BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – The Blairsville City Council convened on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at 6 p.m. at Blairsville City Hall. All council members were present, as was Mayor Jim Conley, City Attorney David Barrett and City Clerk Kaye McCann. Al Harper, interim president of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce was in attendance.
Immediately following the invocation and pledge, Barrett conducted the swearing-in of newly re-elected Mayor Conley and City Council Members Tony Dyer and Buddy Moore.
Mayor Conley recommended that the council reappoint Barrett as city attorney and McCann as city clerk. Both appointments were unanimously approved.
With the retirement of Larry Stephens, former superintendent of the Blairsville Water Treatment Plant, in December 2017, Danny Dillard, a 30-year city of Blairsville employee, was promoted and approved by the city council to replace Stephens as superintendent.
Mary Ruth Cook will replace Betty Easter this year as the Blairsville City Council liaison to the Union County Historical Society. Easter will continue as liaison to the Blairsville Airport. Tony Dyer will remain liaison to the Streets & Sidewalks Department. Rhonda Mahan will remain Blairsville City Council liaison to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and liaison to the Blairsville Police Department. Buddy Moore will continue as mayor pro tempore and liaison to the Water/Sewer Dept.
The 2018 Intergovernmental Agreements with Blairsville DDA, Union County Historical Society and Blairsville/Union County Chamber of Commerce for Hotel/Motel Tax distribution was unanimously approved as follows: DDA allowed 25 percent, Historical Society allowed 25 percent, the Chamber allowed 40 percent and the city taking 10 percent for administrative costs.
A resolution to renew existing annual contracts (mostly service contracts) was unanimously approved.
The annual donation of $5,000 to the Blairsville Public Library was unanimously approved. Cook asked that the donation be reviewed for increase prior to the 2019 budget process. The mayor and city council agreed.
The city council unanimously rejected any change in the language of Alcohol Ordinance #2017-04 regarding taxes. Union County Tax Commissioner Lee Knight asked that the council make the renewal of Blairsville alcohol licenses dependent on county taxes being current. The city council in its entirety felt that it is not the responsibility of the city of Blairsville to collect Union County taxes.
Blairsville Airport Manager John Hamler reported that the new Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) equipment will be installed by David Brown Technology on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 8 and 9 and that the grounding issues had been addressed and new wiring was installed. He said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors would be there on Wednesday, Jan. 10, to certify the new installation. Hamler said having an operational AWOS will be a big boost for airport safety and that the Atlanta flight center will be much more likely to route air traffic to Blairsville in less-than-optimal weather conditions, which will drive airport income. Hamler also said the $119,000 of AWOS equipment was completely paid for by the state of Georgia, and it did not cost the city of Blairsville a dime. And last, he said the new airport security cameras are operational and working very well.
The mayor broached the agenda item of airport fuel storage tanks. Conley informed the council that the Jet-A fuel storage tank, which was originally going to be placed on the north side of the airport where the new terminal is located, would have to be placed on the south side. He said, because Air Methods medical air transport helicopters use Jet-A fuel and self-serve at all hours of the day and night, he and Hamler felt that everyone would be better served by placing the Jet-A tank away from the terminal side. The plan now is to place the Jet-A tank where the AvGas tank now rests and relocate the AvGas tank over to the north side of the airport. Conley said he is working with Hamler on a plan to move the AvGas tank at no cost to the city of Blairsville (see video). The council unanimously approved a resolution to allow Conley to proceed with the plan.
In other department head reports, DDA Program Manager Darren Harper reported the next DDA Meeting would be Jan. 9, 2018, and that the events for 2018 were in the works. Ottis Franklin, superintendent of Water and Sewer Maintenance, reported a few residential water supply lines had frozen but had been resolved. Blairsville Police Chief Johnny Carroll reported nothing out of the ordinary. Conley asked for a vote on the acquisition of a new vehicle for the Blairsville Police Department. The council unanimously approved a bid from King Ford for a 2018 model at a price of $26,180.
The city council discussed the question of whether to allow only Blairsville residents to be interred at the Blairsville Cemetery. Cook requested the issue be tabled until February so council members could give the issue some consideration.
An Occupational Tax Certificate was unanimously approved for Blairsville Internal Medicine, Inc., 374-A Pat Haralson Drive, Mary E. Wiles, president.
Sign Permit Applications were approved for:
• Kenya L. Patton PC/North Georgia Law Group, 44B Blue Ridge Street, Kenya Patton, applicant; and
• Made by Mamz, 294 W. Hwy 515, Suite L, Anna Burbage, applicant.
Occupational Tax Certificate and Sign Permit Applications were approved for:
• Chelsea Stephens Photography, 370C Cleveland Street, Chelsea Stephens, owner; and
• Custom Cakes by Stacy, 307C Cleveland Street, Stacy Moot, owner.
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