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Evans Local Government

What happened in Claxton on July 17, 2017

The Claxton City Council met for a regularly scheduled council meeting on July 17 at City Hall. It was the only meeting of the month due to the Independence Day holiday.


Councilman Jeff Rogers was not present due to a work conflict. All other members were present, as was Mayor Terry Branch, Interim City Administrator Carter Crawford, City Clerk Diane Parker, and City Attorney Bill Callaway.

After convening the meeting with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegience, council approved the agenda for the meeting and the minutes from the June 19 council meeting.

Appointments to Local Appeals Board

Mayor Terry Branch told council members that only one name had been submitted to serve on the Board to fill the seat being vacated by Renee Baker. Gene Wilkes volunteered to fill the slot. Councilman Mel Kelly expressed concern over the balance of representation between district one and district two, but Mayor Branch assured Kelly that with this appointment, as well as the appointment to fill another slot that will soon be vacated, that the districts would be equally represented.

A motion was made to approve the appointment by Councilman Risher Willard and seconded by Councilman Dean Cameron.

Interim City Manager Carter Crawford

Animal Control Ordinance – Mr. Crawford presented council members with a sample ordinance which pertains to cats. Following a slew of complaints by residents about a feral cat problem, council had asked the Crawford work with Attorney Callaway to design an ordinance. Members of council were asked to take the ordinance home and draft any questions or comments for the next meeting in August.

Zoning Change

Council voted to approve the change in zoning of the property at the corner of North Peters Street and East Long Street from R-3 to CR. The change was approved by the zoning board on June 26. The property sits behind Hardee’s and is to become a dental office.

A motion was made by Councilman Larry Anderson and seconded by Willard.

The council went on to discuss Chamber events for the month of July and the change of date for National Night Out to July 25.

Before adjournment, Councilman Risher Willard brought the following issues to the attention of council:

  • A reminder that as of the council meeting, two members of council were not seeking re-election and qualifying for the election is in August
  • Willard asked Carter Crawford if he had advertised the city administrator position yet. Crawford said he had not and while his contract with the city was open-ended, he would be willing to stay until June of 2018, six months past the original expectation of December 2017. Crawford told council that if he stays through June, he would begin advertising the job in February.
  • Willard asked if anyone had applied for the city accounting position or the grass cutting job and Crawford told Willard that the position descriptions were in the process of being amended.
  • Willard asked if the ordinance revisions had been completed by the regional commission and the city clerk said the city had not received correspondence on the issue. She said she would call Tuesday.

Councilman Larry Anderson brought to the attention of council an issue with a property purchased by Donnell Benjamin. He said the property, previously owned by Kelly Montcrief, has a pond on it that was dug out in 1989. The pond has grown in size, is 12-15 feet deep, and covered in green slime. Anderson said he has received calls about the pond and whether or not it is a health hazard. He also expressed concern about a child falling in, the possibility of West Nile Virus, and a snake habitat. The pond is on private property, but Anderson said it would be best to contact the health department and to alert the property owner that should anything happen to someone on his property, he would be liable.

Attorney Bill Callaway told council the property owner needed to fix the water problem before trying to divert it on to someone else’s property.

Councilwoman Tina Hagan asked Mayor Branch to look into the cost of speed bumps on some city streets where children reside and play.

Council voted to schedule a dedication ceremony at City Hall for former Chief William Baggett who was killed in the line of duty. The event is scheduled for October 15 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Councilman Larry Anderson made a motion to adjourned which was seconded by Councilwoman Tina Hagan.

Councilman Willard led the prayer to dismiss and the meeting adjourned at 6:27 p.m.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

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