MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
October 20, 2020
Present: Mayor Danny Edwards, Councilman Dennis Owens, Councilwoman Sarai Melendez, Councilman Danny Woodward, Councilman Keith Pace, Councilman Josh Roberts, Councilman David Underwood and Brent Taylor, City Administrator.
Councilman Josh Roberts led the pledge of allegiance.
On a motion made by Ms. Melendez and seconded by Mr. Roberts to add discussion regarding the Walhalla Community Garden to the agenda. The motion was approved unanimously.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Mr. Woodward, seconded by Mr. Pace and unanimously carried, the minutes for the regular meeting on September 15, 2020 meeting were approved.
Mrs. Helen Westmoreland representing the Oconee County Sherriff’s Office and Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative made a presentation recognizing the Public Safety Employees of the Year for the City of Walhalla. She explained due to Covid-19 Pandemic, the award winners will not be recognized at the annual dinner, so they are receiving their recognition at the Council meeting. Chief Burton introduced Justin McAlister as the Firefighter of the Year. He stated “Mr. McAlister has done an excellent job and gone beyond the call of duty.” Chief Brinson introduced Jessica Sanders as Officer of the Year. She has improved the evidence collection system and her efforts on patrol has increased public safety.”
Reading of Resolutions and Ordinances:
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-13 AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND ORDINANCE 2020-05 TO REGULATE, RESTRICT AND LIMIT, IN THE INTEREST OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY, THE USE AND OPERATION OF THE WATER WORKS SYSTEM MAINTAINED AND OWNED BY OR WHICH MAY BECOME THE PROPERTY OF THE CITY OF WALHALLA AND PROVIDING FOR VIOLATION THEREOF. The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Underwood read the entire ordinance. Mr. Underwood explained under the 1974 Privacy Act the City couldn’t deny water service to someone if they didn’t provide a social security number or a tax identification number. He brought up the possibility of having an extra fee charged for someone not providing it because we won’t be able to use the Set-off Debt Collection Program to collect delinquent fees without it. Ms. Melendez asked, “Would this be across the board?” Mr. Pace said, “Anybody would have the option to do it or not do it.” Council directed Administrator to check to see if this is legal.
Mr. Underwood made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-14 AN ORDINANCE TO APPROVE AN ECONOMIC INCENTIVE GRANT FOR MOUNTAIN REST ENTERPRISES. The motion was seconded by Ms. Melendez and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Owens made a motion to add Mill Street in the “Now Therefore Be It Resolved” section of the ordinance. It was seconded by Mr. Roberts and it was approved unanimously.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-16 PROVIDING OF THE ELECTION OF MAYOR PRO-TEMP AND ESTABLISHING COMMITTEES DUTIES AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Roberts discussed meeting monthly instead of having committee meetings when there aren’t any issues being discussed. If Department Heads aren’t bringing any business before the Council and are just stating their reports, is there a need for them to be here? The Mayor suggested we may be short changing the citizens if we don’t have this extra meeting. I don’t think it is a bad thing to have the extra meeting. It is more opportunity to inform the public. Sometimes it gives me the opportunity to ask questions that I wouldn’t normally be able to do. Ms. Melendez stated I think we need to make the committee meetings more productive. Mr. Pace said, “I enjoy having the Department Heads here.” Mr. Woodward stated maybe we can shorten our committee reports during the regular meeting, and not repeat what was said at the committee meeting.
Ms. Melendez made a motion to amend the ordinance to add the word “Parks” before Recreation as one of the committees. The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and it was carried unanimously. Mr. Owen made a motion to amend the ordinance to add “and Finance” after the word after General Government. Mr. Pace seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-17 AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR COUNCIL RULES OF ORDER, PROCEDURE AT MEETINGS, AND PROCEDURES FOR THE ENACTMENT OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS- The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Pace recommended that we amend the “Conference Meetings” section of the ordinance to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. This includes giving notification to the media and the reasons why. The Administrator confirmed that needed to be done after consulting with the City Attorney and the Municipal Association. Mr. Pace made that in the form of a motion. Mr. Roberts seconded it and it was approved unanimously. Mr. Owens made a motion to add in section 9 “or designee” if the Administrator or City Clerk can’t attend meetings. It was seconded by Mr. Roberts and it was approved unanimously. Ms. Melendez asked for clarification of Franchisee. The Administrator explained that it is fee to allow utilities to operate within the City. Mr. Owens inquired, “How many times do we have to meet to approve this ordinance?” The Mayor stated, “We will have a committee meeting and another meeting to work on this. Mr. Roberts asked, “We insert in the codification of ordinance to include an electronic version shall be on the website. Mr. Roberts made that into a motion along with some punctuation changes. Mr. Owens seconded that motion and it was approved unanimously. Ms. Melendez made a motion that section six include “publicly” referring to the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. Roberts and it was approved unanimously.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-18 AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE BUSINESS LICENSE ORDINANCE FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA – The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: There was no discussion.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve RESOLUTION 2020-12 A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE ADMINISTRATOR TO DISPOSE OF CITY ASSETS – The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and was carried unanimously.
Discussion: There was no discussion.
Discussion of Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Ms. Libby Imboddy updated Council regarding the progress of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She said, “The committee has 18 members that meet once a month. They have adopted a mission statement and divided themselves into three sub committees. The committees are Education, Special Events and Community Outreach. They meet once a month.”
She also updated them on the Main St. Program event the previous weekend. She said, “About 850 people attended.” Mr. Roberts said, “She is doing a good job.”
Discussion of Community Garden
Ms. Melendez discussed a community garden project. She said, “The proposed project is going to be across from the Walhalla swimming pool. She is seeking support from the Council to provide them water and to assist them with grants.” Mr. Underwood said, “He supports the project. Mr. Woodward inquired about liability to the City. The Administrator replied, “We wouldn’t be liable because it isn’t our property or program.” Mr. Owens asked, “If we would need to supply a meter?” The Mayor stated he thought one was already there. Mr. Underwood expressed concern about them wasting water. The Administrator replied, “You could give them time to correct the situation. If they didn’t you can charge them for it.” Mr. Roberts expressed his support for it.
Ms. Melendez asked about rescheduling meeting due to Election Day. Mr. Pace made a motion to move the Committee meeting to Thursday, November 5. The motion was seconded by Ms. Melendez and it was approved unanimously.
Fire/Codes: Mr. Pace reported the Department had
108 calls for service.
55 Fire calls
53 Medical Rescue
22 Incidents of mutual aid
13% on multiple calls
42 Inside the City
Spent 226 hours on incidents an average 33 minutes.
Staff trained for over 164 hours. Several staff are finishing their EMT certification.
50 business were inspected by the Fire Marshall and received fire plans from the Water Plant and the gas station.
Codes and Zoning 7 violations are being addressed. Performed 8 zoning verifications and approved 4 zoning permits.
Working on reimbursement for PPE $10,512 was submitted.
Will be conducting fire hydrant testing. The Department is busy working with the Main St. program events. “Boo-In-The Bay” was canceled due to Co-vid 19.
Discussed issues at Stumphouse Park. Presented Resolution for Fire Prevention Week.
Mr. Roberts reported:
- Main St. Coordinator Libby Imbody gave an update on Main St. programs.
- We reviewed and recommended to full council ordinances regarding electing Mayor Pro-Tempore, selection to committees, and conducting of meetings.
- Reviewed and recommended to full council changes to the Business License Ordinance.
Mr. Owens reported:
From September 1 through September 31 the department collected
258 tons of brush
82 tons of commercial garbage
94 tons of recycled brush
19 tons of C&D waste
22 Mattresses which is 1 load and 1 ton
3 tons of furniture
Delivered 35 Roll carts and collected 5.
They worked on trimming trees and branches along sidewalks and roadways. Assisted the County with clean up at the Mill Hill in Seneca. Completed pouring concrete around poles on Main St.
Discussed power issues on Main St. and updated the status of relocating the Oil re-cycling area.
Mr. Owens said, “The vacuum truck is working very efficiently and effectively.”
Ms. Melendez reported:
Fall sports are underway. Registration for basketball will begin October 26, 2020 and conclude on Nov. 6, 2020. The Office will be closed on Election Day.
Mr. Woodward reported the committee received the following information:
1076 calls for service
357 extra patrols.
The department implemented new technology regarding writing citation and wreck reports. Chief Brinson attended Command College at Anderson University. They had 11 narcotic arrests.
We also discussed the Curfew Ordinance.
Mr. Underwood reported the committee:
We were updated on testing of the new water plant.
We were updated on the start of Stribling Shoals pump station.
We were updated on new meters and discussed getting a back-up collector.
Also going to consider hiring more people for the sewer.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator