August 8, 2012

Dalton officials plan 'Carpet Capital Makeover'

Charles Oliver
charlesoliver@daltoncitizen.com

— Dalton officials say the city needs a facelift and they have a plan to get rid of its unsightly blemishes.

City Administrator Ty Ross outlined what he called the “Carpet Capital Makeover” Tuesday night at the council’s meeting. Ross said council members asked for the plan after attending a Georgia Municipal Association meeting earlier this year in which Mayor David Pennington attended a session on urban revitalization.

Ross said the plan has three elements:

1. Increased code enforcement to keep minor issues from developing into large ones.

2. Keeping a close eye on foreclosed and abandoned properties and maintaining a list priority properties.

3. Abatement and redevelopment. Ross said the General Assembly passed a law earlier this year giving local governments greater powers to create “land banks” and use them to redevelop surplus properties.

Ross said the city would not take property from owners.

“These properties are long gone,” he said.

Ross said the next step before implementing the plan is to hold meetings for input from the public and to fine tune the plan.

City Council member Gary Crews said public input is essential for the plan to work.

“I know that one group I’d like to hear from is the realtors. They are dealing with these issues every day,” he said.

Council members also heard a presentation from Ed Painter, a local tea party activist, who asked them to consider a resolution asking the General Assembly to repeal the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which created the regional Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOSTs) that Georgians voted on in the July 31 general primary.

Voters in the Northwest Georgia area, which includes Whitfield County, rejected the TSPLOST. But Painter said the law still penalizes them because areas that rejected the TSPLOST will have to match state transportation funds at 30 percent, while areas that passed the TSPLOST only have to match 10 percent.

Painter said it is “un-American” for legislators to punish voters for not voting the way lawmakers want.

City Attorney Jim Bisson said he would see if the council has the legal authority to approve such as resolution.

The council voted 4-0 to:

• Accept the former headquarters of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce on College Drive for $10. Ross said city officials and Dalton Utilities are looking to build a retention pond on the site to help control flooding on McClellan Creek. The chamber moved into the old post office on Hamilton Street, which is owned by the city, earlier this year.

• Approve a five-year lease with Georgia Mountains Health for the health center in the Mack Gaston Community Center. Georgia Mountains Health will pay $1 a year for the space.

• Approve a $16,960 contract with Kadima Inc. to remove asbestos from the old City Park School building on Waugh Street and from the Crescent City train car.

• Approve an amendment to the 2012 budget that, among other things, provides more money for a new recycling truck and approves the city’s matching funds for a federal grant for safety improvements at Dalton Municipal Airport. Public Works Director Benny Dunn said new federal emissions rules have driven up the price of recycling trucks by about $10,000 since the council originally budgeted for a new truck last year.

• Designate the city administrator as Dalton’s open records office. The Georgia General Assembly passed a law earlier this year mandating local governments designate someone to handle all open records requests.

• Approve beer and wine pouring licenses for Momoya restaurant and beer, wine and liquor pouring licenses for Tijuana’s Mexican Restaurant No. 2.