SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

A Special Called meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 9:03 A.M., Tuesday, September 16, 2014, on the 2nd Floor of the Citizens Service Center, located at 3111 Citizens Way, Columbus, Georgia Honorable Teresa Tomlinson, Mayor, presiding.
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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Teresa Tomlinson were Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh, Councilors R. Gary Allen, Mike Baker, Jerry Barnes, and Judy W. Thomas. Deputy City Manager David Arrington, City Attorney Clifton Fay, Assistant City Attorney Lucy Sheftall, Clerk of Council Tiny Washington and Deputy Clerk of Council Sandra Davis were also present. Councilor Bruce Huff took his seat at the Council table at 9:10 a.m. Councilor Evelyn Woodson took her seat at the Council table at 9:57 a.m.
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ABSENT: Councilors Glenn Davis, Berry Henderson and Charles E. McDaniel Jr. were absent. City Manager Isaiah Hugley was absent, but was represented by Deputy City Manager Arrington.
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INVOCATION: Led by Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Led by the Student Council from Rigdon Road
Elementary School.
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Mayor Tomlinson said we are probably going to be struggling with having a quorum on today and said we have two items that are on second reading, which would require a vote of the Council and then asked City Attorney Fay to present his two second reading items for a vote and then we can come back to the first reading after the Work Session Agenda.



An Ordinance – Authorizing “working spouse” eligibility for coverage in the Columbus Consolidated Government Employee/Retiree Self Funded Medical Benefit Plan conditioned upon payment of a monthly surcharge of $371.45; and for other purposes. Councilor Allen moved the adoption of the ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Barnes. There was an inconclusive vote of four to two, with Councilors Allen, Barnes, Thomas and Turner Pugh voting for the motion and Councilors Baker and Huff voting against the motion.

City Attorney Fay pointed out that he would bring the ordinance back at the next regular meeting on next Tuesday.

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An Ordinance (14-49) – Rezoning properties located at 1450 and 1454 54th Street, from LMI (Light Manufacturing/Industrial) zoning district to GC (General Commercial) zoning district. The purpose of the rezoning is for business and professional offices/building construction office and shop. Councilor Thomas moved the adoption of the ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Allen and carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Woodson having not yet arrived and Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel being absent for this meeting.

Mayor Tomlinson said we can come back to the first reading items, which will be open for discussion as she doesn’t think there will be any issues with any of them.
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NOTE: The City Attorney’s Agenda is continued below.
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Mr. Phil Tomlinson came forward and introduced the other two members of his committee, who was present along with him this morning; Ms. Marquette McKnight and Mr. Justin Krieg who has been working on the City Village Concept. He said Justin Krieg with Historic Columbus has been leading the project and has primarily being doing all of the work. He said they would like to take a few minutes of the Council’s time this morning to go through this matter. He said many of the Council members went on a tour with them a few weeks ago and he is hopeful that you found that was very eye opening. He said they are excited about this concept and thinks it is one of the next big things for our City.

Mr. Justin Krieg, acting as spokesperson for the group, then came forward and made a twenty minute presentation and provided the following information, as outlined below as it relates to the proposed development of City Village.
Owner Occupied Housing: 12.9%
Mean Family income: $14,223 (3rd lowest in Muscogee County, Census tract 1600)
55% of the Population lives in Poverty (17% Georgia)
Serves as Gateway to Columbus
Entrance to Uptown and Whitewater
Source: 2012 U.S. Census Bureau

Most property appears to have passed through Family estates
Investment/Rental Property
City owned property (nearly 45% of land area)
(50 out of an estimated 350 parcels)
Primary zoning is RMF-2 (up to 16 units per acre) and general Commercial
Executive Committee
Marquette McKnight
Phil Tomlinson
Teresa Tomlinson
David Arrington
Hal Averett
Elizabeth Barker
Marcus Gibson
Jackie Lowe
Philip Thayer
Len Williams

Mr. Krieg said they have approximately 56 other individuals who are interested in this concept and have attended many of the stakeholder’s meetings. He also showed several photos to indicate the conditions of the area along the stretch of 2nd Avenue going into downtown Columbus. He said there are a number of houses boarded up on 2nd Avenue.

Code Violations
3rd Poorest Census Tract in Muscogee County
2nd Avenue Corridor
1st Avenue Disconnect
Absentee Property Owners
Infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, Substation)

Gateway entrance into Columbus
Affordable Housing
Existing housing stock
Housing authority site
Riverfront Property
Proximity to major employment centers
Columbus Regional
Columbus State University
Multi-modal Transportation
Streets (most w/ Sidewalks)
Public Transportation
Infill Development
Commercial and Residential
Control of vacant land

Mr. Krieg said they have been in contact with Len Williams and Amy Moore of the Housing Authority, who also serves on the steering committee and said that both of them have endorsed the idea of the possible redevelopment of Chase Homes.

Next Steps

After the conclusion of his presentation, Mr. Krieg then offered to respond to questions of members of the Council.

Mayor Tomlinson said she would hope that we see more, and more stakeholder driven opportunities for improved neighborhoods in our City. She said this area is next to one of the highest violent crime rates in our city. She said these redevelopment efforts have been shown in other cities to lower crime, as well as. improve schools and provide great communities for mixed affordable housing.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh said when we talk about redevelopment we have to also look at the traffic side of it, as well as the safety aspects of it. She said that reinforces the fact that you probably don’t want that many residential properties facing Second Avenue, but more of your commercial type properties. She said she was glad that we had the presentation, because initially she was under the impression that it went up to Bibb City, but said it doesn’t.

Discussion continued on this subject for some additional ten minutes with Mayor Tomlinson and members of the Council expressing their views, with Ms. McKnight and Mr. Krieg also responding to questions of members of the Council.

Councilor Thomas said as we go through this process, she is hopeful that some of those historical properties are enhanced and preserved. She said she is talking particularly about the old Macheny School. She said she would hate to see the school torn down, and yet it needs to be in line with what else is going on in that area. She said she would hope that we keep some of those kinds of things in mind as we move through there.

After Mr. Krieg concluded his presentation and responded to further questions of the Council, Mayor Tomlinson said the reason you are here is because you came forward for the approval of an RFP and said there was some money change. She said at one point, it was talked about as a grant and then it came up as another funding source, which somewhat surprised us. She said as you heard from the Council, this really needs to come from a source, such as grant monies or other types of funding that are pigeonholed for these types of things; not money that can be used for insurance, raises, public works and other things we need to be doing.

Mayor Tomlinson then called on Deputy City Manager Arrington to inform the Council of a funding source that they were able to come up with.

Deputy City Manager David Arrington said as Mr. Krieg has shown, the City has made a major investment over the years in property in this area from the standpoint of blight removal to opportunity purchases in conjunction with the old Second Avenue Redevelopment Plan. He said we have reached that critical mass to where this property needs to be redeveloped. However, the City is not in the redevelopment business; therefore, we have to partner with other agencies and organizations to do that. He said he really appreciates the stakeholders that we have involved in this effort to enter into this public/private partnership. He said it could be a public, public/private partnership because the Housing Authority also is a major stakeholder in property ownership in this area.

He said they were looking at a grant opportunity that they did apply for on last year, but said they were not selected for that grant; therefore, they looked for other funding opportunities. He said after presenting this matter to the Council at the last meeting, they have gone back and looked at other funding opportunities and said there are two sources that they have identified. Funds that are from the old UDAG program; the down payment assistance program that was terminated a number of years ago, but we are still receiving proceeds from the loan repayments. He said since the UDAG program is not a viable program; we could use those, as those funds that come back to us are unrestricted and are placed into an account.
He said we have used those funds in the past for a number of the flood studies when we had the major flooding issues. He said that account now has about $130,000 in it.

He said the other funding source that they felt was appropriate in this case because as Justin has indicated there are two funding sources where we acquired property in this area, which is the Community Development Block Grant fund
and the other is the general funds.

Deputy City Manager Arrington said with the Community Development Block Grant funds, we will be required to provide low to moderate income home ownership or housing opportunities in this area. He said we do have some funding in the Community Development Block Grant from prior years unallocated or unused funds. He said we felt like for the planning of the redevelopment of this area, that the Community Development Block Grant funds would be an appropriate funding source in part for this effort, with the understanding that there would be planning for the redevelopment of this area to provide low to moderate income housing, which is one of the goals of this effort to provide a mixed income community.

He said what they will bring back to the Council is two funding sources to fund the $225,000 study. The first would be $125,000 from the UDAG funds and the other will be $100,000 from the prior year’s unused funds from the Community Development Block Grant funds.

After the final discussion on this matter, Mayor Tomlinson then pointed out that there will be a resolution that will come before the Council on the City Manager’s Agenda.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh said if any members of the Council have any questions before next Tuesday, to get your questions to Deputy City Manager Arrington.

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Celebrating a “Doable City!”

Ms. Betsy Covington, President of the Community Foundation came forward and read the following statement as outlined below.

As most of you know, the Community Foundation is now a $100 million public foundation geared toward helping people use the tools of philanthropy to improve their communities… now and forever. I appreciate the chance to come before you today. Thank you, Mayor Tomlinson, for this opportunity. I’m here to let you know of some conversations that have been taking place lately in our community. While they’re not “new ideas” – some people who are aware of the concepts of Smart Growth and New Urbanism have been talking about them for years – and you’ve shown your support for the ideas by recently passing the Complete Streets Ordinance. Truly, the idea of building a “Doable City” is hitting Columbus at what may be a pivotal point in city’s evolution.

She said we want for Columbus to be a successful city where people believe they – and their children – have a say in their future. Where citizens are engaged in civic life, enjoy gathering together in public spaces, and can easily move around for recreation or transportation. We want this to be a city that attracts creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who – statistics show us -- increasingly choose where they want to live first and either find – or create – jobs second.

Ms. Covington said what we’re seeing is cities that can affect this transformation by activating some of their best public spaces. She said there are four things that she will highlight in her presentation this morning, which is outlined below.

Ms. Covington also said in the next few minutes, she will:
Ms. Covington said the conference was organized by the 8-80 Cities Group, which helps design and improve cities around the world. She said as Gil Penoza, ED of 8-80 Cities, says: By 2050 the world population is expected to increase by 2.3 billion…, and urban areas are expected to gain 2.6 billion in population. Closer to home, over these 40 years the population of the US will increase by 130 million and over 50 million homes will be built. She said from these projected numbers, it is clear that urban areas will absorb all of the world population growth expected in the next four decades as well as additional migration from rural populations.

Cities are now faced with a multitude of quality of life issues: pervasive traffic, climate change, skyrocketing obesity rates, and a lack of affordable housing – the solutions to which are game-changers for city building.

Ms. Covington said but some of the brightest urban visionaries, including those we heard from at the conference, are people who give us hope as their work demonstrates that the solutions to our most urgent challenges are in fact doable. She said their trip was sponsored by Knight Foundation, which believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. She said the Knight Foundation enables and promote philanthropy that inspires, facilitates and fosters a vibrant and engaged Chattahoochee Valley.

She showed a photo of the team that took the trip, which included the following individuals
Ms. Covington said that they also
She said they boldly mastered the art of urban cycling (especially with the help of protected bike lanes). And we learned that, in Chicago, the installation of a protected bike lane along a main corridor resulted in an immediate 50% increase in bike usage.

And as we learned that the benefits of using our largest public land asset – our streets – better pay big returns for cities in terms of
She said a number of her slides that she is showing here today are borrowed from presentations made at the conference.

Ms. Covington said there were three main things at the conference that resonated with her:
anywhere they want to live, they will choose cities that promote happiness.
The key questions: how do we want to live? (Cities are only a means to a way of
life.) Now cities aren’t about efficiency. They’re about how to attract and retain the best people.” – Gil Penalosa

“Walking, cycling, public transit is a sign of public respect for all people.” – Gil Penalosa. In the South, issues of race/class

Ms. Covington said if all of our streets are our largest public spaces, how are we using them to serve ALL of our population?

The purpose of cities is to maximize the exchange between people

Complete Streets make $$ count

Do more than accommodate
Use the right design guidance

Use the right design guidance that’s out there

Plan for different outcomes

Ms. Covington said as one of our speakers said, “You know you’re building a healthy city when you see unescorted children in downtown.” She said in Columbus, we’re on the right track, but we can still do better. She said but we still have a ways to go; therefore, let’s use what this group learned to help us all make a difference.

She then introduced new concepts: Impatiens/Orchids:
Ms. Covington said right now we are looking for some impatiens that we can get going immediately. She said among the ideas to consider, showed a photo of a stamp pavement crosswalk, what some other cities are doing, to include having a stop, wait and wave and/or a sign that says Bicycle Friendly Community. She said as you know the Mayor has set the goal of making Columbus be the State’s First Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community within the next year. Mayor Tomlinson said it’s the Silver Level.

Ms. Covington said today they will be rolling out the Knight Cities Challenge. She said across the country Knight is announcing that they will give away $5 million across 26 Knight Cities. She said anyone in the community can enter, and you can enter multiple times. She said governments can enter, as well as citizens and non-profits, businesses, anyone who wants to enter.

She said Knight is looking for big fresh ideas that can largely be implemented in about one year that focuses on one or all of these three key drivers to city success:
Ms. Covington said the contest will run from October 1 – Nov. 15 and in the first round of applications will ask two questions: What is your idea? What do you hope to learn from it? She said they will be sharing the ideas with them from Columbus at the Community Foundation and said they will be taking a look at some of the ideas and will be sharing them with their donors. She said she thinks this offers an excellent possibility for us to tackle some of the impatiens that we see around our community. She said this calls for new ways of thinking; as they are not looking for the same old things, but are looking for real creative thought. She said for additional information, individuals may go to their website at www.cfcv.com

Ms. Covington concluded her presentation with the following quote: “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city."............................ David Harvey, 2008. Happy City

Mayor Tomlinson thanked Ms. Covington for her presentation and what the Knight Foundation does for the community. She also made comments regarding her trip to Copenhagen.
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Mayor Tomlinson said the Council is interested in the funding today. She said on last week we heard about how much this system is needed. She said everybody knows that this is needed, so she don’t think we need to concentrate on that as much, but said we do want to know more about how it’s going to be paid for, how much it is going to cost and if that price tag is all inclusive.

Attorney Randy Lomax came forward and said he represents both the Tax Assessors and Tax Commissioner’s Office, and the other departments who will be
affected by the Oasis software, and hardware upgrade and property review. He said there are several people present with him today, with the most important person being Finance Director Pam Hodge, who will be telling us how we are going to get the money to pay for this upgrade. He said there are also two representatives from Tyler Technology present, Mr. Steve Chrysael, Senior Account Executive and
Ms. Mary Griffin, who will be the individual working with them doing the hands-on work to help us implement this.

He said if we go forward with this, we will start working within the next 4 to 6 weeks and said we have a 60-page document, which he and the Assistant City Attorney will have to review. He said that they will then go into a planning stage, which will take approximately two months; and after that we will start on the hands-on project, which will be the implementation of the software and hardware.

Ms. Pam Hodge, Finance Director, came forward and said the cost of the system has been broken out. She said there are really two projects, the software upgrade and the reappraisal process. She then went into some details in outlining the cost as highlighted below.

Ms. Hodge said the annual maintenance will cover any upgrades to the system going forward, but said there could be implementation cost with an upgrade depending on how much is done in-house with our IT Department and how much is required from the vendor for data conversions or special reports. She said there is additional cost for the upgrades to the system going forward, but said it is very minimal. She said she just wanted to make sure that we state that clearly at this meeting today.

GMA Lease Purchase Program
Annual payments for 5 years estimated at $550k-$600k beginning in FY16 (depends on interest rate)
?OLOST Infrastructure –Technology Improvements
Cost Allocation28,774100,981120,000
Debt Service5,403,0455,401,2855,401,285
Finance Director Hodge said the impact to the future OLOST infrastructure allocations is represented in the far column under the FY-16 option. She said she just wanted to make sure that the Council is aware that we will have to reallocate the OLOST allocations from the projects that are currently funded through OLOST and $600,000 will be diverted to this upgrade lease repayment. She said she has provided the Council with the FY-14 & FY-15 budgets so that you can see where those allocations have been in the past. She said in FY-15 in the current fiscal year, there was a reserve created to assist with the fund balance requirements of $2,448,000. She said that particular reserve was not in the FY-14 budget; therefore, she provided you with several years, so that you can see the allocation of the projects. She said what she has done in the FY-16 options is to spread that $600,000 between the other projects. She said you could reduce just one. She said this is just an option.

Ms. Hodge then responded to several questions of members of the Council.

Finance Director Hodge responded to questions of Councilor Allen, as it relates to vehicle replacement, saying that we have a reserve in the OLOST for vehicle replacement for public safety, but said this is just the infrastructure, and we did not have a reserve for vehicle replacement in the Infrastructure. Councilor Allen said he knows that he is mixing two different subjects now, but said he would like for us to think about vehicle replacement in the general fund, as well. He said he thinks that is necessary and it should be a proactive issue that we should take. He said he wanted to make sure that those budgetary items would not be affected.
Deputy City Manager Arrington made comments regarding the concerns expressed by Councilor Woodson, pointing out we would have a third funding source for roads and resurfacing and said if we need to make an allocation, we could do that from the TSPLOST fund.

Mayor Tomlinson said as you go forward in the negotiations, it is our understanding that this is all inclusive. She said there will be some support from our IT Department, but she believe it was cleared up on yesterday, but that this price tag includes the vendor largely taking on the burden of this conversion process. She said we don’t want any surprises.

Attorney Lomax said that is correct. He said they will be here from the very beginning to the time that we go live and stay with it for a period of time to make sure we know how to run it.

Finance Director Hodge continued with providing information regarding the funding for this upgrade.

General Fund
FY15$490,000 (Cash payment delayed to FY16)
FY16$660,000 plus $490,000 from FY15 deferral
(Estimated at 4 days of Fund Balance over 3 years)
Possible increased digest to offset cost of reappraisal
Competing needs for the General Fund
Department budget reductions in FY15
Economic Development

After more than forty-five minutes of discussion on this matter, Finance Director than concluded her presentation.

Councilor Baker said he believes this will be the same timeframe that the BTW revitalization payments will come due. He then asked if we have clarified those funds or if any of them will have to come out of the fund balance or the Community Development Black Grant funds.

Director of Finance Hodge said they will have a plan to come back to the Council with the funding for the Housing Authority’s BTW revitalization payments. Mayor Tomlinson said she believes that those payments were postponed for FY-15, but will come up in FY-16.

Director of Finance Hodge said that is correct, she said they will come up in FY-16.

Councilor Baker said that is his concern; if the technology and the BTW revitalization payments hit all at the same time, the fund balance is going to be an issue.

Deputy City Manager Arrington said they are looking at another funding option for that to bring back to the Council. He said they have to get some questions answered first. He said they will be bringing that back at some point in the future to talk about the BTW Revitalization payment.

Mayor Tomlinson said we will bring back the item for the funding for the Tax Assessors/Tax Commissioner’s software upgrade on the City Manager’s Agenda on next week for approval.

After further discussion on this matter, Attorney Lomax and Director of Finance then responded to further questions of members of the Council.

After more than sixty minutes of discussion, this subject matter was concluded.

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Mayor Tomlinson said we have a situation where we have a lot of Ferrell cat communities in our city and said they are operating in the shadow largely and said this is a way that we can stop that population increase.

She said we did have a citizen who came forward on our public agenda at the last Council meeting, who showed a video from Miami, Florida where they are having problems with people that are hoarding. She said she wanted to remind the Council of something. She said shortly after she came into office, we begin working on the Animal Care & Control Center and were besieged by emails from No Kill Columbus saying that we should stop euthanizing animals right away. She said we implemented the “Save the Pet Program”. She said this City will not allow warehousing and said sometimes that has some circumstances. She said that is a form of animal cruelty and that is the reason we don’t allow warehousing.

Ms. Pat Biegler, Director of the Public Works Department came forward and made some remarks regarding hoarding and then called Ms. Drale Short to come forward to make the presentation.

Ms. Drale Short presented the following information as it relates to the Columbus Animal Care & Control Program, as outlined below.
COLUMBUS ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL: The Miami film showed a shelter dropping cats off at a residence in an uncontrolled manner.

The CACC hoarding investigative processes used to bring forth compliance and resolution includes working with the following agencies:
(One female, 4 litters = 20 kittens x 5 females @ 20 kittens each = 100 kittens
per year.)
Ms. Short highlighted the 2010 – 2013 statistics for reducing the cat population.
What is Trap, Neuter & Release?
Trap/Neuter/Release is the non lethal alternative to the trap-and-kill method of controlling cat populations.

- Launched August 2014
- Grant Award is $600,000.00
- Our goal is to have 2,000 cats go through this program each year for the next 3 years.
- Any cat deemed unhealthy by a participating
licensed Veterinarian will be euthanized, unless
medically Best Friends will accept those costs.


After the conclusion of her presentation, Ms. Short offered to answer questions of the members of the Council, but there were none.

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Ms. Reather Hollowell, Director of the Department of Human Resources came forward and made a presentation, in which she responded to questions and concerns that were made at a previous Council meeting. She provided the following information as outlined below.

She said there are two primary provisions of the ordinance that was adopted in 2001 and was revised in this year’s budget, and then outlined those two provisions, which are highlighted below.

Ordinance 14-25, Section 33 (Replaces Ordinance 01-49, Section 20)
All retirees who are Medicare eligible and were hired on or after July 1, 2001 will not be eligible for participation in the Columbus Consolidated Government (CCG) Employee/Retiree Self Funded Medical Benefit Plan. To the extent the City identifies and offers a Medicare compatible insurance plan for Medicare eligible retirees, 100 percent of the costs associated with that plan will be borne by those participants, and the City will assume no liability for any benefits payable to participants under that plan.

All employees who were hired on or after July 1, 2001 who retire while enrolled in the CCG Employee/Retiree Self Funded Medical Benefit Plan and begin to draw pension benefits prior to becoming Medicare eligible, and any non-Medicare eligible dependents covered at the time of the employee’s retirement, may remain a part of the CCG Self Funded Medical Benefit Plan until they become Medicare eligible; provided however, the premiums for plan members in this category will be set in accordance with the guidelines set forth in section 31 above.
Any retiree who discontinues his or her participation in the CCG Self Funded Medical Benefit Plan or any Medicare compatible insurance plan offered by the CCG will forfeit any future right to re-enroll himself or any dependents in either plan.

Section 20 of Ordinance No. 01-49 is specifically repealed and replaced by this section.

Ms. Hollowell said how this matter became a point of discussion is that a pre-65 retiree, who is a retired police officer, came forward and talked about an incident that is going to impact him. She said he is a pre-65 retiree, who has his spouse as a dependent on his health insurance. She said his question was, if he takes his spouse off of his insurance; because he was concerned about the spousal surcharge being increased from $50.00 a month to $371.45 per month.

She said he wanted to know if he took his spouse off of his coverage and allow her to go be on her employer’s health insurance, could she come back on the City’s plan. She said the answer to that question for today, is no. She said she would not be eligible to come back on for any reason.

Ms. Hollowell said we do have some exceptions that will allow dependents to come on the plan of a pre-65 employee, as well as a post-65. She then outlined those exceptions, which is listed below.

She said these are the current exceptions that allow for dependents of those retirees to come back onto the plan and said this is not being proposed to be changed. She said once a retiree, pre or post; once they leave, they cannot come back onto the plan, as this remains in tact, and we are proposing that it stays in tact; however, for their dependents these are the exceptions.

Ms. Hollowell said the question was, if a spouse or dependent of that retiree leaves, can that person come back on. She said if the Council elects to make a change, then yes. She said that could be another election under the exceptions’ provision that would allow a spouse to come back onto the plan; but said that would be with certain provisions, meaning that the spouse or dependent would need to show that they had previous coverage within the last 30-days. She said that is the lost of coverage that could be added back. She said they would have to present that coverage. She said she thinks that is an exception that would fit well in these categories and said it wouldn’t be an undue burden for the City to administer.

She said one of the discussions about bringing that spouse or dependent back on, whether we bring them back on at 100% of the cost of the coverage,…. after some discussion on that with the staff and our benefit consultant, we think that the cost would be nebulous. She said if we are going to allow for a loss of coverage for the spouse or the dependent, we would bring them back on the tier that they fit in, without saying that they would need to come on at the full cost of coverage. She said if the retiree just has him/her and the spouse on; then they would come back on that particular tier, and paying that spousal rate, not the surcharge; because loss of coverage means that they don’t have a job, or they are not employed; so they would come back on at that rate, or if it’s a family, or a dependent, then they would come back on at that rate.

Ms. Hollowell said that is the option that could be elected, if you want to amend that ordinance. She said what you would be amending is just the provision under the exceptions to allow for a loss of coverage and said they would have to fit in that particular category.

After concluding her presentation, Ms. Hollowell then responded to several questions of members of the Council.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh said as it relates to the ordinance regarding the spousal surcharge, how does it impact the employee whose spouses work; whether it’s pre-65 or post-65, or this other ordinance. She said because we have not approved or disapproved the proposal for the $371.45. She said she knows that it would not become effective until January 1st, but said if we don’t approve it, then those spouses are automatically off of our insurance coverage.

Ms. Hollowell said as of January 1, 2015 that is correct.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh said if we go back and approve the spousal surcharge, would they be able to come back and apply for that. Ms. Hollowell said yes. She said if you approve the spousal surcharge that is now in the ordinance, then that means they will be eligible for coverage on January 1, 2015. She said they will continue to have coverage until December 31, 2014.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh said, while we will have open enrollment on October 1st there are other companies who are now in open enrollment; they will have to be placed some place. She said if they go and get coverage with their employer; then in essence they would have left our plan. She then asked, what happens, we will allow them to come back.

Ms. Hollowell said if they elect coverage and bypass open enrollment, then on January 1st, they are on the coverage of their employer; then they will stay on their plan until open enrollment of 2015. She said it all depends on what you do with this ordinance, because right now there is no provision, January 1st for anyone to come back.

After continued discussion on this matter, members of the Council expressed their further views on this subject, and Ms. Hollowell responded to those questions and concerns of the Council. Councilor Woodson then asked that an ordinance be brought forth to amend the ordinance to allow for an exception.

Councilor Baker said before the ordinance is brought back, he would ask
Ms. Hollowell to provide the Council with something, in writing, explaining that if the individuals are allowed to come back on the plan, at what rate will they be allowed to come back. He said he doesn’t have a problem with how they drafted the ordinance in 2001, and said he don’t have a problem with looking at it again, but he is somewhat confused as to what rate they come back at; and if you are certain that it’s not going to be cost prohibitive. He said he would like to have some clarification on that before we vote on it.

Ms. Hollowell said she would provide the Council with that information; however, she will go ahead and share that they will come back at the rate that is already in place. She said whatever the rate is for pre-65 retirees; whatever their premium rates are. She said if it is a dependent coming back on, they will come back on at whatever that rate is as well. She said she will provide those rates to the members of Council.

Councilor Baker said he would also like to have a statement from the consultants of the economic impact of that on the plan.

Ms. Hollowell said it will not be cost neutral, but said it will not be something that will be an exceptional amount of cost. She said it will be difficult to say overall, how much the cost will be, because you don’t know how many people might come back. She said we think that we are talking about a small window of folks, because we are talking about dependents; those who had coverage and then they lost their coverage, because it has to be within that 30-day window. She said we think it’s going to be a small group of people, but she will speak with our consultant and get something more definitive so that you will feel better and have a better appreciation for what we are talking about, if you vote yes, let’s change this.

Councilor Baker said regarding the other ordinance that we have been wrestling with, the $371.45 premium as it relates to the spousal surcharge, said he is not a big fan of it, but said if everyone wants it, he could live with it. He said he don’t like the fact that we have the dollar amount in the ordinance; the $371.45. He said he thinks that makes it subject to political manipulation. He said that is an actuarial number and said we really shouldn’t have authority over that number. He said in his opinion, he thinks the ordinance should stop when it say, an amount determined by our consultants; and then the administration publishes the rate. He said because if it gets to$321.00 or $421.00 in the ordinance and we say that’s too high, let’s just hold it at $300 or cut it to $200; you can’t do that.

Councilor Baker said it is a zero percent subsidized number , it’s 100 percent self-supporting, so that number has to be whatever it is and he don’t think we should have control over that number. He said that is what concerns him, we are taking an actuarial number and making it subject to political manipulation, if possible, and said that is what bothers him. He said if it just said, it is purely subject to the calculations by the actuary and it is, whatever it is; then he can support it, if we needed to just get pass it and move on. He said putting the number in the ordinance is what bothers him. He said if some people leave that
option because it is too expensive and then next year you have fewer people, then it’s not $371, but it becomes $471, and then the next year, $571. He said it just become so easy, to just say, let’s hold it. He said we shouldn’t have authority over that number that number has to be self-supporting.

Mayor Tomlinson then said when the ordinance comes back up, you can amend it.

Councilor Baker said that is Councilor Davis’ ordinance and said he probably should have some feedback on it. Mayor Tomlinson said next week will be our last opportunity to amend it before open enrollment. She said if we don’t everybody will be excluded and there won’t be any option.

Councilor Thomas said it was her understanding of the ordinance as it was presented to us; that while it didn’t say what Councilor Baker is saying, she understood that is what it meant.; that this year, $371 was the surcharge. She said she certainly would not have any problem with us saying that the actual dollar amount shall be calculated by the actuaries. She then asked if we could make that amendment today.

City Attorney Fay said the ordinance is still on the table and said if you wanted to propose an amendment, you can do that. He said just remember that the 371, the ordinance that is on the table, only amends a particular section of the annual budget ordinance. He said this number could certainly change every year, that’s why it’s in the chart of your premium rates and it is in this section of the annual budget ordinance.

Councilor Thomas said since the administration has heard this conversation, and it may be that whenever we come back on next week that perhaps there can be whatever we need to do, you will find that the majority of the Council agrees with Councilor Baker; that we anticipate that the number will change from year to year depending on the cost and the number of people involved. She said she would request that the staff take a look at that and brings us something back that accomplishes what Councilor Baker has suggested.

Councilor Baker said it is an annual election to offer the option, not to specify a dollar amount. He said if at some point, it gets cost prohibitive, the option isn’t to say that it’s too expensive, let’s reduce the cost, but the option at that point would be let’s terminate the option. He said that’s the only thing that concerns him is the dollar amount.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh then asked what needs to be done today, in order to change the wording. She said she understands that it’s Councilor Davis’s ordinance, but because of the timeframe in which we have to do business, we need to do something.

City Attorney Fay said you can offer an amendment to the ordinance that’s on the table, to say that the monthly surcharge approved by the Finance Director based upon actuarial calculations.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh then moved the approval of the amendment to the ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Woodson.

City Attorney Fay said this will not change what the amounts are for this year in the charts with all your premiums.

Mayor Tomlinson then called the question on the motion for the amendment to the ordinance, as moved above, which carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Allen being absent for the vote and Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel absent for this meeting.

City Attorney Fay said we can take a vote on the ordinance as amended; however, it was decided that we wait until next week when Councilor Davis is present.

Councilor Woodson said with us voting on this next week, asked if the ordinance that she requested with regards to adding an additional exception needs to come forward on next week, or would it have to wait.

After further discussion, it was decided that the ordinance would have to come back as a first reading on next week.
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THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE WAS ALSO SUBMITTED AND EXPLAINED BY CITY ATTORNEY FAY AND INTRODUCED ON FIRST READING:________ An Ordinance – Repealing Ordinance No. 99-21 so as to replace existing Personnel Review Board Policy 220-505 with a new policy which shall be designated as Policy Number 220-505 and for other purposes.

Councilor Thomas said she would like to have a copy of Policy 220-550 that is
being repealed in this proposed ordinance.

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A Resolution (294-14) – Commending and expressing our deep appreciation to
Ms. Margaret Cruz for her contributions and care for homeless individuals in the
Columbus community. Councilor Barnes moved the adoption of the resolution. Seconded by Councilor Baker and carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Allen being absent for this vote and
Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel absent for this meeting.
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MINUTES OF COUNCIL MEETING: Minutes of the September 9, 2014 Council Meeting and the August 26, 2014 Executive Session of the Council of the Consolidated Government were submitted and approved upon the adoption of a motion made by Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh and seconded by Councilor Woodson which carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Allen absent for this vote and Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel being absent for this meeting.
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A Resolution (295-14) – Authorizing payment of Attorney Fees which may be incurred for legal services rendered regarding various city issues during fiscal year 2015. Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh moved the adoption of the resolution. Seconded by Councilor Huff and carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Allen absent for this vote and Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel being absent for this meeting.
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With there being no other business to come before the Council, Mayor Tomlinson then entertained a motion for adjournment. Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh so moved. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those six members of Council present at the time, with Councilor Allen being absent for this vote and Councilors Davis, Henderson and McDaniel being absent for this meeting, with the time of adjournment being 12:00 p.m.

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Tiny B. Washington, MMC
Clerk of Council
The Council of Columbus, Georgia