City Manager Brad Hulsey said at a work session Wednesday at City Hall that he had identified a flaw in the city’s Internet presence during a recent economic development meeting with downtown merchants.
“They want us to create an annual agenda for events, which we already have, but we don’t communicate it,” he said. “It is on the website, but that’s not a very user-friendly website. You have to go to four or five pages before you can find it.”
Hulsey said he and Pam Conner, the city community development director, came up with an answer.
“We realized we did not do the best job we could in communicating the holiday schedule,” he said about Saturday’s tree lighting and other ceremonies. “So we’ll be going back to an old method we used in the past. That’s just stapling it to the garbage cans as we go and pick them up.”
Also being retrofitted is the city’s decision to engage Cumming-based Aspire Landscaping for maintaining city facilities and land such as medians, curbs and sidewalks.
Councilman Al Thurman said work formerly done by Paulding County Detention Center inmate labor at a cost of $40,000 per work crew has overwhelmed Aspire, which has a $30,000 contract expiring Dec. 31.
“It was sold to us we would save so much money by getting rid of the prison detail. I’m not denying it, but at the same time, the work’s still there,” he said. “I appreciate that they’re able to go to these locations, but they’re not able to do anything of quality. They’re just trying to get there because they have so much demand on them.”
Hulsey said he will explore two options — restoring inmate crews at $40,000 or hiring a full-time employee in the $20,000 to $25,000 range — well in advance of the spring and summer growing seasons.
“If we had someone who worked for us who is accountable to us, it may be more than a contract, but you get what you pay for,” he said. “I think the intent was good. The intent was to save money. But sometimes it’s hard for us to say we’re wrong.”
The agenda for the council’s regular meeting Monday night includes a recommendation for outdoor sales; ongoing beer and wine sales at an existing convenience store; a technology upgrade for Municipal Court; and reviving the employee Christmas party.
“It’s a light agenda. Everything will be on consent,” Hulsey said, referring to a slate of items voted on as a whole.
Jim Conway of antique mall Treasure Hunt spoke to Mayor Patricia Vaughn and the city council about holding outdoor sales.
He said the booth owners will sell only quality products.
“We’re trying to maintain stalls of good things; nothing improper or shabby,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate enough that the merchandise inside is high (quality) enough. We can’t tolerate shabby stuff outside and have nice stuff inside.”
The outdoor sales ordinance will have its second reading Monday night. If approved, applicants can request permits for up to 12 sales a year.
The Valero Food Mart at 3550 Powder Springs Road is under new ownership by Nepal native Indira Triphathis of Decatur-based Rakta Kalika LLC.
Her alcohol license will be subject to a public hearing Monday. If approved, its effective date will be Jan. 1.
The consent agenda will include a resolution for $8,689 in upgrades to the Municipal Court network for “enhanced information technology ability,” Hulsey said.
In addition, an $872,000 courthouse renovation by Norcross-based Hogan Construction Group is almost finished, he said.
“We anticipate completion of that first or middle part of December and it’ll be move-in ready,” Hulsey said. “We’ll have a ribbon cutting and grand opening in January for that.”
Another city building, the Coach George E. Ford Cultural Arts and Community Center, will host a party for about 100 guests Thursday if a budget amendment sails through City Council.
“We’re trying to allow for a Christmas employee luncheon,” Hulsey said about $2,000 from the general fund contingency. “We’ll shut down City Hall for two hours.”
Mayor Patricia Vaughn said she supported the transfer.
“I’m very happy that we’re able to do that this year because we have some great employees,” she said. “It’s been a long time. I remember those parties. We had to cut them out for a while.”