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Emergency Ordinance, FMCC trail, more on May 18 Council agenda

** UPDATE **

For a full recap of the May 18 City Council meeting, click HERE.

** ORIGINAL POST **

Milton's City Council will meet again this Monday, May 18 -- and once again, it will happen virtually and touch on a wide range of issues affecting Milton.

Like the last several Council meetings, the May 18 edition will not take place in City Hall Chambers for health and safety reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Mayor Joe Lockwood and the Council members will convene and vote using Zoom.

Monday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. People can watch it live on the City's Facebook page. Or they can watch and "participate" -- by offering public comment -- through Zoom. Instructions on how to use Zoom for this meeting are at the bottom of this message.

In an effort to be informative and transparent, below are summaries of each item that will be up for consideration at the May 18 meeting. 

The first ten are on the Consent Agenda. These are typically routine matters that are voted on unanimously in a single up-and-down vote.

Other items are divided into other categories and will feature more in-depth discussion. And there's one special highlight: a proclamation to honor high school graduates from Milton.

  

CONSENT AGENDA

This is to approve the "minutes" -- or official written record -- of the April 15 City Council meeting, formally acknowledging them as accurate. The April 15 meeting was the first in Milton's history to be held virtually, using Zoom. You can watch this meeting in its entirely by clicking HERE.

 

This is to approve the "minutes" -- or official written record -- of the April 23 Special Called Meeting of Milton's City Council, formally acknowledging them as accurate. During this meeting, the Council amended the City's Emergency Ordinance to allow for more flexibility in considering certain policy-making changes unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch this meeting in its entirety by clicking HERE.

 

The Council will vote whether or not to approve the City's financial statements and investment report for the month of March.

  

This item refers to a proposed change to an agreement between the City and Dynamo Pool Management to manage the Milton City Pool located at the former Milton Country Club on Dinsmore Road. If approved, the City's contract with Dynamo would automatically roll over without the City Council having to act to renew it every year. Such a change would bring the City's agreement with Dynamo in line with the Parks and Recreation Department's other multi-year contracts.

 

This refers to the possible approval of a Task Order between the City and BM&K, a construction and engineering company, regarding the design and bid support for the repair of a culvert near Saddlesprings Drive. Saddlesprings Drive is off Hopewell Road and near Starnes Lake.

 

This pertains to a possible City agreement with BM&K to inspect elements of the Northeast Crabapple Connector Project -- specifically the installation of a sidewalk along Mayfield Road. The Northeast Crabapple Connector is also commonly identified as a continuation of the new and recently opened Heritage Walk, and in other instances as Charlotte Drive Extension.

 

If approved, the City of Milton would allow Wellesong instructors to coordinate and teach adult tai chi classes as part of the City's Parks and Recreation program offerings.

 

This agenda item refers to phase two of a two-phased agreement between the City of Milton and Taylor English Duma, an Atlanta-based law firm. Beginning in October 2019, Taylor English Duma attorneys helped Milton officials rewrite parts of the City's ordinances related to alcoholic beverages. This is a budgeted item for fiscal year 2020.

 

The Council will consider adopting agreements that detail the specific administration of Health Reimbursement (HRA) and Flexible Spending (FSA) accounts offered through Basic Benefits that are available to Milton City employees. This comes after, in December 2019, the Council approved a general City agreement with Basic Benefits -- an employee benefit-focused company -- to provide HRA and FSA accounts.

 

This refers to a possible City agreement with Pond and Company for "architectural design services and construction documents" -- in other words, to design -- bathrooms, a boardwalk and a fishing pier at Providence Park. At an earlier meeting, the Council approved the City splitting the cost (up to $200,000) halfway with the State's Department of Natural Resources to build a fishing pier on Providence Lake.

 

REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

This is a proclamation to celebrate the achievements and character of this year's high school graduates from Milton.

 

This refers to the proposed construction of a walking trail that will wind through the grounds of the former Milton Country Club on Dinsmore Road. Robert Drewry -- the City's Public Works Director -- will explain what the first phase of the trail will look like as well as how it will be built. The FMCC is a City-owned property, most of which has been set aside for eventual "passive" use by the public.

 

FIRST PRESENTATIONS

This is one of two items related to vaping on this meeting's agenda. This would affect Chapter 32 of the City Code -- i.e. the "Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions" chapter, which features general prohibitions on things like marijuana, drinking in public, indecency, and the like. If passed, vaping would be included with other forms of tobacco usage (such as smoked and smokeless tobacco) prohibited on City property.

 

The second vaping item on the meeting's agenda affects Chapter 34 -- the part of the City code relating to "Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs." Essentially, the change will echo the Chapter 32 changes to prohibit vaping and other types of tobacco consumption in City parks. For clarity, a redundant special events regulation would be taken out of the Code.

 

This ordinance would allow for "personal transportation vehicles" -- i.e. golf carts -- to be driven on certain City streets. The golf carts would be subject to state regulations, as this ordinance basically mirrors the existing state law. HOAs could still prohibit golf carts being driven in certain neighborhoods, as Milton law enforcement officers do not have the authority to enforce basic traffic laws (with a few exceptions) or regulate traffic on privately maintained roadways. 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

This item follows a similar one considered at the May 4 City Council meeting. It would amend part of Milton's City Code to allow Parks and Recreation partner programs to accept payments through the City's website. Currently, programs like Hopewell Baseball and the Milton Mustangs have their own websites through which people register to play on teams and the like. (The City then collects a 15% commission from each program, to offset its own related costs like field, court, or pool maintenance.) Passage of this ordinance means the City can register participants on its website, then give program providers 85% of the revenue collected -- an especially useful option for those programs without a pay portal on their websites.

 

NEW BUSINESS

The City of Milton plans to apply for a federal grant -- to the U.S. Fire Administration, which is part of FEMA -- seeking reimbursement for the purchase of personal protective equipment (or PPE) needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For weeks, City firefighters and other personnel have been regularly using items like masks, goggles, gloves and Tyvek suits for the health and safety of these employees and citizens who they encounter. Such usage may continue for some time. FEMA has offered local governments this grant opportunity to help cover additional PPE costs related to the pandemic.

 

If approved, the amended Ordinance would extend the "local emergency" related to the COVID-19 pandemic through June 12. (Provisions in the amended Emergency Ordinance would start taking effect on May 20 and extend through June 12.) Previously approved Mayoral declarations tied to this emergency -- including things like letting restaurants sell to-go beer and wine and allowing restaurants and store to put up certain temporary signage -- would be extended through June 12 as well.

This amended Emergency Ordinance differs from previous ones in that it strikes restrictions on certain public hearings, regulatory permit issues, zoning, strategic planning and other matters. In the interest of promoting "social distancing" and recognizing that some in high-risk categories may not be able to attend some meetings, the Ordinance gives City the ability to modify rules related to the public's interactions with the Council. For example, the City could offer "enhanced flexibility" by allowing citizens to email questions or comments to the Council that could be read into the record.

The new Ordinance would also waive the usual 15% fee for canceled spring sessions that the Parks and Recreation Department's sports program providers traditionally pay the City (to offset costs related to field maintenance and other matters).

The Council's approval also equates to adopting the City of Milton's "Reopening Plan." This plan lays out, in phases, how City facilities and certain operations might reopen to the general public, as well as what precautions will be taken to help safeguard people's safety. It calls for "Phase 1" of the plan to go into effect immediately, while "Phase 2" is tentatively set to start on June 13. The timing is conditional on trends and conditions related to COVID-19 locally.