Emergency sewer repairs and unbudgeted cybersecurity upgrades also given green light

Cartersville City Council approves youth sports, resurfacing contracts

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Thursday evening’s Cartersville City Council meeting largely revolved around a series of contracts, agreements and bids, running the gamut from guardrail replacements and new police vehicle purchases to emergency sewer repairs and a $3 million-plus Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) airport grant.

First up on the docket was a request from the municipal water department to pay low-bidder C&L Contractors $17,500 for the aforementioned emergency sewer repairs.

“We had a manhole that was surcharging last Wednesday,” said City of Cartersville Water Department Director Bob Jones. “Somebody was operating a piece of heavy equipment in the railroad right of way and apparently they were pushing brush back or something … they just graded the manhole and it just sort of collapsed onto itself.”

Considering how deep the manhole was, plus its proximity to the railroad line, Jones said it was in the City’s best interest to simply subcontract the work out instead of trying to perform the repairs in-house. 

The council voted unanimously to approve the payment. 

“I think it’s a fair price,” Jones said. “It is high, but the repair was accomplished 24 hours after we were notified … it helped us to not have to rent bypass pumps through the long holiday weekend, so the net of this is a little better than $17,500.”

Council members also unanimously approved a slate of athletics program agreements, including a contract with Alpharetta-based Halftime Sports to operate the City’s winter basketball league as well as its summer basketball camps and fall and spring developmental leagues.

“They’ll give 25% of their gross revenue and any non-resident fees back to the City,” said City of Cartersville Parks and Recreation Director Tom Gilliam. 

Gilliam, who previously served as Halftime Sports’ director of marketing and operations, told The Daily Tribune News that he did not consider the bid to represent a conflict of interest, stating that he has no current financial ties to the organization.

“They’ve been doing this for about 20 years, so they put in a great proposal,” he said. 

That item was followed up by the unanimous approval of a contract with Alpharetta-based New Found Life Youth Football League, Inc. to serve as the City’s tackle and flag football program provider.

“Rec staff is still involved in the program, but New Life will facilitate sign ups, practices and games,” a department summary recommendation reads. “The City will receive 20% of New Life’s gross registration fees.”

Council likewise unanimously approved a contract with Emerson’s Top Shelf Concessions, Inc. to “assume operation of all concession stands with the exception of the concessions at the Little League fields.” Per a department summary recommendation, 15% of the company’s gross revenues will go to the City every month.

A GDOT airport grant totaling $3,383,388.67  was also unanimously approved by council. The local match for the grant is $183,045, with the GDOT funding set aside to cover various runway safety area improvements and land acquisition costs. 

An item to run City fiber optics cable to the Highland 75 industrial park also received unanimous approval. The final price tag for the budgeted item came in at about $403,000.

“There would be additional costs to install the fiber along Great Valley Parkway, but normally we would work with a potential customer to offset some of these costs by charging them an installation fee in addition to their monthly connection rate,” a department summary reads.

The council also approved a request to pay London-headquartered cybersecurity firm Mimecast $23,100 for email cloud services. Cartersville Assistant City Manager Dan Porta said the request is not a budgeted item, although a department summary states that non-specified “funds are available” to cover the purchase.

The City of Cartersville made national headlines when it fell prey to a ransomware attack earlier this year. To date, City officials have not publicized how much the attackers demanded, or whether the municipal government in fact paid the ransom.

“They’ll send out some phishing emails occasionally, and if employees click on that, they’ll tell them right away that you basically just got phished,” Porta said of Mimecast's services. “It will help our employees to be more mindful of what emails they receive … it’s something that we’re just trying to continually watch and monitor, and make sure that we’ve got the best security possible.”

Other items of interest from Thursday evening’s council meeting includes:

— The council voted unanimously to approve a contract not to exceed $26,500 with SiteMed Corp. of Marietta for yearly firefighter physicals and additional health and wellness programming.

— The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a Gresco transformer in the amount of $10,370.

— The council voted unanimously to pay Martin-Robbins Fence Co., Inc. of Snellville $5,695 to repair a damaged guardrail near the City cemetery. 

— The council voted unanimously to pay Robert Loehr Dodge $149,624 for six new police vehicles. Including the installation of police equipment, such as lights, sirens, computers and in-car cameras, Cartersville Police Chief Frank McCann said he does not anticipate the total cost of the purchases exceeding $240,000.

— The council voted unanimously to pay Bartow Paving Co. $409,070.02 to perform resurfacing of 11 City streets. Among the roadways included in the project are Henderson Drive, Mission Hills Drive, Willow Drive and Waterstone Court.