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City commission votes to change fee assessment for use of city facilities

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City commissioner Richard Hutchinson addresses the audience at the Douglas City Commission meeting Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Robert Preston Jr./Douglasnow.com City commissioner Richard Hutchinson addresses the audience at the Douglas City Commission meeting Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

From now on, organizations that use city facilities will pay a fee of some kind, regardless of for-profit or not-for-profit status. In the past, non-profit organizations wishing to use city facilities had often asked the city commission to waive any fees associated with using facilities for their events. In most cases, the commission agreed to waive the fees. At the last meeting, however, commissioners decided to re-visit the issue.

At Monday night’s city commission meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to administer a refundable deposit fee of $100 or $200, depending on the facility in question, and a non-refundable set up/rehearsal fee of $100 for those organizations and groups that had traditionally not been assessed any fees. “We need these maintenance and set up fees. It protects us and our equipment,” said Mayor James Dennis.

The commission covered a lengthy agenda following the facility fee discussion. The most notable item on the agenda was the first reading of a new private well ordinance. The ordinance states that no residential, commercial, or industrial facility within the city limits can put in a private well if city water is located within 100 feet of the property line. The commission will hold the second reading at the Sept. 22 commission meeting.

The commission also re-appointed Robert Moore, Bob Porter, and Andy Purvis to the Airport Commission. Commissioners also re-appointed Brenda Veal and Melissa Rowell to the Historic Preservation Commission. They also heard the first reading of an amendment to the Historic Preservation Ordinance, which would reduce the number of members on the HPC from 11 to five.

In other business, the commission approved two change orders for the North Pearl Avenue project, one an increase of $67,225 and the other a decrease of $53,117.50, which brings the project in $172 under budget; a lease agreement for the Civil Air Patrol to use World War II building #9 at the airport; the proposed route for Family Connection’s 5K run on Oct. 25; the purchase of aluminum sulfate from ChemTrade Company of Parsippany, N.J., for $26,850; equipment for the new police cars from West Chatham Warning Devices for $29,706.60; a quit claim deed to Wiregrass Technical College related to a new allied health and public safety training center the college will build in the near future; and the maintenance agreement between the city and Atlanta Gas Light Company for maintenance at the new compressed natural gas facility.

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