The Hinesville City Council heard, discussed and decided on 23 action and information items during Thursday’s meeting, which lasted three hours.
While approving a rezoning request and traffic circulation plan, the council struggled for a decision to approve a 2012 peddler’s license request from Kenneth Setzer. He asked for a license to go door-to-door to sell vegetables.
Council members expressed concern about the vegetables. They asked Vicki Davis, executive director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, about the criteria for vegetables sold at the Hinesville Farmers Market. She told the council the fruits and vegetables are locally produced, which she defined as Liberty County and counties bordering it.
Councilman Jason Floyd said he was concerned about whether the city would be liable if a resident bought a vegetable tainted with E. coli. City Manager Billy Edwards said neither the city nor the state require knowledge of the source of vegetables for issuing peddler licenses.
Councilman David Anderson suggested they ask Setzer to appear before the council. They then agreed to delay a decision until their June 20 meeting.
The council also decided on a new group medical-insurance policy for city employees. Medical Mutual/Consumers Life Insurance, the city’s current prover, is raising rates by 27 percent due to losses last year.
The new policy with Blue Cross/Blue Shield will be about 10 percent higher than current rates. The coverage and deductibles are about the same, Edwards said.
He called the new plan “a very generous package,” acknowledging that employees’ premiums will increase as will the city’s costs, which are two-thirds of the overall costs.
“One of the things we were concerned about is the cost to the city,” Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier said. “However, we want to ensure our city employees are covered with a good plan.”
The council approved several purchases and contracts, including CH2MHILL/OMI’s request for a yard-waste grinding services. The accepted bid of $56,500 was under the budgeted amount of $65,000. The council also approved a bid for paving improvements along South Main Street from Sikes Brothers Paving for $78,507, and a $93,200 bid from Y-Delta Inc. to replace control panels and install a backup generator at the Shaw Road well.
A request by Firehouse Subs was quickly approved for a $3,998 public safety grant to buy 100 children’s car seats on behalf of the Hinesville Fire Department’s child safety seat program. They agreed on a six-month moratorium on precious metals dealers pending a review and approval of a new ordinance regulating those dealers. They also agreed to approve a business license for 24 Seven Family Fitness at the Magnolia Oaks Shopping Center.
The council recognized a recent graduate of the city’s Homeless Prevention Program and heard an update about Project Homeless Connect, which took place Saturday at Mt. Zion Community Center.
Homeless Prevention Coordinator Daisy Jones introduced Sharona Hudson, who told about her experience. She said the program taught her life skills that will make her more self-sufficient. She received a certificate of recognition from Jones and her case worker, Matt Ross.
Councilmen Keith Jenkins and Kenneth Shaw told Hudson her decision to join and stay with the program was admirable.
“We like to see a young lady with the strength to get on her feet and persevere,” Anderson said. “Congratulations.”