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Hinesville weighs annexation proposal
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A proposal to annex residential and undeveloped areas near Highway 196 and Airport Road was among four information items considered by the Hinesville City Council during its meeting Friday.

City Manager Billy Edwards presented the proposal to the council and Mayor Jim Thomas, noting that residents and property owners affected by the annexation would be notified by letter of the city’s intent.

Other informational items presented to the council included a request by Billy Lamas, owner of Lamas Cleaners, to realign the right-of-way in front of his business on Memorial Drive.

A status report on residential subdivisions was presented by the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, which noted that 13 residential developments have been approved since 2007.

Several council members had questions about some of the developments not yet complete for what the LCPC called “questionable” bonds and letters of credit.

Edwards and Thomas asked City Attorney Linnie Darden to determine if these bonds and letters of credit are still valid and advise the city what to do about those that have expired.

Both an information item and an action item were heard regarding the Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System retirement plan for the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.

The council approved a recommendation to remove the LCPC from its GMEBS plan and allow the LCPC to come under its own GMEBS plan, agreeing to transfer assets on behalf of former participants of the city’s plan.

The council approved a recommendation to award a contract to Arrowood Environmental Group to make the necessary modifications and upgrades to the Hinesville/Fort Stewart Wastewater Treatment Plant in conjunction with the Watershed Assessment and Protection Plan Modification.

It also approved a request to designate an old fire truck as surplus property and to modify two city ordinances.

One ordinance change allows for the levy of a hotel/motel excise tax and provide for the administration and collection of the tax. Another ordinance change removes the reference of Robert’s Rules of Order from the Code of Ordinances to allow for the use of Parliamentary Procedures established by the city council.

An application for a new 2012 alcoholic beverage license was approved for Clayton Anderson, owner of the Bib Cheesy at 726 E. Oglethorpe Highway. Requests to renew alcoholic beverage licenses for 2012 were approved for six Hinesville businesses for on-premise consumption and eight businesses for off-premise consumption.

The council approved a recommendation to reappoint Brian Smith as the Hinesville representative on the Liberty County Development Authority, while asking Darden to look into the legal requirement to reappoint the city clerk each year.

Council members, the mayor and city manager supported keeping Sarah Lumpkin as the city clerk, although the appointment will not be official until the next council meeting Jan. 5, when the council also will elect a new mayor pro tem.

During his report, the mayor briefly discussed the Friends of Fort Stewart’s Dec. 1-2 trip to Washington, D.C., in which he participated.

“I think the trip was very successful,” Thomas said. “We talked with our Georgia representatives and to Pentagon officials, including former 3rd (Infantry Division) Commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, who now works in the Pentagon.

“We told them we think Stewart-Hunter is the best station to place additional troops as the Army considers closing bases and moving units to other bases.”

For a more detailed report by the mayor on the Washington trip, look for an article in next Sunday’s edition of the Coastal Courier.

The last item on the agenda was a report by Edwards discussing arrangements for the Dec. 29 inaugural ceremony for city council members and the mayor. The ceremony will take place in the city hall council chamber. The public is invited, but space is limited, Edwards said.

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