The Ludowici City Council on Tuesday moved one step closer to securing a McDonald’s for the city. Real-estate agent Jimmy Shaken addressed the council on behalf of the proposed location’s property buyer.
Shaken asked the council to isolate two sections of Mitcham Road adjacent to the land where the restaurant would sit; however, Mayor James Fuller wanted assurance from the proposed buyer that the project will begin in a timely manner if the tracts are turned over. Shaken said he’d touch base with the owner in an effort to comply with the mayor’s request.
After a brief break during which Shaken called the buyer, the real-estate agent told the council that the owner plans to begin construction as soon as possible, and he’ll issue a good-faith letter stating his intention to start the project within 12 months of closing on the property.
After a brief discussion, the council approved exercising the power of eminent domain to transfer the title to the property from its private owner to the government, thus condemning the land. Councilwoman Mary Hamilton said the plan includes construction of a McDonald’s and Flash Foods combination project.
“This is one more step in the right direction to getting this McDonald’s in Ludowici,” she said.
City Clerk Tina Skipper reported to the council that two United States Department of Agriculture grant/loan packages were approved, including a $23,600 grant for the purchase of a new police car and DUI Intoxilyzer machine and a $19,400 low-interest loan. In addition, a $25,000 grant and the $24,800 balance of that loan were approved for the purchase of a trailer-mounted sewer pumper. Skipper said that the interest rate is
4 percent, and each payment will be around $350. She hopes SPLOST funds will be available in 2015 to pay off the loans early.
The council also voted to keep the city’s current tax rate at 9 mills. Fuller said he and the council had hoped to lower the rate, but that’s not feasible this year.
Councilwoman Kathy Phillips told her colleagues that the Long County High School band will play in November in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, which is surpassed in size only by the Macy’s parade. The travel cost for each child is $900, and the band is selling candy to help raise money for the trip. Phillips said she’s pitching in by selling the candy at her local hair salon and encouraged everyone in the community to do what they can to assist.
Ludowici Diversity Health Center CEO Daniel Rafferty asked the council to designate Aug. 10-16 as National Community Health Center Week. After a brief discussion, the council approved a proclamation.
Larry Anderson’s request for permission to contact city employees to offer them supplemental insurance was approved.
The city council also appointed Robert Poppell to replace James Steiner as the new Ludowici police chief. Fuller said that Steiner, for personal reasons, requested permission from the council to be reassigned to his former position as a patrolman. He was placed on administrative leave in May for personal reasons but was reinstated as LPD chief by the council in June. Poppell is the fifth person to fill the position in the past 2-1/2 years. For a longer story on the new police chief, see Sunday’s Courier.