The race for the Clayton County Sheriff’s special election on March 21 is underway. Acting Sheriff Levon Allen was a no-show at another public forum for candidates. More forums are coming up.
Della Ashley has qualified as a Republican candidate in the Georgia House District 75 race.
Former Jonesboro City Councilman Alfred Dixon says he will qualify Wednesday for one of the two council seats left open by Councilwomen Pat Sebo-Hand and Dr. Donya Sartor in the mayor’s special election.
Forest Park residents should be aware that the City Council is considering a rate increase for Waste Management garbage pickup. According to the published agenda for tonight’s meeting, “The rate increase requested for residential would be $321.67 dollars annually.” We’ve asked the city to clarify whether that “rate increase” means a total of $321.67 per year or whether it means $321.67 on top of the existing rate. The city’s phone number for Sanitation Services was disconnected as of press time.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to amend the budget to finalize placing the Office of Performance Management “under the supervision of the Emergency Management Resiliency and Sustainability [Office]” at a cost of $79,293. OPM is in charge of oversight of Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds. The BOC recently fired OPM Director Dr. Chalonda Smith, which had been predicted in one of the “John David” e-mails. So far, John David is batting 100%, including the recent firing of the former assistant to Chairman Jeff Turner, Dr. Katrina Holloway, but has not revealed their identity as political machinations behind the scenes and in front of the cameras continue.
Morrow’s City Council held a special called meeting February 3 to address leaking masonry and roof perimeter at the “exhibit hall” and to accept a bid proposal from R M Construction for $92,392.00 using SPLOST 2014 funds. The council also gave a first reading of an ordinance regarding the city’s paying for legal defense of employees in Open Records matters. However, a copy of the ordinance was not attached to the published meeting agenda packet. The University of Georgia Law First Amendment Clinic has taken note of Morrow’s ongoing lack of transparency, and is representing Aaron Booterbaugh, who is Councilwoman Van Tran’s partner, after he allegedly did not receive fully responsive documentation and was blocked from the city’s Facebook page. Booterbaugh says he also has filed an ethics complaint against Councilwoman Renee Knight for allegedly violating state electioneering laws on November 2, 2022. The State Election Board case number is SEB 2022-341. Tran has for months attempted to amend council minutes to include more specifics and has been brusquely shut down by Mayor John Lampl, who has the rest of the council voting with him. You can see the February 3 meeting (and previous meetings) on the city’s YouTube page:
When the city updated its website, it also wiped out years of past council meeting agendas and minutes.
Here’s what your elected and appointed officials are up to this week. Stay on ’em!
Monday, Feb. 6
- 6 p.m.: The Jonesboro City Council holds its work session at City Center, 1859 City Center Way next to Lee Street Park. On the agenda:
- a discussion about changing the city polling place for advance voting and the municipal election to the Jonesboro City Center
- whether to accept the Jonesboro City Center Final Plat, 23-SUB-001.
- a lease agreement between the city and county for the old City Hall at 124 North Ave.
- a proposed six-month moratorium on Air BnBs, event centers, equipment rental businesses, self-storage units, and smoke/vape shops so the city can “clarify and improve development standards for these uses.”
- whether to partner with Chief Magistrate Judge Keisha Wright Hill and Chief Probate Judge Pam Ferguson to host free weddings on Valentine’s Day in the City Center Community Room
- a request by Valencia Stovall to hold a graduation in the City Center Council Chambers on March 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Conditional use permit applications for:
- a daycare at 177 College Street
- a nail school at 184 North Avenue
- wellness workshops at 194 Jonesboro Road, Suite A-5-A
- a convenience store at 8274 Tara Blvd., Suite B
- 5 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Education holds its executive session (closed to the public), followed at 6 p.m. by the regular meeting (open to the public). On the consent agenda:
- Monthly financial report and presentation
- Monthly SPLOST revenue report
- Monthly purchasing report and second supplemental purchasing report
- Monthly SPLOST construction report
- Estimated $543,290 for Complete Demolition Services to tear down the old Riverdale Elementary School
- Estimated $1,555,818 for Complete Demolition Services to remove asbestos from and tear down Forest Park Middle School
- Estimated $19,351,875.00 for MEJA Construction, Inc. to upgrade Forest Park, Charles Drew and Mundy’s Mill High athletic fields
- Estimated $12,778,025 for MEJA Construction, Inc, to upgrade Riverdale and Jonesboro High athletic fields
- Monthly Human Resources updates and personnel changes
- 6 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council holds its work session (discussion) and meeting (votes) at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Topping tonight’s work session agenda is a proposed contract with Waste Management to hike residential trash pickup to $321.67 per year. That’s more than a $50 hike for residential and a 20% hike for commercial. City officials could not be reached by press time and the city’s Sanitation Services number has been disconnected. Also up for discussion:
- Council discussion and approval of the Health Accident Fund, which is a supplement for employees “on FMLA” who have used up their sick leave, vacation leave, and leave donations. At present the fund pays $150 per week for six weeks.
- A conditional use permit for a proposed early childhood learning center at 721 Morrow Road. Previously, the owner had been approved to run a school at the church but Mayor Angelyne Butler vetoed the council’s vote, saying the owner had parked trucks at the business.
- whether to take part in the lobbying effort in Congress to oppose the 2016 jet fuel sales tax loss: “The Hartwell 2019 contract was for $2,800 per month and was split based on LOST tax distribution; the Clay 2020-21 contract was for $3,000 per month and the 2022 contract was for $3,500 and is split based on LOST distribution. The 2023 contract is proposed to remain at the $3,500 amount and the allocation of the lobby fee would be split. The City of Forest Park would be responsible for 5.86% or $205.10 monthly, of the contract based on the LOST distribution. All Clayton County cities, CCPS and Clayton County participated in the 2019 contract except College Park and Forest Park; all cities, CCPS and Clayton County participated in the 2020-2022 contract except the City of Morrow. The city manager is seeking direction of the governing body on how we would like to proceed in this matter.”
- Zaxby’s request for the city to issue a waiver letter to the Clayton County Water Authority, saying it cannot fulfill CCWA’s conditions for the water management permits. According to CCWA spokesperson Suzanne Brown, “CCWA approved this Zaxby’s stormwater plans back in July 2021. However, they did not move forward with that plan. Our Stormwater Director Kevin Osbey will be at the city council meeting tonight to explain Post Construction Stormwater Management requirements and why they were put in place.”
- The city also will discuss CCWA’s Stormwater Management requirements under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems Municipal Separate Sewer System (MS4) permit: “This permit is regulated by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD), and as part of CCWA responsibilities they are to review plans submitted to the city for new developments and/or redevelopments to ensure they adequately address stormwater mitigation.” We’ve also asked CCWA to detail any issues that might impact the city’s MS4 permit, which is GAS000116. In November 2022, Georgia EPD listed Jackson Lake as an impaired stream watershed, noting “thirty-eight (38) permitted MS4s [mostly in metro Atlanta and surrounding counties] that discharge into or upstream of a stream segment not supporting its designated use for bacteria.” Clayton County’s permit number is GAS000107 and its impaired stream watersheds include Jackson Lake and Big Cotton Indian Creek.
Tuesday, Feb. 7
- 9 a.m.: The State Election Board meets at the Mercer University School of Medicine Auditorium, 1501 University Drive, Macon. You can watch via Mercer University’s YouTube Live page. No Clayton County cases are on the agenda. The SEB is moving its meetings around the state to accommodate more citizens.
- 4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration meets at the Clayton County Election Center, 7946 North McDonough Street, Jonesboro.
- 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds a pre-agenda meeting at 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro. The only item on that agenda as of press time is the regular meeting agenda.
- 5:30 p.m.: The Forest Park Development Authority will hold a special called meeting. No agenda was posted on the city’s website as of press time Monday.
- 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its regular meeting at 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro. Highlights the agenda:
- A discussion item by District 1 Commissioner Alieka Anderson regarding “service of legal process for Board of Commissioners.” State, not county, law sets how process shall be served. A provision in the law reads, “to the defendant personally, or by leaving copies thereof at the defendant’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.”
- District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin’s appointee to the Board of Ethics
- Chairman Jeff Turner’s appointee to the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities Region 3 Advisory Council, after Mrs. Johnnie Watkins allegedly did not fulfill requirements for the position and attended only one meeting.
- Approval of advance voting locations requested by Elections and Registration, to include:
- Forest Park Senior Center, 5087 Park Avenue, Forest Park
- Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, 3499 Rex Road, Rex
- Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, 1475 East Fayetteville Road, Riverdale
- South Clayton Recreation Center, 1837 McDonough Road, Hampton
- Historic Courthouse Elections Office, 121 S. McDonough Street, Jonesboro
- Lake Spivey Recreation Center, 2300 Walt Stephens Road, Jonesboro
- 7 p.m.: Candidates for Clayton County Sheriff and House District 75 will take part in the “It Still Takes A Village” community candidate forum at Vision of Hope Church (home of the Street Academy), 8049 Webb Road, Riverdale. WSB-TV’s Tom Jones and DJ Greg Street will host. Refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, Feb. 8
- 9 a.m.: The Clayton County Board of Assessors meets at the Tax Assessors’ Office in the 4th floor conference room at 121 South McDonough Street, Annex 3 in
Thursday, Feb. 9
- 5:30 p.m.: The Forest Park Urban Redevelopment Authority holds its regular meeting. No agenda appeared on the city’s website as of press time Monday.
Friday, Feb. 10
- The Development Authority of Clayton County (Invest Clayton) is holding a retreat. We’ve asked for the location, time, and agenda.
Saturday, Feb. 11
- 11 a.m.: Commissioner DeMont Davis hosts the District 4 Community Town Hall Meeting both in-person at 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro and by Zoom (advance registration required).
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Coming up soon: The Clayton Crescent is hosting a series of free community discussions in March on environmental issues impacting the county. The seminars are free, but you must register in advance. Space is limited but we will provide Zoom and/or videorecordings of these sessions. Times and locations vary and are TBA. To sign up, e-mail us with the subject line Environmental Seminars.
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