At the city council meeting on Tuesday, Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds and Richmond Hill Fire Chief Vernon Rushing introduced the new addition to their rosters.
Chief Reynolds introduced three new officers which he noted were all Richmond Hill residents: Lance Warren a former Chatham county police officer and former professional baseball player with the Dodgers, John Zirpolo – who is finishing out his notice as a Rincon police officer before coming aboard - and Lee Rodriquez, a former Garden City police officer. Reynolds noted that there are now 25 total full-time officers on the force.
Chief Rushing introduced four new city firefighters: Tim Hebert, former Bryan County firefighter; Andy Burris, current Liberty County Deputy EMS Director and former Bryan County firefighter, Lee Newton, former Bryan County firefighter, and George Perez, former Dafuskie Island, South Carolina firefighter and former long-time volunteer firefighter locally. Rushing noted that there are now eight total full-time firefighters in the city and that all but Burriss are Richmond Hill residents.
In other business, several motions were adopted to make way for the new Kroger mega-store adjacent to Richmond Place, which has yet to break ground. This included approval for the signs and building elevations for the Kroger and the adjacent commercial plaza and fuel center.
Plannning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar mentioned a public hearing was recently held which was attended by just one individual and no opposition was voiced against the project.
Mayor Davis, recalling the controversy stirred last year by concerned Richmond Place residents, spoke of notifying the residents as they were told in the past that the city would keep them apprised of new developments with the project. City Manager Mike Melton said he would send a letter to the Richmond Place Homeowner’s Association to update them on the new rulings.
Other topics included:
• Mayor Richard Davis publicly announced that the city’s clerk, Ursula Lee, was named Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association’s Clerk of the Year.
• Chief Reynolds announced a resolution to donate three of their used police cars to the City of Ludowici. You may have noticed the six new RHPD Dodge Chargers that are now on the road. Two of them were introduced last year which makes a total of eight currently in use.
• A proposed outdoor deck to back of Steamer’s restaurant was approved.
• The final plat was approved for developer Lamar Smith’s Ford Park of Commerce commercial complex – a 19 unit tract adjacent to Richmond Place. Smith noted that 14 of the 19 1-5 acre lots are already under contract.
• Approval was granted for a smokehouse to be added to the back of the upcoming Smokin’ Pig barbecue restaurant. It will be located adjacent to Subway and Chu’s on Highway 17 where a liquor store used to be. Owner Kevin Fabre said that he hopes to open within the next couple of months and it will feature "a barbecue sauce that is an old family recipe from where I grew up in Odom, Georgia."
• A beer and wine license was granted for new Publix manager and Richmond Hill resident David Everett. The store is slated to open within the next six months.
• City Finance Director Bob Whitmarsh reported the good news of the December financial report that the city revenue was running at 105 percent with expenditures at 98 percent. Mayor Pro Tem Floyd Hilliard complimented Melton and Whitmarsh for their contributions to making that happen.
• A motion was passed to make President’s Day, starting in 2008, a holiday for city employees.