Leesburg gets grant for project

LEESBURG — The city of Leesburg has qualified for an almost $200,000 forgiveness grant that will allow the city to move forward with its water meter replacement program once the city completes state- and federally-mandated requirements.

The almost $700,000 “green project” will allow the city to more efficiently manage its water supply.

“There are regulations, like we must advertise the project for a mandated period,” City Clerk Casey Moore said Tuesday while the City Council convened for an extended executive session to discuss property acquisition and potential litigation. “There will be an RFP (request for proposal) sent out, the bid process will move forward, and there will be an award meeting and a construction meeting.

“Still, we expect to have this project completed by the end of the current fiscal year. We’re really excited about this project because it will allow us to better control water usage and locate water leaks for city customers. Plus, since we’re getting 2 percent money (from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority) to finance the project, we’re getting a lot of bang for not many bucks.”

The council closed out its calendar year by adopting a vision statement (“A dedicated community that works to improve the quality of life defined by high standards of education, a nurturing environment for families and an innovative atmosphere for business”) and approving an updated employee handbook.

“The handbook can be rolled out Jan. 1 if adopted,” Human Resources Committee Chair Rhonda Futch told the council before recommending approval of the handbook.

City Attorney Bert Gregory told council members the new handbook was “good to go” after questions brought up at the city’s November meeting had been addressed by the Human Resources Committee. The council gave blanket approval to 2012 alcohol license renewals for the four convenience stores and one restaurant in the city that serves alcohol by the drink, and approved, pending an FBI background check, the awarding of an alcohol license in the name of Sunil Patel for the EZ Food Mart.

Gregory said Patel had been approved for a license previously, had turned over management of the store to a relative, but now wanted to have the license transferred back into his own name.

“You’ve approved Mr. Patel in the past, and I assume there have been no problems with him (a statement confirmed by Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore) that would keep you from approving him again, pending the FBI check,” Gregory said.

Finance committee Chairman Bob Wilson said he’d talked with officials conducting an annual audit of the city’s finances, and they’d confirmed “the city of Leesburg is on good financial footing.”