It was the “severity of violations” at the Budgetel Inn off Carson Loop near Cartersville that led to Tuesday’s decision to suspend the permit for the hotel’s operations, says Victor Abercrombie, envronmental county manager for Public Health in Bartow County.
That decision was made upon a Tuesday morning inspection and the health department issued the standard 24-hour call to evacuate the hotel, home to between 160 and 180 people, Abercrombie says.
He repeated commended those who joined the agency in ensuring everyone had a safe place to relocate, especially the families of the 84 children who were among those staying at the hotel, he says. “We had placed very person in that facility somehwere, he said, adding each was moved to quarters “that were better for them” and “at least more secure.”
Relocation efforts lasted for two days, he says, adding, “All were making sure everybody was in a safer place.”
Assisting were the health department, environmental health, the Bartow County Board of Education, the fire department, code enforcement, building inspectors and the mayor of Cartersville, Matt Santini. He also praised the faith-based community for stepping up, including a Woodstock congregation that placed 10 families.
It was a difficult situation for all involved, he said. Budgetel is designed for overnight and short-term stays and not apartment-style living. During inspections, crews were finding cooking equipment Abercrombie said he wouldn’t have in his own home.
Following previous inspections, the health department had been working with the owner, the manager and a contractor about making improvements, especially after discovering a number of pets there as well as more long-term residents than the Budgetel was designed to handle, Abercrombie said.
There were no plans to suspend Budgetel’s license prior to conditions found Tuesday morning, he adds. “We don’t preplan closings.”
What’s next: A meeting is set for next week with the families to ensure “they’re still in a good place,” Abercrombie says. As for Budgetel Inn: They’ll need to make listed improvements after which another inspection would be conducted. If it checks out, the permit will come off “suspended” status, he says.
FROM BARTOW COUNTY SCHOOLS
About 50 school-aged children affected by the Budgetel Inn eviction are now resting more comfortably thanks to the quick and efficient work of our Homeless Liaison Kelly Whitmire and several other community groups.
As of Thursday afternoon, transportation arrangements are complete so our children now living temporarily in other parts of Cartersville-Bartow County can get to their current school. Anyone needing bus information can call Kelly Whitmire at 770-606-5800 extension 5326. Donations can be made to the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter.
“This community showed up in a big way for me and for these families. We housed over 200 people for a week. We had moving trucks. We had car seats. We had transportation by bus for families. We had packing and moving supplies. We had food and water. All of this with less than 24 hours notice. Miracles do happen because I witnessed one yesterday!” – Kelly Whitmire.