2017-06-15 / Front Page

Council tables Tree City USA ordinance; considers replacing broken decorations

At the most recent meeting of the Lincolnton City Council, members reviewed a revised city tree ordi­nance with Tree City USA – a docu­ment that sets to guide future com­mercial developments by providing regulations for tree maintenance, but excluding private property own­ers from the stipulations.

A vote on the ordinance was con­secutively tabled for further review and discussion, as was the decision reached by council at last month’s meeting.

Prior to this decision, City Attor­ney Barry Fleming elaborated on the proposed changes to the ordinance – as revisions were made by partner Adam Nelson.

“The biggest differences are, number one, anybody who wants to develop something commercially has got to, when they file, show the existing trees, or the trees that they’re going to plant,” Fleming said. “So, it emphasizes that you’ll have trees in places when people take down vegetation.

“The other thing is that it doesn’t affect private home owners. It does have in there that –for your ordinance – you as a public city, are going to try and care for and evaluate the trees, in your public works contract,” Fleming continued. “If someone, for example, builds a small subdivision and they have some public areas, like a green space, they have to show when they build it on the plat, and who’s going to care for those tree in that public area. It’s fairly common.”

Councilman Alana Burk ques­tioned the new ordinance, stating “I have an issue with it because I see it as another layer of bureaucracy, and for a small community like ours we need development more than anybody. That’s just a personal feeling, but why bring in something like this now that really isn’t that necessary?”

Councilman Larry Goolsby agreed, explaining that he believes an ordinance of this nature is a poor fit for Lincolnton, and would be better suited to a larger city. Both members noted that it could poten­tially hamper future industry.

Further concern was expressed over ordinance specifications and stipulations regarding height, type, and the location of trees.

In light of these concerns, the ordinance was tabled for further review.

In other business, Councilman Goolsby proposed that council consider purchasing new Christ­mas decorations, as several of the snowflakes owned by the city are in disrepair.

He reported that the city currently owns 21 lighted snowflakes that are “in decent condition,” and recom­mended that around five more be purchased for this year’s holiday season, with more purchased in the future.

The snowflakes cost around $300 a piece, however Goolsby believes that the decorations can be pur­chased for cheaper than that amount, as there are times when they go on sale.

Council voted to purchase the new snowflakes only if there is enough money available in the budget for decorations.

Additionally, council voted to get have a sewer easement constructed on Morning Side Drive for drain­age purposes. All the paper work has been taken care of, according to Goolsby, council simply voted for an agreement to be signed for the easement.

Council voted to have the clock in the flashing school zone beacon on Rowland York Drive repaired for a cost of $800-1,000.

The timer is currently not working properly, and police officers have to manually set the timer for the flash­ing lights to turn on. Chief Brandon Lively further reported that he and his officers are also having difficulty with manual adjustments.

Furthermore, Councilman Gools­by, recently spoke with Superinten­dent Dr. Samuel Light about the school board potentially sharing in the cost of repair.

Additionally, Council discussed the possible annexation of a property on Saddlebrook Drive.

Council voted to send City Clerk Martha Jo Austin for the rest of her training.

The annual fireworks show has been scheduled for July 1, begin­ning at dusk, and council is currently looking for donations to defray the cost of putting on the show.

In a city water department report, Adam Minyard noted that water pro­duction for the month of May was 14.1 million gallons, and a total of 4.8 inches of rainfall was recorded at the plant.

While Minyard didn’t have any major leaks or repairs to report, he did note that a two-inch valve on Rowland York Drive is leaking and in need of replacement. Since school is out, council agreed that repairs should be made during summer vacation.

Ben Alligood reported that over the month of May, the wastewater treatment plant had an approximate influent of 654,000 gallons for Lincoln County; a city influent of approximately 6.3 million gallons; that 6.9 million gallons were treated and discharged; that solids disposal was 12.4 tons; and that rainfall at the plant was 5.7 inches.

Building and Code Enforcement Official Jim Farrand included in his monthly planning and zoning report that eight building permits were issued, totally $438; that nine building inspections on permits were conducted; along with three plat approvals; and 20 meetings with property owners; he received two complaints and related issues; and had two violations.

As a part of his police department reported, Chief Lively updated council on the need for heavier enforce of certain road rules regard­ing ATVs, as an increasing number of minors and juveniles have been reported as driving recklessly, caus­ing destruction to private properties, and riding on the road, cutting off oncoming traffic.

“Wilkes County has already had two accidents that were fatal, and we don’t need that. We need to nip it in the bud right now, and keep that from happening in our community,” Lively said

Furthermore, council approved the purchase of two cellphones – to be placed on the city’s cellular plan – for the shared use of both daytime and nighttime officers in the department.

Lively also noted that the Chief’s Association, through a state grant, will reimburse a small portion used for his chief’s training course, since he successfully completed the classes.

Prior to the meeting, a public hearing was held to announce the creation of the new Lincoln County and City of Lincolnton Joint Com­prehensive Plan. The plan is a guiding document for community project’s over the next five years, and includes a “vision” for the next ten years.

The plan is due by February 28, 2018, for adoption by both entities.

Furthermore, the Georgia Depart­ment of Community Affairs is fund­ing the comprehensive plan, and the CSRA Regional Commission in Augusta has been contracted to complete the work.

An open house for the public to comment will be scheduled in Sep­tember of this year.

As discussed by council, the next scheduled meeting of the Lincolnton City Council will be held on Tues­day, July 11, at 7 p.m. – instead of July 4 – in observation of Indepen­dence Day.

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