The Folkston City Council gathered for its regular monthly meeting Monday, July 19.
For the month of June, the Folkston City Police Department investigated 36 incidents, nine accidents and received 1,376 calls. The department collected $16,085.00, with $10,916.97 going to the city.
During the meeting, the council heard from City Manager Pender Lloyd, who told the council the bids for the Main Street project will be open until August. He also stated the bids for the Clay Branch life station will be closed Wednesday, July 21 at 11:00 a.m. He and Mayor Lee Gowen will attend a meeting with the EPD Thursday, July 29 to discuss options for the sewer project and see what direction needs to be taken. Lloyd alerted the council that the Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for the city were approved. The city will receive approximately $940,500.00 It has not been received as of yet. When the funds are received, the money does not have to be spent in a hurry. Plans for the funds must be submitted by the year 2024, but funds do not need to be spent until 2026.
The council discussed the purchase of a new garbage truck. Lloyd is working with the salesman on pricing, as there are charges for a material surcharge and equipment. Lloyd told the council he is still waiting for the final cost, but the salesman stated it shouldn’t be more than $175,000.00. A motion was made and passed to allow Lloyd to authorize the purchase of the truck for the current total of $164,993.60, plus the extra charges, with delivery to Folkston and to continue to work with the salesman. Lloyd also alerted the council that the only functioning truck is the 2000-year model.
Lloyd gave the council an update on the 2022 budget and recommended the city go up on garbage fees. The last increase was in 2004. For trash services, such as leaves, limbs, trees and white goods there has not been an increase. There are a total of 860 customers with garbage services, which earns the city about $103,200.00 a year. However, the cost for the city to get rid of the garbage is approximately $154,000.00. Everyone with a water account through Folkston is charged for trash services, however, those with dumpsters, such as restaurants, are not charged for garbage. The cost to dispose of yard debris also went up to $19.00 a ton. The truck used to transport the trash is also on its way out. The city voted and approved to raise the cost of garbage and trash services by $1.50 each until the end of the year, then on January 1, the cost will go up another $1.50 each. Mayor Lee Gowen stated garbage and trash services are not moneymaking items for the city. The rise in cost is only to help offset some of the costs in running the operations.
Mayor Gowen stated he has spoken to a representative at D. Ray James prison, who stated there have been two entities interested in contracts. One of the interested parties would be a short-term investment, such as higher ICE involvement, though with changing laws is certainly not set in stone. The other could be a longer contract, but would be no sooner than 14 months if at all. As of now, Mayor Gowen says nothing is concrete, but employees of the prison are working on finding a new contract.
The council entered into executive session to discuss personnel at 7:06 p.m. and exited at 7:17 p.m. No action was taken.
The city will meet Monday, August 16 at 6:30 p.m.