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City names new judges, adds street repairs
Sarah Ballance - Fair Housing Month
Sarah Ballance, grant specialist for the city, and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas hold a proclamation the mayor signed declaring April as Fair Housing Month. - photo by Photo by Randy C. Murray

Hinesville City Council voted Thursday to fill two new municipal-judge positions.
The council voted to appoint Reginald C. Martin as municipal-court judge pro tempore and Craig Stafford as municipal-court associate judge. Councilman Keith Jenkins was absent when the council went into executive session to discuss the appointments.
After returning to council chambers and voting to approve the appointments, the council then heard a motion and approved compensation for the part-time judges at $400 per session.
Before Thursday’s meeting, Mayor Jim Thomas signed two proclamations in his office. Joined by Wilhelmenia E. Brown, pastor of Faithful Temple Church of Deliverance, he proclaimed April 12-18 the Week of the Young Child. He then joined Sarah Ballance, grant specialist for Hinesville, in declaring April as Fair Housing Month.

Street repairs
Council members were asked by City Manager Billy Edwards whether they would approve three additional streets to those streets already listed for repair through a local-
maintenance-improvement grant.
The city’s public works’ street department added three streets to the existing list because Public Works Director Guan Ellis said they were in “critical” need of repair.
Edwards explained that the streets added had been reviewed and graded by the street department using the same criteria used for the other streets already on the grant list.
“I think what we’re trying to do here is first get to the streets that are going to give us the most problems in the long run,” Thomas said. “The ones that cause the most problems also tend to be the ones that will cost us the most.”
The council agreed to begin the resurfacing projects based on the current list, including the new additions, on condition the street department reassess the other streets on the list.
Other business
Edwards also provided information on the city’s retirement plan and a proposal for economic analysis of Fort Stewart annexation. He said unlike many cities around the country, Hinesville’s retirement plan is sound. He asked and the council approved contracting with the University of Georgia to study the annexation proposal.
The council also heard from several residents of Arlington Park subdivision, located off E.G. Miles Parkway near Liberty Regional Medical Center. Each resident spoke during the public comments about the tree buffer between the road and subdivision being cut down. The noise from the traffic is now unbearable, they said, and they asked the city to do something about it.
Thomas told them that Assistant City Manager Ken Howard would look into the buffer issue to see what can be done. Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier, whose district includes that subdivision, said he wants to work with Howard in settling the complaint.
The council approved a rezoning petition by Dr. Phillip Ajayi to rezone 1.13 acres at 100 E. Gen. Stewart Way from a single-two family dwelling district to a downtown development district to establish medical offices. The council also approved the final plat for the Retreat at Oak Crest, Phase II-A.
The council heard an update from Angela Gunter, the Liberty County Health Department’s public health outreach and services supervisor, and a draft proposal for the 2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development action plan.
Council members also heard a report by engineer Matthew Barrow with P.C. Simonton & Associates on construction projects throughout the city.
One of the final action items approved by the council was a request by Chief Financial Officer Kim Ryon for a resolution to refund the Build America Bonds issued in 2010. The resolution allows the city to refinance the city hall construction loan through AmerisBank, saving the city more than
$1.2 million and paying off the loan five years early.

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