The Ludowici City Council at a recent meeting voted unanimously to join the Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter.
The council had been discussing the possibility of joining the nonprofit alliance, which is dedicated to enhancing the overall economic value of Fort Stewart and the surrounding communities by maintaining relationships among partners like the military community, local governments, businesses and individuals.
The city joins the Long County Board of Education in joining the alliance, with both entities’ memberships beginning in January.
Also at the meeting, Ludowici/Long County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Richard Truman requested approval to purchase eight air cylinders to be used when firefighters go into areas where the air is contaminated. Truman said that the life expectancy of each air cylinder is 15 years, and that new ones are needed to protect the firefighters. He also said that the repairs had to be completed on one of the fire trucks. Total estimates for the cylinders and the repairs are $5,212.48. After a brief discussion, the council unanimously approved the request.
The council also voted to allow its employees to be off Dec. 24-26 for Christmas, provide each of them with a $50 Christmas bonus and give them a Christmas party. The measure passed with Council members Jim Fuller, Gwen Davis, Kathy Phillips, and Mark Chesser voting in favor of it. Council member Mary Hamilton abstained from the vote and said that she did not feel the city should give the employees that many days off and provide both a party and the monetary bonus. She said that other cities and counties only give Christmas Eve and Day. She added that the city should either give the bonus or the party, but not both. Phillips said that she had no problem with providing all three benefits to the employees if the city was financially able to do so.
Fuller, who made the motion, said that the pay level the city can provide its employees is less than all other area municipalities, and that small tokens such as these show the employees that they are appreciated. According to city clerk Cindy McClelland, the city of Ludowici has 22 employees.
After heated discussion, it was decided that at the beginning of the new year, the council would decide on whether to continue providing these benefits in the future or make changes.
In other business, the council:
• appointed Michael Phillips to the Ludowici/Long County Planning and Zoning Board.
• reinstated a previous policy requiring that a safety inspection be conducted on all golf carts and similar vehicles before they are allowed to be driven in the city.
• decided that it would research where speed bumps need to be placed in the city.
• refused to accept and maintain Luke Street because it doesn’t have a 40-foot right of way. Fuller said that the reason the city doesn’t accept any road with less than 40 feet is because obtaining state funding to pave the roads is impossible.