SNELLVILLE The appointment of volunteer members to various boards is a common order of business in any Gwinnett city, except Snellville. During Monday night's City Council meeting, two board appointments were on the agenda as new city business, and both were met with controversy.
Tod Warner, a longtime Planning Commission board member and former city councilman, was nominated by councilman Tom Witts on Monday to serve at Post 4 of the city's Planning Commission. Witts referred to Warner as "an absolute attribute" to the city, and as a businessman Witts said it is wise to choose the most-qualified person for any job. With several city ordinances under review -- namely the one governing standards for Group Homes -- Witts said that Warner's experience is critical.
Before the matter was put to a vote, Mayor Kelly Kautz made the statement that "this is a matter pending litigation," referring to the pending lawsuit between her and some of the council members. Because of that litigation, Kautz said she would not support Warner's nomination.
When Tim Van Valkenburg was nominated Monday to serve at Post 4 on the Board of Appeals, Kautz took the same stance.
In both instances, the council voted 4-2 to approve the nominations, with Kautz and councilman Mike Sabbagh casting the "no" votes.
Later in the meeting, when the public was given the opportunity to speak, Snellville resident Joel Davenoprt again publicly called for the "immediate resignation" of Kautz, citing ongoing litigation and dissension as a waste of city time, money and effort, and asking, "How is it possible to move Snellville forward?"
Community Garden grand opening a success
Councilman Bobby Howard presided over the grand opening celebration of Snellville's Community Garden at 4 p.m. Sunday, also welcoming Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette and about 80 other people to the ceremony. Snellville's garden, according to Howard, is modeled after Suwanee's highly successful community garden launched several years ago.
All of the currently available garden plots have been sold, and more will come available to interested gardeners as soon as possible.
Kautz publicly apologized for missing the grand opening ceremony for "family time" on Sunday.
Economic Development Ordinance adopted
Council members and Kautz voted unanimously Monday to adopt an Economic Development Ordinance, originally drafted by Gwinnett Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Nick Masino, and adopted by Suwanee and other cities in Gwinnett.
Commenting on the move, Snellville city manager Butch Sanders said, "It's very important for Snellville to be involved in economic development at a high level."
Sanders working to produce new budget
In his report to the mayor and council Monday, Sanders also reported that he is working with staff department heads to produce the new fiscal year budget. He thanked city staff members for their patience in working with him as a relatively new city manager and said he would meet with Kautz and council members in "small group meetings" during the process before publicly presenting the proposed budget.
City to purchase new truck
Council members voted to approve a lease agreement finalizing the city purchase of a jet vacuum sewer truck, a move that will modernize the city's capabilities, according to Sanders. The total purchase price is $219,000, with the first payment of $56,663 due this year. The lease agreement was made under the Georgia Municipal Association Leasing Program.