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
- 5:30 p.m.: The Morrow Urban Redevelopment Agency holds a special called meeting at Morrow City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road, to approve minutes of the August 26 special called meeting and to vote on approving a proposal “to replace and repair the doors leading into the exhibit space (aka dark space) and to authorize Chairperson [Lana] Labay to execute any contract, agreement, or related documents.” A general discussion will follow.
- 6 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Education holds a work session at 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro. The board will hold an executive session with recommendations to follow, as well as updates on the Land Bank Authority, Equity and Compliance, Student Support Services, and School Leadership and Improvement. The proposed agenda includes the proposed 2022-2023 academic calendar and board members’ monthly compensation ($2,000 for members, $2,100 for the vice-chair (vacant as of press time), and $2,200 for the chair, starting January 1, 2022), as well as National Hispanic Heritage Month 23.3% of Clayton County Public School students are Hispanic or Latin@). On the consent agenda are reports on finances, SPLOST revenue, purchasing, SPLOST construction, and personnel changes. The board also will approve the proposed October 4 meeting agenda. The Land Bank discussion will address proposed CCBOE policy on extinguishing (wiping out) certain taxes and penalties on dilapidated, abandoned structures so that the Clayton County Land Bank can sell those properties and get them back on the tax rolls. CCPS depends on property taxes to keep the schools open. The School Board also would have a representative on the Land Bank to look out for CCPS’ interests. See the proposed procedures by which the School Board would decide which delinquent properties would have their debts extinguished. Incentive pay dates for staff include:
- September 27: Math and Science Supplement
- October: COVID Incentive
- October 19: Equity Incentive
- November 15: Career Ladder Incentive
- December 3: Longevity, Key Milestone Incentives
- May 31, 2022: Professional Learning
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 zoom.us 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
- 5:30 p.m.: The Forest Park Development Authority meets at City Hall Council Chambers, 745 Forest Parkway. The public also can access the meeting via Zoom at https://bit.ly/3kFdn9s or dial in by phone at (929) 205-6099, using meeting ID 899-8426-4018 and passcode 683596. On the agenda: approval of the August 25 minutes, and a report from the Economic Development department, plus a discussion of retreat options. Major items include Main Street Lots (which were the focus of a walking tour by Forest Park native and author Hannah Palmer and Canopy Atlanta on Saturday), an event for 771-775 Main Street, bylaws, and approval of the development boards’ new intergovernmental agreement, which is supposed to delineate separate responsibilities for each board.
- 6 p.m.: The Hampton City Council holds a special called meeting at the Hampton Train Depot, 20 East Main Street, for the second reading and adoption of the proposed FY 2022 Budget Ordinance. An additional special called meeting at 6 p.m. will consider and vote on two resolutions: 2021-30 will update utility rate fees, while 2021-21 will approve revised dates for early voting.
- 7 p.m.: The Lovejoy City Council is holding a special called meeting via Zoom at https://bit.ly/3m7M47o. Join with meeting ID 609-230-8294 and passcode 2K7VEh. The council will consider setting the millage rates on real and personal property, as well as on mobile homes, and E-mail Marie Burnham at firstname.lastname@example.org for details about the agenda, minutes, ordinances, and resolutions.
Thursday, Sept. 30
- 10 a.m.: Clayton County Central Services is holding a “How to Do Business with Clayton County” virtual workshop for small businesses. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/3m5UfB1 or call (770) 477-3587.
- Thursday is the deadline for College Park Youth Council applications. You must be in grades 8 through 12 and live or attend school in the City of College Park to apply. E-mail email@example.com for details.
- 6:30 p.m.: District 4 Commissioner DeMont Davis holds a second public forum on renaming the Confederate streets of the Dixie Subdivision off Tara Boulevard and Robert E. Lee Parkway. The forum takes place at 112 Smith Street. We have been working on an in-depth report about the controversy and will publish it soon.
Friday, Oct. 1
Please become a member of The Clayton Crescent so that we can keep you informed of the stories that have the most impact on your day-to-day life as a Clayton County resident. Like public radio, we depend on your financial support to bring stories like this one to you. Your tax-deductible gift of just $10 per month helps us keep the lights on, the rent paid, and the news breaking. We’re adding some special member-only benefits that will enhance your knowledge about what’s going on and put you in touch with movers and shakers. Monthly donors will receive additional thank-you privileges. Join now–and thank you!