The Cedartown City Commission Monday held its first meeting of 2010, seating three incumbent commissioners for new terms and taking a quick review of the past year's business.
Commissioners John Barrett, Larry Odom and Scotty Tillery were re-elected to office in November. They were seated for another term of office by Superior Court Judge Richard Sutton.
The board unanimously elected Odom to serve as commission chairman, and Barrett as chairman pro-tem.
Odom light-heartedly thanked the board "for this dubious honor" and joked that other commissioners want him to serve as chairman because he's retired and therefore has time to attend ribbon cuttings and other city functions.
In other business Monday, City Manager Charles Akridge gave a rundown of recently completed projects and some others that are coming up.
Tennis courts at Peek Park have been resurfaced and the renovation is about 95-percent complete, Akridge said. New signs and netting will be installed soon. The project was funded from Special Location Option Sales Tax money designated for recreation improvements.
Another SPLOST project coming is a planned renovation of the historic Women's Building on Wissahickon Avenue. The low bid of $22,818 was approved.
Tillery asked that the contractor's plan for painting the interior walls of the building be reviewed more closely. He noted that the bid price was signficantly less than the other two bidders. However, Akridge said that all the bids called for a single coat of primer and two finishing coats, and that the three bids all met the specs.
Also Monday, the commission presented awards to city employees. The 2009 Ray Merritt Public Safety Award was presented to Cedartown Police Officer Henry Runyon. The 2009 Bobby Alexander Public Works Award was presented to Bill Ricketts. Runyon accepted his award personally. Ricketts was unable to attend the meeting and the award was picked up by a relative.
The commission heard from Pamela Baker-King regarding MLK Youth Infusion events, which are organized in the community each year in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (on Jan. 18) by Youth Working Together for a Speedy Awareness. A proclamation supporting MLK Day events was signed.
Events planned by YWTSA include the MLK Youth Conference, which begins at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Cedar Lake Christian Center. The conference speaker is Portia Ellis, a retired Cedartown High School teacher.
Also appearing before the board was George Anderson, head of the Ethics in Government Group.
Anderson appeared before the commission last year to file an ethics complaint against city commissioners Tillery and Barrett. The complaint was dismissed by an Ethics Committee made up of appointed Cedartown citizens.
Anderson did not bring new complaints Monday. Instead, he commended the commission for having a well-written ethics policy in place. And he expressed his hope that "no one sees me as an adversary." He noted that a recent Rome News-Tribune story referred to him as a "gadfly" but that he prefers to simply be called "a concerned citizen."
The commission followed a recommendation from Akridge to increase the city's sewer tap fees. The fees have not been updated in many years and are substantially below those of other nearby communities, Akridge said.
The fee to tap into a 4-inch sewer line is now $1,500, up from $800; and the fee to tap into a 6-inch line is $1,700, up from $900.
Akridge said these fees are in line with the fees charged by Rockmart and Cave Spring, among others.
Tillery pointed out that tapping into an existing line in Cedartown usually means digging up concrete. Odom added, "I think it's long overdue."
The city approved a resolution forming the city's first opportunity zone. The Wissahickon Avenue Opportunity Zone includes 16 acres. Businesses within the district may qualify for job tax credits.
The commission met in a brief closed session at the city attorney's request. No action was taken after the board reconvened.