The White City Council gathered for the municipal government’s first public meeting in two months Monday evening. Adhering to “social distancing” guidelines, the hearing took place on the grounds of the White City Hall facility on West Rocky Street.
Two council members, Ryan Evans and Tina Wilhite, were not present at the meeting. That left council members Dennis Huskins and Charles Buttrum as the quorum, with White Mayor Kim Dupree Billue serving as the decisive vote in the case of a deadlock.
At the forefront, the council voted unanimously to approve two resolutions allowing the local government to seek United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans for vehicular purchases. The City is pursuing $101,000 to finance a garbage truck for its public works department and an additional $140,000 to purchase several police vehicles and a water department truck.
Council members also voted unanimously to approve a contract with Bartow Paving Co. to repave a portion of Railroad Street. City of White Water and Sewer Department representative Billy Baker said the winning bid came in at $20,069.
“That street’s less than 700 feet and we’re going to repaint, re-stripe that street right there,” Baker said. “We need to go ahead and approve that so we can get on their list, because this is prime paving season.”
Baker said the contractor has agreed to waive mobilization fees, saving the local government several thousand dollars in the process.
“Although gas and petroleum products are down, the asphalt people have not cut their prices back,” he said. “Last year, when we did Oak Street, mobilization was $2,500, just for them to bring their equipment in.”
Baker also said he recently received correspondence concerning engineering work on the City’s ongoing efforts to repair Richards Road.
“Their consultants have finished looking at that project,” he said. “I don’t have a copy of the railroad engineer’s comments back to look at, so as quick as [we] receive them … they’ll let us review them, along with our engineer, and see what their comments were and see if any changes have got to be made on the project to keep it moving along.”
At this point, Baker said he’s been surprised by how fast the project is pushing forward. He said the City is working alongside the Bartow County Grant Writing Department to apply for a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loan to pay for the repair work.
Baker said the application has to be sent to GEFA officials by June in order to be up for review by the agency in August.
“We need to complete that in the next 10 days and get it to Bartow County, and we’ve got to have it to GEFA a month before their board meets,” he said.
Water department representative Jimmy Nichols told the council the local government has encountered an unexpected complication along the Old Tennessee Highway underpass.
“The Aubrey Corp. has taken our locks off and we’re locked out,” he said.
Nichols said he’s made attempts to contact the company, but has yet to receive any returned phone calls.
Elsewhere on the agenda, council members decided to take no official action concerning code violations at the North Georgia Mercantile store off U.S. 411. White City Clerk Robin Deal said the property owner has until June 4 to “make the appropriate upgrades” to be in compliance; Buttrum proposed City representatives speak to the property owner about fencing and drainage issues ahead of that date.
The council also heard the first readings of several ordinances, including ones addressing occupational taxes and alcohol sales. Alongside those two issues, the council is set to vote on two additional ordinances addressing urban camping and panhandling at a public meeting scheduled for next month.
“It’s not an issue at the moment, but I think it’s something we probably need to address before it becomes an issue,” said White Chief of Police Chris Barnes.