May 24, 2018, Council Work Session

Savannah City Government



May 24, 2018 – 10:00 a.m.

Present: Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen: Carol Bell, Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Tony Thomas, Van Johnson, II (arrived at 12:30 p.m.), Bill Durrence, John Hall, Estella Shabazz (arrived at 10:25 a.m. during Executive Session)

Rob Hernandez, City Manager

Brooks Stillwell, City Attorney

Jennifer Herman, Deputy City Attorney

William Shearouse, Assistant City Attorney

Mayor DeLoach called the meeting to order and stated Council needed to go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Litigation and Real Estate. A morion was made by Alderman Miller, seconded by Durrence, and unanimously carried. Alderman Johnson was not present for Executive Session.

City Manager Hernandez briefly reviewed the agenda.

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Visit Savannah 2017 Visitor Research
Visit Savannah Presentation 052418.pdf
Savannah 2017 Longwoods Visitor Data pdf.pdf

Joseph Marinelli, President of Visit Savannah, reviewed the 2017 visitor research data. One of the areas discussed was related to visitor satisfaction. He stated the City did not score highly in the area of cleanliness. Mayor DeLoach asked Mr. Marinelli for an explanation. Mr. Marinelli stated he believes it’s everything from power washing the sidewalks, to a fresh coat of paint throughout the City, but especially near Factor’s Walk and the River Street areas.

Alderman Thomas stated he had some friends in town and while visiting they commented on cleanliness of the City while walking back from City Market. He stated everything you could imagine being there was there. He stated they walked near Franklin Square and there was no lighting. Alderman Thomas stated his friends commented on the deplorable conditions which prompted him to reach out to Mr. Marinelli. Alderman Thomas went on to state that Olympia Café is the only establishment that he is aware of that power washes their sidewalk. He stated you can see the distinct differences. He continued stating he believes there is no pride of ownership from business owners and believes this is one of the reasons why the percentage is as low as it is.

Alderman Thomas stated he was shocked to see the low percentage for music/nightlife/entertainment. Mr. Marinelli responded he thinks there are opportunities there as there are terrific music festivals in the City of Savannah, but thinks as it relates to a diversified music scene in the evening for locals and visitors there is an opportunity for growth.

Alderman Thomas stated he spoke with many people that are in the live music industry and they don’t feel the City is friendly in offering live music because of the sound ordinance and the restrictions that are placed on them. He clarified that doesn’t include the Savannah Music Festival or Savannah Philharmonic, he stated this is the independent people that are entertaining in the squares and here and there.

Mr. Marinelli continued with the data review. He stated the authenticity in our City is critical to visitors coming. He concluded stating the gender and age of visitors has not changed over the years.

Alderman Miller stated it’s interesting to note that 26% of visitors come to Savannah for the beach, as there is not a beach here but there is one on Tybee Island. He stated sometimes he feels the City of Savannah doesn’t necessarily have the best relationship with Tybee Island and is probably something that should be looked at by the City.

He then asked City Manager Hernandez about transportation revenue, and asked if the City collects taxes on those expenditures?

City Manager Hernandez replied specifically there is a surcharge on rental vehicles, which is approximately $468,000 per year. He stated off the top of his head he is unsure what the City charges for taxicabs, Uber and things of that nature.

Alderman Durrence replied the State prohibits from charges to Uber.

City Manager Hernandez stated we charge a license fee to pedicabs, trolleys, etc.

Alderman Foster asked if the Chamber and TLC had any reactions to the data as it relates to the sidewalks and cleanliness, and also asked Mr. Marinelli if he planned to have any discussions with his membership or if there was something currently in place.

Mr. Marinelli replied that conversation is always ongoing, and he has talked with the City Manager about a couple of recommended solutions going forward.

Alderman Thomas asked Mr. Marinelli to define daytrippers.

Mr. Marinelli replied a daytripper can be anything, he stated Savannah as we saw is a getaway destination, a two and a half day destination. A daytripper can be anyone from the region coming in from Hilton Head or Jekyll Island for the day to take a tour or shop. Additionally, it can be someone coming in from Rincon, Hardeeville, or Hinesville and so forth for an evening out or a holiday.

Alderman Thomas stated that’s his point, is this considered someone coming in from Effingham that’s coming in to work, or someone coming in from Bryan or Liberty counties to go out on a Friday night?  

Mr. Marinelli replied it’s not someone coming in to work but can be someone coming in for dinner.

Alderman Thomas asked how the 6.1 million number was ascertained.

Mr. Marinelli replied these are all projected numbers, and are not exact. He stated it’s a formula based on 2 million surveys completed with the Longwood Company from individuals who have indicated they have visited Savannah within the year. He stated it is then broken down to ask different questions as it relates to the visit.

Alderman Bell stated she was curious how the number was derived as well. She stated as it relates to the cleanliness, there are individual businesses, citizens groups that are focusing on that from a litter control perspective. She stated she believes with the City Manager staffing that Keep Savannah Beautiful position there will be a greater emphasis on it from staff perspective.

Mr. Marinelli stated the last thing he wanted to discuss was what will be the largest convention to ever hit the City of Savannah. The National Beta Club will be here form June 12-20, 2018. He reviewed the Beta Club purpose, stating some of the finest young people from all over the country will be visiting the City to compete in the various competitions. Mr. Marinelli stated there will be approximately 20,000 young people (grades 4-12), plus adult supervision divided in two groups: 12,000 Juniors June 12 and 8,000 Seniors June 16. He stated they will be utilizing 36 contracted hotels in Savannah, 21 of which are in the Historic District, Tybee, Midtown, Southside, and Pooler. All convention activities are at the Savannah Convention Center. Additionally, there will be a number of special events to include two 5K races planned: Juniors on Friday, June 15 & Seniors Tuesday, June 19 on Hutchinson Island. Transportation services provided on ground to include school buses and trolleys as well as river crossing options such as the ferry boat and the Savannah River Boat. Mr. Marinelli stated these young people will be traveling from 18 different states. Junior Beta will be here June 12–16, 2018 which are grades 4-8 (elementary/middle schools) with 12,000 students registered. Senior Beta will be June 16–20, 2018 which is represented by grades 9-12 (high school) with 8,000 students registered.

Alderman Durrence stated these are some of the cleverest and brightest teens in the Country.

Mr. Marinelli concluded stating the estimated local impact of the convention is:

  • Direct Spend $13,993,175
  • State Sales Tax 490,540
  • Hotel/Motel Tax 145,783
  • Direct Jobs 3,271

He stated there was a citywide planning meeting last week where City and County staff, both Police Departments, and representatives from Tourism Leadership from around town were all present and the enthusiasm from the 85 people present was phenomenal. He stated he is confident that they are ready and look forward to the convention.


2. Traffic Calming
2018 Traffic Calming Council Update - 5.22.18.pdf

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, began by introducing Danielle Paul, Traffic Calming Committee Chairperson.

Mr. Lloyd presented a review of the Traffic Calming Policy, to include some of the previous policy challenges which were:

  • A requirement for a Traffic Calming Committee appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen, but it did not assign any duties or responsibilities.
  • Lacked mechanisms for citizens to apply for traffic calming.
  • Pre-selected neighborhoods which were often too large for neighborhood committees to secure majority support.
  • Process took 3-5 years from initial contact through completion.

He then reviewed the purpose and functions of the Traffic Calming Committee which are as follows:

  • To oversee the implementation of the City of Savannah’s Traffic Calming Policy.
  • Review all traffic calming requests to insure areas meet the criteria for study.
  • Obtain and examine technical data; forwards requests that are likely to benefit from traffic calming to Traffic Engineering (TE) for design.
  • Provide assistance to project sponsors working to secure neighborhood support.

Mr. Lloyd showed Council a list of all Traffic Calming Committee members stating they are appointees of Council and stressed the number of vacancies that were currently on the committee. He concluded stating traffic calming is important and they need the help of Council.

Alderman Miller clarified a statement made by Mr. Lloyd. He stated Council didn’t ask the Committee to update the policy, rather the Committee asked Council to allow them to update the policy.

Danielle Paul stated she became a member of the Traffic Calming Committee in 2014. She stated initially her purpose was personal but then it became bigger as she realized what the inherent problem was with the prior policy and why things were taking so long, if they ever got completed. She stated she wanted to see change and as time progressed she wanted to rewrite the policy so they could have some parameters, not just for citizens, but for the City. Ms. Paul stated the committee spent over 2 years writing and getting the policy passed. She then reviewed the process to include the initial qualifications for requests, metrics for plan development, and the role of the Traffic Engineering Department.

Alderman Durrence stated the way he interpreted the 85th percentile regarding speeding complaints is that 85% of the people have to be speeding 6 miles per hour or more over the limit. He stated he believes having 85% of people speeding before this is addressed is extremely high. He stated he has also been told he wasn’t reading it properly and asked for an explanation if he is or isn’t.

Mr. Lloyd replied what that refers to is the 85th percentile which means if you have 100 data points, they are ranked from 0 to 100 and the 85th is looked at. He stated it is similar to what Alderman Durrence is saying but it is really mathematical, it’s not 85% that have to speed it’s technically 85% or less that have to speed.

Alderman Miller sated the percentile is confusing to everyone.

Mr. Lloyd replied the percentile is the more mathematical way to do it, as it washes out the average. But staff and the committee will look at it.

Alderman Durrence stated he would appreciate a better way of describing that.

Alderman Hall stated he thinks that minimum traffic volume, and cut through traffic, is very high.

Ms. Paul stated this was for informational purposes and stated if Council wants to address changing the policy again she thinks the proper channel to do it would be through the City Manager’s office. She stated the current policy took the Committee 2 years of hard work and she doesn’t want to speak for the community or committee herself.

Mr. Lloyd stated this was for informational purposes and the concerns he received were from the aldermen about the process, which is why Ms. Paul is present to give an overview. He stated if there are things that need to be addressed, staff can go back and do that, but today is more informational.

Ms. Paul continued the review moving on to the role of Traffic Engineering. She stated they receive and log the requests submitted to the Committee, collect technical data at the Committee’s direction; and submit requested reports for review, and then the TE provides design engineering and construction management services.

Ms. Paul continued stating from September 2016 through May 15, 2016:

  • 106 Needs Assessment Requests received
  • 14 did not meet minimum initial requirements (14%)
  • 28 Duplicate requests
  • 4 Requests outside of City Limits
  • 1 Existing master plan from old policy

Additionally, from September 2016 through May 15, 2016:

  • 59 original requests were referred to Traffic Engineering for data collection, analysis, and reporting
  • 16 are in the Engineering Design Phase
  • 2 were referred to TE for engineering improvements
  • 3 are pending because they need assessment reporting
  • 3 are pending Committee review
  • 29 were closed after Committee review

Ms. Paul concluded by reviewing Traffic Calming requests by district to include the status.

Mr. Lloyd reviewed the Traffic Calming budget stating the remaining budget is $249,751. He concluded the presentation showing Council pictures of completed projects.

Alderman Thomas stated this program has been a disaster since it started in 2010. It’s been politicized but if the group has really come up with a policy Council can endorse, and move forward by cleaning the slate of all the problems from the past, he thinks it would be a good idea. He stated he only saw one traffic calming project that has been completed in District 4 and if you look at the numbers they are warped. He stated a tremendous amount of time was dedicated in District 6 to include a list that was submitted of traffic calming projects that should move forward which got lost. He concluded stating if traffic calming is only going to be done in Districts 3 and 4 that should be said.

Mr. Lloyd responded by mentioning the number of vacancies on the Committee.

Alderman Thomas replied his representative quit and Mayor DeLoach responded some passed away.

Mr. Lloyd stated the Traffic Calming Committee is really an arm of Council. The Committee does an awesome job, he stated if Council has concerns the concerns come from who is appointed. He stated if we want to keep this Committee going the vacancies need to be addressed.

Alderman Thomas stated before that is done Council needs to understand what traffic calming is, and if Council is going to take the program seriously and commit to doing more than what has been done in the past decade. He concluded stating he doesn’t want to appoint someone to the Committee to waste their time if Council isn’t committed to doing something about the issues.

Mayor DeLoach stated the Committee that’s working now is diligent about what they are doing.

Alderman Durrence stated his vacancy had to resign because she became a City employee, and he is currently waiting for new applications for reappointment. He then asked for an explanation as to why only 6 applications of 59 have been addressed in almost two years?

Mr. Lloyd replied there seems to be some concern that just because it’s submitted it doesn’t get approved, but what she laid out was a two-step process. He continued stating it sounds like it’s a very extensive process which Ms. Paul laid out, but there is an idea that as soon as it gets accepted it gets done. However, there is one set of temporary measures, and two there is a funding challenge.

Alderman Durrence replied he understands this is informational and the information he is gathering from this is that Traffic Engineering isn’t getting this done for whatever reason, and asked what needs to done?

Alderman Miller stated every meeting Council members attend they get bombarded with traffic calming concerns and the responsibility rests with this Board, but we have not funded this Board the way it needs to be funded. He stated he got involved in the traffic calming process when he was elected. Twenty one temporary measures were put up and stayed up for over a year because the residents weren’t responding as to whether they like them or not. He continued stating the process is time consuming and it’s in the hands of the residents. He stated after a series of meetings three of the twenty one were left up because once the test measures were placed in certain areas the residents didn’t want them in front of their homes.  He continued stating that is one of the reasons why Danielle and the Committee came to Council asking for a different process. He concluded stating more of the issues rest at this table than with the Traffic Calming Committee, it’s going to have to be funded, and we are going to have to advertise it better. He stated if we are going to take it seriously we are going to have to fund it.

Ms. Paul gave Council a heads up that the Gordonston residents no longer want the traffic calming measure that was placed in their neighborhood.

Alderman Hall thanked Ms. Paul for her service to the committee. He stated she mentioned an area between Bee Road and Waters and police have been responding by writing tickets. However from Waters to Bull Street that’s a traffic calming by stop signs, and it’s most effective. He concluded stating the people in Gordonston worked on their project for four years, before it was complete. He stated it’s a time consuming thing.

Alderman Thomas stated he doesn’t doubt whoever had to knock on doors had to pull teeth to get it done. In 2000, on the West side of Largo Drive in Windsor the neighbors fought and fought to get a traffic calming device that costs $180,000. He stated it was traffic islands and they were going to slow the kids going to Armstrong down. Almost immediately after they were placed in, those same neighbors that fought for it, came back screaming they were going to kill people if they weren’t removed. He stated that was a total of $210,000 wasted dollars. He stated whatever is done Council needs to make sure it’s the right thing. He concluded stating his personal opinion is the most effective device is a traffic cop and a fully functioning Recorders Court. He stated if that is done the money that is put into the test measures will be made back.

Alderman Shabazz stated she appreciates the information that has been brought forward but moving forward she thinks the City Manager and Council need to take a hard look at the policy for traffic calming. She stated people in her district have been talking about calming issues and they have archives from instances when they have tried to get calming mechanisms put in place especially in Tatemville and Liberty City. She concluded stating Council needs to step up with this and informed Mayor DeLoach that she would like to be a part of the policy revisions so the inclusiveness of the entire City can be involved.  

3. Operation Empower Heath Review

Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Bell thanked the Aldermen for welcoming her into their Neighborhood Association meetings to get the word out about Operation Empower Health. She also thanked Adam Walker of St. Joseph’s/Candler and Georgia Southern University for applying to get Savannah designated as the site to receive these services. She continued stating there were over 400 medics from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Reserves that came in for about 10 days. She stated she is very pleased and believes the Mayor was too when they went to the finale Sunday, as there were over 6,000 involved in this process to include all of the local Savannah volunteers. She stated around 8,000 people received health care services at no cost. One thing that was made apparent during this was that there is an extreme need for dental services in this community, as lots of our citizens don’t have dental insurance. She also commented on how she was impressed with the vision services that were provided. Patients were able to get their eyes checked one day and the glasses were fabricated and ready the next.

A video was shown that was created by the military that captured some of the services rendered. The following information was provided:

  • 7,942 patients
  • 23,145 procedures
  • $4,596,064 value
  • 1,551 glasses
  • 20,047 training hours
  • Units participating 82
  • 419 personnel
  • 1,382 pets
  • 232 spay/neuter
  • $15,484 community contribution

Adam Walker of St. Joseph’s/Candler thanked the City of Savannah for allowing them to use the Civic Center. He stated it was the most utilized location during the operation. He stated that kind of impact took a lot of planning. He recognized Veleeta McDonald, Dana Berry, and Jessica Wilkes. He stated these ladies went above and beyond. He also recognized Dana who reached out to all of the other sites helping them and ensuring they had what they needed to be successful. He stated the team was recognized by all of the military men and women that served in this mission. He concluded stating the Civic Center also housed the military and he thanked Mayor Pro-Tem Bell for helping spread the word.

Mayor Pro-Tem Bell thanked Mayor DeLoach for allowing her to do this and she thanked City Manager Hernandez for allowing the use of the Civic Center, as well as staff.

Alderman Durrence thanked St. Joseph’s/Candler for stepping up to make this happen. Additionally he thanked them for stepping up Friday afternoon at the last minute when a hiccup occurred by putting together a thank you event which took place Sunday for all of the military men and women and personnel that helped make this a great event. Mayor Pro-Tem Bell stated she, along with the Mayor, went to the Civic Center Sunday and were told that St. Joseph’s/Candler were fortunate enough to get the support of over 40 vendors to help serve the military.

4. Greenscapes Overview
Greenscapes Update for Council Workshop (5.23.18)(Final).pdf
Pilot using goats for vegetation maintenance.pdf

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure Development Officer, stated the City Manager created the Greenscapes Division as a part of the reorganization. He then introduced Gordon Denney, Director of the Greenscapes Division.

Mr. Denney presented Council with an update on what the Greenscapes Division is. He showed Council a chart of the combination of Park & Grounds Maintenance, Downtown Cleanliness Team, Urban Forestry Operations, and Rights of Way Maintenance units.

He discussed the Rights of Way Maintenance Program:

  • Areas of Responsibilities (used to have multiple departments-Park and Tree, Stormwater Management, Streets Maintenance)-now all Rights of Way Maintenance Program
  • Zones and Maintenance Cycles
  • Aligning Expectations

Mr. Denney stated there are 410 miles of streets right of way, 125 miles of canals and ditches, and 510 City-owned vacant lots. During the presentation Mr. Denney explained the areas of responsibility for each segment of the Rights of Way Maintenance Program which include:

  • Rights of Way Maintenance
    • Streets Right of Way maintenance
      • 3 City crews and 1 Contractor
    • 311 Service Requests and Lane maintenance
      • 2 City crews
    • Canal Right of Way maintenance
      • 1 City crew and 1 Contractor
  • Zones and Maintenance Cycles (6 zones/not aldermanic based)
    • 4 Week Mowing Cycle
      • Street & Lane Rights Of Way
      • City Owned Vacant Lots
      • Grass Height Not To Exceed 10”
    • 4 Month Mowing Cycle
      • Ditches & Canal Slopes
      • Grass Height - Residential Areas Not To Exceed 18-24”
      • Grass Height - Non-Residential Areas Not To Exceed 24-30”

Mr. Denney stated the Standards for Rights of Way Maintenance was at a 4 week rotation, but was brought down to a 3 week cycle. Canals and ditches are on a 4 month cycle. He stated these standards have been put into a strategic plan for the division.

He also reviewed the vacant property maintenance schedule.

  • Aligning Expectations:
    • He stated the most important thing to understand is grass growth. He stated the growing season is April to October
    • Different grasses grow at different heights and range from 2” to 6” monthly
    • Irrigated areas grow faster
    • Bahia grass seed heads grow higher

He then showed a slide which reviewed what will be provided and compared it to what it may look like as it relates to mowing cycles and how high grass may grow. Mr. Denney reviewed the results to expect which included: areas will be completed before moving on; there will be consistent right of way standards; and dependable schedules with achievable cycles.

He stated there were some questions asked about the difference in the cost for contracted services and doing the work in-house. He stated they ran the numbers and based on the numbers he believes they are doing a really good job at achieving what they can in-house. He stated contractors are long stretches and in-house work jumps around.

Mr. Denney concluded the presentation stating this division is new and he understands there will be growing pains, he asked that when problems are reported that Council please make them aware so they don’t keep reoccurring.

Alderman Miller thanked Mr. Denney and stated its working and he knows because he received two calls from a constituent that lives on Paradise off White Bluff. He stated the first call he was upset and before he could call to inform staff he received the second call from him and he was happy the crews came back to finish the work. He stated when you get that type of compliment it’s great. He also commended him on the work being done on Victory Drive stating it looks gorgeous. He then asked if he counted correctly he has 117 positions. Mr. Denney corrected him stating he has 127. Alderman Miller asked of the 127, how many are filled?

Mr. Denney replied in the Right of Way Maintenance Department there are about 10 vacancies, and they are using temporary labor in areas where they can. He stated in the Forestry Department it’s over 60% vacant, and there are about one or two vacancies in the Parks and Grounds Maintenance Department.

Alderman Miller asked if there was anything Council could do to help?

Mr. Denney replied they are working and believes they are getting there, it’s just this is new and it’s being developed as they go and doing everything to get it right.

Alderman Miller asked Mr. Denney if they have the right equipment, he stated he was approached by a City employee who was using a push mower that expressed his concerns.

Mr. Denney stated they do have the right equipment and specifically with the push mower, the riding mowers were taken out of the squares because the impact from the weight was stressing out the grass, which is already stressed by the people and the shape and it has made a huge difference and push mowers make a better end product. He stated they are looking to get better push mowers.

Mr. Lloyd stated Council will start to see zero turn mowers.

Alderman Miller stated a few weeks ago he went by a lot on Habersham, and the contractors cut about 80% of field, and it looked unmowed. He stated as the grass grew up and the trash wasn’t being picked up and asked if there are standards about trash?

Mr. Denney replied they are supposed to pick up all trash before mowing, but what happens is often times the trash comes right back after the job is complete.

Alderman Thomas asked are we working on the corridor of Rio Road, Abercorn Expressway to the Truman and cleaning that up?

Mr. Denney replied that staff went in and got the ones that were going to be saved. The ones that are left are awaiting a Forestry crew because they are far gone but staff is still working towards that.

Alderman Thomas stated just to clean it up and get the moss out right now helps. He then asked City Manager Hernandez if he was working on a plan to beautify that median?

City Manager Hernandez replied he gave a report a while back not just related to that but several initiatives. He stated it involves a capital improvement plan to work with GDOT that involves installing different types of landscaping in the medians. He stated they are limited to what we can plant without irrigation.

Alderman Thomas asked City Manager Hernandez when he sent the report to GDOT, as he would like to stay on top of this. He stated cleaning up the corridor is the first thing that needs to be done. He stated he wants it cleaned up because it looks terrible. He stated initially crepe myrtles were planted and the plan was to plant more the following season but that got missed. He stated he is trying to follow through on what was planned to ensure it doesn’t get lost again. He stated there is no equity between north versus south of Abercorn. He asked when he can see a plan on how this issue will be addressed.

City Manager Hernandez read from a report sent to Alderman Thomas on April 23rd that included timelines.

Alderman Shabazz stated in reference to the mowing and having crews work together, she stated she believes it was the end of April or beginning of May near the welcome site that citizens applauded the efforts. She then asked is there a timeline for the Victory Drive median?

Mr. Denney replied they recently received permission from the DOT to irrigate that stretch of Victory Drive. He stated once it is irrigated they will then get grasses in.

Mayor DeLoach stated if your contractor is costing more than your people to do the grass then you have a bad contractor, and that needs to be rebid net year.

City Manager Hernandez stated don’t rely just on these numbers, he would do a full blown analysis to ensure that all numbers are being captured in that comparison.

Mayor DeLoach stated Windsor Forest/Windsor Road looks so much better, but staff needs to get somebody to spray the trees growing up in the ditch.


Laura Walker, Administrator with Public Works and Water Resources, and Richard Gerbasi, Director of Cemeteries, discussed the use of ruminants (goats) on City Property for vegetation maintenance.

Ms. Walker stated there was great public interest in seeing this tried in Savannah. They were made aware that they did not get the grant applied for last year, therefore staff proceeded with a RFP. Staff selected a contractor, and wanted to inform Council that a pilot will start in mid-June. Ms. Walker stated the City of Savannah is not the first community to employ goats or ruminants to control vegetation, and mentioned some of the other communities that have tried this.

Ms. Walker reviewed the process and showed before and after pictures. She stated there are three great benefits to using ruminants: they are good for areas where your equipment can’t get into due to high ground water, slope conditions, or hazardous conditions which create higher costs; they are seen to be environmentally friendly-no herbicides; and no equipment emissions.

She stated ruminants are animals that have one stomach with four compartments. Poison ivy and kudzo are some of their favorites. She stated they are browsers not grazers which makes them very efficient at getting woody vines and shrubby materials.

She stated male goats are called bucks, females are called does, and babies are called kids. She stated the herd that will be coming is 60 strong and includes 40 does and 20 kids that are about 3 months old.

She continued stating when they are done you will have something that is not mowed or manicured, but rather munched. She stated LGD, or livestock guardian dogs, will be onsite to guard the herd. They will all be contained in an electric fence, they will be provided water, shade, and supplemental food. She stated the dogs will be fed daily but there are instances when the goats may need minerals.

Mr. Gerbasi stated Site #1 will be Laurel Grove North. He stated it is the ravine area. He stated there are stormwater drains throughout the area. He stated at one time there was a path through it that was scenic with a bridge through it. However, it is hard to get into it with equipment. The goats are saving the City a few thousand dollars. He concluded stating the goats can reach up to 6 feet high, and there are many vines in there that tend to pull things down during storms.

Alderman Thomas asked how long will it take them to eat all that?

Ms. Walker replied about 20 days.

Ms. Walker stated Site #2 will be the Clinch Street Pond, behind DeRenne Middle School. The goats will be transported by trailer, and will move from the cemetery to the pond. She stated they estimate it will take about 30 days to complete. The Greenscapes crew tried to go in with equipment last week and it got bogged down. She stated they will do outreach with neighborhoods and will report back at the end of pilot.

Alderman Shabazz stated this is so great and would be a great thing for our children to see.

Mr. Gerbasi replied they plan on getting the word out there.

Alderman Hall asked if we will be moving these goats around, and if those two areas are the only ones that will be piloted. Ms. Walker replied yes.

Ms. Walker stated after the pilot they will consider continuing the program depending on the success.

Alderman Shabazz suggested Evergreen Cemetery as one of the next locations if this is a success. City Manager Hernandez replied its private property and the City would have to get permission.

5. 2018 Hurricane Season
Hurricane City Council Workshop 24 May 2018.pdf

David Donnelly, Emergency Management Director, stated three things will be reviewed today: predictions from the forecaster; updates to City plans and procedures; and the proposed Emergency Management Ordinance which will be coming to Council on First Reading at the next meeting.  

He stated in an average year there are 12 named storms that reach Tropical Storm strength or greater, six which become hurricanes, two of which that are rated as majors meaning Category 3 or greater. He stated in 2017 there were 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 category 3 storms or above. He stated Colorado State is one of the foremost forecasting agencies and they are predicting:

  • Named Storms: 14
  • Hurricanes: 7
  • Majors (cat 3+): 3

Mr. Donnelly stated the one thing that has been agreed on is that La Nina has dissipated or will weaken. La Nina tends to encourage hurricane development, and cuts down on wind shear and creates an unstable atmosphere. He stated we are moving to neutral conditions, so we have even chances. Colorado State is predicting an above average year. He stated don’t focus on the numbers or predictions because what’s important is the one storm that is headed to our community that we need to worry about.

Updates since Hurricane Matthew and piggybacked onto Hurricane Irma

  • Worked on the City’s operation plans, which was a total rewrite, updated the Tropical Cyclone Annex and have been working on a Resource Management Plan (all plans are synced with State and County)
  • Logistics as part of the Emergency Management Team (they handle resource requests such as getting fuel, food for employees during the disaster)
    • Working on critical workforce shelters
  • Coordination has improved and expanding Incident Management Team
  • Communications-reorganizing teams with City reorganization
  • Situational Awareness-revised lists that updates are sent to

David Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer, presented a financial update.

Mr. Maxwell stated Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, and all work with recovery and/or cleanup has been completed. He stated 15 projects have been completed of the projects that were identified for repairs, and there are still 12 underway. A total of $19.3 million was spent for preparedness and recovery from the storm to include boarding windows, picking up debris, repairs, etc. He continued stating $10.6 million grant reimbursements have been received to date. Once the FEMA field office closed all dealings resumed with GEMA for reimbursements to the City. Mr. Maxwell stated the general fund contributed $1.6 million to help fund activities and grant matches, for the most part we have been able to absorb the grant matches.

Alderman Miller asked if any of these financials were related to Hurricane Irma. Mr. Maxwell replied no, they are all related to Hurricane Matthew.

Mr. Donnelly stated the Emergency Management Ordinance is being updated for many reasons which include:

  • Updating it to the GMA template
  • Delineating powers and responsibilities
  • Addressing code enforcements
  • Prohibiting price gouging
  • Including debris management

Alderman Johnson confirmed that price gouging goes into effect once a State of Emergency is issued? City Manager Hernandez replied correct.

Alderman Johnson stated his concern is just before it is declared, is there anything the City can do about that period?

City Manager replied the City’s policy mirrors the County ordinance, its specific that the price can’t be increased by more than 25%.

Mr. Donnelly stated the Mayor has the ability to declare a State of Emergency ahead of the Governor's declaration.

Alderman Johnson asked but isn’t the Governor the one that triggers the gouging?

City Manager Hernandez replied he believes in the City’s policy the Mayor has the authority to declare a State of Emergency and he/she can activate that section.

Alderman Johnson asked what would the penalties be for?

City Manager Hernandez replied exceeding that cost escalator in that timeframe. The maximum fine would be a $1,000 fine since it would be a code violation.

Attorney Stillwell stated that is correct and State and Federal laws have more serious penalties.

6. Executive Session: Real Estate & Litigation

Upon motion of Alderman Milller, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried Council went into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Real Estate and Litigation.

Upon completion of this session, a motion was made to come out of Executive Session by Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried.

7. City Manager’s Briefing / Council Meeting Agenda Items for May 24, 2018

Bret Bell, Deputy Assistant to the City Manager,  presented the City Manager’s Briefing of the agenda items for the Council Meeting of May 24, 2018. The agenda can be found online and will be made a part of the permanent record.

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach declared this Work Session adjourned.

The video recording of the Council meeting can be found by copying and pasting the below link in your url:

Luciana M. Spracher, Acting Clerk of Council
Agenda Plus