The City approves the SPLOST list and refuses the portable subdivision permit | Local News
The Brunswick City Commission has approved a list of projects for the upcoming SPLOST referendum.
If approved by voters in the November general election, the 1% sales tax will be implemented for up to six years.
The county is proposing a six-year tax that would generate $170 million at the current sales tax collection rate.
In the event of an economic downturn, a second phase of the SPLOST project at a cost of $130 million would come into effect.
The total SPLOST pot is split between the City, Glynn County, Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission, Jekyll Island Authority, County Airport Commission Glynn and Brunswick-Glynn Economic Development Authority.
The city’s reduction is $37.4 million in the upper tier and $28.6 million in the lower tier. Find this article on thebrunswicknews.com to see the full list of SPLOST projects.
Mayor Cosby Johnson called it a “smart and focused” list that would serve city residents well.
He noted that the city would receive 22% of SPLOST’s revenue, more than the county is required to allocate to the city. The legal requirement is that the city receive a percentage equal to the county’s population living within the city limits. Currently it is around 19%.
Commissioner Julie Martin said feedback from the public, from city and county residents, has been positive and she hopes it will pass.
Because accountability is a top priority for the city, the administration will take three special steps to ensure the public is kept informed of SPLOST’s progress.
The city’s finance department will provide a report to the commission and the public outlining SPLOST’s finances and the progress of the project each quarter. The city will organize meetings for a complete overview of the progress of all projects twice a year. The city will also appoint a dedicated contact who will be available to the public to quickly answer questions about SPLOST projects.
Commissioners approved the proposal unanimously.
Commissioners also voted to approve a contract with the county formalizing the SPLOST arrangement.
The contract stipulates that all SPLOST revenues must be held in separate accounts and audited annually and that the projects must be “substantially completed” within five years, City Attorney Brian Correy said.
In other matters, City Commissioners voted to deny a conditional use permit that would authorize a portable building sale lot – Outdoor Storage Solutions – at 2120 Newcastle St.
Joe Stalvey, owner of Outdoor Storage Solutions, told The News last week that he wanted to use the property as a portable building sales ground. Stalvey does not own the property. The owner is listed as 82 LLC in county property records, but Stalvey said the person behind was local.
Town planning director John Hunter has recommended commissioners approve the application on the condition that a fence along the rear of the property is left in place with something added to protect the area’s business adjacent residential.
Hunter noted that Stalvey said the property would have no limit on the number of portable buildings on site at one time, but it would never be more than 20. All would be assembled buildings.
If the commission approved a conditional use license, it would only apply to Stalvey business.
The city’s Planning and Appeals Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval, but with additional conditions.
“Our council was very concerned about the impact this would have on our community’s front door,” said Lance Sabbe, chairman of the planning commission.
Sabbe said the planning commission was split on the company’s compatibility with the city’s overall plan, which is why he felt the five-year expiry date was important. The owner should follow the same process to obtain the renewal of the permit.
“We don’t want to discourage new businesses,” Sabbe said. “But the concept on the table, though, is whether this is the right location for this business.”
City Manager Regina McDuffie said she disagreed with Hunter’s recommendation.
“I don’t think this location is appropriate for this type of business as much as I advocate for new businesses in town,” McDuffie said.
Portable shelters are usually found in rural or outlying areas, she said, adding that she did not believe this was conducive to the development of a city center.
Cason pointed to the large concrete skeleton of a building a few blocks away to illustrate that there are “a lot more nasty things” in the Newcastle Corridor. He wondered how much the business would hurt the gateway to the city.
“Putting another unsightly establishment there wouldn’t be complementary to the area and wouldn’t help solve the problem,” McDuffie replied.
Town residents Mary K. Henning, Rosemarie Mann and Tyler Vaughn opposed the request. Henning acknowledged the abandoned concrete building and sewage treatment plant at Academy Creek, but said the company would only make a bad situation worse.
“It’s not in line with all the other businesses that are growing in Brunswick,” Henning said.
Another townsman, Jack Daniel, echoed their sentiment. The city has a lot of natural beauty but has failed to capitalize on that beauty, he said.
“The real challenge is trying to stop it from getting worse,” he said. “We have some of the most scenic riverside dumps I’ve ever seen.”
Another local, Elizabeth Verheyn, added that unattractive businesses like this will only attract more.
Glynn Environmental Coalition executive director Rachael Thompson said her organization supports the redevelopment of once derelict properties, but said an environmental pact restricts residential developments due to chemicals contaminating the site. She asked for the opportunity to review site documentation if the proponent intends to disturb the ground by burying water pipes or other construction.
Cason made a motion to approve the permit, which failed due to a lack of seconds.
Martin followed with a motion of refusal, which passed unopposed.
Johnson said he hoped to work with Stalvey to find another location for his business.
Commissioners also voted to approve a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections for an inmate labor detachment at an Alma Correctional Facility. The workforce detail takes care of the upkeep of the grounds at the city’s three cemeteries – Oak Grove, Palmetto and Greenwood.
The total cost to continue using prison labor for another year is $95,518, according to city documents.
In addition to the corrections department’s contract price of $49,318, the city is also paying $20,700 in fees for the use, fuel, and maintenance of a department-owned van and $25,500 for new equipment for the department. lawn care and the fuel to run it.
Although taking the task in-house would save money, City Engineer Garrow Alberson recommended retaining inmate work crews.
“The cemetery has fallen apart rapidly in the two weeks they haven’t been here,” Alberson said. “It’s easy to see how quickly it gets out of hand with the rain like we’ve had. Going back to the inmate team would be a quicker solution.
“If it was approved, we could sign the contact…and they would be back on Monday.”
Public Works already has six openings and isn’t getting many applications, he continued, so it’s unclear how long it would take to fill the positions.
Johnson asked Alberson to stay on top of the situation, noting that the city may be able to reduce travel costs by bringing in inmate crews from a closer facility in Waycross.
Commissioners also voted for:
• Sign an emergency debris removal contract with Ceres Environmental Services. The city would only pay if the contract was activated during a major storm or hurricane, McDuffie said.
• Sign an Emergency Debris Removal Monitoring Services contract with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. It will not be effective unless activated at the same time as the Debris Removal contract.