balance out by the end of the year, with no increases planned at this time. Another evaluation will be made by the next city council meeting.

UTILITIES –  A water leak developed at the sewage disposal facility, but the city workers determined it was a fresh water pipe, and should be able to repair it without calling in outside help.

Utility bill collection still continues to improve.

PROPERTY TAXES - Collections have been good, in spite of some property owners being very difficult to contact.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - The city street decorations appear to be in good condition except for some needed bulb replacements.

CITIZENS COMMITTEE – Don't forget to make your recommendations as to which ordinances are detrimental and/or illegal to the city, and should be eliminated or changed.

INVESTIGATION into unauthorized activity into some of the city's files should soon be concluded.

 

 

September, 2016

 

We are pleased to announce that no drastic emergencies occurred this past month. Accordingly, a number of minor incidences were prevented from becoming major, thanks to the skills of the new city workers.

 

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS –  The city continues to make improvements in the cleanliness of the streets, but we need your input in areas we may be missing. We hope to soon have a donated pressure washer to aid in keeping the downtown sidewalks clean.

 

UTILITIES –  Utility bill collection continues to improve. The city is now collecting more than is being billed, which means we have stopped the continued increase in unpaid utility bills, while making good progress in collecting past due bills. We are desperately trying to prevent the State from forcing us to increase utility rates. Residents who pay their bills should not be forced to subsidize those who do not pay their bills.

 

LABOR DAY FAIR - What an amazing rebirth of our Labor Day Fair! A small group of dedicated volunteers brought together a wonderful day for our citizens and visitors. Considering all the obstacles and the late start, the fair was still a huge success. All the volunteers that brought this about should be individually recognized.

 

The Sheriff's department should also receive special recognition for stepping up and providing great security and traffic control.

 

A small group of people can still make good things happen.

 

CITIZENS COMMITTEE – Don't forget to make your recommendations as to which ordinances are detrimental and/or illegal to the city, and should be eliminated or changed.

 

THERE ARE STILL CONCERNS of the management of the city that we hoped would be addressed at the recent grand jury meeting; however, the state has not completed their investigation. We completed our internal investigation some time ago, but were advised to take no action until outside data was completed and compiled.

 

 

Mayor’s Report

August 2, 2016

This is a continuation of ongoing reports to keep the citizens of Crawfordville informed as to the happenings in the City. You are most welcome to come by City Hall at any time to express concerns and suggested solutions.

AUDIT – The recently required yearly audit has now been approved by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts. We look forward to having a much simpler audit next year.

CITY STREETS AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS – Letters have been sent to residents concerning driving 18 wheelers on city streets. City code absolutely prohibits this, as damage to streets can be extremely expensive. Citations and fines will be enforced if this continues.

The Sandy Cross street paving is still being postponed. Updates will be available when received by the city.

After much delay, the new street signs have finally arrived.

UTILITIES – Newly implemented policies in the utilities department have already confirmed several water meters have not been read for many months. Also, there are apparently meters that have multiple residences attached. There is currently ongoing investigation to determine how and why these improprieties came about.

An apparent power surge knocked the sewage plant computer off-line. Our two new employees manually switched the pumps off and on through the night and kept the sewage plant in operation.

A very expensive ($3,890) repair was made to a storm water drain under MLK. Two outside companies had to be called in to complete the repair. Apparently the drain had never had maintenance, and was filled with roots as well as years of accumulated debris. Hopefully, we can prevent this sort of expense in the future.

SPRINGFIELD COMMUNITY - The City Council voted unanimously to support the Springfield Community in opposing the county rezoning which would allow Elite Blasting to store ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and related materials on property in this historical community.

CITIZENS COMMITTEE – Don't forget to make your recommendations as to which ordinances are detrimental and/or illegal to the city, and should be eliminated or changed.

THIS COLUMN WILL BE PUBLISHED AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR CITIZENS INFORMED AS TO THE HAPPENINGS IN THE CITY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Milner called the November 5, 2013 meeting to order and welcomed everyone. He asked all to stand and Pledge Allegience to the Flag. Members of the Council present were Vice Mayor Bobby Chapman, Ms. Vivian Stewart and Ms. Josephine Chapman.

Mayor Milner said the Council had received the minutes from the previous meeting on October 1, 2013 and asked if there was a motion to adopt. Ms. Stewart made a motion to adopt the minutes, which was seconded by Ms. Chapman. There were no additions or corrections. Mayor Milner asked for all in favor to say aye. The motion carried with a unanimous vote.

Mayor Milner stated that there had not been time to send out the minutes of the Public Hearing held on October 29, 2013. The Clerk was asked to read the minutes. There were no additions or corrections. Motion to approve was made by Ms. Chapman and seconded by Mr. Chapman. The motion carried with a unanimous vote.

The floor was opened for Public Requests. Mr. Dorsey Cooper asked if the approximately $10,000.00 which had been used in the budget, since the Sheriff still has not signed the InterLocal Agreement, could be applied to lower the taxes of city residents. The Mayor stated that it had already been factored into the budget before setting the millage rate. There has been an extra month since that time, which means there will be a small surplus. The tax bills are going out this week, so it is too late for changes this year, but there will be a possible reduction next year if there is a surplus that the Council wishes to use for that requirement. Mr. Cooper said that he had been checking other cities and we were way too high in our millage rate compared to other places. Mayor Milner explained that other cities had businesses that were actively involved in commerce and when you don’t have businesses that pay taxes, the burden falls on the homeowner, which makes the millage rate higher. Mr. Cooper then stated that no new businesses will want to come in with the high taxes.

No further Public Requests.

In the Mayor’s Report, he said that he had met with Board Commission Chairman Ware and Ms. Linda Grijalva of the Regional Commission concerning the concept of acquiring block grants, separate from the county to be dispersed to homeowners, whose homes are in need of repair. The grant would be available to those who qualify, and the funds can be dispersed to bring properties up to current standards. Mr. Ware wants to go ahead with the county. It is up to you whether we do it in the city. Ms. Grijalva feels that MLK Dr. to Commerce St. and toward Friendship Church has a number of homeowner occupied homes that would be eligible for rehabilitation through these funds. More study will need to be done which would require an application and $3000.00 to start the process, but there is no guarantee of approval even if we spend the money. He asked if the Council felt there was enough need in the community to make the effort to get grant funds and go forward.

Mr. Chapman asked if it would be city-wide or contained areas, what kind of work would be done to the home places, and if the work would be given to local workers. The Mayor responded, saying it must be a contained area, but there could be other pockets. The work could be anything from foundations, or roofs, to rebuilding the whole building. He was unsure of who would be awarded the work. He pointed out that she would be flexible in the options now, but once it is documented, it would be cast in concrete. The homeowner would have to demonstrate that they are truly qualified for the improvements. Once the agreement is signed, Ms. Grijalva has stated her willingness to come before the Council and answer any questions.

Ms. Stewart asked about suggesting areas, because there would be some that would get upset if they were not included. Anyone that has suggestions can make them to the Council to make sure that all pockets would be considered, even though there are no guarantees.

A motion was made by Ms. Stewart to sign the agreement with CSRA Regional Commission to apply for the grant. Mr. Chapman seconded the motion. The roll call was made with a unanimous vote to go forward with the agreement.

This concluded the Mayor’s Report and the Financial Report was given by Mayor Milner. He explained that in the Enterprise Budget there had not been an amended budget adopted which would true up through the first months of the year. This is on tonight’s agenda. This report is based on the original budget adopted last November.

There were no questions on the Financial Report.

In New Business, Resolution 2013-006 “To Provide for the Adoption of a Budget Amendment Containing Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure Changes for the Fiscal Year 2013” (Beginning January 1, 2013 and ending December 31, 2013) was introduced.

This amends both the Enterprise Budget, which is attached to the document as well as small amendments to the General Fund Budget. This is because we have to support garbage collection contributions from the General Fund since we do not collect enough to cover garbage fees.

Mr. Chapman asked what the method they use to charge garbage fees. The Mayor responded by saying it is based on a minimum of 300 cans plus fuel surcharges which is computerized statewide.

The Amendment was read by the Mayor explaining the increase in Revenue from $462,000.00 to $479,000.00. We also are taking advantage of monies not paid to Sheriff. The City also had to pay the county for reconstruction of the well house on Commerce St.

Ms. Stewart made a motion to adopt Resolution 2013-006. Second was made by Ms. Chapman. Motion to amend Section 1 to correct a typographical error was made by Ms. Stewart with second by Ms. Chapman. All were in favor of the correction which was adopted. There were no further discussions. The roll was called with a unanimous vote to adopt the Resolution as amended.

Resolution 2013-007 “Adopting a General Operations Budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2014” was presented to the Council with the Mayor explaining this was the portion of the Budget Public Hearing from the last week. The Resolution was read. Ms. Chapman made a motion to adopt Resolution 2013-007 and a second was made by Mr. Chapman. There were no further discussions. The roll was called with a unanimous vote to adopt the Resolution.

Resolution 2013-008 “Adopting Enterprise Operations Budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2014” was presented to the Council with the Mayor explaining this is the other portion of the budget from the Public Hearing. The Resolution was read. Mr. Chapman made a motion to adopt Resolution 2013-008 and a second was made by Ms. Stewart. There were no further discussions. The roll was called with a unanimous vote to adopt the Resolution.

The Business was completed. Ms. Stewart motioned to adjourn and the second was by Ms. Chapman.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brenda Vandiver

City Clerk