City sells property

In its latest meeting, the Oneonta City Council voted unanimously to sell the Heritage Green golf course and Twin Oaks club property to present lessee Jimmy Hamby. The council had accepted Hamby’s bid on the property in February.

That bid had proposed a lease-to-purchase arrangement with a monthly $25,000 lease extending up to one year and a negotiated purchase price of between $200,000 and $400,000. Hamby offered the city a $100,000 purchase and a promised minimum $100,000 in additional improvements in the latest accepted purchase offer.

As outlined by city attorney Alex Smith, the deal would relieve the city of tax responsibilities and considerable liability. He noted that Hamby had been the only bidder on the property. He held that Hamby has agreed to operate the clubhouse and already has the course open.

The city previously rezoned the property from agriculture to residential as had been outlined in the original bid specifications. Smith noted the city has reserved the first right of refusal, should Hamby decide to sell, at a price equivalent to Hamby’s purchase and investment expenses.

Should the city decide not to exert its option and no other buyer agrees to operate the facilities as outlined, Smith projects the property would likely become residential lots. Councilors posed only two minor questions prior to the vote.

Robert Avery of the 2020 Census addressed the council on the importance of an accurate count and his need for dozens of census workers. Avery said he needs 84 workers by June 1 and presently has only 45.

The first workers will verify addresses at very competitive wages and with 58-cents-per-mile reimbursements. After that phase, the census will need 400 local “door knockers” as a small portion of the estimated 500,000 total census workers over the country. Those 18 years of age or older wishing employment must apply online.

Councilors approved a $48,000 fire department purchase request for a used 2000 E-1 pumper truck from a Texas department. Members also approved a lease purchase agreement for a Caterpillar 303 mini-excavator ($51,871.33), and a Caterpillar hex thumb hydraulic 304 ($2,035.48).

The council approved hiring Dustin Barrs and Lillian Sweatt as summer circulation clerks for the public library. It accepted the prepared human resource officer job description, as written by that current officer, Dalton Farmer. The city has charged Farmer the task of updating its job descriptions.

Blount County – Oneonta Chamber of Commerce director Barbara Andersen reported her organization has completed negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to provide chamber member employers the opportunity to enroll in a health insurance plan. Would-be clients must have two or more employees working a minimum of 30 hours a week to access the program.

The council voted to hold a special session to review its mid-year report on Tuesday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m.

All council members (Mayor Ross Norris and councilors Hal Blackwood, Nathaniel Butler, Richard Phillips, Danny Robinson, and Tonya Rogers) attended the April 23 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.