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Ludowici council will participate in training
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A proposal to have council members attend Government Municipal Association training was among the items discussed during Tuesday’s Ludowici City Council’s meeting.

The training would take place at the annual GMA convention June 23-26 in Savannah.

According to the GMA website, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation in 1990 that requires all city officials elected after July 1, 1991, to complete training on the administration and operation of municipal governments.

In addition to basics — such as the role of the mayor and council — additional training in local government finance, economic development and ethics is available for newly elected city officials through the GMA and the annual convention.

“I think when you learn better, you do better. We’ve got to come together,” council member Mary Hamilton said

Her comments were echoed by council member Gwendolyn Davis, who said recent training has helped the council work better together and accomplish more.

City clerk Cindy McClelland said each council member can select the courses he or she is interested in taking during the convention. The proposal unanimously was approved.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a proposal to buy or lease a new digital video recorder for the city was shelved by the council, pending receipt of three separate bids for the cost of buying a new DVR. The council approved a proposal to restrict smoking at Friendship Park.

A proposal to purchase two cars for the police department from Brandon Ford of Savannah was approved, even though council member Johnny Manning opposed the purchase.

According to Police Chief Diannia Duncan, the two Crown Victorias will cost $38,700, but the city only will be responsible for $23,700 because $15,000 from the city’s insurance company, issued to cover the cost of a destroyed police vehicle, will be applied toward the total cost.

Manning objected to buying a new vehicle, regardless of the price, because the previous council turned down a proposal in December for the county to provide a free vehicle paid for with SPLOST funds.

A proposal to renew city employees’ health, dental and life insurance with Blue Cross & Blue Shield was approved, and a proposal to renew the city’s contract with Southland Waste Systems was approved, following disclosure by Mayor James Fuller that Southland had agreed to lower its rates to $9.25 per can per week for a three-year contract.

The first item on the new business agenda was one of the last to be addressed. Following a brief recess, the council returned without Fuller, who recused himself from decisions regarding selection of a county development block grant engineer and administrator.

On the advice of City Attorney Joe Kitchings, the council voted to award a sewer-improvement contract to G. Ben Turnipseed with the grant administered by ALGA Inc. McClelland said Fuller recused himself from the vote to avoid a conflict of interest, as his family owns property in the construction project’s target area.

Other business included approval to hire Sue Li Jr. as a new part-time police officer and provide $300 in support of 4-H Club youth camp.

An add-on item asking residents with old trailers and large trash items to allow the city to pick up those items during its clean-up week also was approved. Those residents would be expected to sign release forms and pay for the trash pick-up.

The council didn’t necessarily follow the order of new business items listed on the meeting agenda. Council members, the mayor and local residents attending the meeting often asked for permission to address the council, and some spoke without permission.

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