The Baxley City Council held its meeting August 26 at 8:30 a.m. Mayor Tim Varnadore called the meeting to order and Reverend Rick Brown gave the invocation. Councilwoman Betty Livingston was excused due to her being in the hospital recovering from hip injuries.

At the meeting the mayor proposed a proclamation recognizing James. L. Godfrey’s 44 years of service with the Baxley Police Department. The proclamation stated that he had started his career at the age of 21 as a dispatcher and climbed through the ranks to become Chief in 1988. Since then Godfrey has been credited with numerous achievements and completed over 2,000 hours of police training. He has written many grants and has received numerous awards and honors. One such honor was being invited to the White House Rose Garden for special recognition by President Clinton in connection with a federal war on crime grant he wrote and received on behalf of the city. The chief has worked hard to ensure the continuous progress of the police department’s growth and advancements. He has solved many crimes and worked with the Sheriff’s Office to better the relationship between city and county. He has worked with five mayors, five city managers, five sheriff’s and 18 city council members. Godfrey holds the distinction of being one of the longest serving police chiefs in the state of Georgia.

Police Chief Godfrey retired effective August 31, 2020 and passes the position of police chief to Jeffery Taylor. A motion to accept the proclamation was made by Mayor Pro Tem Mickey Bass, seconded by Councilwoman Santina Fryer, and passed unanimously. The plaque with the resolution was presented to Godfrey. The mayor opened the floor to the public for comments. Multiple people spoke praises for the former chief and shared their experiences with him both professionally and personally. When all other members of the public had finished, Godfrey commented that his tenure with the police department had been a blast, he was happy to see many friends and mentors at the meeting to honor him and that he knows he leaves the city in good hands. He is happy to spend more time with his family and will keep in touch with all his friends. He closed with a comment...“Keep it simple, love God, and love people.”

Other business

Bass made a motion to approve re-appointing David McCall to the Housing Authority Board. His term expires October 20, 2020, and if re-appointed, it would expire October 21, 2025. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Ora Hall and cleared unanimously.

Hall made a motion to approve one application to parade, assemble or demonstrate. The parade will gather at the Appling County Court House, walk down Tippins Street and end at the Sheriff’s Office. The application will allow the city to shut down Tippins Street during the time of the parade. The motion was seconded by Bass and carried by unanimous vote.

Fryer made a motion to set a public hearing date for September 22 at 6:00 p.m. to hear comments on a petition for annexation filed by ANCA Investments LLC, that land located at 160 Azelea Road, be annexed and established a Business (B-2) Zone in Voting District 1. The motion was seconded by Councilman Adam Thomas and cleared unanimously.

Fryer made a motion to set a budget workshop date for August 31 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss General and Water/Sewer Funds draft budgets. The motion was seconded by Hall and carried by unanimous vote.

Bass made a motion to set a public hearing date for September 10 at 6:00 p.m. to hear comments on the City’s Proposed FY2020 Budget. The motion was seconded by Fryer and cleared unanimously.

Bass made a motion to approve the 2020 Tax Digest and 5 year history of levy for advertisement in The Baxley News-Banner. The motion was seconded by Thomas and carried by unanimous vote.

City Attorney Alex Johnson made a request to enter into executive session for reasons of potential litigation. The council voted unanimously to enter into the closed door session. There was no action taken following the executive session.