Monday night’s city council meeting was the last of 2011 and the last meeting for four Smyrna city council members.
Backs were patted throughout the meeting by both incumbent and outgoing council members as Mayor Max Bacon read a proclamation honoring council members Pete Wood, Ward 7, and Ron Newcomb, Ward 2, for their years of service to Smyrna. Wood was also awarded a certificate and pin for his 20 years of service to the city.
Jimmy Smith, Ward 5 council member, got emotional when he recalled his career on Smyrna city council while outgoing Ward 4 council member McNabb thanked his constituents for electing him to two terms of office. McNabb also urged the incoming council members not to increase the millage rate calling it a “failure of leadership” if such was done.
The outgoing members were honored earlier in the evening at a reception at Taylor Brawner Hall.
But Monday’s meeting was not without strife. Wade Lnenicka, Ward 6 city council member, cast the evening’s only dissenting vote concerning improvements at East West Connector and Gaylor Street, an intersection that lies in unincorporated Cobb County.
The motion was approved 6-1. Lnenickca expressed concern because, in his opinion, Cobb County did not give city staff adequate time or information needed to evaluate the financial requirements necessary for the installation of a traffic signal and operational improvements at the intersection. He also asked why Smyrna was being asked to contribute to a traffic signal that didn’t lie inside the city limits.
“Why are we paying city taxes for traffic lights the county routinely builds and operates everyday in unincorporated Cobb County?” Lnenicka said. “That’s a dangerous precedent to set.”
The motion ultimately passed because of the other council members’ concerns for safety at the intersection. Smyrna-Vinings Patch will have more details about this motion Tuesday.
Also at Monday’s meeting, council members voted 7-0 to award Catamount Constructors Inc. a . The Roswell-based company placed the lowest bid, $1,477,000, of the four companies competing for the contract.
Alex Backry, a regular contributor during citizen input who unsuccessfully ran for mayor last month, referenced an article in The Marietta Daily Journal when he expressed concerns about Fire Station No. 5 including its proximity to existing fire stations.
“The (federal grant) is to approve the first two years of expenses to the cost of building and hiring, I assume, six people to cover that,” he said. “After the first two years the city government will be covering, Mayor, as you said in the article I’m referring to the article solely, $300,000 a year to operate, which probably will go up to $500,000.”
A federal stimulus grant will cover a majority of the $1.4 million cost, although the city will contribute $354,433 for the construction of the station. A $600,000 grant from FEMA will pay for the fighfighters salaries for the first two years and after the city will be on the hook. The city’s fire budget for fiscal 2012 is $4.7 million and the new station, which will be built at the corner of Cooper Lake Road and the East-West Connector, will cost an additional $40,000. When the FEMA grant concludes, the fire budget will "increase by about $300,000 per year'' according to the MDJ article.
In other news from the meeting, the council voted to table till January 17 a public hearing for a proposed text amendment to Sections 402, 712 and 906 of the City's Zoning Ordinance to permit the outdoor retail sale of large outdoor products in the General Commercial zoning district.