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Ludowici landlords must fix trash, water
Council discusses hiring auditor after resident alleges illegal purchases
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What happened

The problems
• Complaints surfaced that an apartment building in Ludowici only had one trash cart for four rental units. The cart overflowed and animals got into the trash, creating messes.

• The four apartment building tenants had to share one water meter.

The solution
• The council voted to require all Ludowici apartment owners to provide a trash cart for each tenant. Additionally, a water deposit now must be paid for each tenant and a base rate should be applied to each tenant’s water bill.

The Ludowici City Council approved a measure on Tuesday to reinforce code requirements regarding trash and water guidelines for multifamily dwellings.

City Clerk Tara Manning told the council that several complaints had been reported at City Hall regarding an apartment building on Academy Street. 

According to the complaints, Manning said, the apartment building had four rental units but only one trash cart for tenants. 
As a result, tenants were placing bags of trash on the ground once the cart was full, creating a mess. 

Manning re-ported that local businessman Tim Works owns the building.

Ludowici resident James Benslay said that trash outside the cart was not being picked up by the disposal company.

He said dogs and cats get into the trash, tearing the bags and leaving bigger messes. 

Additionally, Benslay said, the four tenants of the apartment building have to share one water meter.

The council voted to require all apartment owners in the city to provide a trash cart for each tenant who rents from them. 
The council also voted to require that a water deposit be paid for each tenant and that a base rate be applied to the water bill for each tenant. The measure passed unanimously.

Regarding Benslay’s charge about speeding on Academy Street, Ludowici Police Department Chief Richard Robertson said he would look into the matter.

In a separate water issue, the council told Sharon Lane that she would have to go before the Ludowici/Long County Planning and Zoning Board to request a variance to have water connected to a fifth-wheel trailer that she was residing in at the corner of Union and Macon streets. Then they would address the issue and decide whether she could have the water connected.

According to information at the meeting, the structure that Lane was residing in did not meet the code requirements to be classified as a permanent residence. Lane said there was nothing wrong with where she was living and that she could not afford to purchase anything else.

Tammy Schrader went before the council on behalf of the planning and zoning board in regard to the Ludowici/Long County Land Development Code.

Schrader said the board had been updating the codebook and that the recommended changes were ready for review.  

Long County Commission Chairman Bobby Walker told the council that the commission already had approved it.

Ludowici resident Janis Goode went before the council claiming that several city employees had used a city credit card to make personal purchases.

She said she could prove that $2,500 had been charged illegally and that she had contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on the matter. 

After the meeting, Ludowici Mayor Myrtice Warren was asked about the allegation and she said she knew of no purchase being made illegally. 

Councilman Jim Fuller Jr. told the council that an independent auditor needed to come to the city and conduct an independent audit. 

Fuller said that with the recent allegations toward the city, the audit is necessary to show the community that everything is OK.

Manning made a motion that the city hire an auditor and begin the process, possibly going back as far as seven years. 

Councilman Frank McClelland Jr. said he had no problem with an audit but would like to know more about the auditor before approving it. 

Manning’s motion failed after none of the members seconded it. 

Warren said after the meeting that she supported a special audit. She said the audit would address Goode’s allegations of illegal credit card purchases.

Also at the meeting, Fuller made a motion to dismiss LPD Sgt. J.D. Campbell. He said there have been several complaints about the officer. However, that motion failed after no one seconded it.

In other business:

• The council took no action on placing the issue of Sunday alcohol sales on the upcoming November ballot.

• Councilman Johnny Manning brought up the topic of the council approving $5,000 for playground equipment at the city park. After a brief discussion, Robertson volunteered to gather estimates for the equipment.

• With the recommendation of Councilwoman Gwendolyn Davis, the council approved providing the materials to repaint the basketball court adjacent to Walker Middle School.

• Commissioner Bobby Walker encouraged all employees to use the county/city wellness plan. Walker said using the program could save the city money at the end of the year.

• The council discussed establishing a work session with the county commission to decide what to do with the Ludowici Train Depot.

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