Council approves intergovernmental agreement with county

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by WHITLEY CLIFTON

Members of Swainsboro City Council and Mayor Greg Bennett convened for a special called meeting on Monday, June 20, at 6 p.m. at the city hall. With all members present except Eric Quaterman, the meeting was called to order and Johnny Ray Stafford gave invocation and was followed by the pledge of allegiance recited by all. Minutes from the June 6 meeting were presented for review. A motion and second for approval of said minutes was made by Dr. D.J. Davis and Julian Sconyers, respectively. This action was paused by objection made by Councilperson John E. Parker, who requested section three, sub 1A of recorded executive session be amended so that it reflects a settlement cannot be done in executive session, only in open session. He further refused his signature for approval due to money being involved. The minutes were approved on a 3 – 2 vote.

In reference to new business, council reviewed and entertained discussion on an intergovernmental agreement for the upcoming SPLOST referendum. Discussion centered around the disbursement of SPLOST revenue and the priority of county wide TIER 1 projects which typically include projects of shared city/county benefit, i.e. recreation department, airport, emergency response, animal shelter and others as opposed to projects that are specific to the City of Swainsboro and the other municipalities in the county. Julian Sconyers motioned for approval of the presented agreement and was followed by concerns heard from Councilperson Bobbie Collins. Her concerns included the lack of time allowed in which to consider the proposed agreement and make a decision. She further stated her desire to have additional time to review before rushing to a decision and confirmed with City Administrator Melissa Kirby that the emailed information concerning the agreement had not been sent in a timely fashion. City Attorney Jon Levis weighed in and described the agreement, if approved, as a matter of formalization and not the actual approval of expenditures, but, instead, simply the approval of the process which allows the SPLOST referendum to occur.

Further arguments dealt with the vagueness of terms used in the agreement describing use of funds in the event urgencies arise. Initial sheets from when the proposal was approved were printed out and provided to Collins for further review. With Collins abstaining, a motion to approve the agreement as presented passed on a 4 – 0 vote.

Dr. Davis made motion for adjournment and was seconded by Sconyers, with all remaining council voting accordingly.

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