Winder mayor presides over last council meeting

WINDER - Buddy Ouzts Tuesday presided over his last council meeting as Winder's mayor.

After 17 years of service to the city as mayor, Ouzts said his plans are simply "to sell Chevrolets."

Ouzts Chevrolet-Olds in Winder is owned by Ouzts and was begun by his father, J. Guy Ouzts, in 1939.

"I'm not the kind to sit still for long," Ouzts said.

"He's been a good staunch conservative and a great mentor for me," City Administrator Bob Beck said.

City staff will hold a luncheon Dec. 21 to honor Ouzts' 17 years of service. A mayor's reception will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Cultural Arts Building. The reception will be open to the public and is also being held to honor Ouzts' accomplishments as mayor.

Retired teacher Chip Thompson will fill the Winder mayor's seat beginning in January.

Comprehensive plan to be reviewed by state

The Comprehensive Plan for the city of Winder will be forwarded on to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center (NEGRDC) and state officials for review, following the council's approval Tuesday night.

The plan addresses issues and opportunities within Winder and Barrow County.

"It guides future growth for both the city and the county," said Marty Sewell of MACTEC, the organization that consulted and formulated the plan. Redevelopment techniques for downtown Winder and the Atlanta Highway corridor are specifically addressed in the document.

State and NEGRDC review must be complete by October, but Sewell said he expects the review to be complete in 45 to 60 days.

The full plan is posted on the Barrow County Web site for review.

City won't transfer

property title to Winder Housing Authority

By unanimous vote Tuesday night, council members voted not to transfer title of the old swimming pool property to the Winder Housing Authority.

The WHA requested transfer of the title for the land located at the corner of Midland Avenue and Bellview Street because they are using it for their maintenance facility.

In the past, Winder has leased the property to the WHA. Following Tuesday's vote, the city will continue to lease the property.

Winder to begin acquiring rights of way

Beck announced he has received contracts from the Georgia Department of Transportation for acquisitions of right of way along McNeal Road and Horton Street. The acquisitions are necessary because of planned improvements to these roads.

According to documents attached to the DOT contracts, property owners must be informed of their right to receive just compensation for the land being acquired by the city. Compensation is determined by a certified appraiser, and property owners have the right to accompany the appraiser during property inspection. An offer must be made in writing, with that amount to include the value of the real property and the amount attributable to damages to the remaining property.

Once the rights of way are acquired, improvement projects can begin. "Without these (acquisitions), the DOT will not do the projects," Beck remarked.