Thursday’s city council meeting began with a proclamation by Mayor Jim Thomas declaring April 20-27 as Georgia Cities Week.
After reading then signing the proclamation, the mayor and council heard a presentation by Krystal Hart, public relations manager, who highlighted the events schedule for Georgia Cities Week.
Planned events begin with a citywide cleanup day beginning at 8 a.m. April 20. Earth Day celebrations begin at 3:30 p.m. April 22 at the YMCA soccer fields.
Sara Swida, director of Keep Liberty Beautiful, which is sponsoring the cleanup and Earth Day events, challenged city officials to participate.
“We accept the challenge,” said Thomas, with other members of the council nodding approvingly.
Hart said other Cities Week events include Cupcake Wars on April 23, a student art exhibit on April 24, Progress through People Luncheon on April 25 and Read Across Liberty on April 26. She said this year’s theme for Georgia Cities Week — “Cities: Where the Action Is” — reflects the “transformational properties of cities and how they provide quality of life” for residents. This year also celebrates Georgia’s film industry, she said, recognizing that it has become a major source for revenue, tourism and entertainment.
She also announced the winners of the Mayor’s Essay Contest. Dajah Bacon of Midway Middle School received first place, Julia Hedrick of MMS received second place, and Jokobi Smith of Snelson-Golden Middle School received third place.
Other business at Thursday’s council meeting included an update by Debra Williams, executive director or the Hinesville Housing Authority, and a financial report by Kimberly Ryon, chief financial officer. Detailed information about these updates will be in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.
As part of her presentation, Williams introduced a group of young people she called “Swag on the Right Path.” She said the housing authority youth group is given opportunities to develop life skills such as writing a resume and dressing for an interview. Thomas invited them back to learn more about city government.
Other business included approving a request by Nancy Peer to rezone a single-family dwelling in the Memorial Drive sub-area plan to allow for multi-use.
The owner plans to operate a chiropractic office in the front of the building, with residential use in the back.
Several committee appointments were delayed until the next council meeting.
The council received a copy of the proposed revised zoning ordinance that resolved the vagueness of the current definition for a hotel. Council is expected to vote on the revised ordinance at its next meeting.
The council approved proposed changes from a March 26 council workshop regarding priorities for the General Funds Capital Improvement Projects lists, with a sidewalk link from South Main Street to Kroger Drive as the top priority.
Council also approved a peddler’s license for Douglass Hardee to solicit homeowners door-to-door for TruGreen and its lawn-fertilizing and pest-control services, as well as a one-day Class V alcohol license for the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce to sell alcohol at its annual golf tournament April 26.
A request for 35 mobile trash cans called polycarts to be used during Relay for Life on May 17-18 was approved along with a waiver of rental fees.
In his remarks, Thomas talked about the financial report just heard by the council and a call he recently received from a reporter from Georgia Trend Magazine, which last year selected Hinesville as one of Georgia’s Renaissance Cities, about how the city was coping during hard times.
“I told him we really haven’t had the problems other cities have had with the current economic downturn,” Thomas said.
He said even though the financial report suggested sales tax revenues were down somewhat, it was to be expected with so many troops deployed. As more troops begin to return home later this summer, Thomas expects revenues to pick back up.