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City Council serious about recruiting police officers; Approves immediate signing bonus up to $10,000

At the last meeting of City Council, Chief Mike Broadhead told the council the department was down by 17 officers. On Tuesday, he presented a plan to help their recruiting efforts including signing bonuses up to $10k. In addition, the Council honored heroic actions by some of SPD's finest officers. Read about this and other City business covered in the meeting by clicking on the image.
Statesboro City Council meeting Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Statesboro City Council met for their bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, October 17, 2023. Mayor Jonathan McCollar began the meeting by honoring outstanding police officers and Safe Haven.

During a work session prior to the meeting, Council Members heard a presentation from Mike Broadhead, Statesboro Police Chief, regarding the challenges his department is having recruiting and retaining police officers. Over the past four years, the department hired 35 officers and lost 42. Exit interviews revealed that officers are leaving because they feel overworked and underpaid. Chief Broadhead said last year the department responded to over 42,000 calls for service, and their pay does not match up to other departments.

The City has commissioned a pay study with Condrey and Associates and hope to have that data back soon. Broadhead's proposed hiring plan (below) would hopefully, if implemented, help with recruitment and retention. 

Chief Broadhead Proposed Hiring Plan Incentives:

  • $2,500 signing bonus (non certified)
  • $5,000 signing bonus (3-5 years experience)
  • $10,000 signing bonus (more than 5 years experience)
  • Proposed Entry Level Pay: $50,000+
  • (and continue hiring incentives)

The council responded by approving immediately Chief Broadhead's signing bonus request. City Manager Charles Penny advised Council that his staff will be requesting increasing Officers' pay based on the results of the study in January. Originally, they had planed to fund the increase in July of 2024.

Recruiting incentives will continue for existing SPD staff as well.

Recruiting Incentive for PD Staff: 

  • $1,000 recruitment bonus for non-certified
  • $2,000 recruitment bonus for certified
  • (some positions not eligible)

This vote for immediate recruiting assistance came after a very moving and powerful recognition of several police officers and a dispatcher for their heroic and brave actions taken in the line of duty. These officers represent the outstanding quality of officers in the department. They were honored for their response to a shooting on September 23, 2023, that occurred where at least five shooters discharged more than 100 rounds. This occurred after a large crowd gathered at the intersection of Johnson and Spruce Streets at 3am.  

The second incident occurred on May 5, 2023, in Morris Heights.

We will have a separate story to cover these awards and their incredible service to our community next week.

Recognitions/Public Presentations:  

SPD officers honored with City Council and Chief Mike Broadhead. DeWayne Grice

A) Presentation of the Medal of Valor to:

  • Sergeant Nathaniel Janney
  • Officer Logan Gay  

B) Presentation of a Meritorious Service Award to:

  • Captain Jared Akins
  • Corporal Jessica Collins
  • APO Joey DeLoach
  • Officer Damien Truesdale
  • Communications Officer Sydney Johns

C) Presentation of the Medal of Valor to

  • Officer Jonathan Treloar

D) Presentation of a Proclamation to Safe Haven recognizing October 2023 as Domestic Violence Awareness month. 

L-R: Mayor McCollar, Jessica Williams and Kim Billings

Consent Agenda - ALL APPROVED

1. Approval of Minutes

a) 10-03-2023 Council Minutes

b) 10-03-2023 Executive Session Minutes

Public Hearing & Consideration of Approval

APPROVED - 1. Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve:

A) APPLICATION AN 23-08-07: S&K Investments LLC requests Annexation of 2.27 acres of property located at 3101 Old Register Road in order to build a commercial development.

B) APPLICATION RZ 23-08-08: S&K Investments LLC requests a Zoning Map Amendment from the R-40 (Single-Family Residential) zoning district to the MX (Mixed Use) zoning district on 2.27 acres of property located at 3101 Old Register Road in order to build a commercial development.

John Dobson, Maxwell Reddick Associates spoke on behalf of the project. This is two vacant buildings. They plan to build a development complimentary to the Publix shopping center.  



APPROVED - 2. Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 23-09- 01: Nellie Meeks request a Zoning Map Amendment from the R-15 (Single-Family Residential) to the MX (Mixed Use) zoning district in order to reuse a property as office space at 26 Lindberg Street.

Nellie Meeks built the home over 50 years ago and her husband established a business in the back yard. Happy to be part of this community and thank you all for what you are doing and hope you give me consideration for this project. She does not have immediate plans for the building but would like to lease it for office space.  


3. Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 23-09- 02: Hillpointe, LLC requests a Zoning Map Amendment from the CR/PUD (Commercial Retail/Planned Unit Development) zoning districts to the MX (Mixed Use) zoning district in order to develop a commercial multi-family residential development on 18.56 acres located on Lovett Road.

Marcus Wiedower, Vice President of External Affairs for the developer Hillpointe, a workforce housing company, spoke in favor of the project. The approximately 216 unit apartment complex will be two bed, two bath units. Young professionals are their target. It will include amenities such as a club house, cafe, dog spa, resort size pool and extended overhangs for cabanas, all done under federal guidelines of affordable housing. 

No subsidy, and they don't ask for tax breaks. They are happy to accommodate a traffic study and additional buffering the City staff recommends. They are filling a gap between luxury living and other aging properties. They want to put a product in the market young professionals can utilize and get ahead. Any law enforcement officer who moves into their development will get rent for half price if they park their police cruiser there at night. They also focus on ways to give back to the communities they build in. 



APPROVED - 3. Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION SUB 23-09- 03: Tim Stone requests Preliminary Subdivision PLAT approval on approximately 11.54 acres of property in order to develop a townhouse subdivision of approximately 93 units on Westside Road.

Evan Bennett, Hussey Gay Bell, spoke on behalf of the project. It will have public water, sewer, and street.  

Loretha Bess and Julius Tremble, residents of Quail Run subdivision, spoke. They are concerned this development will disrupt their neighborhood. They have lived there for over 30 years. They asked for another entrance and not have to use Timber Road.

Julius asked if this is this one developer or two different developers developing these projects. These projects brings a lot more people to this area than they have now. They are worried about this disturbing their way of life.  

Kathy Fields, City Planner, said their concerns were with item 4. The original proposal originally came in as townhomes. But they worked with the developer to change to an R-6 development on item 4. She also said that item 3 and 4 are separate properties. They will have access from Stockyard Road, Timber Road, and Westside Road.



TABLED to 2nd meeting in November - 4. Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve APPLICATION SUB 23-09- 04: Mitchell Ball requests Preliminary Subdivision PLAT approval on approximately 32.6 acres of property in order to develop a single-family detached subdivision of approximately 90 units on Timber Road & Stockyard Road.

Even Bennett, Hussey Gay Bell, spoke in favor of the project. Stockyard Road and Westside Road will be where most traffic is impacted, not Timber Road. The developer is proposing larger lots than required. They also proposed conducting a traffic study for both of these developments.  

Marsha Twiggs, a resident of that area, spoke with safety concerns. She is concerned about the traffic on Stockyard Road. She has to step into the road to get her mail. Lots of people walk in the morning. Adding more traffic on Stockyard Road is not good.

Council Member Paulette Chavers was concerned that there was not a sign placed on Timber Road announcing the public hearing, which the staff agreed to in a meeting with homeowners. The homeowners are not opposed to the R-6 additions. They are concerned about the townhouses' traffic going through the Quail Run subdivision.  

Evan Bennett said the developer would have to give up four potential lots in the single family that would not be accessible if you cut off Timber Road access.  

Kathy Fields asked Fire Chief Tim Grams if an emergency gate could be a consideration that would only allow emergency access from Timber road.  Chief Grams said that they could review that option.

Charles Penny, City Manager, clarified the Timber Road signage was not intentional and apologized this and suggested tabling this until they can look at additional options.




APPROVED - 5. Public Hearing & Consideration of a Motion to approve application for an alcohol license in accordance with The City of Statesboro alcohol ordinance Sec. 6-13 (a):

Family Dollar #30436
20 Veterans Memorial Plaza
Statesboro, Ga 30458
License Type: Package Sales – (Beer and Wine)

APPROVED - 6. Second Reading and Consideration of a motion to approve Ordinance 2023-16: An Ordinance amending Chapter 38, Article VII Blight Tax of the Statesboro Code of Ordinances.

On December 3, 2019, Chapter 38, Article VII establishing the Community Redevelopment Tax Incentive Program was passed by Council 5-0. Mayor McCollar disapproved and adjusted the item of appropriation in Sec 38- 162 from an additional multiplication factor of 7.0 for all properties to zero for residential properties and 10.0 for commercial properties located within the South Main (“Blue Mile”) TAD and DSDA district. Proposed amendment was brought forward at September 19, 2023 work session for presentation as first reading where it was moved forward to second reading.

APPROVED - 7. Consideration of motion to approve an amendment to the Service Delivery Strategy to create wastewater service area for the City of Brooklet.

Current SDS was executed in 2019. Proposed amendment is necessary to allow Brooklet to establish a wastewater service area. The City of Statesboro and Brooklet currently have an IGA in place for Brooklet to purchase wastewater capacity. However, the agreement cannot be activated without the approval of the SDS amendment. This would give Brooklet up to 300,000 gallons per day of waste water treatment. This is a significant project for the City of Brooklet. Mayor Elect of Brooklet Nicky Gwinnett attended the meeting and thanked the City for working with them on this project.



APPROVED - 8. Consideration of a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Statesboro and Pineland Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities for transit vouchers.

Pineland BHDD will create and distribute transit vouchers for qualified families up to the amount of $3,800. Each voucher will be worth a $5 one-way trip, which will total up to the amount of 760 vouchers to be distributed. Any used funding will rollover to the next fiscal year

APPROVED - 9. Consideration of a motion to award a contract for professional right-of-way services of the East Main Street Sidewalk Improvements project to Tennille Valuation & Consulting Services, LLC in the amount of $32,000.00. The project work will be paid from 2018 TSPLOST Funds.

This project proposes to construct sidewalk along East Main Street from Northside Drive to Packinghouse Road. This work is a subsequent phase of development to provide sidewalk connectivity from downtown Statesboro to Mill Creek Park and to provide connectivity to adjacent residential areas.

The Engineering Department also requested funding assistance from Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in the amount of $143,785.20 for construction of drainage improvements in conjunction with new sidewalk construction along East Main Street. The drainage improvements are needed to alleviate current flooding conditions along SR24 (East Main Street). Pavement improvements include restoring the gutters to a flowable condition.

The City of Statesboro requested proposals for ROW and Easement Acquisition Services to aid in the ROW acquisition of this project. There are approximately 16 parcels that require negotiations for either a permanent stormwater easement or right-of-way for sidewalk construction. The City is receiving state aid from GDOT on this project that is time sensitive and the utilization of a ROW firm to expedite the negotiations is essential in the City meeting the construction start date set by GDOT in order to receive the funding appropriated.





APPROVED - 10. Consideration of a motion to approve a Water/Sewer Agreement with Ecoplastics America Corp. for 78.40 acres located at 4800 US HWY 301 S. Register, 30452 GA, Property Tax Number 049 000022 000.

Ecoplastics America Corp. a supplier of extruded plastic parts to Hyundai manufacturing is constructing a facility on US Hwy 301 South. The facility will utilize water and sewer services supplied by the City of Statesboro. As part of the process to allow them to connect to City utilities, they are required to execute a Water Sewer Agreement. This agreement requires them to install all water and sewer facilities to City standards and specifications. The customer is subject to all customary Tap and ATC fees due and payable before service is established.

Other Business from City Council

Council member Venus Mack reminded citizens that October 30th the Business Commission is holding a small business listening session.  All small business owners are encouraged to attend.

Mayor McCollar commended citizens for joining together on Sunday for the walk against gun violence. He also commended staff who put together the weekend Village Builders program. He said it was a great event that drew over 400.

Council Member Shari Barr thanked the Fire Department for their smoke alarm blitz on Saturday. She also said they will have a recycle fest on November 19th.

City Manager's Comments

APPROVED - City Manager Charles Penny addressed the council regarding Chief Broadhead making a request in the work session earlier today to increase the signing bonuses to $2,500 net for non-certified, $5,000 for 3 - 5 years, and $10,000 for more than 5 years experience. Also recruitment bonuses for SPD officers and staff for helping recruit. He asked for approval from Council. They would have to sign a three-year contract to receive the bonus.

Mr. Penny said the staff will come back when the pay study is completed and will be making a recommendation of pay increases for SPD effective January 1, 2023.

Public Comments (General)

Marsha Twiggs asked what can be done about the ditch in front of her house on Stockyard Road. She came in 2018, and they told her to come back. She asked for a sidewalk to be placed and it was costly. She asked again for them to consider covering the ditch and placing sidewalks in.

Mr. Penny said they are reviewing the development in that area and will need to make improvements in the future.  

Marcus Toole, Habitat for Humanity, commended the City and County in working with Brooklet in expansion of sewer. This will allow for higher density housing between Statesboro and Brooklet and in the City of Brooklet.  

He presented the council members with toy buses with a QR code to promote the SAT bus system.

The Statesboro Habitat is now a packager of USDA loan. They are one of the first in Georgia and are offering that service.  

Executive Session 

After a brief executive session the council made appointments to the Planning Commission including:

  • Joseph Folsom
  • Savannah Beck
  • Matthew Lovett

CLICK HERE to view the agenda and supporting documents. 

Live Stream of Meeting