Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Private roads, inmate laborers and street lighting (or lack thereof) were among items covered during the Fort Oglethorpe City Council meeting last Monday.
The council rejected a proposal to accept responsibility for Cobb Parkway, the road that serves Costco, as a city street, pending the resolution of some legal matters.
The road was constructed as part of the Catoosa County Economic Development Authority’s site preparation work for that retailer with an understanding that it would eventually be turned over to the city for maintenance.
The road was built to city specifications and has been in place for the amount of time required before any private road is accepted as a public throughway to assure there is no problem with its construction. The problem is due to it being necessary to follow a certain protocol: the county must agree to turn the road over to the EDA which would then transfer title to the city. All three of the parties met this week, but not in the order needed.
The transfer should be completed during the council’s next meeting, July 23.
One road successfully shifted from private to public status last week was Battlefield Crossing.
The road, built sometime around 2007, provides access to the commercial builidngs of Battlefield Crossing and is a link between Battlefield Parkway with Dyer Bridge Road.
The request to have the private road accepted by the city was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Charles Sharrock being in the minority.
The council was unanimous in renewing the city’s contract with Walker Correctional Institute to provide inmate labor for municipal projects.
The contract allows the city to have crews for four days a week, 10 hours per day, to perform maintenance on public buildings, parks and roads. Its annual fee of $39,500 essentially pays the salary for a corrections officer who transports prisoners to and from the jail in Rock Spring and keeps watch over their work details.
Just prior to the meeting being adjourned, Sharrock asked City Manager Ron Goulart and Public Works Director Jeff Long about decorative streetlights that seem to be perpetually nonfunctional.
“About 75 percent of the decorative lights on Battlefield Parkway are damaged, destroyed or not working,” said Sharrock. “Why are we paying North Georgia Electric for nonworking lights?”
Long replied that the lights were once maintained by the utility company but, in a move to save taxpayer money, city workers now have the responsibility of maintaining the lights. Though the city now has parts in stock to change bulbs and globes, there are more pressing demands for public works employees than changing light bulbs.
“We’re trying to not have to pay overtime,” Goulart said. They [the lights] are on our list, but waterline breaks are the big expense right now.”
While councilmen Sharrock and Louis Hamm said the city should consider soliciting bids from a contractor to provide the service, Councilman Earl Gray suggested keeping the work in-house.
“If he’s [Long] got the parts, let him have a chance to do it,” Gray said.