Thursday’s Hinesville City Council meeting began with special recognition of Hinesville Police Department Sgt. Rhett Dill, who recently saved the life of Joseph T. McCallum Jr.
Mayor Jim Thomas read a citation, and then Dill received a medal from HPD Maj. Thomas Cribbs.
According to the citation, Dill responded to a call on Feb. 26 about a structure fire on Aston Drive. He was met by four bystanders, who told him someone was trapped inside the burning house in a bedroom that had been converted from a garage. While standing near the window, Dill could see McCallum struggling to open a window.
Officers later learned during their investigation that the bedroom door had been locked from the outside and the house was deliberately set on fire. Dill broke the window with his baton and helped McCallum escape. Just prior to responding to the fire, Dill had talked with two men who appeared to him to be suspicious. He provided that information to investigators who were able to make an arrest in the case.
In other business Thursday, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce CEO Leah Poole gave a quarterly presentation on the Liberty County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s activities.
In addition to events and meetings, she said the chamber’s website averages 384 visits and 4,154 page views each day. The estimated time on a page is three minutes, she said.
Another information item before the council was a proposed amendment to the animal and fowl ordinance that would prohibit non-service animals from entering city facilities, including recreational and outdoor facilities. City Manager Billy Edwards asked council members to look at the proposed amendments and be prepared to approve or make changes by the next meeting.
The first action item considered was a request by the Relay for Life Organization Committee for 35 poly carts to be used during this year’s Relay for Life on May 16-17 at Liberty County Recreation Department’s Long Bell Stadium. The request was approved, along with an agreement to waive fees for the carts.
Two bid items were presented before the council. The first was submitted by Edwards for three black-and-white police interceptor vehicles and a police SUV. Seven regional Ford dealerships responded to the bid requests.
“Gentlemen, the budgeted amount for each of the Ford Taurus’ was $25,100, but the lowest bid was $25,450.80,” Edwards said. “The overage is about $350 per vehicle, which is a total of about $1,052. However, one of the lowest bids for the Ford Explorer was $26,698.80 for a savings of $1,301.20. My recommendation to you is to approve the lowest bidder for the Taurus’ and the Explorer from Hinesville Ford. We will still be $248.80 below the budgeted amount for all the vehicles.”
The council agreed and approved the purchase.
Council members then heard from P.C. Simonton engineer Matthew Barrow about bids for off-site drainage improvements for the library. He said only two bids were received, both were more than the budgeted estimate of $86,651. City engineers met with the lowest bidder to review the project and find cost-reduction opportunities, he said. With these reductions approved, Barrow recommended the city award the contract to Palm Coast Utilities for $87,899. He said $5,000 of the total costs could be funded with the city’s water/sewer fund for the sewer-line retrofit. The council approved the bid.
The council also approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and a service proposal for an advertising management for the Liberty Transit System. Edwards recommended approving a contract with Renaissance Marketing Inc. Out of six companies given bid opening requests, only three responded, he said. The council approved both action items.