The Statham City Council is moving forward with determining the feasibility of a new city annex.

At its Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting, the council approved soliciting proposals for professional services from engineering and/or architectural firms to look into the projected costs of an expansion of city hall and renovations to the public works building.

Councilman Dwight McCormic had raised the issue at a Feb. 4 work session, saying the city should look into building a new annex across from the current city hall or expand the current space to be a permanent home for the police department and possibly other departments. He said that would allow the police department to be in a city-owned building instead of the current setup, where the city is paying rent at the department’s Railroad Street location after moving from its previous headquarters to make room for the Statham Public Library’s expansion.

“Our city is growing. …I think it would do a lot of good for all our services to be under one roof,” McCormic said.

The city does not have funds in its current budget for the professional services being sought, but getting price points will allow the city to have a better idea of how much money it should allocate for the work in its budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins in July.

“This is a first step in the process,” city attorney Jody Campbell said.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business at its Feb. 16 meeting, the council:

•approved the purchase of a no-bite K-9 for the police department in an amount not to exceed $12,500. The price will include training and other related expenses, such as compensating the officer who will be tasked with handling the dog. Money remaining in the police department’s vehicle and contingency funds for FY2021 will be used for the purchase.

•tabled until next month three variance requests for the planned Ellington Farms subdivision at Sunset Drive and Lillian Way. A vote is now scheduled for the council’s March 16 meeting. City planner Jerry Weitz recommended approval of the requests with a handful of conditions, which the applicant representative, Abe Abouhamdan, said he was agreeable to. Among those conditions: the streets would be accepted with no curb and gutter because they have connections to preexisting public streets; general maintenance bonds for the roads and a performance bond for golf cart paths and sidewalks; homes would have to be constructed at a minimum of 2 feet above the highest water elevation; and stormwater retention ponds would be privately maintained. Councilwoman Betty Lyle made the motion to table the requests, saying she believed there was an abandoned road on the property that would need to be further investigated. But after the matter had already been tabled, Debi Krause, who owns an easement going through the property, said it was an easement and not an abandoned road.

•approved eliminating the automatic 5-percent annual increase in the city’s water and sewer rates and permitting the mayor and council to review the rates periodically for any changes recommended by staff.

•approved the appointment of Joan Hammons (mayor’s nomination) and Debi Krause (council nomination) to fill two of the three seats on the city’s ethics board. Hammons and Krause will select the third committee member. The two-year terms will run through December 2022.

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