A new city councilman’s swearing-in, possible changes in pricing at the Cumming Country Fair & Festival and a proposal that could lead the way to a new community improvement district were among items on the agenda for the Cumming City Council’s work session on Tuesday.
All items were approved 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
Fair prices could change
It looks like there may be a change in pricing for parking and admission at this year’s Cumming Country Fair & Festival.
At the meeting, Fairgrounds Administrator Tracy Helms went over a proposal that would raise admission from $7 to $10 while eliminating the $5 parking fee at the fairground's parking lot.
Helms said after crunching the numbers for the previous years, upping the admission price and getting rid of the parking fee would be a net gain for the city.
“If you look at those three years all together, you’re averaging somewhere between $95,000-$100,000 increase by increasing the ticket and eliminating the parking,” he said. “There are some benefits to this.”
Other benefits would include not having city employees walking around the area with large amounts of cash, lines moving quicker due to not having to give back change and a 15-20% reduction in employee pay costs from parking attendants.
Helms said the price changes would bring the city in line with the Gwinnett County Fair and that officials with the North Georgia State Fair in Marietta were looking at a similar change.
“There are a lot of fairs that are going to this. It’s very popular among other fairs in the area and in the southeast,” he said.
No action was taken at the meeting, though the item will likely be approved at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
After winning the election last November to replace longtime Councilman Lewis Ledbetter, Councilman Joey Cochran was sworn-in to the position to start the meeting by Rich Neville, chief judge for municipal court.
“The city of Cumming is getting a very good person, an outstanding person, to serve,” Neville said before swearing Cochran in.
Cochran, owner of Downtown Auto Sales, is a Cumming native and a graduate of Forsyth County High School (now Forsyth Central) and Piedmont College. He is the son of former Councilman Henry Cochran, who served in the 1960s.
In November, he earned 270 votes, about 57% of the 478 ballots cast, over opponents Jason May and Brent Patrick.
Improving the community
In 2019, a community improvement district was approved by businesses in south Forsyth. Now a similar proposal could be coming to the city.
The city council approved beginning the process of creating a community improvement district for the city, which would require action from the Georgia General Assembly, after hearing from Carter Patterson, president of the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and an owner of Cumming Cigar Co.
“What it is is that businesses in a certain area vote to form a community improvement district, and it takes 50% of them in an area to approve it, as well as 75% of the value [of those properties],” Patterson said.
Patterson said CIDs are typically used for projects like beautification along roadways but have also been used for larger undertakings like taking on some costs with SunTrust Park in Cobb County.
“We are years away, probably, from forming a CID,” Patterson said. “But [with the city council] proclamation to the state delegation to correct the law, we, as a chamber, can start polling those businesses and garnering interest.”
Brumbalow said he had been contacted by District 25 state Rep. Todd Jones, who said the approval would “get the ball rolling.”
Keeping the city clean
In April 2018, Kelly Mill Elementary School students Kayden Sell and Walker Allinson, both 7 at the time, pitched an idea for recycling bins they had designed in the city. Now, the city is now considering adding recycling bins in city hall and other properties.
“They’ve come back, their teacher has, and asked if the city would consider doing recycling on city property,” Brumbalow said.
No action was taken during the meeting, but Brumbalow said he wanted to have city council members consider the proposal.
When asked if the bins would require more work from city employees, Brumbalow said, “that’s what we’ve got to investigate.”
“Logistically, it’s great to say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’ and logistically, how do you make that happen?” he said.
The mayor said he would like also like to see recycling options at the upcoming Cumming City Center.