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Nahunta will apply for CDBG grant for roads

Special to SEGAZINE

The city of Nahunta came one step closer to its road paving goals when the council voted to approve a resolution that would allow the city to submit its application for the 2013 Community Development Block Grant at Monday night’s regular meeting.

The city first applied for the grant late last year and were advised which roads would be allowed under the grant based on road population and income level.

Roads for the project will include First Street off of Cannon Street, Allen Road Extension, Elouise Street, Apricot Street and Irving Street.

In addition to paving the project will include drainage work on each of the roads.

Those a major undertaking for the city, officials told the Enterprise that it wasn’t quite as far as much as they had hoped.

Angela Wirth said that the city had originally attempted to lump these roads into a larger overall project that would have also included Read Street, Jacob Street, Michelizzi Street, Burch Street, Coyote Trail, Velie Street, Jason Street, Rozier Street, Peach Street, Plum Street, Cherry Street, Williams Street and Dykes Road.

However, because of income and population restrictions, the roads were not allowed to be a part of the overall project under CDBG regulations.

After reviewing that council members had no conflicts of interest in approving individual roads such as family on them, Richard Johns voted to submit the application with Alan Morgan seconding.

But road projects don’t end there for the city.  With a combination of SPLOST funds and Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) funds, city manager Tom Wirth said that the city plans to resurface Avalon Street, Laura Street and Bouncer Dowling Street and improve drainage at the location for a total project cost of about $59,000.

Wirth said the money was already ready for the project.

The city also continued with discussions on defining exactly how many hours should be considered part-time in the city.

City officially originally tackled the issue last month at the request of police chief Gene Solano.  City attorney Nathan Williams returned this week with more information from the department of labor on the item.

Williams said that he was told that 24 hours a week was considered full time.  But both the city clerk and the police chief heard differently.

Wirth said she was told that up to 29 hours was part time but that the cities had leeway in setting their own part or full-time hour limits.  Wirth said that up to 35 hours could even be possible depending on a city’s existing policies.

Solano said that he was told much the same thing by the attorney for the Chiefs of Police Association in that the city could set part-time requirements as high as they like as long as they don’t surpass the hour limit at which city employees begin receiving benefits as full-timers.

Council members seemed content with pushing the hours up to 32 as they had previously discussed, however, the attorney adviced that the chief not work his employees over 23 hours until the DOL could provided an answer in writing which he said had already been requested.

Further discussion on the item was tabled for the night.

The city also began discussion of hiring a human resources firm to aide in rewriting the employee handbook – just one part of an ongoing larger project to modify several of the city’s governing documents so that they agree with one enough.  The project was started over a year ago and the city attorney brought his suggested changes to the council in January for the employee handbook the city charter and the ordinance book.

Mayor Jeffrey Lee suggested the city look at a HR firm to help sort through the morass of legal issues with changing the document.

In other business, the council:

• Listened to concerns from resident Lydia Burch.  Burch said that a smell was coming from a manhole near one of  her properties and had been a problem since Christmas.  The city manager said he would look into the issue.  Burch also said she was promised by the late Rev. Robert Thomas during his time as a councilman that her road would be paved.  Council members, however, explained that he, alone, could not make the decision and that the council had to vote on paving a road given the monumental costs.

Meanwhile the road didn’t qualify for the CDBG grant because of both income level and population.  However the road was originally suggested as part of the grant proposal.

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