By Marla Ogletree

The Homeland City Council held its monthly meeting, Thursday, February 13.

During the meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Nettles read the Rules of Decorum listing the rules of conduct for council members and citizens in attendance.

Also during the meeting, Councilman Richard Gwaltney addressed the issue regarding the power pole in the middle of the alley way off Dogwood Lane. Georgia Power placed the pole in the location and will come out in two weeks to move it. Gwaltney stated the city will not open the alley as a road, sell the property, and will only maintain the ditch. The council heard from Jake Carter who expressed his concerns for not only the safety of residents, but animals and potential for fires. The council assured him the issue will be corrected when the pole is moved. 

The council also heard from Bill Kubinski, who stated he has been cleaning up trash, chasing off illegal activity and is worried for the safety of his family. He also shared he’s noticed his internet connection drops during increased activity in the alley. Mayor Ouida Johnson stated she will speak with the communications company when they move the line to see if they can come up with a solution. 

David Browning told the council he would help maintain the alley and alerted them of land between tracts 12 and 13 having being sold. The council thanked him for the information and said they would have an attorney look over the documents. 

The council finally heard from Jason Ritter, who shared he too has been working on keeping the right of way clean and wanted to make sure he was given permission to use the alley. Again, Gwaltney assured the citizens the pole will be moved to make the alley way safer.

Councilman Kip Taylor alerted the council on the update to the Open Burn Policy from the county. He stated the hours for burns are between sun up and sun down for a pile no more than five feet by five feet with flames no higher than six feet. Permits from Georgia Forestry or DNR are mandatory. All fires are to be attended. To request a permit, call (877) 652-2876.

Homeland Police Chief Brad Todd stated they received the estimate for the damage to a squad car and the department has been issuing 30-day warnings for the clean community ordinance. He also wanted to remind those with dog complaints to call a Homeland City Officer and file a written complaint. He suggested to make sure the complainant is certain of who the dog belongs to in order to avoid any liability as well as provide any photos or videos possible. He also stated any complaints made on Facebook would not be taken into consideration, they must be made at city hall or with an officer.

Public Works Superintendent Blair Nixon shared his team has added Bobby Brantley to the team, they have sprayed for sand spurs at the cemetery, and they have gotten back the mowers. He also stated they are working on plans for the new picnic tables for park to replace the damaged ones.

Sheldon Delbert gave the city an update on the Spanish Creek Watershed Committee meeting. He shared the group is working hard to find the cause of the fecal and chloroform contamination found in the water. Spikes have been found, so the group has begun testing before and after rainfall. Right now the committee is looking at poorly maintained septic tanks. The committee will meet bi-monthly and the study will continue until October.

Councilman Jon Finsness shared the dumpster by city hall is still working  fine, and while it is not fixing the trash issue it is helping. The city has gotten the new garbage truck which is up and running. Nettles and Councilwoman Donna King suggested getting costs to have the city logo added to the truck. The council also approved to ratify the resolution for the purchase of the garbage truck.

The city is looking to hire an attorney and currently has ads running area papers.

The Language Access Plan was reviewed and approved. The plan is to focus on citizens who do not speak or speak little English, which states the city must provide translated documents for those who need them.

Raises were given to some Homeland employees following the mid-year evaluations. Second-command employees received a $1.00 and hour raise, while the others received a three-percent raise. City Clerk Bernice Pascal was raised to $15 and hour. The council stated with the purchase of the new truck, a driver who holds a CDL license is required, and will be paid $15 and hour for one day of work.

During the public comment period, the council heard from Ryan Taylor, who shared there are issues with drivers running stop signs near his house. He stated it happens mostly in the evening . He suggested the city put down speed bumps or rumble strips. Chief Todd suggested he take photos or videos to help aid in catching them.

Nettles shared she has been in contact with Brenda Hodges regarding updates the city’s portion of the county website. She asked her fellow council members to send their paragraph bios as well as credentials and a photo to her so she can forward them to Hodges for the website update.