The Bainbridge Town Council bid a fond farewell to outgoing council president Mike Smith in its final meeting of 2007 on Wednesday.
"What Mike did in four years was instrumental," said Bainbridge Clerk-Treasurer Jason Hartman. "He's responsible for the first national commitment from a retail store in the town of Bainbridge."
In addition to courting Family Dollar, Hartman also noted Smith's contribution to improved zoning in Bainbridge and the recent annexation that increased the town's size by 15 acres.
Board member Richard Cope echoed Hartman's sentiment. "I want to thank you for the four years you've dedicated to our town," he said.
Smith thanked his fellow board members who will continue on to serve Bainbridge in the next term.
"I have no regrets," Smith said. "I think I've left my mark on this town."
Smith suggested that he might decide to run for the town council again at some point in the future.
Bainbridge town attorney Laurie Hardwick also attended her last town meeting Wednesday after tendering her resignation to the board earlier this month.
Hardwick said that the time commitment had become a hardship, but she was more than willing to help out during a transition period.
As the meeting closed, Richard Cope was sworn in to serve his next term on the Bainbridge Town Council. Naomi Barker was sworn in earlier this month. Bonnie Osborn was elected in November to join the council in January.
Though the meeting closed some chapters in Bainbridge history, town business moved forward and the board passed multiple ordinances and juggled the contentious issue of off-road vehicles.
After discussing a draft of an ordinance regarding the operation of ATV within town limits, the board tabled the issue until 2008, citing issues of continued confusion between the town's code and state code.
Council member Richard Cope felt that the ordinance came close to meeting the town's needs, but the typical fine for Bainbridge code violations would not be sufficient.
"A $50 fine is not a deturant," he said. "For 50 bucks I'd ride one wherever."
Bainbridge Town Marshall Ronnie Fenwick added that though an ordinance will cover ATV traffic in town, anyone caught riding along U.S. 36 would be in violation of state law, which only allows ATV to cross highways at a 90-degree angle. Fenwick vowed to enforce that code strictly.
The council will revisit a potential ATV ordinance at their next meeting in 2008.
The council unanimously passed Ordinance 2007-7, recodifying all past Bainbridge ordinances. A complete and up to date copy of all town ordinances is located at the Bainbridge Community Building for public inspection.
The council also approved a measure to place a link to every town ordinance on their website, allowing citizens and potential developers to examine town codes 24 hours a day.
The final ordinance passed Wednesday addressed new emergency snow removal policies. According to the new code, a snow emergency will be declared if the National Weather service predicts a snowfall exceeding 2 inches, or if the Bainbridge Street Superintendent decides that snowfall will create hazardous road conditions.
The ordinance will ban parking on Main and Washington streets until snow removal is complete.
In other business:
* The council held the first reading for Ordinance 2008-2, regarding the rates and charges of electricity. The ordinance is not a rate increase, but was a technical adjustment to the language regarding commercial rates. A copy of the ordinance is available at the Bainbridge Community Building.
* Utility Superintendent Jim Nelson reported that all snowplows are in operation and that the department would purchase a new two-year supply of salt at a cost of roughly $1,300 to $1,500.
* Bainbridge Town Marshall, Ronnie Fenwick reported that three potential reserve officers are close to completing training. All three officers have performed well and their addition to the local force is eagerly anticipated.
* Park Board member Jamie Tennis reported that the town's new basketball court will be named "Pointer's Court," and will be open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.
* Smith told the board that after researching prices for a new severe weather siren, the cost was prohibitive. Older siren parts were not salvageable.
* Clerk-Treasurer Jason Hartman will present a proposal in the board's next meeting regarding the hiring of a new part-time town employee. Funds for the position will be provided from the salary of a former part-time deputy position, which has already been eliminated.
Hartman stated that the new employee could assist the town in several areas including but not limited to: code enforcement, mowing, economic development and supervision of community service workers.
* After several citizen requests, the Bainbridge Town Council will explore the possibility of creating a recycling center within the town limits. Hartman will present the board with cost estimates and potential locations for the center at the next meeting.