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Cairo was first granted a town charter in October 1870 making this the sesquicentennial of the community’s official founding.
Due to COVID-19 there will not be much of a celebration, according to Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III.
Mayor Thrower reminded the members of the city council Monday night about the milestone and shared some brief remarks on the history of Cairo’s founding.
“The state granted Cairo its town charter on Oct. 28, 1870. The new town was a mile across centered on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad depot. In November, the residents elected Cairo’s first mayor, Wiley Pearce, and three council members, W.T. Rigsby, William Powell, and B.L. Hearn. The mayor and council had the authority to tax shows and peddlers, bowling alleys and billiard tables, as to regulate liquor sales,” Mayor Thrower stated.
The mayor and council did not begin meeting until June 1871 and they soon identified the sandy trails that were to become streets. According to Mayor Thrower, the council decided to maintain four streets, two running north-south and two east-west, all initially south of the depot.
“I’ve had a call or two for us to have a celebration, but we just can’t do it now. It is such an important time, however,” the mayor said.
He said a more formal observance would be planned for the council’s next meeting on Oct. 26.
In other business Monday night, the council:
Formally set the 2020 ad valorem tax rate at 7.72 mills.
Approved a special event permit for a tent revival to be held at 514 Eighth St. S.W. from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Nov. 6-10. Jim Reese is the applicant.
Approved a special event permit for Fun Day in the Park at Davis Park on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The applicant is Organizing for Grady County.
Barbara Lowe, representing the group, said the event was being held to encourage local voters to vote and that same day will be the one-day of early voting on a Saturday.
Councilman Jerry Cox asked what precautions were being taken with regard to COVID-19.
Lowe said that those who did not have masks would be supplied one and there would be 25-30 volunteers to help direct the crowd to maintain social distancing, pick up a meal and continue moving, no congregating. Lowe said only those with stickers indicating they had voted would be served a take-out meal.
Approved a special event permit for Roddenbery Memorial Library’s Drive-thru Trunk or Treat. The library is partnering with Cairo Main Street to put on this event following the recent decision to cancel this year’s Boo on Broad event. The library event will be held on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 29 from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the library, between the library and Davis Park.
Approved renewal of an alcoholic beverage license for American Legion Post 544.
Reappointed Charles M. Stafford to the Cairo Development Authority and the Grady County Joint Development Authority. Stafford has served as a member of the J.D.A. since October 1996 and the Cairo Development Authority since October 2002.
Heard a report from city manager Chris Addleton that last week the city had received a $108,293 refund on sales taxes the city paid on the MacIvor Drive water plant project. Previously, the city had received a refund of $125,000 in sales taxes paid on the Airport water plant project. The city contracted with Tax Specialists of Georgia, who specialize in refunding sales taxes back to governing agencies who have been charged sales taxes, but are not required to pay them. “They know what they are doing and we don’t have to expend our resources to recoup this money. It’s good to get this money back,” Addleton said.
Heard concerns from Councilman Jerry Cox about illegal parking in front of the new police headquarters and on First Street N.W. on the west side of the police station. “We may have to paint the curbs,” Addleton said.