By Sarah Wibell
Rutledge City Council approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) VII during their regular meeting on March 19. Morgan County voters had passed the one-penny sales tax last May in order to fund various capital outlay projects over a six-year period beginning April 1, 2019.
Rutledge Mayor Bruce Altznauer explained, “This is not TSPLOST (for transportation) … we had a prior meeting (to decide) where we wanted the extra-special tax to go to …We could use that $430K.” Some of the items earmarked include the sewer lift station, water infrastructure, Fears Road Well, sidewalks, and buildings and repair. The vote was unanimous by the council members present; Council member Tim Smith was absent.
Altznauer shared that the new well on Fears Road began operation on March 15. This well is now the primary well for Rutledge, and the city will no longer be contractually obligated to purchase 18K gallons of water a day from the City of Madison.
The former city hall building will be re-roofed due to damage caused by hail and strong winds attributed to Hurricane Michael. Insurance will cover the cost of the project as the current shingles failed a brittle test by RWN Roofing. The interior of the building is being repainted, and two office spaces are being emptied of furniture.
The city council is considering ideas shared by citizens on how best to repurpose those rooms. However, they noted that whatever is decided will be something that benefits the community and not be used as offices.
Past council meetings have shared suggestions of a train museum or a small library.
The city council also discussed possible ways to improve parking options available for business in downtown Rutledge in response to a request from Kris Bray, owner of Yesterday’s Cafe. Ideas included clarification of signage and assessing potential of nearby locations to use for parking. Altznauer stated, “That’s something that we’d be more than happy to look into, and I’d be more than happy to talk to Kris about it.” Since the opening of the new city hall, four parking spaces have been freed up for public use in front of the former city hall with a fifth spot that will continue to be reserved for City of Rutledge vehicles.
The business license for Handmade Emporium Market LLC – a handmade crafts and consignment store – at 106 West Main Street was also approved during the meeting. Applicant Gary Hultgren commented, “We’re working on it. We are getting some vendors in.”