Council Member Frank Homiller was unanimously approved by council as the city’s mayor pro tem. Council member Andrenia Stoner was absent.
“We appreciate you being pro tem for many years,” Mayor Rick Roberts told Homiller.
All of Roberts’ recommendations for department heads, committees and board members were also unanimously approved and no changes were seen from last year, except for the seat of associate municipal court judge vacated by David Cannon Jr., who is now Cherokee’s Superior Court judge. That seat was left vacant for now.
City Planner Michael Chapman was added to the executive committee alongside Roberts, Homiller and City Manager Eric Wilmarth.
Roberts said he hopes to work toward establishing an economic development committee, but plans to wait until the council’s retreat, which will take place Feb. 2 at the Wheeler House, located at 510 Gilmer Ferry Road.
“I think really to do that properly, we need to write a charter to outline some responsibilities,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he hopes to better develop the committees through establishing charters for each of them, including: executive, public safety, parks and recreation, natural and historic resources, public works and human resources/finances.
“Charters identify what the committee needs to be doing,” Roberts said. “I think sometimes you say ‘public safety’ or ‘public works’ and you assume things go in that but by this time next month, if we can put together a draft charter for each committee I think that would be helpful for the chairmen on those committees.”
Roberts also asked all chairs to have a meeting with their committees prior to the retreat to bring forward at least one tangible project or goal for the year.
The board also unanimously approved Wilmarth, Roberts, and City Clerk Karen Jordan as check signers for any and all banking or checking accounts. Wilmarth said all checks over $500 require two signers, as has previously been the policy.
In other business, the board unanimously approved changing qualifying fees for municipal elections per state law. Qualifying for the mayoral seat is $108 and $35 for council members.
The council also unanimously approved an alcoholic beverage license for a Shell station at 8615 Ball Ground Highway. Due to its proximity to Ball Ground Elementary School, the convenience store will not be permitted to sell liquor.
Wilmarth also updated the council on finances, saying the city finished the second quarter with $113,000 cash-on-hand, which is about $25,000 less than last year. However, the city is due $70,000 worth of reimbursements from the county.
“Actually, we’re a little bit ahead of where we were last year,” Wilmarth said.
Wilmarth said basketball is in full swing at the former Ball Ground Elementary School gym, with only one day having to be made up for players due to issues with a leaky roof.
He said he hopes the sale of the rest of the former school campus, approved unanimously at the December council meeting, will help with funds to repair the roof.
Also, Wilmarth said the plaques designating six downtown Ball Ground historic sites have come in and will be installed once permission has been granted from all of the facility owners. He said six more buildings will be identified this year by the Natural and Historic Resources Committee.
“The long-term goal is that each of these buildings be identified… in a walking brochure of the downtown and the plaques will link up with the more detailed information in the walking guide,” Wilmarth said.