Auditor: City of Alamo Sound Financially
An audit report and the first readings of franchise ordinances for broadband coverage were among topics for the City of Alamo’s regular session on July 17.
CPA Richard Deal, representing the Statesboro firm of Lanier, Deal, Proctor and Bloser, reported on the findings in the recent audit of the City’s FY 2022 budget.
“The City is doing well financially,” Deal told the Council. He reported total assets of $16 million; total liabilities, of $6.2 million; and $568,000 in ARPA revenue not spent as of December 31, 2022. He said the City’s net position was $9.7 million, with an increase of $535,000, or 6% over the previous year. “The expenses for government activities were comparable to the previous year with a slight decrease. Total revenues were up, primarily from the ARPA funds.” This was the first audit of the City of Alamo’s finances by the Statesboro firm. The Council officially accepted the report. Construction Updates
During the session, the City Council heard updates on the progress of work at Eastside Park and the renovation of a structure that will house the new City Hall.
Councilman Dondrea Geter, who has been spearheading improvements at the city park, reported, “We are on the tail end of the $200,000 grant. We have $26,000 left in the grant fund and work must be completed by December.” He said that the final project is completion of the splash pad. “The concrete was poured today and we are waiting for the delivery of accessories for the splash pad.”
The park, which is located on East Railroad Street, received pavilions with grills, an improved basketball court, a paved front entrance and parking area, and playground equipment thanks to a $200,000 matching grant from the state Department of Natural Resources. The original plans also called for signage, fencing, lighting, and a nature trail.
The City of Alamo recently received a $2.2 million grant for community upgrades as part of a $225 million grant package announced on May 18 by Governor Brian Kemp. Alamo was one of 142 communities receiving a grant for qualified projects to improve community assets like parks, recreation facilities, sidewalks, and healthy food access in communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Alamo, this grant will fund further upgrades at Eastside Park, including sidewalks between the park and the adjacent Wheeler County School, a shelter over the basketball court, an outdoor amphitheater, a football field with bleachers, fencing and additional parking. The deadline for bids on that project was July 21 to the Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Development Authority (HOGARC), which is administering the grant.
City Manager Jeff Floyd reported that all demolition at the site for the new City Hall has been done. “Plumbing has been roughed in, concrete poured, and trusses went up. Hopefully, we will be putting the roof on this week.” He said that the project, which commenced June 1, is on schedule and under budget. It is expected that the building will be ready for occupancy in early fall. The structure which will accommodate the new City Hall is a former pharmacy that faces Main Street/U.S. Highway 280. A new police station will be located in a soon-to-be remodeled building immediately adjacent to the new City Hall.
Floyd also reported on proposed improvements to an unlevel and hazardous stretch of sidewalk in downtown Alamo on Railroad Street. “The funds for the improvements are included in the TIA’s (Transportation Improvement Act) second band of funding which is four years from now, but we have been advised by HOGARC that we can commence the project once it is approved.” This approval occurred on January 21, 2003.
“We can’t get a check from TIA to reimburse us until 2027, but we can begin the project,” Floyd said, noting that the City can borrow money from savings to fund the work. The project will be listed on the Georgia Registry and requires an engineer to plan and execute it, Floyd said, advising the Council to consider having the engineer who is planning the second round of the Eastside Park upgrade to oversee the street improvements. The project, which is expected to cost about $100,000, will rebuild a section of the sidewalk beginning in front of Joy’s Photography to in front of the former Hardware Store, across Commerce Street (Ga. Highway 126). The Council voted to go forward with Floyd’s recommendations.
Ordinances Leases and Finances The Council heard the first reading of two separate franchise ordinances for broadband coverage in the City. The first ordinance will provide Glenwood Telephone Company (GTC) permission and consent, to extend the framework above and below ground for the distribution of broadband and other services. An identical ordinance for Progressive Rural Telephone will grant this company the same privileges. City Attorney Russell Clark explained that Progressive Rural Telephone already has lines coming into the City which serve the Little Ocmulgee EMC headquarters in Alamo, as well as the Wheeler County Board of Education. The action is being taken to formalize a franchise agreement and to bring this company into compliance.
City Manager Floyd reported to the Council that he has been contacted by two parties interested in leasing the City-owned site on Railroad Street that was previously a hardware store. The Council voted to begin the process for leasing the structure by advertising it for bids.
Floyd also told the Council that the City’s water and sewer savings account has been stagnant for a while, and in order to keep the account active a deposit will have to be made. The Council voted to transfer $48,528.37 from its water and sewer business account to the savings account.
Engraved Bricks, Honoring MLK Councilwoman Brownley introduced to the Council the idea of selling engraved bricks for the new City Hall as a way to involve citizens in the project and to potentially raise funds for the community’s benefit. Brownley said the commemorative bricks could be purchased by individuals, organizations and others, engraved, and placed on an interior brick wall at City Hall. She said that she has researched costs associated with the project, but further details, such as the cost to donors, have not yet been worked out. The city is already in possession of bricks which would be appropriate for the project.
A citizen’s request to name a city street for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was turned into a motion approved by the Council. The proposal is to survey citizens by letter about the location of the street honoring King, and whether it should be named “street, avenue or boulevard.” The Council proposes to rename a section of First Avenue East starting at Stewart Street and ending at the terminus of First Avenue in honor of King.