Canton City Council members continued their discussion on how to fill the vacant Ward 2 seat on the council during their July 2 meeting.
During a June council meeting, council members discussed various dates and deadlines to hold a special called election during the Nov. 3 presidential election, should they choose to do so to fill the current vacant Ward 2 Council seat. The seat has been vacant since now-Mayor Bill Grant resigned from the post last August.
Discussions regarding filling the empty seat on the Canton City Council continued during the previous council meeting on June 18. Discussions included cost of the election, the electoral process, and a possible draft contract between Canton and the Cherokee County Elections Office.
At that meeting, City Manager Billy Peppers discussed with the council how a possible draft contract between the city and the Cherokee County Elections Office could read, should the council decide to hold an election. Peppers suggested to the council that the city get in contact with the elections group to put together a draft contract, as well as a draft resolution, should the council decide they want to move forward with an election.
City staff put together a draft of the contract and resolution for the July 2 council meeting, which Peppers presented to the council. After Peppers went over the draft, a decision was made by council to ask staff to draft a resolution calling for the election of the vacancy in Ward 2.
Peppers said that this resolution will be on the July 16 agenda for discussion and approval. The outstanding concern among council members during the July 2 meeting was that the agreement with Cherokee County Board of Elections to hold the election is open ended from a final price standpoint and the Board of Elections staff is unable to provide an estimate.
“The city's last election in Fall 2019 was a stand alone election, meaning the city paid the full cost and it came in at just over $13,000,” Peppers said. Council members are paid $12,000 per year and the city has not had to pay for the vacant Ward 2 seat for 10 months, Peppers said.
“The way the agreement is set up with Cherokee County, the city would pay one-half the cost of the precincts. City residents are already paying precinct costs as a resident of the county and the city is hopeful that the Board of Elections would consider that in any final fees associated. City staff will be reaching out to the Board of Elections and Cherokee County staff to attempt to add a not-to-exceed number to the IGA for the election,” Peppers said.
Possible townhouse development was another key point of discussion during the meeting, with three requests aimed at possible townhouse developments. The first request came from Brad Fisher for an amendment to a previously approved conditional-use permit. He received approval to construct a five-unit townhouse structure at 227 Marietta St. at a December 2019 council meeting. Since that time, Fisher acquired additional property that he wishes to incorporate into this development. He is asking for an additional six to seven units to be located at 370 W. Marietta St. and 471 E. Marietta St.
Townhome discussions continued with a pair of requests from TPA Group, LLC to amend the existing master plan for Pod B of the Bluffs in Canton to allow for single family attached units, as well as a conditional-use permit to add an additional 70 townhouses in that same pod. In 2018, the applicant was granted approval to construct 99 townhouse units in Pod B. Since that time, this type has been a popular house type, which is why the developer is seeking additional units.
Council also discussed a proposed Neighborhood Traffic Control Program that could give the residents a way to request an item without having to first go to council, help them understand the process, the pros and cons of additional traffic control devices, and what is needed of the residents. It also gives city staff a step by step process to go by when traffic control devices are requested. This process will ensure that residents have all the background information and support prior to bringing the item to council for approval.
An initial request letter must be received from a citizen requesting that a traffic control device be installed or removed at one or more specific locations within a subdivision. Once a request letter has been received, a copy of the City of Canton Neighborhood Traffic Control Program will be sent to the requesting citizen, as well as the homeowner’s association, if applicable. A defined service area will also be determined. A meeting with the Development Services Manager is also required.
Peppers also briefly went over the operating budget and millage rate, which is proposed to remain the same at 5.4 for the fourth consecutive year. This is the lowest millage rate for all services by any city in Cherokee County again. The millage rate accounts for all city services including police, fire, recreation, streets, municipal courts, community development, code compliance, building and safety services, and administration. The Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget would be from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.
Lastly, the council discussed a rezoning petition from the Development Authority of Cherokee County on an approximately 50 acre tract of land located on Knox Bridge Highway. The applicant seeks to rezone the property from single family residential to light industrial for a possible corporate park.
All of these items will be discussed further and voted on at the next city council meeting on July 16 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 110 Academy St.