Warner Robins council creates Historical Preservation Commission

chwright@macon.comSeptember 3, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- City Council made several key decisions at Tuesday’s council meeting, including forming a Historical Preservation Commission.

After postponing a vote for several weeks, City Council unanimously approved an ordinance forming the commission.

Members of the city’s Heritage Society had petitioned for three consecutive meetings to create the commission. Some council members had questioned the need for one.

“I just want to say, all of my questions have been answered,” Councilman Mike Davis said.

Council will have to approve the makeup of the commission, its historic districts and procedures.

Interim public works director named

Council voted unanimously to name George Brannen, a city employee of 10 years, interim public works director for the next six months.

Brannen received a 10 percent raise for taking over the duties of Joe Musselwhite, who recently retired and is now pursuing the mayor’s seat.

Councilwoman Carolyn Robbins said Brannen worked directly with Musselwhite. She said council decided to allow the new mayor to make the final determination for director.

Cleaning up Walker’s Pond

The council agreed to pay Cambardella Environmental Planning & Landscape Architecture $4,700 to take inventory of vegetation in the accessible portion of Walker’s Pond. The item was originally to be discussed as part of the Public Facilities Authority meeting following council but instead was wrapped into precouncil talks.

Council bought Walker’s Pond this year and intends to use it for a walking trail and some kind of park. Much of it is considered wetlands, so the city must contact the Environmental Protection Division and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before working there.

Meanwhile, the city engineer has been marking a portion the city can clean up for now. It’s there where Cambardella will identify which natural habitat should be kept and what can go.

For the remainder of the park, City Engineer Walter Gray said the council has to decide on a plan. Without it, permits from EPD and the Corps aren’t possible, he said.

SPLOST collections down

Chief Finance Officer Bill Harte reviewed collections for the 2012 special purpose local option sales tax. In short, collections are lower than initially projected.

As of the end of August, the city’s portion of the SPLOST was $479,000 lower than projections. It’s about an 8 percent difference.

“That’s why it’s important that we prioritize what we’re going to do,” Davis said, “and what we’re going to spend money on.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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