The Valdosta Daily Times
Before Valdosta City Council meeting Thursday night, three members were sworn in. The newly-elected Sandra J. Tooley, and incumbents Alvin Payton, Jr. and Robert Yost were sworn in by Judge James Tunison, accompanied by friends and family members.
The council unanimously voted to reappoint Payton as Mayor Pro Tempore which required him to be sworn in again to accept his expanded duties.
Also before the council meeting, the Ossipe Temple and Mayor John Gayle presented the awards for the 2013 Greater Valdosta Christmas Parade.
Ossipe Temple members Demarcus Marshall, Edward McDougal, and Bob Cosby presented the third place award to Choices for Life of Georgia, the second place award to Outback Riders, and the first place award to Valdosta Diamond Sports. The Ossipe Temple also presented the Grand Marshall award to Retired Valdosta Fire Chief J.D. Rice.
Since the Temple does not profit from their events, all of the money goes back into the community. This year, they donated their proceeds to Shop with a Cop, Shop with a Fireman, the Humane Society's BARC program, and to an employee of the City with cancer.
After the ceremonies, the council got down to business, approving the contract request for smoke testing of the City's Sewer System.
During the work session, Mayor Gayle asked Director of Utilities Henry Hicks if smoke appears on residential or commercial land, will the occupants be responsible for the repair, and Hick answered, “Yes. They will be notified and given 30 to 60 days to repair the problem.”
SPLOST VII funds will be utilized for this project.
Council also unanimously approved the amendment of the Entertainment Ordinance, and gave “teen clubs” a 60 day grace period to adjust to their new closing time of 2 a.m. on weekends.
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress requested this amendment due to public safety concerns with the night clubs.
“The VPD has responded to several service calls at many 'Teen Centers' because of drunkenness, gang related activities, drug issues, shootings, and stabbings,” Childress
During the citizens to be heard portion of the meeting, Logan Birdsong, 75 and his wife Maria, 73 , who own a teen club that will be effected by this ordinance change, spoke to the council.
Logan requested that he and his wife be granted an extension so they can get their affairs in order. To which Gayle replied, “Me or one of the other members of the council will be in touch with you.”
Other items unanimously approved by the City Council included:
• An Interagency Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for flood mapping and modeling. This agreement allows the city to utilize the advanced LIDAR technology at cheaper rates.
• To close an alley located between East Moore St. and East College St.
• To abandon an unused portion of right-of-way on Clark Street.
• To approve Radney Plumbing's bid of $688,006.50 plus a 10 percent contingency bids for the extension of water and sewer services to Annexed Island Phase One – Island 77C.
City Manager Larry Hanson informed residents that the City has began advertising the the City's force main project and they have received a fair amount of interest in their bids.
Hanson also announced that Valdosta was voted one of five cities to be a Georgia Mainstream City by the Department of Community Affairs. This means that Valdosta will be receiving additional technical support from the Department of Community Affairs for the next three years.
Mayor Gayle added that Valdosta was ranked number two, falling behind Gainesville out of 200 competing cities. Last year, Valdosta was ranked number 101.
The Valdosta City Council adjourned their meeting Thursday night and will reconvene Friday morning for a two-day retreat at Lenox River Ranch to make plans for the coming year.