To comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the Cartersville City Council convened Thursday evening via videoconference. Technically a public meeting, the Zoom-assisted gathering topped out at about 20 users, the majority of them council members and City of Cartersville department heads.
Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell began and closed the meeting with his thoughts on Gov. Brian Kemp’s statewide “shelter-in-place” executive order, which took effect Friday evening.
“It requires some posting of signs on premises and employers to sort of take more written action to address what their employees can do on the premises and things,” he said. “But basically, it’s our same order we currently have … for ‘non-critical’ businesses, they want you to just have basically a minimal staff in place and they have a listing of all the things you need to comply with it.”
Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini called for “the strengthening of the global church” and that the pandemic “pave the way for a spiritual renewal” during his opening invocation.
“God, you alone are worthy of honor, glory and praise and with You we can overcome every storm, including the global impact COVID-19 is having on our world,” he said while leading the videoconference from his usual seat at the council chambers dais. “Right now, we are asking You to heal those who are sick and protect those who are not, and give our leaders extra wisdom as they navigate this pandemic and economic uncertainty.”
The first order of business for the virtual conference was a second reading of an alcohol ordinance amendment, which lowers the regular seating capacity for establishments serving alcoholic beverages from 50 to 40.
The council voted 5-0 to approve the amendment, with Councilwoman Kari Hodge recusing herself.
The local government’s alcohol control board recommended the amendment be adopted.
The council likewise voted unanimously to approve a fiber department request for $15,235.72 to purchase a fusion splicer. Cartersville Assistant City Manager Dan Porta indicated the purchase is a budgeted item.
The same held true for an administrative request to renew fiduciary insurance coverage for the city’s boards. The approved sum, which will be paid via the City’s pension fund, comes out to $10,476.
Council members also voted unanimously to approve payment of a $25,000 deductible related to a July 30, 2018, accident involving a City employee on Old Mill Road. Per City documents, the approved settlement amount is $70,000.
Also approved unanimously by council was a request from the local police department to purchase five new patrol vehicles from Dooly County-based Brannen Motor Co. — although as Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock explained, such a transaction had already taken place several weeks earlier.
The council originally authorized the police department to purchase five 2020 Dodge Chargers last summer. After being notified the company was not “building the Dodge Charger police package in 2020,” the department instead requested authorization to purchase several Ford Explorers in December.
Last month, however, the department was informed that Ford Motor Co. was suspending operations at the plants manufacturing the Explorer police package.
“On March 19, 2020, the P.D. found five 2020 Ford Explorers police package vehicles on the lot at Brannen Motor Co. in Unadilla, Georgia, and the city manager approved the purchase,” a department summary recommendation reads. “On March 23-25, 2020, Brannen Motor Co, shipped the Ford Explorers to the Cartersville Police Department.”
The total cost of the vehicles comes out to $167,250. Factoring in the purchase and installation of equipment like lights, cages, in-car cameras and computer systems, the total bid is not to exceed $280,000.
“This is a budgeted item — federal assets forfeiture money — and the E-Verify and [Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements] documents have been submitted to the police department and are on file,” City documents state.
Council similarly approved a change order for Fire Station No. 3, with Mableton-based Abuck, Inc. receiving an additional $23,879.
“I would like to remind the city council that $7,645 of that was an additional fence we had to put up in the back of the property,” Porta said.
One item, an addendum to the City emergency ordinance initially approved by council two weeks earlier, was added to the agenda.
Brock said the addendum was to correct the wording in a section detailing employee vacation and sick time relief.
“It listed how emergency services personnel would be paid,” she said. “It was incorrect and said 40 hours of vacation, and it’s 40 hours a week of equivalent pay, so this new ordinance reflects that change of wording.”
Council approved the item as an “emergency ordinance,” meaning it required just one reading before going to a vote instead of two.
Brock wrapped up the virtual meeting with a brief financial update.
“Unrestricted cash is down for the month while restricted saw a slight increase,” she said. “I think we’ll truly start to see some declines from COVID when March statements are finalized, as well as when April and May start coming in."