Adel staff answered extensive questions about the budget, in the Adel City Council meeting, Tuesday, August 8, 2020. The proposed wood pellet plant for export to Europe was criticised by several local citizens, and defended by members of local authorities and commissions, as well as its CEO, speaking from Houston, Texas, on a laptop screen.
Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item and each speaker, with a few notes. See also the agenda, and posts by WWALS Watershed Coalition: Adel wood pellet plant sourcing radius: entire Suwannee River basin in Georgia 2020-09-08, Adel agenda and WWALS letter 2020-09-08, and Wood pellet plant: speakers and documents @ Adel City Council 2020-09-08.
Order 1. Invocation 2. Pledge
3. Approval of Minutes –Buddy Duke, Mayor
4. Visitors: Pastor Phil Morris Jr., Sparks, GA
Video. Pastor Phil Morris Jr., Sparks, GA, started to speak, but was informed by City Manager John Flythe that speakers about the biomass plant would be in the Public Hearing.
5. A. Budget 20-21 presentation –John Flythe, City Manager
Video. City Manager John Flythe said the Council has heard the budget numerous times already, every line item in detail. So now he presents only general comments.
Total budget is $29,216,600, with general fund, electric, gas, water sewer, etc.
They’re up $926,875 in the general fund. Because they typically have half a million dollars in road resurfacing, but this year $1.5 million, funded by SPLOST, GDOT (so apparently T-SPLOST). They will borrow the funds, and pay back over a 3-year period. Every three years they will do it again. There is about $5 million of paving to do. So in nine years they will have resurfaced “everything in our community”.
Water sales are up by $16,000 due to selling more water. Sewer sales are up $36,000. Electricity is up $2.467 million. Gas revenues are down. They ran a gas line all the way to Lenox, but not all have connected.
No tax millage increase nor utility rate increase since 2011. Gas rates have come down because of price of natural gas coming down.
Taxes generate $891,750. Budget: general fund is $8,863,000. So taxes are only about 10% of general fund. The rest comes from utilities and “a myriad of other revenue sources.”
Added three departments in last couple of years.
$113,000 Downtown development $104,000 Community development “heavy into housing rehab” $85,000 Marshall position, added in last six months $200,000 into medical facility
Rest of budget is “kind of boilermaker”.
5.A Budget: Questions –Altheia Paige @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. She didn’t say her name, she was apparently Altheia Paige. She quizzed the City Manager extensively about the budget, and the Police Chief, too.
6.A. Ordinance 20-08 (actually millage rate) –John Flythe, City Manager @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. First reading of the ordinance about the millage rate. It was not in the agenda order, as City Manager John Flythe later notes.
6. B. For Annexation and Rezoning
Video. Each side gets 15 minutes: for and against.
For: Renewable Biomass –Craig Whitlock, CEO, Houston, TX @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
For: Annexation is just north of racetrack –Howard McClain, member, AIDA @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. The plant is slated to be on land the Adel Industrial Development Authority has been buying up for years.
For: Monumental for Adel; testimonial for Whitlock –Lisa Collins, E.D. CCEDC @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. An emotional testimonial for Craig Whitlock by Lisa Collins, Executive Director of the Cook County Economic Development Commission.
For: wrapup –Craig Whitlock, CEO, Renewable Biomass, Houston, TX
Against: air pollution –Miriam Jones, Sparks, GA
Against: Train and truck traffic –Phil Morris Jr., Sparks, GA @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Against: Whole trees in air permit application –Sharon Locklear, Cook Co., GA @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. Despite CEO Whitlock saying no whole trees would be burned, Sharon Locklear asserted that his company’s air permit application says whole trees.
Against: Environmental injustice and secrecy –Treva Gear, Valdosta, GA @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. Dr. Gear asserted that CEO Whitlock did not know Adel.
Answer: No tax abatements, yet 10 years no tax –Howard McClain @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. Answering a question by Dr. Gear, Judge Howard McClain said tax abatements were illegal in Georgia, but the plant would get 10 years without tax because it would be located on land owned by the Adel Industrial Development Authority.
Against: Noise –Roland Tiveron, Adel, GA
No questions, Council, wood pellet plant annex. 2. minutes rezoning –Buddy Duke, Mayor @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Second reading will be Monday, 21 Sep 2020, 5:30 PM –John Flythe, City Manager
Video. City Manager John Flythe read from the two relevant ordinances:
- Ordinance 20-06 to Annex
- Ordinance 20-07 to Rezone A-U (Agricultural) to H-I (Heavy Industry)
He said there was a previous public hearing by the Greater Cook County Planning and Zoning Commission, after a public notice.
This was just the first reading in this City Council meeting. The second reading will be third Monday of the month, September 21, 2020, 5:30 PM, same as for the budget ordinances.
6.B. Ordinance 20-08 (already read) 7. Adjourn @ Adel CC 2020-09-08
Video. City Manager John Flythe said he had already done the first reading of the millage rate ordinance earlier when they were wrapping up budget. So they adjourned.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: Budget and wood pellet farm –Adel City Council 2020-09-08
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Adel City Hall, Adel, Cook County, Georgia.
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