by Robin Kemp

The City of Forest Park will consider appointments for several key positions, including elections supervisor, deputy elections superintendent, and mayor pro tempore, as well as hear a report on proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance, at Monday’s January 4 City Council meeting.

Fire Chief Don Horton and Division Chief Joel Turner also will give a COVID-19 update and councilmembers will discuss employee pension plan options through the Georgia Municipal Association.

The work session starts at 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

Citizen participation, which was robust prior to the city’s COVID-19 emergency declaration last spring, has turned nonexistent with the advent of virtual meetings. Many of the city’s seniors regularly attended council meetings and spoke during public comment. It’s not clear whether participation has dropped due to technological hurdles, poor livestreams, or lack of interest. What is clear is that citizens cannot take part in their regular council meeting. On December 22, the council voted to approve installation of a state-of-the-art video livestreaming system–the same day it voted to reopen City Hall to the public (with COVID-19 precautions) on January 11.

Mayor Angelyne Butler
Ward 2 Councilman Dabouze Antoine
Ward 1 Councilwoman Kimberly James

The council also will set fees for potential candidates who want to run for mayor or for council seats in Ward 1 (Kimberly James) or Ward 2 (Dabouze Antoine) and consider whether to approve an annual day off for city employees to take part in community service.

KC Krzic of The Collaborative Firm will give the presentation on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance.

The city is planning a Zoning Rewrite Community Meeting on January 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place online at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_u8FAIbKWRiq0brpAKJnN7A (here’s a shorter version of the same link: https://bit.ly/3rUNt2X ).

You can see the city’s current zoning ordinances at https://library.municode.com/ga/forest_park/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_TIT8PLDE_CH8ZO#TOPTITLE.

Residents who want to comment on tonight’s agenda topics must get their comments in before 12 noon in a procedure that the council has used since banning the public and press from council chambers.

How to take part in the meeting

Please share these steps with neighbors who may be less tech-savvy:

PUBLIC COMMENT: You must submit your comments before 12 noon Monday (today).

  1. Go to www.slido.com.
  2. Enter event code 010421.

You must include your name and address with your comments. The city says it will answer “as many questions as possible” during the public comment period.

LIVE MEETING VIDEO: To watch the meeting online via the Zoom videoconference app:

  1. Go to the meeting site at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87359015106?pwd=dXR6S0hUajVIb3ZWMEs1Wkl3dWhEUT09. Here is a shorter, easier-to-share version of the same link: https://bit.ly/3rOp8Mi (that’s a capital letter “O,” not a zero).
  2. If you don’t already have Zoom installed on your computer, you will be prompted to download it. You can go to zoom.us beforehand and download the free software.
  3. Enter meeting ID 873 5901 5106
  4. Enter passcode 563600

LISTEN BY PHONE:

  1. Dial (301) 715-8592 or (312)626-6799.
  2. Enter meeting ID 873 5901 5106
  3. Enter passcode 563600.

See the full agenda at https://www.forestparkga.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/city_council/meeting/10741/01.04.2021_agenda_city_of_forest_mayor_and_council_meeting.pdf .

Past meetings

You can watch some past City Council meetings on the city’s YouTube channel. Search “City of Forest Park, GA” on youtube.com or go to https://bit.ly/3rV4KcC.