The Statham City Council voted Tuesday, March 17, to seek information about what it would take and what the cost might be to refurbish the city’s former planning office and public works building.

The council voted 3-0 to ask for “requests for information” on what it would take to renovate the building.

The former planning office is adjacent to the former police department and community center. It is across Jefferson Street from the current city hall.

Two members of the city council — Betty Lyle and Hattie Thrasher — did not attend the meeting.

A vote to hire a new technology company was tabled after council member Gary Venable abstained and explained he might have a conflict of interest because he had a prior relationship with both companies.

The council voted 2-0, with Venable abstaining, to hire TKS of Commerce, but city attorney Thomas Mitchell said it requires a majority of council — at least three votes — to award a contact.

The TKS bid is $1,862 a month for the first year and then drops to $950 per month. Athens Micro, the current provider, has been charging $1,400 per month. Its bid was $17,350 plus $677 per month.

The TKS bid said the price would include 10 hours of support per month. In addition, the company said it would upgrade the city’s network, put in a firewall, re-cable the system and provide a camera system that would maintain police video for 60 days.

The current system gives the city eight days of video storage.

TKS bid $1,500 but the added price is for the additional camera storage time.

The council will hold a called meeting at its work session April 9 to consider the technology bids.

CONTRACTS

The council also approved, on a 3-0 vote, a contract for a new website to be developed by Sophicity, through the Georgia Municipal Association, for $4,770 annually.

The city also received a bid of $5,750 to $7,000 from Madison Studios. The company also has a charge of $130 a month for hosting the site and a half-hour of support or $180 per month for one hour of support.

Sophicity will develop the website, but the city staff would be responsible for the content.

Venable said the company did the Auburn website. Council member Dwight McCormic praised the Auburn site, saying it is what he hopes Statham’s will be. He praised the photos of Sam Powell, the city’s public works director, and said he hopes they can be featured on the site’s pages.

“There’s going to be some work for us,” Venable said, pointing out the council and staff will have to decide the content on the site.

He also said Sophicity did the Oconee County website. The company’s response said it also did the Madison site.

The council also approved 299 feet of four-foot wide sidewalk construction on Ventura Street to near Eighth Street by Mayweather Company.

Powell agreed the company has done considerable work for the city and said it has given the city “a good price” because it often does not do cleanup. McCormic put a condition on the contract that the company do cleanup.

The council also agreed to an addendum for a contract with EMI, which has done most of the city’s engineering work recently, at a cost of $16,150. The contract addendum will include a mapping of the city’s sewer system, smoke testing the sewer system and a permit for the system.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the council:

•approved two policy updates for a pandemic policy and credit card policy.

•heard a presentation from William Warwick, with Radar Signs, about speed limit signs, especially in school areas. Warwick said, and McCormic agreed, that the council gets complaints about speeders on Broad Street, particularly near Statham Elementary School.

•agreed to hold a public hearing about a new land use map at 6:30 p.m. April 9. That is the time for the next council work session.

•approved a tree ordinance that is modeled on an ordinance provided by the Arbor Day Foundation.

•agreed to be part of a statewide mutual aid agreement. Mitchell said the agreement provides immediate assistance from other participants if needed during times of disaster. City clerk Susan Gabriel said being part of the agreement also gives the city the chance to get state reimbursement for disaster expenses.

•heard new police chief Ira Underwood report on activities of the department in January and February. McCormic read a letter praising one officer and Venable said a man had stopped him and praised the police for helping residents unload groceries.

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