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City prioritizes lengthy list of topics at annual off-site workshop
Hinesville City Hall
The Hinesville City Hall is at the corner of Commerce and Martin Luther King Jr. streets. - photo by File photo

On May 3 and 4, the City of Hinesville conducted its annual off-site workshop to plan for the next year and prioritize initiatives and projects. The workshop was held at the Jekyll Island Westin Hotel.

In attendance was City Manager Kenneth Howard, Assistant Manager Ryan Arnold, Mayor Allen Brown, Public Relations Manager Whitney Morris-Reed, Executive Assistant Christy DeLoach and council members Vicky Nelson, Keith Jenkins, Jason Floyd, Karl Riles Jr.,  and Diana Reid, city attorney Linnie Darden III were in attendance as well as city engineer Paul Simonton of P.C. Simonton and Associates.

Hinesville City Council members submitted a total of 23 topics for discussion. Those topics were prioritized by the group and then thoroughly hashed out.

The number one topic of discussion was the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST).

Simonton identified the 27 potential projects they would address if the TSPLOST referendum is passed. Most of the projects include roadway, storm-water and sidewalk improvements projects as well as paving some dirt roads within the city limits.

The group also talked about the possibility of placing code enforcement back under the umbrella of the City of Hinesville. Currently those services are under the umbrella of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission. Jenkins said the LCPC was created years ago when the state passed HB 489 to encourage cities to merge their services and avoid duplication of services and be eligible for grants under the new program. Council members decided to study the matter further.

Council also talked about comprehensive plans to expand water and sewer capacities within the city in the next few years as well as address possible impact fees in areas like Flemington where there is no consistency on how water and sewer utilities fees are currently being collected.

A proposed plan for a new public park off Airport Road was reviewed. The proposed park near Kentucky Derby Road is slated to be 5 acres and could include a recreational walk trail, children’s playground, picnic area and a basketball court.

City leaders discussed the need to clarify media and interview policies, the possibility of introducing curb-side recycling, clarifying reclaimed water policies with planners, developers and contractors, simplifying current sign ordinances and the viability of live-streaming their meetings.

Arnold talked about Liberty Transit and the fact that they will soon have nine buses that might need to be retired from service. The group looked at newer, smaller bus options to replace at least four of the nine being taken out of service and how those costs would be covered through grants, the sale of the older buses and transit advertisement.

They even brought up how they could help Hinesville seniors receive information to help them stay active and healthy and talked about the need to review animal ordinances.

PR Director Morris-Reed said the workshop was successful.

“The offsite workshop provides a setting for council members and city employees to come together and have an open discussion about the issues affecting Hinesville at present and how they will direct the course of our future,” Morris-Reed said. “Not only that, but the workshop provides a means to develop plans for addressing the topics in a meaningful and methodical way. By the end of it, we have solid plans or a plan to solve problems that we can bring back to our city and put into action.”

Residents will see many of the topics brought up during the workshop placed on the next several council meeting agendas as issues are resolved and solutions put in place.

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