With temperatures dropping and inclement weather always possible, Rockmart's city council officially announced new incident response plan for those who have no where else to go and are stuck outdoors.
The new guidelines seek to minimize damage and shelter those in need and were created as a substitute when the group's previous plan of using the Hogue Avenue gymnasium was deemed a liability threat.
“The issue was tabled at my request,” City Manager Jeff Ellis said. “We took the past month to ask the attorney's office for a legal opinion, and we also asked the Georgia Municipal Association to give us an insurable position regarding it. The committee met, the staff met, and it was our unanimous decision to not allow the use of the facility-- therefore we wrote two emergency operation plans. The one (advice) that stuck the most was the legal opinion of the city's attorney office.”
Instead, the operational plans are shared with community partners - primarily churches - who have agreed to coordinate with the city and offer shelter or aid to those in need.
The council will also pay relevant staff to be active with said partners during emergency situations.
The plans are already in place, but shelter will be offered only in extreme bouts of weather or natural disasters.
In other council business for December, options for elder care in Rockmart might soon expand if zoning changes are approved.
Business Focal HomeCare is attempting to open an adult day care center, and the company requested an amendment that would allow them to rent the city's former health department building at 320 Water St.
If the change is not opposed in a forthcoming public hearing during the first meeting of the New Year, the amendment could pave the way for more senior assistance.
“Focal HomeCare would like to rent the former health department building and operate an adult day care for seniors 55 and older from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m.,” Department of Community Development Director Stacey Smith said. “Mr. (Jeff) Ellis and I discovered there is not a definition that would apply to that type of business, so Focal HomeCare requested we amend our zoning to include adult daycares in whatever zone we found admissible.”
The group found the business could operate as a conditional use in C-2 and C-3 areas before agreeing to advertise a public hearing.
If uncontested, the council needs only to adopt the ordinance amendment before the business is allowed to operate within the city limits.
Those interested in the future of the document are urged to attend the upcoming Rockmart meeting.
A zoning amendment wouldn't be the only change coming to Rockmart in 2019.
The council approved a slew of new appointments to the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center Advisory Committee including Ellis as a returning member as the city manager, Bruce Bell for Liason, James Hill for visual arts, Margaret Jacobs for performing arts, Donna Duff for literary arts, Margaret Bearden for education, and Cathy Matthews for business.
Those interested in attending Rockmart meetings can visit city hall on the second Tuesday of each month beginning at 7 p.m.