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City to seek grant for fire-prevention devices
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In an effort to cut down on stovetop fires that could easily be prevented with a small vent hood device, the city will apply for a $79,150 Homeland Security grant.

The Hinesville City Council authorized city staff Thursday to apply for the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to purchase fire suppression devices for conventional and microwave stovetops. The Hinesville Fire Department would distribute the devices to residents at no cost beginning with elderly residents, Fire Chief Lamar Cook said.

Cook said the devices for conventional stovetops cost an average of $38 from most manufacturers. The city would purchase 2,000 conventional stovetop fire suppression devices for $36.50 each, and 100 microwave devices at a cost of $56.50 each, said Donita Gualden with the city’s community development department. Gaulden said marketing materials, such as fliers and door knockers, would cost an additional $500. She said the fire department would handle this community outreach program as it does its smoke detector program.

She told council members the city’s 10 percent match would be $7,915 should the city receive the grant. The match would be budgeted in fiscal year 2012, Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said.

Cook told the council if the city does not receive the grant, he would encourage local retailers to carry these fire suppression devices and inform residents where they can be purchased.

In other city business:

• The city will officially notify Liberty County of its intent to annex an unincorporated island at 1126 Kelly Drive into the city. Edwards said the city will also notify the landowner by letter. Council members will vote on the proposed ordinance detailing the annexation on Feb. 17. Edwards said the property is "completely surrounded by the city."

• City attorney Linnie Darden updated the council on a draft ordinance which would amend the city’s current ordinance on tattoo studios. If approved, the amended ordinance would require tattoo studios be located at least 300 feet from a church or other tattoo business, 600 feet from a public or private school and 200 feet from residences. Darden said the distances would be measured in a straight line from property line to property line. Edwards said the council could vote on the proposed ordinance no earlier than March 3. City officials must advertise the council’s intent to vote on a proposed change to an ordinance at least 14 days before the planned vote, he said. The city drafted the amended ordinance following input from residents during a hearing last December. Officials scheduled the hearing after Carter Ink Tattoos and Piercings owner Ray Carter approached the council in October 2010, asking the ordinance be changed so he can open a studio in Hinesville.

• Council member David Anderson informed the mayor and council 13 new businesses have received or are in the process of acquiring business licenses. The city received the applications from prospective entrepreneurs Jan. 1-31.

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