by Robin Kemp

Today is the first day of early voting before the Nov. 3 Presidential race, as well as for other county and state offices and on a few ballot measures. We’ll have a more in-depth candidate and issue guide later today but we wanted to be sure you had access to the various polling and ballot box locations in Clayton, Dekalb, and Fulton south of I-20. Meanwhile, we urge you to check your candidiates out at Ballotpedia and, if they already hold office, look up their voting records and meeting minutes of their governing body to see if you like what they say and do. We don’t endorse candidates for political office. See who’s qualified to run, including as write-in candidates whose names are not printed on the ballot.

  • The Morrow City Council meets Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. On the 104-page agenda packet, they plan to set the new millage rate at 9.081 percent at the 7:30 p.m meeting. The city is also looking at spending $6.9 million in SPLOST 2021 capital projects. The Morrow Centers quarterly profit and loss statement shows a loss of $50,537.97. The council will consider a new position, “Events/Social/Public Information Coordinator,” whose job would be to market the city as a destination spot. School Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley will address the council, and the council will vote on whether to authorize Mayor John Lampl to spend up to $5,000 in contingency funds ($395 per month) on CoStar, for the city’s new director of economic development, Bao Dang. CoStar is a real-estate market valuation tool. A microbrewery proposal is up for first reading, and there’s a public hearing as the city wrestles with MARTA over bus shelter signage.
  • As of Nov. 1, Morrow residents will pay $42.57 per quarter ($14.19 per month) for garbage pickup, with no more $5 “administrative fee.” However, you’ll have to buy your own can. Public Works will take yard debris and bulky items for free.
  • Morrow also has a contract, dated Oct. 1, with Falcon Design for a boundary survey ($15,080), optional underground utility locating ($2,400), and “preparation of exhibits and descriptions for additional parking lease area” ($1,800) at Olde Towne Morrow. Adam L. Price and John Palmer have signed the contract. Dia de los Muertos is Nov. 1 and the city is pushing to hold the event at Olde Towne Morrow.
  • Also of note in the Morrow agenda packet: job descriptions for several key positions: city manager, public works director, finance director, police chief, economic development director, fire chief, administration director, city clerk, and the events/social/public information coordinator.
  • The Jonesboro City Council also meets Monday, Oct. 12 to discuss levying an 8 percent millage rate, up from 4 percent. The city has lost $16,561.84 due to 60 businesses closing. Another 50 have not renewed their licenses. City Manager Ricky Clark said in a memo, “One of our businesses (was) closed due to COVID. This will cause a huge fluctuation in the amount that will be reported for the Occupational Tax period covering FY 20. We are projecting cutting the revenue by at least 38%, which would only generate roughly $200,000.00. I also want to point out that we have had businesses that have opened within the last quarter of the year, so they will only pay occupational taxes based upon 4 months. I will also note that based upon current projections, we have only collected 18% ($165,028 of $900,000) of some of our major fines/fees. This number will negatively affect our budget, however, our shortfall cannot come from a projection of anticipated fines/fees.” Clark stressed that the city needed to develop sustainable income from property taxes, noting, “Out of six councilmembers and a Mayor, there were only three (3) that paid any property taxes for FY 19. Of the three that paid, the City collected only $102.83.” That, Clark noted, was not enough to pay the city’s lowest-paid employee one week’s salary.
  • The weather was nasty this weekend with tornado warnings as Hurricane Delta fizzled out over Georgia. Some large limbs fell and took out power to residents near Old Dixie Road in Forest Park Saturday night and some unspecified storm damage was reported near Kaiser Permanente Southwood. The usual high water applied to the Flint and tributaries. A nasty wreck on Tara Boulevard sent 5 people to the hospital, including three Forest Park Fire and Emergency Services crewmembers whose ambulance flipped on the way to Southern Regional Medical Center. No one suffered life-threatening injuries.
  • Voting activity is picking up. The nonpartisan Clayton County NAACP is looking for volunteers and you don’t have to be a member to help. Call (404) 424-6567 to sign up.
  • We’re tuning up the website, so expect to see a few strange and wonderful things this week as we do so. We’re winding up a couple of investigations this week. We’re also feverishly putting together the Candidates and Issues Guide so you can be better informed about who and what’s on the ballot.
  • We also proudly introduce our official logo. Thank you for your support, feedback, and fan mail!