by Robin Kemp

UPDATE 9/28 1:21 p.m.: ADDS Hampton proposed FY22 budget link

UPDATE 9/29 3:30p.m.: ADDS Confederate street names forum

Morrow property tax increases, raises for Clayton County School Board members, School Board representation on the Clayton County Land Bank, empty lots on Forest Park’s Main Street, a movie studio and a lobbyist for Clayton County, a special called meeting for Hampton’s FY2022 budget, and Morrow’s Hippie Fest are among the high points (sorry) of this week’s Monday Morning Roundup.

Monday, Sept. 27

The board’s next regular meeting will be October 4 at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

  • 10 a.m.: If you’re 55 or older, Clayton County is holding a “Seniors 55+ Employment and Volunteer Expo” at the Flint River Community Center, 153 Flint River Road, Riverdale. The event goes until 1 p.m. Call (770) 347-0370 to register.
  • 11 a.m.: The City of Morrow will hold a special called meeting in Council Chambers, 1500 Morrow Road, for a public heating on the city’s proposed property tax increase. The notice went out with a “Message from the Morrow Mayor,” in which Mayor John Lampl pointed out the city “will not increase our property tax millage rate for the fourth straight year.” The official legal notice itself reads, “The City of Morrow has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 4.86 percent due solely to growth in assessed value to existing properties.” In addition, it notes, “This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 9.081 mills, an increase of 0.421 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 8.660 mills.” That means a house with a fair market value of $125,000 will see “approximately $0” increase, “due to the $150,000 homestead exemption.” For non-homestead property with a fair market value of $1,750,000, the projected tax increase is “approximately $294.70.” Lampl’s commentary next to the legal Notice of Property Tax Increase notes that “Throughout 2021, some property values have increased. But because of our $150,000 homestead exemption, the average homeowner in Morrow will still pay $0 in property taxes….As you can see in our 5-year history, we will collect more in 2021 than last year.” You can look up all 2,179 real properties (commercial and residential), or just the homes zoned R3, R4, and R5, at the Clayton County Tax Assessor’s Property Search Information website. Just click on “Advanced Search,” select Tax District from the pulldown menu on the right, “Morrow 5” from the pulldown menu on the left, then click “Add” and “Search.” (You also can add additional criteria, for example, to pull only certain zoning designations.) Of those, 447 are are listed as having an appraised value of more than $100,000 and could be subject to the tax increase (unless those owners were eligible for some other type of exemption). The homes’ appraised (fair market) values run from $151,200 to $369,600 and their assessed values (the 40% of each home value that is subject to taxation) range from $60,480 to $125,664. So, while the millage rate will not change, increased property values due to high demand in the Clayton County market means those 447 homeowners will pay 4.86% more in property taxes this year than they did last year if the council passes the millage rate. According to the SmartAsset calculator, where you can enter your own home’s value, Clayton County homeowners are paying more property taxes than the statewide average and nearly as much as the national average. Meanwhile, some large Clayton County property owners pay no taxes at all. In case you had trouble hearing last week’s work session and meeting, we fixed the audio for you.
  • 3 p.m.: The City of Lovejoy is accepting public comments no later than 3 p.m. ahead of its special called meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The council is set to vote on the millage rates for real property, personal property, and mobile homes. According to a public notice published September 22, the Sept. 29 meeting will be held by Zoom and the public can access it online at with meeting ID 609-230-8294 and passcode 2K7VEh, or you can dial (646) 558-8656 and enter the meeting ID and passcode. For “one-tap” mobile, enter +16465588656,,6092308294#,,,,*374572# Send your comments to LJCITY@CITYOFLOVEJOY.COM. The city says all comments received will be considered part of the public record and will be documented in the official minutes of the meeting. Contact Marie Burnham with any questions.
  • 4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Youth Commissioners and the Forest Park Panthers in Action are holding a voter registration drive at Starr Park Amphitheater, 5031 Starr Avenue, Forest Park. A live DJ, games, and other activities are part of the event. Call Ciara Dunn at (770) 477-3349 for more information.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its work session. On the agenda: preliminary items for the October 5 meeting, as well as a presentation on the Atlanta Community Improvement District, a discussion of a film and movie studio, and an update on the county’s lobbyist and scope of services.
  • 6 p.m.: The Hampton City Council holds a special called meeting at the Hampton Train Depot, 20 East Main Street, for the first reading of the proposed FY 2022 Budget Ordinance. Here’s a copy of the proposed FY22 budget from the September 22 hearing (h/t Alex Cohilas).
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its work session at Morrow City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road. On the agenda: a net loss of -$14,151.02 reported in August for the Morrow Convention Center, a request from Fire Chief Roger Swint to replace the non-working tornado siren in Milton Daniel Park for $17,146.08. The siren is “at least 20 years old,” Swint said, and is not one of three the city bought in spring 2020 from Sirens for Cities, which is owned by Jonesboro City Councilman Ed Wise. In a memo, Swint said the vendor “said it would require extensive repairs totaling about $12,000. I inquired about replacing it with one similar to the other three he installed in 2020, and he provided a quote of $17,146.08.” The other three sirens were paid for with SPLOST 2014 funds. Also on the agenda: the city’s “discussions with restaurants, shops, boardwalk, night market, and amphitheater” for Olde Towne Morrow/The District, soliciting bids for engineering and proposals for “the Dark Space” at Southlake Mall, as well as for welcome and City Hall signs, the public hearing on the proposed property tax increase, a 24-month contract at $360.78 monthly for Comcast Business at Fire House 32, using $140,000 from the CARES Act grant program for small businesses to update digital signage, and a single-source contract for $1,440 for Indent Electric, which online business filings show is owned by Khai Hoang of Dacula, at the Dark Space. Also on the agenda: a discussion of Hippie Fest, which takes place Saturday at 5917 Morrow Road from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Far out, man. Be aware that Morrow is known to resume its work sessions after its regular meetings.
  • 7:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its regular meeting immediately following the work session. The agenda includes an item for the public hearing tax notice, as well as votes on:
    • approving the September 14 work session and regular meeting minutes a contract with engineer Mark Whitley of Hampton, whose company Whitley Engineering is registered in Pike County and who has served as Clayton County’s engineer, to be “the Engineering Consultant for projects needing such service in the City of Morrow”
    • the Indent Electric contract for $1,440 for electrical work at the Dark Space, using SPLOST 2014 funds
    • the Comcast Business contract for Fire Station 32 at $360.78 a month for 24 months
    • using CARES Act funding “to allow small businesses in the City of Morrow to get assistance with updating their digital signage for up to 140,000”

Wednesday, Sept. 29

Thursday, Sept. 30

Friday, Oct. 1

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