Mayor Pro Tem Jacqueline Roberts called the meeting to order on Monday evening, January 11, 2021. The meeting was opened by Mayor Pro Tem Roberts as she led the assembly in the Lord’s Prayer.
- The Council passed a Motion to approve having Council Member Jacqueline Roberts reaffirmed in her role as Mayor Pro Tem for another 2-year term.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts welcomed guest Andy Macke to the meeting. Mr. Macke is the Vice-President of External Affairs for Comcast. Mr. Macke joined the meeting at the request of City Manager Philip Eidson to update the Council on the status of Comcast’s upgrade in Tallapoosa. Mr. Macke provided the Mayor Pro Tem and Council with a handout outlining the status of the project. In the outline was the statement that on December 2 and ahead of schedule, Comcast launched Phase I of its $9 million broadband expansion to nearly 2,400 homes and businesses in Tallapoosa. The handout included a map of the area showing what areas of Haralson County are currently being serviced by Comcast and the areas that are not. It also showed the areas included in what Comcast refers to as Phase I of their project in Tallapoosa and the areas that would be included in Phase II should that Phase be enacted. The investment cost of Phase I was given as $2,117,306. Phase II would include 556 homes with an investment of $1,505,699. Mayor Pro Tem Roberts asked why Comcast seemed to not be including some sub-divisions. Mr. Macke responded that the installation process is a dynamic process with some areas requiring additional scrutiny. He gave as an example if a power pole is located across the road from a home or several homes, a bore would be required to connect those home/s. Mr. Macke stated that City Manager Philip Eidson has been very helpful with passing on questions and concerns from the City and its residents. Mr. Macke stated that some areas are serviceable and some are not. Council Member Jonathan James mentioned the sub-division across from Honda. City Planner Patrick Clarey mentioned the McAdams Townhomes, Renee Drive, Oakland Park, and Highland Drive areas. Guest Ryan Farmer mentioned the Bethany Street area. Guest Jeff King mentioned the McDonald Ridge area. Guest Dan Cain mentioned the east side of Head Avenue. Mr. Macke did not have the information available to allow him to answer each of the inquiries stated. Mr. Macke then gave his email address and asked each person requesting information for their area of concern to send him an email. He said that is the best way to register their question and get a response. Mr. Macke mentioned once again how well City Manager Philip Eidson has worked with Comcast to report issues of concerns by residents. Mr. Macke reported that despite the broadband industry’s pledge to commit tens of millions of dollars to broadband investment in Georgia, the PSC (Georgia Public Service Commission) voted to raise state EMC (Electric Membership Corporation) pole rental rates by over 35%. Mr. Macke stated that despite this setback for Comcast, they aim to continue working with local communities. Over $300M has been allocated to the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) for public-private broadband partnerships. Mr. Macke stated that Comcast’s position is that over 100,000 rural Georgians may lose out on technology upgrades as a result of the PSC’s decision. Guest Ryan Farmer asked about the timetable of the Phase II project. Mr. Macke said that conversations would have to be had for solving the funding issue. The Haralson County Development Authority, the City of Tallapoosa, and Haralson County Officials would have to be a part of that conversation looking at tax abatements, grants, etc. City Manager Philip Eidson added that what is now offered by Comcast is 1000 times better than what was available to the city before. Mr. Macke stated that areas where Comcast already had a footprint (where service was already established) should be connected. Gateway-Beacon Newspaper Editor Laura Camper asked if Comcast would proceed with Phase II in Tallapoosa before moving on to other areas. Mr. Macke could not give an answer to that question. He said that Phase II would depend on a firm funding source before Comcast could proceed. Mayor Pro Tem Roberts, City Manager Philip Eidson and the Council thanked Mr. Macke for his attendance at the meeting.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts welcomed everyone to the meeting.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts stated that the Splost VI, T-Splost, and Golf reports are all available for review for anyone wishing to view or receive a copy.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts thanked all the “Street Captains” for keeping the streets of Tallapoosa free of litter.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts thanked all the city residents who are displaying an American Flag at their home and showing their support of Veterans by displaying a green outside light and their support of the police and first responders by having a blue outside light.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts asked all residents to remember to roll their garbage cans out for pick up the night before your pick up day each week. Residents were also asked to please remember to roll their carts back to their proper storage location after pick up. There is a City Ordinance covering this procedure and violators of the ordinance might find themselves facing a citation at some point.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts reminded everyone to call City Hall to be put on the Brush and Limb Pick Up list. If your location is not on the list, the contractor will not know to come down your street. Residents were reminded to cut limbs in no longer than 4 feet lengths and to separate the limbs from the brush when possible. Pick up day is Thursday.
- The Mayor Pro Tem and Council heard the first reading of an Ordinance to update the Tallapoosa Zoning Ordinance to specifically allow wineries to operate as agricultural activity within the City limits. The Ordinance states that the existence of a winery within the City limits should be a distinct benefit to the City and its tourist destination offerings and the City of Tallapoosa historically has been home to grape growing horticulture and wine making.
- The Council passed a Motion to approve the Financial Report dated December 31, 2020.
- The City of Tallapoosa will call for an election of the Mayor and 2 Council Members on November 2, 2021. Qualifying will be in August 2021. More information on the election will be available at the February Council Meeting.
- City Manager Philip Eidson stated that the new water rates will go into effect with the January 2021 billing.
- City Manager Philip Eidson stated that more information will be available at the February meeting about the Water Insurance Program the City will begin instituting in the near future. This program will be geared toward offering assistance when customers experienced accidental water leaks.
- Council passed a Motion to agree to provide certain Easements to Georgia Power for city property allowing them to cut/trim trees and growth and prevent planting in certain areas. The Easement will be for a 40 year duration and the city is being given some compensation for the Easements. No Easement will be given for any city owned property on Bowdon Street or any location where the trees are considered part of the historical makeup of the city.
- City Planner Patrick Clarey gave the Planning Report. There is a call-in meeting scheduled for Wednesday with the Georgia Department of Transportation. Mr. Clarey is expecting to be told when the TE Grant project will go to bid. Mr. Clarey is hoping to start the street paving projects included in the 2021 LMIG Grant earlier this year than in past years. Mr. Clarey mentioned that the city spent approximately $200,000.00 of T-Splost funds on street paving projects in 2020. Plans are to spend another $200,000.00 in 2021, leaving another $200,000.00 for future projects.
- City Manager Philip Eidson stated that the City plans to open the Museum to the public in February. He hopes to open City Hall to the public in early to mid-summer if COVID-19 cases are on the decline. He is hoping to open the Library on a limited basis to the public in April or May.
- The Library Board has 2 open slots. The Council will hear recommendations for Board Members at the February Council Meeting.
- City Manager Philip Eidson stated that the City will be looking at negotiating the gas taps rates for new sub-division that are planned for Tallapoosa.
- City Manager Philip Eidson stated that he will be talking with the Tallapoosa Police Department about appointing a City Marshall to be in charge of enforcing the various property appearance ordinances.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts took a moment to remember and honor the legacy and life of Mayor William “Pete” Bridges. Mayor Bridges was much beloved by the citizens and staff of the City of Tallapoosa. Ms. Roberts expressed her gratitude on behalf of all of Tallapoosa for Mayor Bridges’ dedication to this city and its citizens. She commended him for the excellent manner in which he oversaw the Council Meetings and expressed her hope that the new Mayor and Council will continue in that fine tradition. His contribution to Tallapoosa and Haralson County will never be forgotten.
- Mayor Pro Tem Roberts polled the Council Members for comments. Council Member Jonathan James added that all of Tallapoosa joins Mayor Bridges’ family in mourning his loss. Mr. James stated that Mayor Bridges was a pillar of the community.
The Lobby at City Hall is closed but payments can be made by using the “drop box” in front of city hall or online at www.tallapoosaga.gov or by calling the dedicated phone number of 1-855-608-2479.