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City Council Meeting Notes, Jan. 14: Wrecker Services, Public Art and More

The city of Lilburn held its monthly meeting on Jan. 14 at City Hall.

The Lilburn City Council met on Monday, Jan. 14, for its monthly work session and regular meeting. Here is a quick run-down of what the major happenings were.

1. 2013 Lilburn Election Schedule and Qualifying Fees

Lilburn City Council passed a resolution approving the upcoming city election, in which two council seats are up for grabs. The vote was unanimous, 4-0.

The two council seats are: Post 3, held by Eddie Price, and Post 4, held by Tim Dunn. The election will be Nov. 5, 2013.

Interested candidates may qualify during the period of Aug. 26 through Aug. 30. The qualifying fee is $150.00.

Worth noting: Any city residents wishing to vote in this election must be registered to vote by Oct. 7, 2013, and voters must cast their ballots at City Hall -- not their county precinct.

2. Storm-Related Emergency Services Agreement

Lilburn City Council approved two agreements for emergency road service, such as snow and ice removal in the event of a winter storm. The vote was was unanimous, 4-0.

The city has set aside $10,000 in the event such emergency services are needed.

The two local contractors approved are: DAZ Consstruction, Inc.; and Farmer Construction, Inc.

Worth noting: The city of Lilburn will clear U.S. Highway 29 inside the city limits as well, if the state cannot get to the road quickly enough.

3. Wrecker Services for One-Year Contract

Lilburn City Council voted to reject all bids pertaining to a recent invitation for wrecker services, and to execute new contracts based on criteria and requirements outlined by staff.

Three council members voted for this, and one -- Thomas Wight -- abstained.

During the work session, council members and staff debated how the final contracts should be awarded, and what the concerns were in the bids for the original request for proposal.

Three companies -- Statewide Wrecker Services, S &W Services of Atlanta and Diversity Towing -- submitted bids. Two bids were invalid, incomplete, or otherwise questionable. The one completed bid came with a higher price tag.

"The way I looked at it: How is that fair to award that to that particular vendor, and it would cost our citizens and visitors more money than it should?" said City Manager Bill Johnsa in a telephone call Tuesday. "We have to look at what's in the best interest of the city."

The staff recommended that the city set the rates for the wrecker services, and then select at most two companies to provide those services. The chosen company or companies would have to adhere to requirements in the original request for proposal. Once awarded, each company would work every other month.

Council member suggestions for awarding the final contracts included: another bid process, splitting contracts between the lowest previous bidders, splitting contracts between all interested parties and giving right of first refusal to the previous bidder with the complete application.

"We're just moving forward to try and get the best deal for the city that we can," City Attorney Richard Carothers said to council members during work session, "but also to allow more than one person, more than one entity, to participate in it."

For the past 15 years, the city of Lilburn has used Statewide Wrecker Services without a formal contract or a competitive bid process. And, according to the city attorney, the city doesn't have to issue a request for proposal.

According to Wight, the city considered using another service besides Statewide Wrecker Services, "and that's what got them all upset, was the fact that we changed apparently with no notice or he felt like insufficient notice."

Now, Statewide Wrecker Services is in direct competition with several other companies for the city's business.

Ultimately, council members seemed to agree that those businesses with locations in Lilburn be awarded the new contracts, provided all outlined conditions be met. Of the three previous bidders, Statewide Wrecker Services and S &W Services of Atlanta have sites in Lilburn.

"Had the vendor, or the contractor, that had a complete bid had also the lowest prices, this wouldn't have been an issue," Johnsa said Tuesday. "It would have been awarded, but that was not the case, and it's complicated the matter."

Although city officials said they are trying to be fair, there may be potential for a lawsuit regarding it. At least one affected party brought attorneys and a court reporter to the work session.

No matter what happened in the past or what anyone's grievances are, Johnsa is clear on this: That the city needs a contract with any company that is providing a city service. 

"That's what we're working toward," he said.

4. Public Art Agreement

Lilburn City Council decided to postpone this decision for at least 30 days to give the Lilburn Art Alliance a chance to consider it. The vote was 4-0.

It involves creating public art to be located inside two future roundabouts and paying a total of $30,000 for the work to be completed.

Dave Govedare, a resident of Chewelah, Wash., has been retained as the artist, and the city already has paid him $5,000 as a design fee. A remaining $20,000 would be paid once the council approves the current agreement being considered, and another $5,000 when the work is completed.

At least one rendering that includes runners has been submited. But, there are some concerns.

"We have questions on how revealing they are of the human anatomy," Mayor Johnny Crist said in the work session. "We want this to be tasteful."

Despite the first payment, the final design is still to be decided.

"We've paid him 5 grand, and he hasn't delivered us a design we can live with yet," said Councilman Scott Batterton. "So, why would commit to paying him 20 more?"

5. Arcado Elementary School Fun Run

City Council approved a request for a permit to close part of Arcado Road for a fun run on April 28, 2013. The vote was 4-0.

The road will be closed from Rockbridge Road to Lilburn-Stone Mountain Road for approximately an hour and a half.

Although the permit was approved, there were a number of conditions added. Some of those conditions included: closing the road in both directions, sending notifications to affected homeowners and placing school volunteers at intersections along Arcado Road for safety.

In the future, the city has asked that the school pick another location because of the busy nature of Arcado Road. Also, city officials want the school -- and any other events that require (off-duty) city police officers -- to pay for that service.

"We're losing money on these deals," Police Chief Brude Hedley said.

Jennifer Bullock January 16, 2013 at 02:05 PM
One correction - there is a $250 permit fee for the road closure so i doubt the city is "losing money". And what the council said was that they would like us to pay off duty police officers in the future.
KM January 16, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Thanks for the minutes! Very helpful to have them.
Joy L. Woodson January 16, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Yes, you're right about the police officers being off duty. I will clarify. And, the chief said they are losing money because the use of police officers takes time and money, in addition the use of traffic barriers, or police cars to block traffic takes, time and money. They also spent a good deal of time about whether the school should come and get any barriers needed and take them to site themselves.
Joy L. Woodson January 16, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Thanks, JM!
Pat Gabilondo January 16, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Has a statue of Lilburn Trigg Myers been considered?

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