City Manager Mike Melton said at the Jan. 20 city council meeting that the wastewater sludge clean-up at the Sterling Creek treatment plant is not only going smoothly, but it looks as if it will only cost half of the $425,000 council approved in October to handle the "emergency situation".In October, Melton said approximately 700 tons of waste need to be removed, which has accumulated over the last 11 years. He compared it to a septic tank that had reached capacity. He said the weight is looking to be around 350 tons but said it is not yet final. Public works supervisor Rick Lauver said the work should be completed by the end of the month.
Also at the meeting, council unanimously gave the nod to induct replacement members to both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Convention and Business Bureau.
Mulberry resident and City of Savannah employee Curtis Sanders was sworn into his new seat in the Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Commission. The slot became available when council voted to dismiss Fred Giebrich from his duties last month. Giebrich couldn't be reached and city officials did not say why he was dismissed.
Mayor Richard Davis said Sanders is involved in Savannah’s recycling program and "his resume is astonishing."
"My desire to come and serve on the board resides in the fact that I want to be a part of the process that enables everyday citizens to help maintain the great quality of life in Richmond Hill," Sanders said.
Savannah resident and tourism specialist Andy Uhlig was voted in as the newest member of the Richmond Hill CVB Board. Also approved was the appointment of Page Printing owner Keith Page as CVB Chairman. Page replaces the departing Aimee Harris, a Richmond Hill attorney. It was announced that Harris and Steamer’s owner Danny Butler have left the board, each stating that time demanded from their respective businesses no longer allows them the time required to serve the board. Council voted to renew the terms of CVB board members Jody McIntyre, Kenny Patel and Brandy Williams. There are currently two vacancies on the board.
CVB Administrator Chris Sheppard gave an update on the group’s website, saying the new and improved site is up and loaded at www.richmondhillvisit.com. Also, council approved a contract between the city and the CVB that allows the city to oversee CVB business.
"I think the addition of checks and balances is a positive move for both entities," councilperson JoAnn Bickley said.
In other business:
- Restaurant owner Demetrios John Sotiropoulos was approved for an alcoholic beverage license for his new restaurant called Bella Luna. It will be in the spot where defunct restaurants Black Angus and 3-J’s have been, attached to the Knight’s Inn on Hwy. 17. Sotiropoulos said, unlike the predecessors at the locale, his place will focus more on food than alcohol. He pledged to bring quality dining, citing that his Guyton restaurant ‘The Olive Branch’ has received critical acclaim. He said his family owned The Olympus, which used to be in the spot many years ago.
- P&Z Director Steve Scholar said the tree ordinance "has turned into a fairly complex document" but should be presented at the next council meeting. Melton said the wait has been worthwhile because the Home Builders Association has been able to participate in the process, noting that tree ordinances have been a target of state legislature lately due to the housing slump.