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Historic trees deemed to be safety hazard
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The Porterdale City Council held a work session on Thursday to discuss several items, two of which will be action items for the council’s Sep. 13 meeting.

The water oak trees along Rose Hill and Broad Street that have been a staple in the city’s historic scenery will be removed because of the hazardous conditions they now present. The trees, planted over 25 years ago, have succumbed to disease and rot and have been noted as a safety issue, according to a letter sent to the council from Georgia Power.

The city will have to coordinate with the state for the removal of the trees, though the process could potentially take too long. The city council is therefore seeking permission from the state to allow Porterdale’s Public Works Commission to get started in removing the trees before a damaging incident occurs.

The council has also decided to move on an ordinance that will allow the city to pay its ad valorem property taxes in two installments. Currently, the city makes payments in one lump sum. By splitting the bill, the council hopes to ease the pressure and flexibility on its citizens.

The new ordinance will allow the city to make its first payment — half of the entire amount due for the year — 60 days from the date of billing. The second installment will be due by Dec. 20. This method of payment will adhere to the county’s current process.

Other items in the work session:

• Because the council had already laid out their budget for FY 2011 and they are currently in the middle of FY 2010, the council will postpone discussion on the change of the city’s fiscal year.

• The council discussed the procedures and definitions of probable cause that will allow code enforcement officials to enter a vacated home to inspect for utility use. The subject eventually shifted to a debate on code enforcement and the process of citing repeat offenders. The council intends to work on drafting an ordinance that will allow code enforcement officers to enforce repeated code violations.