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

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has several major items on its December 20 agenda besides a controversial proposed ordinance (2022-271) that would allow commissioners to appoint people to fill commissioners’ and other constitutional officers’ seats should any become vacant. The Georgia Capitol counsel calls the move “unconstitutional” and citizens from a range of political allegiances say they will join forces against the plan. Chairman Jeff Turner told the AJC’s Leon Stafford Wednesday afternoon that he plans to pull the ordinance, “provided I have the votes,” and that the ordinance has been “misconstrued.”

Other items of note include:

  • a resolution (2022-282) to redraw the Panhandle Overlay Map in District 3
  • a resolution (2022-283) to cap the hourly rate for Freeman, Mathis and Gary’s legal fees at $295, as well as set a policy for “other outside counsel” (this comes after the BOC voted for taxpayers to pick up District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin’s legal defense at a higher hourly rate than that of District 1 Commissioner Alieka Anderson and District 3 Commissioner Gail Hambrick; all three are being sued in federal court by former Chief Financial Officer Ramona Bivins while Franklin and Anderson each face separate slander suits in Clayton County Superior Court by Brandon Turner)
  • a resolution (2022-284) to rescind BOC approval of Articles of Agreement with the Housing Authority of Clayton County for “the development and vertical construction of senior living housing” by Hearthside Living Faith and One Street Residential in Forest Park, which involves up to $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding
  • deleting a Jonesboro branch librarian position and adding a software support specialist (the City of Jonesboro has been on the warpath ever since the BOC announced it would tear down the county’s first library branch for a new county building and replace the library with a small computer room)
  • a resolution authorizing the county to apply for up to $433,938.61 in Emergency Rental Assistance 2 Program funds for an eviction mediation program (Magistrate Court has been slammed for months with a huge backlog of COVID-19-crisis eviction cases, many of which could be worked out without a judge having to issue an eviction order)
  • a budget amendment of $71,920 to replace lights in Jail Housing Unit 4
  • Recommendations to renew several insurance policies through Edgewood Partners Insurance Center (EPIC), including:
    • Public Entity Excess Liability and Law Enforcement Liability Coverage ($1,694,682.32, up 14.41% or $213,495.28
    • Aircraft Liability and Hull Insurance for county pilots, aircraft, and liabilities ($131,154, up 25.94% or $27,012)
    • Property and Boiler Machinery ($597,281, up 34.84% or $154,341)
    • Auto Physical Damage ($135,675, up 27.94% or $29,635)
  • Ratification of an emergency purchase (#18-13) of $586,776 from Allan Vigil Ford for three 2023 Ford F-250 trucks ($46,278 each) and seven 2023 Ford F-450 trucks ($77,214 each). The BOC approved the contract on April 3, 2018. The money is coming from the 2015 and 2021 SPLOST Funds. The county’s justification for the purchase: “Due to a shortage in the automobile industry and the lack of availability of public safety vehicles, and the market price increase, the Transportation and Development Department/Fleet Maintenance required an emergency purchase to ensure the County maintains essential services to its citizens. The emergency purchase also assures the manufacturer will hold the County’s reservation for the vehicles.”
  • Senior Services wants to delete a Health and Wellness Coordinator position and replace it with a “Signature Events Coordiantor” to “better reflect the needs of Senior Services to align with the focus of the goals and mission of the department.” The new position pays $1,813 more and would come out of Senior Services’ budget.
  • Zoning changes to Office Industrial (OI) districts that changes what kinds of businesses can operate under which permits and defines these terms:
    • ambulatory surgical center or obstetric facility
    • amphitheater
    • art gallery
    • artisan gallery
    • automobile broker
    • banks and loan associations, financial establishments
    • business office
    • colleges, universities, and vocational or technical schools
    • fitness centers and gyms, health clubs and spas
    • florist and gift shops
    • funeral home, mortuary, and crematory
    • library
    • medical and dental offices, clinics, and physical therapy facilities
    • museum
    • personal service shop
    • pharmacy
    • photography
    • places of worship
    • research, experimental, or testing laboratories
    • schools of dance, music “or similar instruction” (e.g., martial arts)
    • service/labor/fraternal organization meeting halls and offices
  • An ordinance (2022-277) for a zoning change that would affect where a community donation center can be

Read the complete agenda packet as of 3:23 p.m. Tuesday. The Panhandle overlay map is on page 33 and the OI zoning changes start on page 53:

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Between the weather and public interest, you may want to get there a little early. Public comment will come late in the meeting after the monthly zoning hearing.

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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