TIFTON — Police Chief Buddy Dowdy has announced his retirement effective Oct. 1.
City Manager Pete Pyrzenski made the announcement at the Tifton City Council meeting on Sept. 16.
“Captain (Steve) Hyman and I and his command staff are engaged fully with the department,” Pyerzenski said. “As far as leadership and taking over the reigns, Captain Hyman is going to do that while we transition here. I wanted to tell you that we’re in good hands. We’ve had some exciting talks and meetings… On one hand we’re passing the torch but on the other we’re holding onto it and creating a new atmosphere.”
Tifton Mayor Julie Smith said that Dowdy has been an “incredible asset” during his 37 years on the force.
“We wish him nothing but happiness and success and luck in his new venture,” Smith said. “He’s certainly going to be missed. He’s been around for a long time and is a friend to all of us.”
The council approved an ordinance adopting local regulations for small cell technology placement in the public right of way.
The ordinance will allow the city to have local control and establish regulations for companies wishing to install small wireless facilities, which allow better service of 5G networks according to city attorney Rob Wilmot.
Installation of small cell wireless facilities are becoming more prevalent as both federal and state level laws back the installation of these facilities, which are boxes attached to existing buildings or poles. Local ordinances allow cities some control over the placement and aesthetics of the boxes, particularly in historic districts, but any ordinance must be in place before a service provider applies to install one.
Pyrzenski informed the council that resurfacing of city streets has begun, starting at Old Omega Road and Brookhaven.
The council approved several agenda items:
• Awarding the bid for five Dodge Chargers and one Ford SUV from Griffin Ford Chrysler Jeep Dodge and three Chevrolet SUVs from Brannen Motor Company for the police and fire departments for a total of $253,398.
• Approved amendments to the agreement with ESG providing for a 1.02% increase in the base fees for the ESG annual contract, setting the base fees at $6,454,944 for providing public works, utility services, and fleet management.
• Rezoning 9.636 acres located on Hunt Road where Casey’s Court Apartment Complex is located from general business to multi-residential.
• Approved an alcohol beverage license for Murphy Oil, located at 1852 Hwy 82 W.
• Approved a resolution releasing certificates of deposit held for the City of Nashville’s natural gas service. The city entered into an inter-local agreement with Nashville in 2011 to loan that city money for a natural gas service.
Smith swore Theresa Ryan in as a board member of the Tifton Tree Board.
Council member Frank Sayles reminded attendees that Oct. 7 is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 5 election.
Council member Johnny Terrell expressed his thankfulness for the resurfacing of Old Omega Road and hope that resurfacing of Timmons Road will come soon.
Council member Jack Folk expressed concern about students safety while walking or jogging.
“There is a state statute that you walk and run facing traffic,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you’ve got cars coming to your back.”
Folk said he has seen students jogging down 28th Street on both sides of the road and said that is a dangerous situation. He said he intends to talk to his school board member about his concern.
“If they’re going to run on 28th, and they like it because of the hill, they need to run facing the traffic, not on both sides,” he said. “It’s just dangerous, and we will not like the outcome when a car meets up with one of them.”
Folk also expressed concern about residents understand that, since city residents pay county taxes, their tax dollars go to supporting county wide services even though the City of Tifton’s budget doesn’t show city funds going towards them.
“Residents need to understand that when you hear… that the county is the only one funding something, that doesn’t mean that people who live inside the city aren’t funding it too,” he said. “Because we are. The same holds true for the animal shelter. We chose to let the animal shelter to be a county-wide service, funded by general fund taxes. That means I pay the same… as those who live in Ty Ty and those living outside the city limits.”
He said that he wants the terminology to change.
“I try to say city versus unincorporated,” he said. “Not city versus county… All the city residents are paying for recreation. City residents are paying for the animal shelter. Even though we don’t have a line item… we’re funding just as much as anybody that lives outside the city limits. So, just to try to clarify, city residents support all these activities, all these services, to the same tune and in some cases, more than the unincorporated areas.”
Council member Wes Ehlers suggested the city form a land bank and said it would be a good resource for the Urban Redevelopment Agency in their mission.