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19890309CCMeeting1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 The Tybee Island City Council held its regular monthly meeting at Tybee City Hall on Thursday, March 9, 1989. Mayor Walter W. Parker called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Councilmembers present were: Paul Jackson, Jean Davis, John O'Neill, Bill Walsh, Jack Youmans and Chris Solomon. Hermann Coolidge substituted for Thomas J. Mahoney, City Attorney, who was absent. Mayor Parker welcomed a large crowd of citizens. He read and presented a Resolution for the Eighth Infantry on the occasion of their annual reunion and spoke touchingly of the possibility that this might be the last of their reunions. Because of advanced age, it is becoming in- creasingly difficult for the participants to travel. A public hearing, postponed from last month, was called for a rezoning from R -2 to Commercial for 1801 Butler Avenue. The petitioner was Kathy Lescat, who was not present. Fitz Simmons spoke, as a member of the Planning Commission who had heard Ms. Lescat's original request, saying that she can sell goods she makes herself under the home occupation license, and that she can have a small sign. He said he believes she decided not to pursue the rezoning since most of the neighbors objected. The petition was prompted by Ms. Lescat's desire to open an art gallery in her home. Fitz Simmons then spoke of the cable television company, saying the charges here are higher than the national average and quoting figures. He also stated that the law is that the franchise fee can be up to 5 %, but the city only gets 3 %. Can the city raise its fee? He spoke of 19th Street, saying the neighborhood project has not been carried through, and he believes the street should be returned to its original state and more parking put in. He also spoke of the recent accident on Butler Avenue in which a child was hit leaving the schoolbus, saying the city should protect its children by providing police coverage when the bus is loading and unloading. He also spoke of the CAPDC contract the City Council rejected last year, saying he understands the staff is now trying to provide job descriptions and pay rates in- house, and stating that he believes this is a waste of their time. 1 1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 Page Two Mayor Parker promised to have the City Attorney look into maximum fees for cable tv franchises. He said that work has begun again on the 19th Street project, and more will be done shortly. He promised that the city will be adding parking in the area. Gary Conleay spoke for the Tybee Youth Athletic Association asking for the dedication of property for a gym and playing field. Mayor Parker apologized that this subject is not on the agenda, saying he misunderstood and that this will be considered at a future meeting. Reid Williamson, attorney for the Tybee Historical Society, spoke to call attention to a letter he wrote concerning the society's eligibility for receipt of funding from the 40% of the hotel /motel tax that is mandated for promotion and advertising use. He announced his availability for questions. Councilman Youmans asked if someone from his (Williamson's) office contacted Ed Sumner, legal counsel for GMA. The answer was affirmative. Councilman O'Neill asked Mr. Williamson if he was familiar with the term, "trial by ambush ". That answer was also affirmative. Gary Greenhut spoke next, saying that the Tybee Chamber of commerce merged with the Greater Savannah Chamber as of January 1, 1989. He said the goal of the merger was to do a professional job promoting the island, bringing money onto the island. Councilman Jackson asked what the total budget for 89/90 is projected to be and the answer was $63;700. Councilmember Davis remarked that $25,000. is a lot of money to be spent on a marketing study. Councilman Jackson questioned why a smaller budget was first projected at the time when there was a discussion of a contract between the Historical Society and the Greater Chamber. The answer was that hotel /motel receipts, as the year advanced, have been larger than anticipated, thus enlarging the 40%. Jody Owens, the museum /lighthouse director, spoke to clarify one point, saying that they talked with several people, including Allen Porter of the Brunswick /Golden Isles CVB, to find out what is happening with the 40% in other parts of the State. Gary Greenhut spoke again, to say that Allen Porter's case is different since they receive approximately 94% of the 3C tax, and Glynn County did not go to the 5G tax. Minutes of the February 9th meeting were approved. Bills for February, 1989 were approved as follows: Police /Parking $ 9,219.61 1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 Page Three Bills, continued: General Government $ 5,005.89 Public Works /Sanitation $23,138.44 Water /Sewer $17,839.55 Fire /lst Responder $ 1,549.42 Recreation $ 538.26 A letter from Dick Grosse was read, explaining a problem that exists with houses built during the period of 1974 -1980 that didn't meet FEMA regulations; he asked that the city investigate what seems to be an inequity between houses within the city limits, and those that were outside the city limits at the time, saying that some homeowners are finding it difficult to sell because the properties are penalized under the NFIP federal flood insurance program, making bank financing hard to come by. Mayor Parker asked the attorney to look into this, and see if anything can be done to remove the apparent inequity of adjacent properties. Mayor Parker took this opportunity to introduce Mr. Coolidge, and to announce that Mr. Mahoney is currently recuperating from surgery. Minutes of the planning commission's February meeting, and a communication from the Recreation Board were entered into the record. Councilman Jackson moved that alcoholic beverage licenses be granted to Dr. William Sutlive for DeSoto Beach Club, and to Bill's Grill (John & Stephanie Clapp). Councilmember Davis seconded and the vote was 6 - 0. Mayor Parker read announcements of upcoming meetings, including budget preparation meetings. He recognized George Spirides, owner of the new Ocean Plaza Motel, and announced his grand opening for March 19th. A Resolution for worker's compensation modifying the premium schedule was read. Councilmember Davis explained that this is a change mandated by a change in the law, and moved its adoption. Councilman Jackson seconded and the vote was 6 - 0. An ante litum notice on behalf of Frank Schuman dated 2/1/89, from attorney Charles R. Ashman was read. It claimed injuries when being arrested on 7/30/87. Councilman O'Neill moved to deny liability and Councilman Jackson seconded. The motion passed by a vote of 6 - 0. l 1 1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 Page Four A discussion of updating the cash bond schedule to add an extra charge for violations in a school zone to speeding violations within such zones led to a motion by Councilman Jackson that the additional fee be implemented; Councilman Walsh seconded and the vote was 6 - 0. During dis- cussion, Councilman O'Neill said that he believes our problems with safety now occur, since the closing of Tybee School, more along the school bus routes than within the actual school zone. He asked that the lights be checked for proper timing as well. Councilman O'Neill requested that the Finance Committee look carefully at raising the retainer fee for our attorney, saying that he has recently realized that this fee has been the same for ten years or more. Mayor Parker asked that this be considered when the budget is prepared. A 15 minute recess was called prior to discussion the next agenda item, the contract for 40% of the hotel /motel tax. The meeting was called to order, and Councilman O'Neill stated that the business community is being held hostage by Council's delay on this matter, and moved that 40% of the hotel /motel tax be contracted to the Tybee Council of the Greater Savannah Chamber of Commerce. Councilman Walsh seconded. Councilman Jackson offered an amendment reading 40% or up to the ceiling of the submitted budget. Councilman O'Neill refused the amendment. Councilman Youmans offered an amendment that 40% less $21,000. for the histor- ical society be contracted. Councilman O'Neill again refused the amendment. Councilman Solomon said $25,000. for a substandard visitors' center was too much; he also offered the opinion that it is financed with tax dollars but recommends only its own members, which is discriminatory. He said he doesn't think it is in the island's best interests to take $21,000. out of its general fund for the historical society. Councilman O'Neill said that promotion of a business economy will keep the burden off the tax paying citizen. The vote was two in favor (O'Neill & Walsh) and four against (Jackson, Davis, Youmans and Solomon). Councilman Jackson moved that 40% up to $63,700. be contracted to the Chamber. Councilman Walsh seconded. Councilman O'Neill said business should be given entire amount due them. Councilman Solomon questioned Mr. Jackson's eligibility to vote since being a member of the 1 1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 Page Five board of directors of the historical society could be a conflict of interest. Councilman O'Neill raised a point of order, asking whether based on what was said at the agenda meeting the historical society had not eliminated itself as a candidate for funding from the 40% when they stated that they could not, at present, operate a welcome center. Jody Owens was allowed to answer, and said that the operation of the welcome center is not the only means of pro- moting tourism, and that he does believe the group is able to promote tourism and could, within a year, operate a welcome center. He said the board believes that their group is eligible to receive direct funding under the law, and that they have some legal opinion to back up their view. Clifford Meads, a member of the board of the Greater Chamber, spoke to say that the board has already indicated that they can accept no less than 40% of the hotel /motel tax because partial funding would not allow an adequate promotional campaign. He added that he couldn't speak for the Board regarding any future vote on the matter; but his vote would not change. Councilman Jackson's motion was amended to cap the chamber's contract at $51,700. since that is what their proposed budget actually shows as coming from the 40% funding. The amendment was offered by Councilman Youmans, and Councilman Jackson accepted it. The vote was two for (Jackson and Walsh) and four opposed (Youmans, Solomon, Davis and O'Neill.) Councilman Walsh offered a motion to contract 40% to the chamber and fund the lighthouse /museum from the remaining 60 %. Councilman O'Neill seconded. The vote was two in favor (the motion's sponsors) and three opposed (Youmans, Solomon, Davis). Councilman Jackson abstained. Councilmember Davis moved to grant entire 40% to the historical society, adding that she believes that they are eligible to receive it. Councilman Youmans seconded. Councilman Youmans said that some of the island's business people want the lighthouse to have the funds. Councilman Solomon said that some of the business people don't want the Tybee Council to operate a visitors' center. Mayor Parker asked Mrs. Maude Alice Berry, President of the Tybee Historical Society, if they can perform the duties required by the state law of the recipient of the 40% funding. Mrs. Berry stated that she did not think the society wants the whole responsibility.. Councilman Solomon offered an amendment saying that the $21,000. to the lighthouse /museum would be funded, with any remaining funds out of the 40% going to the chamber. 1 Tybee Island, Georgia March 9, 1989 Page Six Gary Greenhut spoke again to remind everyone that this year's receipts in the hotel /motel tax will probably go over $130,000.00. He also said this doesn't count the percentage of the sales tax monies that also come back to the city from this source. He repeated that the law says the minimum must be 40 %, and that the city attorney had earlier given a ruling that the historical society did not qualify under the law. Mr. Coolidge was asked for an opinion, and said that he could not at present give one since he understands there has been a change in the historical society's charter, and that Ed Sumner has also given an opinion which he has not yet had opportunity to read. He reminded everyone that no charter amendment had been made at the time the city attorney gave his ruling. Councilman O'Neill said the real issue is whether the city fathers are willing to support their business community. A vote on the motion followed with Councilmembers Davis, Youmans and Solomon voting in favor, Councilmen O'Neill and Walsh against and Councilman Jackson abstaining. The motion passed by a vote of 3 - 2. Phil O'Dell spoke from the audience asking if it wouldn't make better sense to increase the total percentage of the hotel /motel tax to be used for tourism to 51 %. A short discussion of parking ordinances that might be implemented followed, but no interest was shown so the subject was dropped. Councilman Solomon moved that the bid from the Eatery for the north beach "Sandpiper" be accepted. Councilmember Davis seconded. It was noted that stipulations regarding help with the public restrooms, etc. needed to be talked over with the accepted bidder, since he did not mention this information in his letter. The vote was unanimous in favor. Councilman Solomon moved that the corner of Van Horne and Taylor, the site of the burned DPW shop, be dedicated for recreational use and Councilmember Davis seconded. The vote was unanimous. The meeting was adjourned. R E S O L U T I O N WHEREAS, The Eighth Infantry is an historic and fighting unit of the United States Army; and WHEREAS, The Eighth'Infantry is holding its annual reunion here on Tybee Island on March llth and 12th this year, thus living up to their motto, "PATRICAL FIDELITAS ", and extending its loyalty to Tybee Island; and WHEREAS, Tybee Island and, more specifically, Fort Screven, was the home of the Eighth Infantry, from 1923, when they returned here from Germany after serving in the Army of Occupation after the First World War, until they were sent to Fort Benning, Georgia and the Fort was turned over to the City to be sold at Public Auction in.:1945; and WHEREAS, The City of Tybee Island is proud of Fort Screven, its National Register listing, and its connection with the 8th Infantry; and Whereas, The citizens of Tybee are always happy to welcome back again its old friends, the 8th Infantry; NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, and it is hereby resolved by the Mayor and Council in Open Meeting Assembled, that the City of Tybee Island, Georgia does hereby declare March llth and 12th to be "8th Infantry Days" in the city; AND IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the citizens of Tybee Island are heartily encouraged to extend to the 8th Infantry Reunion every possible dignity, courtesy and welcome, as befits. their proud heritage . and purpose. THIS C`4 DAY OF PT/ A C/4 , 1989 "izzfr.eLe„‘c#,.) MAYOR. 4 CLERK OF COUNCIL