Former Morrow Police Chief Jimmy Callaway‘s funeral is this afternoon at 3 p.m., with visitation at 1 p.m. at Crossroads Church, 3260 Georgia Hwy. 15 in Sharpsburg. Callaway, who most recently served as director of investigations at Georgia POST, and who left Morrow for a job as deputy chief of investigations for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, died of natural causes August 8 while at the Georgia Gang Investigators Association convention in Savannah. You can donate to a GoFundMe for his family at https://gofund.me/ae444211.

Also today at 5 p.m., the Clayton County Board of Education holds its final public hearing on the proposed millage rate for 2023. The rate will stay at 20 mils, but that means a 1.92% property tax increase over the rollback millage rate. The hearing will be livestreamed. See the previous public hearing on the millage rate, held at 11 a.m. today.

On Tuesday, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings on the proposed millage rate at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 112 Smith Street in Jonesboro. The proposed rate for Clayton County M&O is 14.496 mils, an increase of 1.397 mils. A mil is the same as $1 for every $1,000 of property value.

So how much will your property tax go up, assuming these proposed rates pass? If your house is worth $100,000, you pay taxes on $40,000 (because the assessed value, the part they tax, is 40% of the fair market value). You pay $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value. The assessed value (40 percent of the fair market value) of a house that is worth $100,000 is $40,000. You would pay $800 in school taxes (20 mils x 40) and $579.84 in county M&O taxes (14.496 mils x 40), for a total of $1,379.84.

However, if your house is now worth $150,000, you’re looking at taxes on $60,000 assessed value and that comes out to $1,200 for school taxes and $869.76 in county M&O taxes, which comes to $2,069.76.

And if your home is worth $250,000, you’ll be taxed on $100,000, which translates into $2,000 for school taxes, $1,449.60 for county M&O, or $3,449.60 altogether.

Those figures vary according to your situation. If you live in an unincorporated area that also pays for fire service, that’s more money. If you qualify for a homestead or other exemption, you’ll pay less.

Taxpayers have to show up for the millage rate hearings if they want to try and influence their elected officials to reconsider any proposed rates. Once they vote, it’s set in stone for the year.

Here’s a quick look at what else your government is up to this week. Please check back for updates.

Monday, August 15

5:30 p.m.: The Jonesboro Historic Preservation Commission considers three matters:

  • a Certificate of Appropriateness for Obiorah Fields, LLC (South Atlanta Injury Lawyers) at 157 South McDonough Street (parcel No. 13241D H003) to change the exterior brick color inside the Historic District.
  • a Certificate of Appropriateness for Jonesboro Biblical Counseling Center to add a new hanging sign (this will be a revised design) for the commercial building at 151 West Mill Street ( parcel No. 13241D A007) in the Historic Residential Overlay.
  • notification of a pending demolition of a residence at 113 North Avenue (parcel no. 13240D D016) in the Historic Residential Overlay. The Commission is not required to act on the notification. Hearthside Jonesboro Redevelopment LP, which is building a large senior housing complex nearby, owns the property. Last July, a company called One Street Jonesboro Land, LLC, organized by Adam G. Kirk of Savannah, and Hearthside Jonesboro Redevelopment LP bought the property from Joseph Craig Branan, according to online county sales records. The historic property is valued at $142,500.
113 North Ave., slated for demolition, in Jonesboro’s Historic Residential Overlay. The house is directly across the street from the community garden. (Google Maps photo)

6 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council will consider during its work session whether to install a ShotSpotter gunshot detection system. Critics say ShotSpotter is not a substitute for human policing, that it is subject to human error when police, other law enforcement officials, or ShotSpotter employees edit the data it collects, and that it tends to be installed in minority communities. The company points to studies it commissioned that claim a 97% accuracy rate. A Chicago man whose car passed through an intersection near a gunshot detected by ShotSpotter spent almost a year behind bars until prosecutors asked a judge to throw out the case for lack of evidence. Also on the agenda: whether to install Omnilert Gun Detect, a video firearms detection system that can run on existing or new security cameras. Omnilert argues that its artificial intelligence system focuses on the presence of a firearm, not the face of the person carrying it, which the company says reduces racial bias. During the 7 p.m. regular business meeting, the council also will “confirm” a new Planning and Development director and tighten up a loophole in the city’s ordinance giving rental property owners 30 days to board up windows of empty houses. City officials say the owners just pay for new permits every 30 days without boarding up the windows. The proposed amendment would charge $150 for the first 30-day permit and $500 for a second 30-day period. Property owners also have to submit detailed plans for the repairs and maintenance that need to be done. Any continued violations would be fined at $1,000 each and the city would have the right to inspect the property in person. Property owners also will have to paint the boards with at least 2 coats of paint “of a color compatible with the exterior color of the building or structure.” In case of a temporary emergency, like a broken window, property owners would have 10 days to fix the problem without needing a permit.

Tuesday, August 16

6:30 p.m.: The BOC’s regular business meeting will consider a number of changes to job classifications. One would get rid of the Flint River Community Center’s Senior Center manager and add a cultural arts administrator. According to the request, “The Cultural Arts Administrator will be responsible for developing and maintain a cultural arts presence for Clayton County. The classification’s duties will include engaging a feasibility study to identify community and business needs as they relate to a establishing a cultural arts presence; establishing partnerships and collaborations to design programs and initiatives to meet goals and objectives; establishing measurements and matrixes to monitor success; plan, prepare, and implement programs and initiatives. These duties and responsibilities provide a snapshot of the expectations of this classification. A cultural arts presence for Clayton County will increase tourism; add extended services and programs to Clayton County citizens; enhance our mantra of live, work, and play. A cultural arts presence can have a positive impact on an increase in citizenship and business and aligns with the fact that the world’s busiest airport is in Clayton County.” Asked whether he had heard about the proposal, Arts Clayton Executive Director Brian Hebert said that he had not: “Since we’re here and Arts Clayton has been doing it for 30-something years, that’s definitely a conversation.” Hebert said that the Cathey family also is building an arts center, that he’s glad to see the arts expanding here, and that he welcomes conversations with all arts stakeholders “so that Clayton County can be that place.”

Other BOC agenda items include:

  • a professional services agreement with Rosalind Watkins of Fayetteville to serve as a full-time associate judge for Juvenile Court, using $153,854 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
  • a recommendation for a fifth contract amendment with MLB Transportation, Inc. of Tucker, so that the county can “extend the contract term from October 4, 2022 to January 3, 2023, in order to re-bid” transportation services for the Senior Services Department. The bid is RFP #18-141.
  • a resolution that would give Divine Faith Ministries International a 50% discount on renting out Spivey Splash Waterpark on Sept. 17 (the fee is normally $9,800 but the resolution proposes charging $4,900 instead).
  • A resolution to create a new Ellenwood Planned Unit Development (PUD) map “to reflect current development patterns… to set forth the permitted uses and development standards for said area; to provide an effective date of this resolution; and for other purposes.” The resolution reads in part, “the Ellenwood PUD did not develop as originally planned and modifications made to the PUD over time have allowed uses not originally intended,” should “reflect current development patterns and meet the needs of residents;” and directs county staff “to conduct small area planning and suggest more compatible uses with the current surrounding residential area.” The resolution also charges staff with “reexamin[ing] the history of the PUD to verify the boundaries and conduct small area planning and, once complete, staff is directed to suggest uses more compatible with the current residential areas of the PUD.”
  • requests to add Education System Management of Riverdale to the list of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund recipients and to hire them to provide COVID-19 and monkeypox vaccinations and “when it becomes available, testing.” The company’s corporate filings show Carroll Harrison Braddy is the CEO, Delores Whatley is the CFO, and Jermica Whatley is the secretary.
  • enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Jonesboro and Lovejoy related to $400,000 in funds from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Communities Initiative (LCI) Grant program. The money will go to a study on how to improve Tara Boulevard.
  • a first contract amendment request from Central Services giving Edgewood Partners Insurance Center Brokers and Consultants of Duluth another 120 days on its annual contract (until January 21, 2023) to rebid the services in the amount of $29,550. The company brokers property and casualty insurance for the county. The bid number is RFP #1923.
  • a fifth contract amendment request from Communications to amend the current contract with Branding Great Southern Publishers, Inc. of St. Simons Island “to continue to provide Branding Implementation Services and recruitment strategies of $21,000.”
  • a Public Safety Golf Tournament “to benefit Public Safety” at Lake Spivey Golf Club on Friday, November 11, at the request of District 1 Commissioner Alieka Anderson.
  • Several zoning items, including:
    • a proposed 265,200 square foot, 26+acre Transwestern warehouse in District 1 at 5490 and 5544 Highway 42 at Forest Parkway in Ellenwood (parcels 12171C A001 and 12171A A002), recommended for denial by both ZAG and Planning and Zoning. The property owners of record are Theng Real Estate LLC of McDonough (5490) and Makara Mao (5544);
    • a funeral home in District 3 at 1575 Commercial Court, Jonesboro, recommended for approval with one condition;
    • expanding the Sams Club fuel center in District 4 at 7325 Jonesboro Road from 12 to 24 pumps, recommended for approval with three conditions;
    • recommended approval of a 64-unit attached townhome community on about 15.37 acres at 6688 Mt. Zion Blvd. in Morrow (parcel 12108A C002) near Maddox Road;
    • recommended denial for a tire shop at 5210 Highway 42, Suite C in Ellenwood (parcel 12181D A009) at Forest Parkway;
    • conditional approval for an unnamed applicant to open a new automotive sales center on 2.067 +/- acres at 7710 Tara Blvd. (parcel 13207C A006);
    • recommended approval of rezoning, from mixed use to light industrial, for an existing truck terminal in District 2 on 3.86 acres at 4490 Conrad Ave. (parcel 13020C C003) in Forest Park;
    • recommended approval of rezoning 3.07 acres at 4146 Gilbert Road (parcel 13014C E004) near Conley Road from MVMUR (Mountain View Mixed Use Residential) to INDP (Industrial Park) in District 1;
    • approval of a zoning text amendment to set CBD oil sales districts and standards;
    • a proposed amendment to set 4 members as the quorum for Zoning Advisory Group “transaction of business,” for which ZAG itself recommended denial on August 1;
    • and an amendment “to exclude Board initiated text and map amendments from the ten (10) application limit in the number of items for consideration at any public hearing before the Zoning Advisory Group,” which ZAG recommends approving.

Wednesday, August 17

TBA

Thursday, August 18

TBA

Friday, August 19

TBA

Saturday, August 20

TBA

Robin Kemp

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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