by Robin Kemp

This is Thanksgiving week, so many elected and appointed boards have cancelled their usual meetings. However, a few important housekeeping items should be on your agenda, not the least of which is the fact that early voting for the U.S. House District 5 special election runoff takes place through Wednesday. The candidates are two Democrats: Robert M. Franklin, a scholar of religious ethics at Emory University who is a former president of Morehouse College, and Kwanza Hall, who is a former Atlanta City Council member. The winner will hold the House seat for about a month, finishing what’s left of the late Rep. John Lewis’ term in office.

Voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23 through Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the following locations:

  • Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, 3499 Rex Road, Rex
  • Historic Courthouse, 121 S. McDonough St., Jonesboro
  • Morrow Municipal Complex, 1500 Morrow Road, Morrow
  • Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, 1475 E. Fayetteville Road, Riverdale

While turnout has been extremely low, the winner will hold an important seat during the critical period between the December 1 election and the transition to a new Congress, President, and Vice President.

Tuesday, Nov. 24: The Morrow City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. for its work session, followed by the regular called meeting. Agenda highlights include:

  • a recommendation from Planning and Zoning to approve a 1.475-acre, 7,063-square-foot freestanding area at Southlake Mall to It’s Electric‘s Henry Borom for a green lighting showroom and service business. The company had been on Courtney Drive in Forest Park. Macy’s Retail Holdings LLC owns the former service garage between Pars Cars and Macy’s.
  • an agreement with the county for the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration to conduct elections at the city’s request through 2024. The proposed agreement divides duties between city and county. For example, the city would qualify candidates and write-in candidates, set and collect qualifying fees, and “(perform) filing officer duties as required by theGeorgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission for any and all state reports filed by the candidates or committees in conjunction with City Election.” The county would train election workers and perform logic and accuracy (L&A) testing on ballot marking devices (voting machines). The city would pay the county an as-yet undetermined fee plus 10 percent.
  • a list of street resurfacing projects over the next three years, to be paid for with Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) funds. In FY 2021, Continental Circle, Foxcroft Circle, Foxcroft Drive, and Murphy Drive to Shirley Drive would be first to be resurfaced. In FY 2022, it would be Patricia Way, South Cheryl Drive, Vivan Court, and Mural Drive. By FY 2023, Adamson Parkway, Pinecrest Drive, York Road, and Harbinwood Drive would be freshened up.
  • Considering doing business with a company called Emergency Services Recovery, which is a collection agency for unpaid emergency response bills. According to an executive summary in the agenda packet, cities Morrow’s size can recoup about $40,000 annually by billing insurance agencies directly: “The highest potential response recovery we see would be in dealing with vehicle crashes and the resulting hazardous materials that we respond to regularly. There is also billing potential with powerline and pipeline incidents as well as structure fires and other incidents. Data from FY20 shows fire department responses to over 200 motor vehicle crashes, 15 vehicle fires, 12 hazardous material calls,6 structure fires, and 9 incidents of power lines down. Many of these incidents would present recoverable expenses.”
  • Two of Morrow’s finest, Sgt. Dunn and Agt. Murphy, will be recognized for ten and five years’ service, respectively.
  • On the regular meeting agenda are requests to approve a backup server from InterDev, enter an agreement with CNP Technologies for phone hardware and software maintenance, and approve an “updated logo” for the City of Morrow. There will be a presentation from Mark Whitley of Whitley Engineering and Kevin Osbey of Clayton County Water Authority, followed by first readings of proposals for floodplain management and flood damage prevention, post-construction stormwater management, adding two stop signs on Pleasant Valley Drive, and a crackdown on backyard chicken-keepers who run afowl of the law when their chickens cross the road to get to the other side. Don’t squawk–couldn’t help the yolk.

We’ll have more updates as they emerge from the fog of pre-holiday scheduling. Check back, be safe, keep your distance, and enjoy the Zoom call with Grandma!