Plans for a new economic development coordinator and an event coordinator were on the agenda and up for discussion.
The council unanimously approved job descriptions for both positions, but they delayed any other action on the plan until March 21.
City Financial Advisor Nathan Ingram defined the job descriptions for the two new city positions at the meeting.
The first, Marketing and Special Event Coordinator, would have the task of coordinating and planning special events and be responsible for scheduling activities at events and providing information to the public about them, according to the job description provided with the council agenda.
The Marketing and Special Event Coordinator will also work alongside the Economic Development Coordinator/Main Street Director, the second new position to be added.
The Economic Development Coordinator will facilitate planning to determine and suggest economic development and redevelopment possibilities for the city. The employee will also serve as the Main Street director and will oversee any boards within, also according to the provided job description.
Councilman Bill Bryan suggested that the council go ahead and take action and approve the job descriptions, instead of waiting until the next council meeting to make a vote.
“If we go ahead and approve these job descriptions tonight,” Bryan said. “that’ll give us an extra two weeks to fill the positions.”
The new jobs will add approximately $190,000 to the city’s annual budget, assuming the council approves the budget amendment at its next meeting on March 21, and the council hopes they will be filled by May 1, Ingram said Friday.
Councilman Hooky Huffman also had business on the agenda and discussed proposed changes to the city employee pension plan.
Huffman detailed the findings of a committee he has met with for roughly the past six months to explore ways of making the plans more equitable.
He advised that his committee found no reason to make any changes whatsoever for city employees, saying the changes would only apply to anyone hired on after the changes were passed.
A successful retirement for workers, Huffman said, is made up of three independent parts: Social Security benefits, pension plan and individual contribution. Huffman said the city’s goal was not just to help employees with their pension plan but also their personal contribution.
He also announced that should these changes pass Canton will match each employee’s weekly withheld contribution, up to 2 percent.
“And that’s free money,” the councilman said. “If they leave their city job, they can take it with them.”
Huffman said giving each employee the ability to control the rate of their individual contribution would allow them to “define their own future.”
The Canton City Council also:
*Unanimously approved a project to replace a water main on Lower Scott Mill Road. The city received seven bids on the project with Strickland Pipeline and Construction being the lowest bidder for $175,000;
* Discussed potential changes and construction on Marietta Road, including putting in new sidewalk;
* Discussed potential changes to the classification of Heritage Park. They questioned whether or not it should be classified as a passive or active park. Huffman said changes need to be considered, because some rules about what sorts of activities are permitted there are unclear;
* Unanimously approved an $83,000 change order for Canton’s sewer treatment plant, providing City Attorney Bobby Dyer approves after reviewing the order. Beresford made the motion that action be taken in spite of three missing councilmen;
* Discussed County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens’ request that Canton give $25,000 to aid in funding for the Cherokee Office of Economic Development. Hobgood said cities in the county have been asked for varying amounts, with Canton and Woodstock both being asked for $25,000;
* Discussed the Canton Planning Commission’s recommendation for zoning changes at 491 and 493 Hospital Road. The property now has two apartment buildings with 16 rented apartments;
* Discussed the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which hopes to set a more precise schedule for maintenance of roads, sidewalks and bridges. Beresford said thus far the city had been “shooting in the dark” on when such maintenance would happen; and
* Discussed appointments made by the council and other city employees to Hobgood’s commission on Canton’s “vision of the future.” Hobgood requested all 21 members be notified that they were appointed and be present at the next City Council meeting.