The only stipulation is that the sign flipper not flip, spin or throw their signs into the air. They must hold their sign still. However, if the flipper is standing on private property, they are free to flip or spin their sign.
The new restrictions sparked debate during the ordinance's second reading. Terrance Broxterman, a local business owner, asked the council why the revised laws were targeting a single type of advertising and limiting businesses' activities in such a way that it could damage their earnings.
"I am friends with many local businesses, and I will let every single one of them know that this was an issue that was so important we amended our sign laws for one person," Broxterman said.
Mayor Matt Santini responded, saying the revisions were not designed to target one specific type of advertising.
"The purpose of putting this in there is not to specifically target anyone individually. It is to address liability issues. I don't think nobody wants to run anybody out of business, but there are liability issues. For instance, if somebody throws a sign up in the air, it goes into the road, causes a car accident, the city is liable because the person is on city property," Santini said.
The mayor also pointed out the compromise stating sign flippers are free to act however they wish when on private property.
"If you want to twist, flip, gyrate, spin around and do all these other things, then you're going to need to be on private property," he said, "or not city property."
The council amended the ordinance to further clarify that flippers' actions are not restricted when they are standing on private property, and the measure passed with a five-to-one vote.
Funding for the Downtown Development Authority was also on the agenda, as it had been tabled in the council's previous meeting. The DDA was requesting the release of $25,000 in funds to get them through to the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30. The DDA also requested approval for a $40,000 loan, while asking that a $62,737 debt be forgiven.
After reducing the funds to $15,000, as the DDA no longer needed the full amount to get through June, the council approved all three measures.
The council also decided to start the hiring process for a new DDA director. Kari Hodge, Lori Pruitt and Louis Tonsmeire Sr. volunteered to serve on a subcommittee composed of DDA board members and city human resource employees that will describe the director's duties, advertise for the position and hire someone by July 5. While it was not put to a vote, there was a consensus between the council and DDA board that the next director should be a city employee.
A resolution recognizing Linda Ferguson, Scott Busby, Omar Nunez and Jennifer Cupp as the four teachers of the year from Cartersville schools was read and the awards were handed out.
The city council's next meeting is scheduled for May 17 at 7 p.m. on the third floor of city hall.