The Richmond Hill City Council met in regular session Tuesday with a mixture of council members gathering at City Hall and via video to maintain social distancing while beginning to meet in a semi-normal manner. The council discussed local businesses with the Downtown Development Authority and a preliminary plat for Medline at Belfast Commercial Park.
Scott Allison told the council the Planning Commission has approved plans for the GeoVista Credit Union site discussed at the May 5 city council meeting. Allison then introduced Downtown Development Authority (DDA) chairman Georgene Brazer.
With the challenge that social distancing has placed on local businesses, Brazer said the DDA wants to help the 34 mom-and-pop businesses in Richmond Hill that contribute to the city’s revenue. Brazer said the DDA has awarded $1000 micro-loans with a zero-percent interest rate to each for a total of $34,000 in exchange for forty $25 gift certificates from each restaurant. Brazer said these gift certificates are going first to fire, police, and emergency services workers as a “thank you” for their service to the community.
She reported that approximately 60 percent of the gift certificates used added around an additional 38 percent to the $25 amount putting more money into the business.
Brazer said the DDA is working on a community food drive in cooperation with Waystation Food Pantry that would incentivize residents to donate food in exchange for a gift certificate in the hopes of putting more revenue into those local restaurants. According to Brazer, any remaining gift certificates could be given to other local businesses to use as incentives for their customers as well.
The council then approved the preliminary plat submitted by Raydient Places + Properties for Belfast Commercial Park, parcel 15A for Medline. Allison said the plat is in the northwest quadrant of the soon-to-be Exit 82 that is designated for commercial use with Belfast Commerce. According to Allison the plat meets all the city’s requirements and is the first step in the development of this parcel as engineering plans have been submitted to the Planning Commission for review.
Allison said the plans include a designated right-of- way and common storm water detention ponds. Allison also clarified that the second entrance brought to the council’s attention at the May 5 meeting is not a city requirement, but something Medline has decided they want to have for emergencies.
The council also approved the January to March first quarter financials though video sound quality made it difficult to understand every word spoken. Even commenters watching the video of the meeting on Facebook were unable to fully understand what was going on in the conversation about the first quarter financials due to video audio quality.
A Georgia Department of Correction work detail agreement was also approved by the council with a change in cost from $39,500 between 2013 and June 30, 2020, to an increase to $49,318 for fiscal year 2021 – July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. According to City Manager Chris Lovell, this is approximately a $10 an hour expense per worker.
At the meeting, Lavetris Singleton was sworn in as a member of the Planning Commission. Singleton has a Bachelors in Political Science from Florida State University, a Master’s of Education, and is currently the provost at Savannah State University.
She has served as the chairman of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee and coordinated fundraisers for the community.