VALDOSTA -- City Council members addressed storm water issues Thursday evening at their regularly scheduled meeting and approved right-of-way agreements for Georgia Department of Transportation drainage project funding.

City Manager Larry Hanson told Council members the city was preparing for any storm issues associated with the fast-approaching Hurricane Katrina, should the storm take a dreaded turn toward South Georgia.

"We'll monitor the hurricane over the next couple of days as to preparations," Hanson said.

Von Shipman, city engineer, presented a package to the Council about remedying flooding situations on Ashley Street and Park Avenue at the One-Mile Branch and at Patterson Street at the Two-Mile Branch.

The approval allowed funding to progress from the DOT with pledges up to $75,000 per drainage project.

Mayor John J. Fretti said the projects were much needed and many residents in those areas would be delighted to see storm water run-off decrease.

Shipman said the projects were three of five designated for completion earlier this year.

Total cost amounts to around $600,000 with remaining funding stemming from SPLOST drainage funds.

Also during the meeting, Councilmen approved a unique request from the Valdosta-Lowndes Airport Authority for a loan to construct an additional hangar.

Competing lending companies asked for a higher interest rate, and previous funding through the 1990 GMA Lease Pool is no longer allowed for hangar construction.

Fretti said the city does not practice loaning out money, but the "win-win" situation described by Finance Director Mark Barber allowed the city to profit from the 3.50 percent interest rate over a 10-year payback period.

The loan, for $200,000, comes from a general fund of pooled investments and will improve the general aviation side of the airport.

Fretti said the measure was "an unusual request with an unusual response."



In other items:



- The portion of Palmetto Street between Cypress and Roger Streets will be closed to allow Reames and Son Construction to create a passive storage yard and decrease potential traffic hazards.

Reames owns property on both sides of Palmetto Street and the street is not heavily used by the public.

Councilmen approved the request with a stipulation the construction company will allow a 12-foot paved driveway for fire safety reasons.

- Community Director Mara Register asked Councilmen to adopt a resolution to address local needs, including comprehensive planning, economic development and leadership programs in addition to safe and affordable housing.

The resolution allows city eligibility for a Signature Community Program designation, which brings a "holistic approach to available resources."

"This allows us to document many successes we had and hone in on indications to take it to the next level," Register said.

- Councilmen approved a list of items designated as "surplus" and allowed a highest bidder auction on Sept. 23.

Items up for bid include outdated -- no longer up to regulations -- equipment and excess "used up" property.

- Langdale Ford won the bid to replace the code enforcement division's truck, for an amount of $20,909.

- Councilmen approved an amended franchise agreement with the Georgia Power Co., establishing a fair and representative agreement of compromise on both sides. Previously, the city contested charges for relocating light poles and other items.

Hanson said the city has an agreement with the company until the year 2074.



To contact Kenna Walsh, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 237.

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