The Richmond Hill City Council met Tuesday night via teleconference on Facebook Live. The council proceeded with the business of the city of Richmond Hill in the midst of a statewide shelter-in-place order by Gov. Brian Kemp in response to a global outbreak of COVID-19.
The council approved a contract with R.B. Baker for the Richmond Hill Regional Connector Road Construction Project in the amount of $3.98 million funded from SPLOST according to City Manager Chris Lovell.
The notice for bids on the Richmond Hill website included clearing, grubbing, grading and installation of approximately 11,400 linear-feet of roadway including drainage, graded aggregate base, asphalt paving and curbing.
Council member Steve Scholar asked about the availability of other general fund items that could be funded through SPLOST to make up for any potential property tax revenue decreases due to the COVID19 pandemic that has forced many businesses to close their doors temporarily.
Scholar hypothesized a 20 percent reduction in property tax revenue, and asked if there were areas where the city could mitigate the financial hit.
Lovell agreed that if such a decrease were to happen, it would be catastrophic; however, he pointed out that following the financial recession of 2008, the City of Richmond Hill saw a flat property tax revenue meaning the revenue did not increase but it did not decrease either.
“I don’t think we’ll see a real estate reduction in value,” Lovell said. He told Scholar that the city does have items in the general fund that could help reduce a reduction.
Council member Robbie Ward asked Lovell if renegotiation was possible. Lovell answered that a renegotiation would mean a rebidding process that could put off the project by another 30 to 60 days. He assured the council that the project would come in under their original budget of about $4.5 million.
“We don’t know when the economy is going to turn around,” he said. “I feel like we have a good, fair number, and it could go the other way if we rebid.”
The council also approved a request by Mark Adam Thomas for an alcohol license to sell beer, wine and liquor for on-premises consumption at Funky Bunch Hospitality doing business as Bubba’s Bistro at 3881 US Highway 17.
According to City Clerk Dawne Greene, Thomas completed all background checks and met all distancing requirements which includes being 100 feet away from churches and day cares.
The council asked the citizens of Richmond Hill to pray for those affected by COVID-19, thanked them for adhering to social distancing regulations and thanked those who have served as first responders and essential personnel through the last few weeks.
For information about COVID-19, residents can follow the city of Richmond Hill’s Facebook page, WeAreRichmondHill and visit their website, richmondhill-ga.gov