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Council Minutes | Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 7:00PM

Officials Present:
Mayor:   Lee Swaney
Council: Wayne Foster, Warren Hadlock, Karen Feltz, Pat Davis-Morris, Rosemarie Nelson, Emanuel Ransom
City Clerk:  Tracy Ashby
City Attorney:   Bryan Downs

Mayor Swaney called the meeting to order at 7:00PM
Mrs. Joan Swaney gave the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance followed.

Rosemarie Nelson made a motion to approve the minutes for July & August & Emanuel Ransom 2nd and the motion passed. (6-0).

Warren Hadlock introduced Mr. Johnny Mason, Attorney (candidate for DeKalb Co. Superior Court Judge).

Emanuel Ransom introduced Mr. Eric Hubbard, Community Outreach Director of Congressman Hank Johnson’s Office.
Diane Leonetti reported last month Clear Channel came before the committee and informed them they wanted to change the current sign located at 285 & Highway 78, and replace it with an LCD projected sign. The committee approved the sign and the 24x48” garage that Cynthia Eggers requested was also approved for permitting.
Questions were brought before the Council regarding residential attached and unattached garages and its legal issues. Emanuel Ransom stated he is preparing information for the Mayor regarding the size of residential additions to properties. Diane Leonetti stated that the committee meets at 6:00 pm an hour before the meeting to hold a committee work sessions.

City Clerk, Tracy Ashby received a request from the National Payroll Association requesting the City of Clarkston to adopt a proclamation. (City Clerk read the proclamation). Wayne Foster made the motion to approve the National Payroll Proclamation, Emanuel Ransom 2nd the motion. The motion carried (6-0).

City Clerk reported that the City has been asked to become the agent on two federal grant requests; $10,000 which will go to the Clarkston Community Center and $15,000 which will go to Positive Growth Boys Home. Council will have to decide if they want to further look into approving the grants. Emanuel Ransom made a motion to approve the grants pending approval from the City Attorney, Wayne Foster 2nd and the motion passed.

Pat Davis-Morris asked what type of obligation will the city have regarding the grants, City Clerk explained that any information that is required to verify that the terms of the grants are being carried out by the agencies; if the terms are not carried out the City will have to refund the Department of Community Affairs. Karen Feltz asked how the information regarding the grants get to the City did, and City Clerk stated that the information was received via mail and Mayor Swaney stated he wanted put on the agenda. Emanuel Ransom stated that organizations applied with Senator Gloria Butler for grants and explained the city’s responsibility regarding the grants.

Rosemarie Nelson stated that funds had been received from Senator Butler for the Community Center in the past and the City was its agent with no problems. Nelson stated that there are three members of the board of the Community Center that are a part of Council, and felt they should abstain from voting. Bryan Downs stated that the ethics ordinance deals with financial interest, but there is no conflict with Council voting. (6-0 motion carried)


Chief Scipio reported that he is glad to be back and stated the he was disappointed with the crime stats, and because the County has had some difficulties as the crime rated has increased in the City of Clarkston. The biggest concern with Clarkston PD is the lack of officers and to some degree, reserve officers do help out. Chief Scipio explained that the Clarkston PD will have electric patrol vehicles to patrol the neighborhoods and bike trails. Traffic tickets for the month of August was 285 moving violations, and explained that two (2) pedestrians killed in the City limits and there was an incident that a driver went around a MARTA Bus and stroke a pedestrian, 46 warnings issued, 1 domestic violence arrest, 4 felony arrest, 14 misdemeanors arrest, no felony drug arrest but there were 5 misdemeanor drug arrest, 2 DUI arrest, 12 arrested released on citation, 14 jailed person, 1302 911-calls (60% are disputes), and took comments and questions from citizens. Emanuel Ransom asked if the City can get a sign with the automatic radars and Chief Scipio explained that he has looking into getting one.

Rosemarie Nelson stated she has heard lot of gun shots in the community, and Chief Scipio stated that gunshot situation is coming from a gang that is trying to recruit students in the Clarkston area. Chief Scipio stated that the Clarkston PD is working with schools and organizations to keep gangs out of the City and encouraged citizens to please contact the Clarkston PD with any information pertaining to gang activity.

Chief Scipio stated that he is bringing in a second Code Enforcement Officer to assist Officer Harris.

Karen Feltz stated her comments on some issues regarding the Baptist Church and their water run-off, and Chief Scipio replied that those issues are dealt with thru Public Works.

Dean Moore, Rayford Trail, expressed his concern regarding the garage that is being installed, wanted to know if there is going to be a lift station and how are the pipes going to be keep from freezing in the winter. The Mayor stated that Mike Shipman would be the person to speak with regarding those issues.

Graham Thomas, Market Street, asked the status of the Women’s Club and if it was being rented. Mayor Swaney asked Karen Feltz what is the status of the Women’s Club, and Karen Feltz stated that the Women’s Club has been vandalized, and she is meeting with a vendor, the re-dedication event is scheduled and the facility has been booked for three different events, but as of this date, the Women’s Club is not complete.
Chris Busing, Market Street, stated that he has a website, aboutclarkston.com, and expressed his interest in the livestock ordinance and he would like to see more support from the City. Emanuel Ransom stated that the petition has to be from the entire City.

Misty Amerson, Poplar Drive, stated that she is displeased with the miscommunication regarding city codes and violations and needs clarification on procedures that need a permit.

Karen Feltz stated that the City is starting to outsource through a Zoning & Review Consulting Company all permits request to eliminate attending so many meetings.

Diane Leonetti stated she was not aware of the city outsourcing any part of the Z&R process.

Rita Thomas, Market Street, asked if she can get an explanation regarding the usage of Pond & Co. and expressed her need of clarification regarding the motion from the usage of the grant funds. Rita Thomas stated the usage of Pond & Co. should be for larger projects and not home improvements jobs. Pat Davis-Morris stated that P & D and Z & R are still a part of the process and that Pond & Co. will handle the larger projects. Rita Thomas stated that lack of communication has caused confusion on the actual role of Pond & Co.

Emanuel Ransom stated that the prior motion for Pond & Co. should to be changed to reflect “as needed” and asked if the contract can be amended.

Rosemarie Nelson stated that the grant from DeKalb County is to assist Clarkston with moving projects forward, and stated that Pond & Co. is there to assist with moving projects forward as specified by the scope of services approved by the County.


Wayne Foster stated that his monthly budget report is available for review, and wants to get approval from Council to change the fiscal year to coincide with the millage rate and wants to ask the City Attorney to inform Council what has to be done to allow changing the dates for the City’s fiscal year. Wayne Foster made a motion to allow City Attorney to change Fiscal Year, Rosemarie Nelson 2nd the motion and the motion passed. (6-0)

Rosemarie Nelson asked the status of the audit. City Clerk explained the City is waiting for a response from the auditor.
Warren Hadlock reported he met with the Fugee’s (Coach Mufleh & Tracy Eddiger) to get a follow-up regarding two troubled youth, and stated that there will be future activities with the Fugee’s which will be posted on the  website. Warren Hadlock stated he is working on a grant for Friendship Forest, and the pool is closed permanently due some issues with the State, but funding for a new pool in is the works.

Karen Feltz reported that Mr. Shipman is checking with DeKalb County regarding being billed for paved surfaces which are the Cemetery & the Women’s Club. The update for the Parking Lot the concept report has been sent to GDOT, once approved, design on the project will begin, once designs are developed and the environmental document are approved a preliminary plan review can be scheduled.

Pat Davis-Morris reported that several officers have received accolades for CPR (Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect) in handling some misdemeanors offenses but unfortunately many of those officers are leaving the Clarkston PD. The City is looking into raises for the Officers & Court Clerks we are looking to find ways to bring revenue in to allow funds to be available. There have been some complaints from citizens regarding some codes not being followed by all citizens. Pat Davis-Morris asked if anyone has any complaints to please email the city the details (clarkstonga@bellsouth.net).

Mayor Swaney announced that on Sept. 9th the 9-11 Ceremony will be held at City Hall at 8:50AM.

Rosemarie Nelson introduced Attorney Tom Stubbs who is running for DeKalb Superior Court Judge (not running against Mr. Mason). There are flyers available detailing the PRISM candidate debate meeting on September 11th at St. Timothy’s Methodist Church on Memorial Drive. Rosemarie Nelson stated that funding is needed for all employees to receive a raise. Referendum Redevelopment Power for the City of Clarkston, this is TAD which will assist with bringing funding the City, the first meeting is Sept. 2nd at 7:00 PM at City Hall this will be facilitated by Dr. John Matthews of Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. The West Nile Virus Meeting did not have a large turnout but just as an FYI DeKalb County had 11 cases last year. The West Nile season is August through October. She gave some breeding prevention methods such as emptying plant overflow dishes, cleaning gutters, being mindful of small pools of standing water. Emanuel Ransom requested brochures to help make citizens more aware of the prevention methods and DeKalb County Board of Health has information on their website (http://www.dekalbhealth.net/information/health-home-west-nile.asp).

Rosemarie Nelson stated that she is working to get the No-Thru street sign on Market Street, and when she discussed it with the Chief, he stated it has to be done thru an ordinance and approved by Council in order to have enforcement powers.
Rosemarie Nelson reported that there were 35 requests for the Stormwater Inventory RFP, 12-15 bids that were submitted; bids have to be reviewed (by Mike Shipman, Rosemarie Nelson, & the Mayor), brought before Council and then brought before the city. Since there were no seasonal employees during the summer, since Jimmie retired, we need to be mindful of summer help when deciding on the budget. Rosemarie Nelson and Mike Shipman attended a Board Meeting at DeKalb County and Sandy Springs’ Code Enforcement initiative was discussed as a model for other cities. Throughout the meeting the City of Clarkston was acknowledged for wanting to learn and move the city forward. The Library wanted to inform citizens they are still open even though personal Internet services are being used more frequently, the library is still a valuable resource in our community.
Pat Davis-Morris asked when the last day for the Bids to be submitted is and Rosemarie Nelson responded that Sept. 5th is the last day. Pat Davis-Morris asked about the time frame for getting messages out to the public and Rosemarie Nelson stated that she works to get it out on Callingpost within 2 to 3 weeks or as soon as she is made aware. Pat Davis-Morris asked if there is a way to get notification at least 3 or 4 days before the event. As the notification for the September 2nd event was a bit short. Nelson responded that she was reacting to the notice in the paper after receiving many phone calls.

Emanuel Ransom reported that the recycling for the month of August is 18.21 tons, and thanked Rosemarie Nelson for putting together the West Nile Virus seminar. Door-hangers will be placed on doors within the next few weeks. The City is in the process of outsourcing garbage and recycling which will not start until Jan. 2009. The City is still under contract until December 31st with DreamSan. After discussion with the City Attorney there are a few issues that have to be cleared up, Emanuel Ransom motioned to move and table using Waste Management for garbage/recycling, until the work session. Wayne Foster 2nd the motion. Pat Davis-Morris asked if the citizens can get a break down of figures showing what is presently paid compared to what will be paid. Emanuel Ransom stated that there is presently no figures in the city showing what citizens pay for garbage but the recycling data is available, the price is a little over $2.00, but will decrease to $1.50 and this will be for the entire city. After talking with DeKalb County the city is doesn’t have a specific line item showing how much is paid for garbage. Emanuel Ransom stated that he has the information regarding the usage of gas and he will present it at the Work Session. (6-0 motion carried). Emanuel Ransom asked to amend the contract made with Pond & Co. to say “as needed” this will blanket all work done in the City this means that we will use Pond & Co. when needed not for all projects. Wayne Foster 2nd the motion. During the discussion that followed both Karen Feltz and Rosemarie Nelson explained that the services are on an as needed basis and there was no need to revisit this. Emanuel Ransom asked to move the discussion to the next work session. Emanuel Ransom stated a meeting was held with Harry Housen during the work session and Mr. Housen asked if Council could approve the conceptual drawings of the streetscape. Emanuel Ransom motioned to approve the conceptual drawings submitted and Rosemarie Nelson 2nd the motion and the motion passed (6-0).
Emanuel Ransom stated that Jimmie Jaudon retired and he is going to be missed. There have been some concerns expressed regarding the closing of Rogers Street which was closed by DeKalb County. There are nine property owners in the area and with approval from the Mayor research was conducted. Rosemarie Nelson stated that 80% of Rogers Street is owned by the City of Clarkston and 20% is owned by DeKalb County, and Emanuel Ransom stated that 95% of the street belongs to Clarkston and 5% to DeKalb County and he was present when the measurements were done. Emanuel Ransom stated when the amount of signatures is received the information will be submitted to Council to move forward to close the street. Karen Feltz asked how something was was built on a street that has not been closed and how it was approved and Emanuel Ransom stated that the building is not in the street it goes from Jolly Avenue to Love Joy. The Mayor stated that further discussion will be done at the work session regarding Rogers Street.

Karen Feltz asked if a Councilmember can request that minutes be taken at all public meetings that Council attend. Mayor Swaney stated that the minutes do not have to be taken at a work session, but minutes have to taken during Council Meetings. Karen Feltz stated can a request be made to have minutes taken at work sessions if a Councilmember would like to have minutes from those meeting and Mayor Swaney stated that Council can take their own minutes. City Attorney stated that he is not familiar with that request but he will research it and the intent that a work session, by design, are not required to have minutes taken.
Rosemarie Nelson stated she would like to have the marketing information (website and banners) placed on the agenda for the next work session and Mayor Swaney stated that he will check with the City Clerk.
Pat Davis-Morris motioned to adjourn the meeting and pay bills and Wayne Foster 2nd the motion and the motion passed (6-0).

Meeting adjourned.

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