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Meet the parents
First reading of parenting ordinance highlights council meeting
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THE SEPT. 25 meeting of the Savannah City Council was quiet and uneventful. Mayor Otis Johnson and Alderman Tony Thomas were both absent to attend conferences, and Mayor Pro Tem Edna Jackson presided in Johnson's absence.

The first reading of the Parental Support and Responsibility Ordinance was presented. The ordinance is designed to “provide support and penalties for parents or guardians who contribute to their child’s violation of state law, city ordinance, or school policy or who fail to comply with the terms of adjudication or remediation set forth by the juvenile court or schools, including such parental supports as counseling, substance abuse treatment, or parenting classes.”

City Manager Michael Brown said the ordinance is not designed to “pick on” children or parents. He said the purpose is to support families in an effort to prevent further problems, and said this ordinance should not be confused with parental responsibility ordinances put into effect in other cities.

A town hall meeting will be held with parents and other residents to discuss the ordinance. Brown said parents will be fully informed about the ordinance before it is submitted to the council for final approval.

The second reading of the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance wa held and it was approved. Approval of the ordinance is necessary for the city to continue to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

In the event of a disaster, policy holders are covered for flood damage. In Savannah, one foot of additional finished lower elevation is strongly recommended in new construction by the state. Passing the amendment improves the city’s flood rating and means lower insurance premiums for homeowners.

The council tabled the purchase of 48,000 curb-side recycling carts from Otto Industries until the Oct. 7 meeting. Otto submitted the low bid of $2,685,103 for the carts, which will be used by residents for the curb-side recycling program.

The matter is being deferred because of a request from the mayor, who wants to do further investigation before proceeding with the purchase. The program is projected to begin in January.

The council approved the purchase of 960 trees at a cost of $78,933.50. Brown said the trees would be used by the Park and Tree Department in city parks and right-of-ways. He said trees would be placed where they were most needed, mostly to replace trees lost because of age.

The annual contract for employee benefits consulting services was tabled for two weeks after representatives of Hilb, Roger, Hobbs, Savannah complained that their bid was actually the lowest, although Brown had recommended the contract go to Wachovia Insurance Services. Brown said going with Wachovia would actually save the city in the long run, and said he said he would be glad to meet with city and company officials to explain precisely why the recommendation was made. cs