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Council considers permit for after-school, summer programs at Harbor Rain
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Hinesville is following in Midway’s footsteps for the implementation of a new after-school and summer child-care program. Council took steps to approve a special permit request, moving the application process forward. Council also heard and approved a rezoning petition, made a new appointment to the Hinesville Development Authority’s board, made additional changes to the GEFA loan, and sent 11 of the Hinesville Police Department’s vehicles to online auction.

Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission’s Executive Director Jeff Ricketson presented to council a special permit use request by Tracy Brown Jefferson to conduct an after-school and summer program at 601 Saunders Avenue at the Harbor Rain Apartment Complex. Jefferson is partnering with TISHCO Properties, LLC, the property owner of Harbor Rain. All decisions would be taken collaboratively, Ricketson said.

According to a Hinesville ordinance, there are approvals that must be in place before a business license can be issued, Ricketson said. Those approvals include: site and construction plan for facilities must receive written approval by the State of Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, Bright from the Start; approval from the City of Hinesville Mayor and Council; the City of Hinesville’s Fire Marshal prior to issuance of any permits; and that the business is located on a fronting or arterial or collector street—where Harbor Rain Apartments is currently located.

During the public hearing for the special request, Jefferson spoke in favor of approving the request, citing her experience as the director of a similar center in Midway. All staff undergoes national background checks, and receives training from Jefferson while working at the center. There is an extensive application and approval process, Jefferson said, before a license is granted to her by DECAL.

Hinesville resident Irene McCall spoke in favor of the center as well, saying how exciting it is to have a center like this at an apartment complex full of children. The hope, she continued, is that other after-school and summer programs such as this one will open at other apartment complexes around the city. LCPC recommended approval with standard and special conditions. Council passed the request unanimously

Ricketson presented a rezoning request submitted by Pleasant Grove A.M.E. Church to rezone 12.3 acres of land from Single Family Dwelling District (R-3) to Office Commercial District (O-C). The church’s request is to allow for more flexibility on signage for the property, Ricketson said. The land use will not change, and the current use for a fellowship hall and parsonage will continue.

LCPC approved the request with standard conditions, Ricketson continued. The small piece of land that is zoned residential in within the city limits of Allenhurst will remain the same, Ricketson said in response to District 4 council member Keith Jenkin’s question.

The church felt there was no need to place themselves on the City of Allenhurst’s council agenda for a piece of land they aren’t currently using, Ricketson said.

Council approved the rezoning request unanimously.

Hinesville Chief of Police Bill Kirkendall submitted a request that 11 of HPD’s vehicles be declared surplus due to current defective and worn mechanical conditions, according to a memo sent by Kirkendall to the city. City Manager Ken Howard recommended to council that the vehicles be declared surplus—allowing the city to auction them off online, maximizing their profits. Most vehicles would be too costly to repair, Howard continued, or are beyond use due to exterior or interior conditions. The age of the car, with most older than 10 years, also determines whether they are surplus. Council agreed unanimously.

Hinesville’s Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Ryon presented to council a resolution to adopt the third modification of the city’s Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan. The loan, which began in October 2014, includes modifying and upgrading the Hinesville and Fort Stewart wastewater treatment plant.

“This loan is our $22,400,000 wastewater treatment plant loan,” Ryon said. “This resolution would improve those modifications, and allow the mayor and city manager to approve the documents.”

The resolution was passed unanimously.

In other business, council granted a peddler’s license request to Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. to solicit sales of pre-packaged frozen foods. All necessary pre-approval from HPD and the Hinesville Inspections and Fire departments approved the application. Council also approved a request from the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce for a one-day special permit to sell beer and wine at the food truck festival Mar. 30.

The Hinesville Development Authority board appointments are set to expire on Mar. 7, according to Howard. There was no action required at the meeting, however, District 1 councilwoman Diana Reid expressed her interest in making her board appointment, due to a potential absence at the Mar. 7 council meeting. Reid suggested Patricia Burley Jackson to serve on the HDA board, and council approved. Jackson’s effective date will begin on Mar. 7, after the current members finish their term.

The Community Development Department Director Donita Gaulden presented a draft of the Hinesville Youth Council Advisory Board Bylaws. The advisory board, Gaulden said, is a component of the program which will evaluate and interview candidates.

“Right now, the advisory board is limited to reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, however, the bylaws are drafted in a format that allows for additional involvement if so desired by mayor and council,” Gaulden said. The bylaws are expected to be an action item at the next council meeting on Feb. 25, Gaulden continued.

The HYCAB requires appointments by the mayor and each council member. The advisory board members will serve a two-year term and must be available to review applications and complete interviews in accordance with scheduled dates, Gaulden said. All appointments must be made by April 4 in order to remain on track, she added.

Lastly, Chief Kirkendall presented a proposal for adding an additional technology fee on paid traffic citations to pay for a new records management system for the police department and municipal court.

An additional fee is necessary to maintain a records management system that works consistently and smoothly with all other equipment. According to the proposal, currently the police department and municipal court are operating under different record management systems, which creates a significant problem when accessing information from courts or providing information to the courts.

The proposal, Kirkendall said, will reduce the amount of funding requested in the budget each year by paying for the project with a technology fee that’s added to every citation. The fee is set by the vendor company, Kirkendall said, and is only paid to the vendor if the citation is written and a fine imposed.

“The reason we are requesting this increase is we’ve had an ongoing issue the last six or seven years with our records management system,” Kirkendall said. “Right now, we’re fragmented. Our RMS goes in different directions.”

The suggested fee system is currently used by the municipal court to collect four dollars per citation, Kirkendall said. The fee pays for the software for the court, so there is nothing paid out-of-pocket.

“The police department and municipal court is proposing an additional $20 fee to be assessed on each paid citation as a ‘technology fee’,” the proposal read. “The proceeds from the collections would be placed in an account to be used to pay for any technology related service or hardware needed to fulfill the needs of the departments. If the new fee is approved, Courtware Government Software Solutions (CSI) will receive $20 from each citation and the remaining $4 that is already being collected will be used to supplement the purchase of printers and mobile data terminals for patrol cars, municipal court computer hardware and software, and other expenses related to the issuance, processing and production of documents associated with the enforcement of local and state violations of law.”

The additional fee is set to be voted on at the Feb. 21 council meeting.



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