Council Member Bob Rush said the city plans to pursue a bond referendum for the construction of the proposed new stations, but how the city will pay for additional firefighters is still unclear.
“When you start putting people into these fire stations, that’s adding around $500,000 a year per station for total staffing and equipment,” Rush said. “You’ve got to raise money some way to pay for that, whether it’s a property tax or a fire fee or some combination of both.”
Ecological Planning Group, based in Savannah, has submitted a proposal to the city for a fire protection fee system feasibility study. EPG’s study would cost the city a total of $14,940 if the city approves doing the study through the company.
The study would include an assessment of need, a review and recommendation on fee rate methodology, revenue projections and a public presentation on EPG’s findings.
According to the work session agenda, council members will also discuss the process of appointing council committees at the work session.
Council Member Hooky Huffman, who brought the issue to light, said it may not be discussed at the meeting, since he may not be in attendance.
“When you look at the charter and at the codes, there are always some areas where they don’t jive, and this is one of them,” Huffman said.
Mayor Gene Hobgood said the city’s charter states that the mayor can appoint council members to council committees without approval from the council.
According to another piece of city code, the mayor does need approval from council members to appoint members to council committees.
“That doesn’t really make sense. For the council to approve council committees, that is in essence appointing yourself to a committee,” Hobgood said.
But Huffman said allowing a mayor to appoint council members to council committees without approval from the council has the potential to create one-sided committees for controversial issues.
“You don’t want one person to be able to load the committee with people who all think in a certain way,” he said.
Huffman said he would also like to amend an unclear portion of the charter involving the mayor’s role as an ex-officio member of council committees.
At the meeting, council members will continue discussions on officials’ meal expense allowances, the city’s holiday light budget and the purchase of a projector for the Canton Theatre.
Council members will review bids from four companies for renovation of the council chambers.
Streets in two subdivisions, Hampton Close at River Green and Reynolds Park at River Green, are under consideration to be accepted for city maintenance.
Hobgood said he will recommend the reappointment of three Downtown Development Authority members whose terms are expiring.
In other business, the council will discuss:
n A Georgia Municipal Association retirement benefit cost study fee.
n Main Street work program and funding.
n Non-binding referendums.
n Annual update on amended capital improvements element and five-year short-term work plan for the city’s impact fee program.
n An update on the revision of the city’s development code.
n An amendment to a lease with T-Mobile.