Man at podium addresses five Clayton County, GA commissioners seated on the dais
Credit: Robin Kemp/The Clayton Crescent / The Clayton Crescent

This is an abbreviated roundup following Labor Day Weekend:

  • Clayton County Police are begging the public to come forward with any information that might lead to the driver who struck and killed a 7-year-old girl on Tara Boulevard around 2 a.m. Sunday. At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Capt. Steven Palmer said the child apparently slipped out when her parents were not aware of it. He would not confirm that the family was living at the Magnolia Bay motel, only saying they were staying in the immediate area. He reiterated that the driver might not have known they hit the child. Palmer told The Clayton Crescent that traffic cameras at the nearby intersection with Mt. Zion/Parkwood Way are unmanned DOT traffic cameras running a live feed. CCPD is asking local businesses for security camera footage from the time of the incident. Call CCPD or Crimestoppers if you saw anything.
  • The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has two hefty agendas this evening: the newly-instituted 5:30 p.m. “pre-agenda” meeting and the 6:30 p.m. regular meeting agenda. At the 5:30 p.m. meeting, Jonesboro City Manager Ricky Clark is asking for a discussion with the BOC about Fire Station 13 and IT Director Jason Brookins will present a proposed broadband feasibility study. No public comment period is included on the 5:30 p.m. meeting agenda. At the 6:30 p.m. meeting, select items of interest include a recommendation to buy $205,140.05 in police ammunition from Precision Delta Corporation of Ruleville, MS; a recommendation to pay $149,000 for a broadband feasibility study by Columbia Telecommunications Corporation, d.b.a. CTC Technology & Energy, of Kensington, MD; an annual contract for two, possibly three, years for vehicle parts and supplies from Genuine Parts Company d.b.a. NAPA Integrated Business Solutions, of Atlanta, at $11,906 per month for operational costs plus 7.5% net profit on all products the county buys; an emergency purchase of a $100,504 morgue trailer for the police department from Acela Truck Company of Belgrade, MT; $483,586 for heavy construction equipment for CCDOT from Komatsu America Corp. through Traffic & Equipment Company of Forest Park; $105,381 for bulk solid waste and recycling equipment through Wastequip Manufacturing Co., LLC of Charlotte, NC; final approval of an amended June 21, 2022 contract with Intrado Life and Safety Corp. of Omaha, NE for 911 equipment and emergency notification services; amending the county’s contract with Luck Stone dba Stephens Industries, LLC of College Park “to increase the cost of the stone material supplies due to market price increase”; a budget amendment to cover “additional fees and litigation expenses for fiscal year 2022 in the amount of $3,650,000”, as well as another amendment for an additional $24,984 in fees and litigation expenses for the county prison; an amendment to cover $13,874,855 in “additional salaries, repairs, bank charges, performance bond, utilities, other contract services, and claims expenses” for FY22; an amendment to add $787,831 in additional personnel for FY 2022; $22,062 for 92 office chairs for the Sheriff’s Department (that’s $239.80 each on average); and several other budget requests for additional funds in several departments.
  • Also on the agenda: a request from Human Resources “to create a classification that will assume additional leadership to meet the operational needs of Fire/Emergency Management” that would delete Battalion Chief Deputy Director EMA (total compensation $129,138) and add Deputy Chief Emergency Management (total compensation $141,820), which follows the August 16 appointment of Chief Landry Merkison as interim Chief of Staff for Clayton County, a position that did not exist before. “As a result of this approval,” the agenda notes,”the proposed classification will assume additional leadership duties within Fire/Emergency Management to ensure that operational needs are met and remain effective.”
  • A resolution would authorize the county to apply for another $6,564,101.81 in Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds. This follows conflict and calls for audits of both Africa’s Children’s Fund and Hearts to Nourish Hope, which handle different parts of the COVID-19 housing relief process. Both charities came under fire from county officials who questioned how the aid was distributed; both responded that they have stewarded those grant monies properly and denied any wrongdoing.
  • A resolution would halt any applications for new construction in the Ellenwood Planned Unit District (PUD) for 180 days or until the Ellenwood PUD has been revised.
  • A resolution would give the Housing Authority of Clayton County permission to issue $22,000,000 in bonds for Hearthside Living Faith, LP, to acquire, build, and equip about 150 multifamily housing units on an 11-acre site near 5880 Morrow Road at Old Dixie Highway.
  • A resolution would give the county the green light “to initiate procedures to recoup payments made to Vanderbilt University on behalf of” former Chief Financial Officer Ramona Bivins.
  • Several appointments to an Impact Fee Advisory Board are on the agenda. The board will “assist and advise the Board” on adopting a development impact fee. The chair and each member will appoint two members each, with “no less than 50% of members who are representatives from the development, building, or real estate industries.”

Forest Park holds its work session at 6 p.m. and regular meeting at 7 p.m. On the work session agenda: a proposed elections ordinance amendment to bar anyone who has been found to have broken election laws in Georgia or any other state from serving as an elections official. A “factual determination” by the State Elections Board or “the final adjudication of any court of competent jurisdiction” would be the standard. City Manager Dr. Marc-Antonie Cooper is asking the council for direction on “a set of guidelines regarding the usage of the discretionary funds and Capital Outlay Funds each Councilmember is entitled to spend in furtherance of their duties as a member of the
City Council.” Ward money has served as a quasi-slush fund for each councilmember, raising questions about whether the money serves community interests or as a de facto campaign fund. Tonight’s 218-page work session agenda includes a detailed proposed sanitation contract, as well as discussion of a possible raise for public safety employees.

The council also will vote tonight on Development Authority Board members and on detailed requirements for all new single-family housing. Notably, “Metal siding, vinyl siding, metal canopies and smooth faced concrete masonry units are prohibited,” and tree preservation and replacement requirements and fees ($50 per year for tree removal contractors) are included, with a variance loophole for “a greater public benefit” or replacement trees “not in keeping with the intent and goals” of the tree protection and landscaping ordinance. A couple of dozen stumps remain more than a year after a stand of established oaks on a triangular lot next to Starr Park was cut down.

In Jonesboro, longtime Mayor Joy Day retired soon after announcing she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren. Councilwoman Pat Sebo and Councilwoman Donya Sartor have thrown their hats into the ring.

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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