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Brooklet PD Hires Part Time Officer, Council Discusses Subdivision Improvements at meeting

Brooklet City Council met on Thursday April 18, 2024, and discussed approval of the preliminary Smart Bulloch 2045 joint comprehensive plan. They also heard from local business owner Tiffany Guerrero about her ideas for downtown revitalizations and proclaimed the week of April 21-27, 2024 as Garden Week. Read more in this coverage of the meeting.
Brooklet City Hall

Brooklet City Council met for their regular meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

The agenda was adopted, and Mayor Nicky Gwinnett led the council into the first item, a public hearing about approval of the Smart Bulloch 2045 joint conference plan. The council discussed the purpose of the plan, which was to gather ideas about improvement projects and create a “toolbox” for guiding policy and investments across the county.

Then Tiffany Guerrero, owner of the Love Tiffany boutique in downtown Brooklet, spoke to the council and attendees of the meeting about her excitement for the new growth in Brooklet and for a project she is proposing called the “Brooklet Mainstreet Makeover.” 

She has drafted plans for new city signage that will use handmade, boulder like indicators to welcome visitors to town. Similar signs throughout the city, such as at the recreation department, city hall, and police department would be more cohesive and look nicer according to Guerrero.

She suggested murals, updated parking, new foliage planters, and “crisp” paint jobs in the downtown area that could make a big difference in the vibrancy of the town. “I believe that we should always leave everything better than we found it,’ said Guerrero.

Mayor Gwinnett thanked her for her presentation.

The minutes for the meetings listed on the agenda were tabled for approval at a later date.

The consent agenda was APPROVED, as was the March financial report.

City engineer Lindsey Bashlor was absent from the meeting, and Mayor Gwinnett gave a brief report in her place about the LMIG project for 2024. He walked the council through the budgeting and expenditure requirements for the year. 

Some projects that the Mayor requested to be included in this year's plan included improvements to Brooklet Plantation that would revitalize the subdivision at the cost of $63,709, along with Scarlet Place for $42,820 and Red Court for $33,488.

Another option is Oak Street at the cost of $44,000, as well as Dixie Street for the cost of $89,159 and Spence Street for $200,980.

The city has to spend $128,000 minimum on these improvement projects and the total for the projects is over $400,000. While not all of them will be able to be done this year, they are in priority for improvements. The mayor proposed finishing the Brooklet Plantation and Dixie Street first, and the council is suggesting to the city engineer that those projects be completed with this year's funding.

Reports from Committee Members

Councilman Brad Anderson reported on the recent budget workshop for FY25. He shared personnel and fixed expenses with the council, including all staff salary at a 2% COLA for wages. He estimates the cost for the personnel in Brooklet for FY25 at $715,000, about half of the budget.

The revenue estimate for FY25 is $1.54 million, and Anderson has drafted some department allocations accordingly. The tentative budget should be approved at the May meeting and the final budget will be voted on at the June meeting.

Councilman James Harrison asked that the proposed “Brooklet Mainstreet Makeover” be added to the work session discussion agenda in the upcoming weeks so he could ask more questions about the project.

Councilman Keith Roughton said there is a meeting scheduled with the school board to discuss the city's involvement with the new SEBHS plan. He also is interested in discussing more about the proposed downtown makeover.

As part of the new well project, tree removal is required, and the city has received bids for this portion of the project that was not included in the approval of the original plan. Councilman Roughton suggests moving forward, selecting the best bid promptly so the project is not stalled.

City Safety and Public Works Reports

Police Chief Gary Roberts reports there are no recognizable patterns of crime associated with the recent 194 service calls the department has responded to in Brooklet. “Be wary, there is a scammer behind every bush.”

He reports, “Some people have found out the hard way,” that the new camera system is up and running. He clarified that the system does not target speeding individuals but rather people with expired or revoked license plates and insurance. He expects that as soon as DOT finishes the paperwork, two additional cameras will be added to the system.

Former Savannah/Chatham County Police Officer, Nickki Garman, was HIRED to the Brooklet Police Department part time, and Chief Roberts boasts that she has an impressive resume including detective work, hostage negotiation, and many training classes.

Jim Stanoff, the city Safety Coordinator, says that GMA is requesting that the city start completing annual reports on personnel that drive city vehicles. 

The city dump truck was removed from service because it was missing rear lights, but it is under repair and almost ready to return to use.

Stanoff said that 11 areas of the city sidewalk need repair and asked that any areas that may be hazardous and are not already marked be reported to City Hall so that they can also be fixed.

Stanoff also recommended that the council develop a city employee recognition program, because one does not currently exist. Mayor Gwinnett agreed that this was a good idea. He also reminded the council that the state GMA representative will be in town at 10 A.M. on April 29, 2024.

Discussion Items:

  1. APPROVED 13.1. Second Reading and Adoption of An Ordinance to Require Concrete Culverts for Access Driveways Within Public Rights-Of-Way of Municipal Streets Within the City of Brooklet.

    13.2. Discussion 2nd Draft of a Proposed Ordinance to Regulate Food Trucks in Brooklet.

    This would allow food trucks to be permitted for special events and private property events.

    Mayor Gwinnett wants to allow food trucks to be permitted to park at the old city hall as well, outside of special events. Anderson suggested defined hours of operation for this arrangement. 
  2. APPROVED 13.3. Motion to Approve a Proclamation to designate the week of April 21-27, 2024 as Garden Week in Georgia.

    Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Kelly and the council acknowledged the importance of gardening and the contributions of gardeners to the community by reading a proclamation, and designating the week of April 21-27, 2024, as Garden week.
  3. APPROVED 13.4. Motion to Approve the Smart Bulloch 2045: A Joint Comprehensive Plan for a Better Tomorrow.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Special Election Qualifiers

A Special Election will be held on May 21, 2024, in the City of Brooklet to elect a Councilmember for the unexpired term of Councilmember Post #5.

Anyone who would like to run for this office must do so by filing a notice of the candidacy at Brooklet City Hall and paying the qualifying fee at that time. The qualifying fee for council members shall be $54.00. The dates for qualifying to fill said seat are set for Monday, April 22, 2024, through Wednesday, April 24, 2024, beginning at 8:30 A.M. and ending at 4:30 P.M. Candidates wishing to qualify, should file their notice of candidacy at Brooklet City Hall, 104 Church Street, Brooklet, GA 30415.

The Special Election will be held "separate and apart" from the county election, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The polling location will be Bulloch County Recreation Department, Brooklet Community Center, 416 N. Cromley Road, Brooklet, Georgia 30415, and the poll shall open at 7:00 A.M. and close at 7:00 P.M. on the date set for the election.

As of noon on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, two citizens have qualified to run, including:

  • Stevie Stringer 
  • Joseph A. Grooms, III 
  • Sheila Wentz