On April 26, the Baxley City Council held a scheduled monthly meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Tim Varnadore announced that Councilman Pat Williams had passed away the night before. Mr. Williams had been a member of the city council for the past 25 years, serving as the councilman for District 6 during that time. The mayor and city council honored Williams by having an arrangement of flowers placed on the city council table in front of his seat. Mr. Williams was released by the city council of all his duties as a city council member.
The council will decide how to best fill the vacancy at a future meeting. A complete obituary for Mr. Williams can be found on page 2a.
After a few words were given from the mayor about Mr. Williams, the council moved on to the first item on the agenda, which was a presentation from Harris and Company on the annual city audit that the firm completed. The presentation was given by Harris and Company employee Campbell O’Steen. During the presentation, O’steen went over the general information of the audit, which covered a financial report of the city from the past year and a management letter. The first item that O’Steen went over was the financial report. The financial report shows that the city total net position, which is all governmental activities and business activities in the city, had an increase of $2,000,000. The unrestricted net position increased $322,000. The total governmental revenue for the year increased by $430,000. Total governmental assets increased by 3.5 million dollars, with a large portion of that increase from the water and sewer infrastructure projects that were completed this year. The general fund cash for the city did decrease this year due to the first round of the ARPA fund was in the general fund at the end of the 2021 year and was moved over to the ARPA fund during the 2022 year. The SPLOST cash increased this year due to there not being many items that needed to use SPLOST money from this past year. The ARPA money did increase this year due to the second round of ARPA funds being sent out. Receivables did decrease a little bit this past year. The amount from other funds to the general fund did increase, and accounts payable did stay close to the same amount. The unassigned fund balance on the general fund did increase. The total fund balance for everything increased this year. The revenue for everything and total expenditures for the city did increase as well this year. The proprietary fund, which is the fund that deals with the city’s water and sewer, did have a cash increase and the unrestricted fund balance did decrease. The revenue for the proprietary fund did increase, due to the change in the pension liability. Total expenses did increase this year on the proprietary fund. After all this the next part of the presentation that was talked about was the management letter, which looks at the internal controls of the city government. During this portion of the presentation, O’Steen said that there were no issues with the internal controls of the city government.
After that presentation the council then voted on several items. The first item that the council voted on was the adoption of the first reading of an annexation petition filed by Veronica Gordon for 113 Donnie Lewis Lane to be annexed into the city and established as a residential zone. Another adoption for the first reading of an annexation petition filed by Emma B. Surrency for 131 Old Ben Carter Road to be established as a residential zone in the city was voted on. The third item that was voted on was the approval of the application to parade or assemble filed by Wanda D. Stone/Appling County Ministerial Alliance to be held Saturday, May 6. The last item to be voted on was the approval of the resolution for the budget amendment for the ARPA fund. All of these items were approved by a unanimous vote by the city council.
After that the Mayor then had a few items to report. The first item that the mayor wanted to report was the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast that is to be held May 4 at Baxley Church of God. He said that Ashely Tyree would be coming over from Hazlehurst to speak at the event and that everybody is not going to want to miss him speaking. After that the Mayor wanted to thank the City Public Works crew and the Baxley Police Department for their help in the beautification day that was held the Saturday before the meeting.
The next report that was given was from City Manager Keri Orvin. The city manager started off her report with the beautification day. Orvin stated that there were between 50-60 bags of trashed picked up that day and she wanted to thank all the volunteers, the city council members, the City Public Works crew, and the City Police Department for all their help that day. The next item Orvin reported was that the city was hoping to have Lucky Street open either by the end of last week or the beginning of this week. She said that they were not sure if it would be opened last week due to the weather that was supposed to come in at the end of the week. City Manager Orvin did say that there were several meetings that were going to be going on this week. The first one that she mentioned was the monthly meeting with the city’s engineering firm Hofstadter and Associate to go over the city’s current engineering projects. She also said that she was going to be meeting with State Senator Jon Ossoff to see about possibly acquiring some additional funds from the federal government. Orvin then reports that she was in Athens the day before meeting with Connected Resilience Communities Project, which is technical assistance from the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering and Design. This project is helping to work on some items for the downtown portion of the city for redevelopment for the area and some other aspects to help increase prosperity for the community. The last item that Orvin wanted to mention was that Administrative Professional’s Day was last Wednesday and she wanted to recognize all of the city’s administrative professionals.
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