A coalition of local healthcare organizations called Breatheasy Rome appeared before the board Aug. 13 seeking a tougher ordinance. Doss did not take immediate action but on Monday he assigned the issue to the city's Public Safety Committee.

He also asked the committee chair, Commissioner Craig McDaniel, to announce in advance when it would be on the agenda "and let those interested know those meetings are open to the public."

State law already bans indoor smoking and Rome's existing ordinance prohibits smoking within 25 feet of building entrances and sidewalk cafes. The proposed ordinance would expand smoke-free areas to include the city's central business district and all shopping malls, parking decks, outdoor events, playgrounds and drive-through service lines.

The public safety committee is scheduled to meet Sept. 18. Breatheasy advocates have suggested Jan. 1 as the effective date of a ban.

In other actions this week, commissioners signed off on a maintenance contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Under the agreement, city public works crews will handle the mowing, sweeping, litter pick-up and minor patching on state roads within the jurisdiction. GDOT will pay $3,800 per lane mile.

Public Services Manager Kirk Milam said an informal relationship developed over the years but he wanted to specify — and limit — the city's responsibilities and negotiate an increase from the $3,500 set in 2005.

Commissioners also awarded a contract to Rome-based Spriggs Paving Co. to widen and improve Honeysuckle Ridge Road. Spriggs was the sole bidder at $827,347.50.

The 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax package contains an $800,000 earmark toward the project, aimed at enhancing safety with a back entrance to Chulio Hills. 

Spriggs is slated to start work in October and finish within six months.