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Flowery Branch council clashes over inspections contract

POSTED: March 19, 2009 12:18 a.m.

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FLOWERY BRANCH — Flowery Branch City Council has OK’d a contract with a local company to provide building and soil erosion inspections, as well as construction management and minor construction work.

The council voted 3-2 in favor of the contract with Clearwater Properties during a meeting Wednesday morning.

The new contract calls for a monthly payment of $2,800 to the firm, which is based at 6343 Chestnut Hill Road and operated by John Morris.

Councilmen Chris Fetterman and Craig Lutz voted against the contract, saying that the scope of work did not justify the contract, and that the money could be better spent.

"In a tough economy, the role of government is to (make) tough decisions ... and we really need to balance what is best for the people and what’s best for the use of their tax dollars," Lutz said.

They favored a contract that involved an hourly rate of $18 per hour.

"We have a fiduciary duty to be the good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, " Fetterman said. "Any action to approve this contract ... is unjustified during these economically troubled times,"

He called for the resignation of any council member who voted for the contract.

Council members Mary Jones, Allen Bryans Sr. and Pat Zalewski supported the contract, but made no comments during the discussion of the matter.

City Manager Bill Andrew said he believes Morris will stay busy with varying tasks.

"He is a skilled in construction and construction management, and we do have two (public) buildings that are in dire need of rehabilitation," he said.

"His services will save us time and money, not only with his own efforts to do that work himself but also managing other contractors in a more efficient manner."

In other business, the council voted to move forward on an application for a $142,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The city wants to use the money to install a water line in the Morrow Drive area off Lights Ferry Road, an area that, Andrew said, has inadequate water pressure and fire protection.

Andrew said the city has pledged $25,000 toward the project.

A public hearing on the application is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 5517 Main St.



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