Monday's council meeting
At the top of Monday’s Augusta City Council meeting was the announcement that Mayor Matt C. Childers had submitted his letter of resignation. The announcement by Councilman Mike Rawlings came as a surprise as Childer’s term was due to expire in April of 2019.
Rawlings shared that Childers was leaving the post due to “health concerns and the welfare of his family.”
Council president Rawlings will serve as mayor until the next election, November 2019. Mike Rawlings, Ward 3, has served since 2000.
Childers was elected to City Council in February 2009. He was re-elected in April 2011 and was appointed Mayor in November 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Kristey Williams.
The City of Augusta released Childers’ letter to the public yesterday morning. It read,
“Augustans, City Staff, and City Council,
Last week my youngest daughter and I were walking to Garfield Elementary Fun Night when we saw a good friend sitting on his porch. We stopped by for a brief visit and through the course of the conversation, our friend asked my daughter if she was glad I was Mayor. She responded immediately, “No, I’m happy about all the things that are happening in town, but it takes up a lot of his time.” It was strikingly similar to a conversation we had with another friends in Walmart a couple weeks prior.
These conversations, coupled with some recent health concerns, have given me pause and the opportunity to reflect on the last nine years of public service. After visiting with our City Manager, our President of the Council, and a couple council members, I have chosen today to step down as Mayor.
Lifelong Augustan, Ward Three Councilman, and President of the Council Mike Rawlings will step into the role as Mayor. Mr. Rawlings, along with the rest of our fantastic council and our amazing city staff care deeply about our community. Augusta is on a healthy path and will continue with its community makeover. I have enjoyed my nine years serving the citizens of Augusta and feel overwhelmingly proud of our hometown. I hope you do, too.
Matt C. Childers”.
Rawlings stated that he would miss Childers and advised, “Because of my job, I may not be as accessible to the public, but feel free to call me - you can leave a message - or if you see me around town, you’re welcome to speak to me.”
Mayor Rawlings read a proclamation stating that May 19, 2018 is the eighth Kids to Parks Day organized and launched by the National Park Trust, held annually on the third Saturday of May. Residents are encouraged to take their children to a neighborhood, state, or national park.
Don and Monica McClure with Flint Hills Multisport, LLC, d/b/a Flatwater Fitness & Fun presented a request to the Council to host a Paddle to Gravel Adventure Race at Santa Fe Lake on September 15, 2018.
The Paddle to Gravel Adventure Race is a triathlon event planned to take place on the north shore of Santa Fe Lake that will include Stand Up Paddle boarding, gravel biking, and trail running. The paddle boarding and the trail run will take place on the north side of the lake with the gravel portion on roads within the 10-mile radius around the lake.
“I’m supportive of this, but was wondering if we have any details on a safety plan? What is the protocol and will there be on-site professionals?” asked Councilor Cale Magruder.
City Manager Josh Shaw advised Council that the date needed to be set and that if they approve the event, then he could still come back with more details concerning insurance and safety.
Council approved the event on Sept. 15, 2018.
Also approved was a request from Public Safety Director Bob Sage. Sage appeared before the Council to request the purchase of two Ford Explorers for the Safety Department.
The department budgets for the replacement of two vehicles each year, however this year the department advocated for two Ford Explorers instead of Chevy Tahoes, which had been purchased before.
The recommendation stated that over the course of the Tahoes’ service life, wear/tear and repairs had become a routine problem.
Sage advised that two Ford Interceptor SUVs are currently part of the department fleet, but not utilized for patrol purposes. Recently the Fords have rotated among all working officers for the purpose of evaluation. The smaller interior space was noted, but not believed to be prohibitive by the patrol officers. The test driving results support using the Fords for patrol purposes.
Council approved seeking bids, 7-0. Shaw reminded council members that $70,000 is provided in the 2018 Budget for replacement of two police vehicles. In prior years, Ford Explorer bids after trade in averaged around $4,500 cheaper per vehicle.
City Lake Road projects
The City recently conducted a public bid opening for paving projects for the 2017 Street Sales Tax program and the Augusta City Lake Road. The bid documents were structured such that the bid award was for the total base bid, which consisted of the base bid for street sales tax projects (Lakeside II) plus the City Lake road. Funding for these projects comes from two different sources.
In February the Council approved paving the portion of the City Lake Road around Shryock Park and the Splash Park from the south trail crossing to the road north of the Play Park and the part from Augusta Ave. to the parking lot entrance at Cottonwood Point, including the parking lot for erosion control.
Council was advised Monday evening that all four bidders came in significantly below the engineer’s estimate.
“This is exciting. This provides us a full opportunity to do more,” City Manager Shaw said.
The low bid from APAC came in more th an $1 million below estimates and the high bid from another bidder came in about $850,000 below the engineer’s estimate.
“How often do you see change orders? Do we need to earmark some for change orders?” asked Councilor Magruder.
City engineer Mike Stump advised that earmarking 5 percent or less would provide room to work with.
Council approved the bid award to APAC for the combined total base bid of $680,569.60 for the street sales tax base bid (Lakeside II) and City Lake Road in the amount of $680,569.60. Also approved was $172,352 for the Add Alternate.
Fireworks for 150th Celebration
Council approved last month a funding plan for a second fireworks show to be held this year in September in conjunction with Augusta’s 150th Celebration. Approved Monday night was the agreement with Rainbows Fireworks in the amount of $7,500.
The fireworks show will be held the night of the homecoming football game. In order to provide the best opportunity for viewing for a large crowd was to stage in a clear zone approximately 350 feet from buildings. The Augusta Country Club has agreed to provide the staging area for the fireworks show about 425 feet behind the visitors stands in the stadium, between Hole 1 green and Hole 2 tee.
• Council approved an agreement with Flint Hills Multisport LLC for use of facilities at Santa Fe Lake for on-shore fitness and cross-training activities and human-powered watercraft activities, including Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga and Open Water Paddleboard, canoe and kayak rental contingent upon submission of all required insurance documentation.
• Approved agreement with Flint Hills Multisport LLC for use of Augusta City Lake as needed and a $300 usage fee.
• A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Garvin Park Concessions Facility at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27.