The Barrow County Chamber of Commerce will likely continue to occupy the old train depot building on Porter Street for the foreseeable future.

The Winder City Council, during a called meeting following its Thursday, Dec. 19 work session, approved a new one-year lease agreement with the chamber for 2020, and the agreement has four automatic one-year renewals beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Either party, however, can opt out at least 60 days prior to Jan. 1 each year.

The chamber, which has occupied the depot since the 1970s, will pay the city $2,750 per quarter, or $11,000 per year, according to the agreement.

The chamber’s lease was a source of contention in 2017, when the council voted to terminate the lease at the end of 2018 as some city leaders wanted to explore other options for the building, and chamber officials began a search for a new location. However, nothing has materialized to date.

MORATORIUM

Also during the called meeting, the council approved a moratorium on builders/developers submitting exterior wall finish materials, including vinyl siding, other than brick, stone, stucco (excluding EIFS) or cement board in residential or commercial zones.

The moratorium is in effect until 8 a.m. March 4 as the city works to finalize zoning ordinance updates.

The moratorium also covers any zoning request for an incompatible zoning use under the proposed new ordinance and any detached carport or storage buildings in the designated residential and commercial zones.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business at the Dec. 19 work session, the council:

•heard a presentation on the city’s Fiscal Year 2019 audit by Rushton and Company. The firm issued an unmodified opinion. It recommended more segregation of duties at the Chimneys Golf Course with regard to voided transactions but found “no material noncompliance.” City finance director Leslie Wilder said the city had taken actions to address that issue that will reflect in the audit of the current fiscal year.

•heard three proposed agreements for service offered to the city through the Georgia Municipal Association. One deals with recovering money in the event that a “third party” party damages city property. The company, Peachtree Recovery Services, would take 16.5 percent, and the city would get the rest, Wilder said. Another would train employees at each of the hotels and motels located inside the city to manage hotel-motel tax revenue at $900 per year, per hotel. That would be at a cost of $2,700 per year for the city for the three hotels inside the city limits. The final one would be for restaurants to manage revenues from the 3-percent liquor-by-the-drink excise tax. That applies to 13 restaurants in the city at $300 per restaurant, per year, Wilder said. The hotel-motel tax and liquor tax agreements are designed to take some burden off the city’s finance department. The agreements will be voted on at the council’s Jan. 7 meeting.

•heard a presentation on planned and proposed capital projects at the Chimneys Golf Course for FY2020, including new public restrooms.

•heard a request for maintenance to the right-of-way on Betts Street.

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