CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Mayor: Awet Eyasu Council: YT Bell, Jamie Carroll,
Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson
City Manager: Robin I. Gomez City Clerk: Tracy Ashby City Attorney: Stephen Quinn
A. CALL TO ORDER Vice-Mayor Eyasu called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.
B. ROLL CALL/ PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Present: YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson
C. ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION
C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 3/3/2020 and Special Call Meetings 3/17 and 3/27/2020 Minutes
YT Bell made a motion to approve the Council Meeting 3/3/2020 and Special Call Meetings 3/17 and 3/27/2020. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. Laura Hopkins requested edits to the minutes. Yt Bell withdrew his motion.
Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve the minutes with edits to correct change comments made by Amina Osman, that she thanked the mayor for stepping down, strike the phrase “to limit ‘park type use’ in the CUP, and Pat Maddox comments that she said sports were not the best way to support youth and recommended small group mentoring, in the 3/3/2020 Council Meeting and correction for the mayors being listed on 3/17 minutes. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (6, 0).
1) Planning & Zoning Report
Shawanna Qawiy reported on activities in her Department. The City has only received one proposal on the Zoning Rewrite RFP and she seeks comments from the council on how to proceed. The Planning & Zoning Board will hold their meeting by teleconference on 3-21-2020. Code is beginning to implement virtual meetings to address complaints submitted.
2) City Manager’s Report
Mr. Gomez reported on City operations and access availability during the pandemic. City offices are currently planned to remain closed to the public until at least May 29 and he provided contact information for the public. He provided the status of revenues and expenditures related to Covid19. He reported on the streetscape project and status of those activities.
3) City Attorney’s Report
4) Council Remarks
YT Bell stated she had been reaching out to the seniors in the community and she encouraged residents to check in with their neighbors for how they can assist them in this difficult time.
Jamie Carroll discussed the approximately 1/3 of rent payment are not able to be made and the council should be aware and looking for way to assist with this issue.
Laura Hopkins thanked the City Manager for his handling of employees during the covid crisis and she illustrated that in Fayetteville a clerk was required to return to work and had contracted covid and had died.
Debra Johnson reported on food delivery resources she has been working with to service the community. She asked anyone who needs assistance please reach put to her.
5) Mayor’s Report Vice Mayor Awet Eyasu thanked the City staff for their efforts during the crisis. He advised he has been acting as Mayor since March 4th. He reported on his attendance the National League of Cities conference (March 8-11), phone conferences with GMA , GEMA and Intergovernmental White House conference calls and DeKalb County and the DeKalb Municipal Association. He was able to locate a vendor for KN95 masks. He thanked Ethne Health and the Clarkston Community Health. He reminded the next Covid testing would be May 9th.
He wished a Happy Ramadan and for everyone to stay safe.
E. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Any member of the public may address the Council, during the time allotted for public comment. Each attendee will be allowed 3 minutes for comments at the discretion of the Presiding Officer. The public comment period will be limited to 40 minutes and it is not a time for dialogue. If your public comment contains a series of questions, please submit those to the City Clerk in writing. This will facilitate follow-up by the council or staff. The City Council desires to allow an opportunity for public comment; however, the business of the City must proceed in an orderly, timely manner.
Dean Moore addressed concerns with approving an update of the LCI without taking the Intiative to update the document.
Susan Hood expressed concerns with reapproving the LCI update, which is being linked to a development in the downtown, without having an overall written affordable housing policy.
Chris Busing commended Debra Johnson for looking to review the Council meeting rules and procedures.
Chief Hudson thanked Susan Hood for bringing food for the police officers.
The Vice-Mayor closed public comments.
F. OLD BUSINESS
G. NEW BUSINESS
G1) Declaring Vacancy in Office of Mayor and Set Special Election and Qualifying
The City Manager advised that the Georgia Constitution Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph V, provides that the officeof an elected municipal official immediately becomes vacant upon the official qualifying for another elected office, which occurred on March 4, 2020, when the Clarkston Mayor qualified as a candidate for DeKalb County Commission. The Clarkston City Charter, Section 2.05 (a) provides that a vacancy in the office of Mayor shall be declared by the Vice Mayor at a regular meeting of the City Council and shall be affirmed by a majority vote of the City Council. Clarkston City Charter, Section 2.05 (c) provides that such a vacancy is to be filled by a special election if the term of the vacant seat will not expire in the next twelve (12) months (term to conclude Dec 31, 2021). Furthermore, Clarkston City Charter, Section 2.05 (c) provides that such a special election shall be held on a date provided by GA code, Section 21-2-450(c), which is the date of the General Election to be held on November 3, 2020.
Consequently, approving the resolution would direct the City Election Superintendent, City Clerk, to call a special
election to be held on November 3, 2020, to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of the Clarkston Mayor which
concludes on December 31, 2021. The qualifying period for the special election for Mayor will occur for three (3)
consecutive days beginning Monday, September 14 and concluding Wednesday, September 16, from 9:00 am to
4:30 pm daily at the Clarkston City Hall Annex facility located at 1055 Rowland Ave.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to a resolution by the Clarkston City Council to declare a vacancy in the office of mayor and to call a special election to fill the unexpired term of former mayor terry. Laura Hopkins seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G2) Adopt a Resolution to issue a 2020 General Obligation Sales Tax (SPLOST) Bond for $3,585,000 and a refunding of the original 2018 Sales Tax Bond with a principal amount of $4,420,000
Mr. Gomez detailed on November 7, 2017, DeKalb County held an election regarding the imposition of 1 (one) percent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) within the entire County which included the authorization for the City of Clarkston to issue General Obligation Debt in an amount not to exceed $8,735,000. Approximately 70% of all County voters approved the 1% SPLOST, with 72% approval in the City of Clarkston. Collections for the SPLOST began on April 1, 2018 and will continue until May 31, 2024 (six years). The City anticipated receiving approximately $11 million, equating to roughly $155,000 per month. The actual average monthly collections from April 1, 2018 to February 1, 2020 (nearly the first 2 years), have been approximately $150,000, or 95.2% of estimates. In 2018, the City issued $5,150,000 of the $8,735,000 bonds that left $3,585,000 authorized but unissued. As part of the 2020 series proposed bond issue, the City plans to issue the remaining $3,585,000 leaving the City no authorized debt unissued.
We have determined that, due to present market conditions, it is advisable, feasible and in the best interest of the
City to issue pursuant to the terms of this Resolution its City of Clarkston, Georgia General Obligation Sales Tax
Refunding Bond, Series 2020B (as hereinafter authorized, the “Series 2020B Bond” and, together with the Series
2020A Bond, the “Series 2020 Bonds”), the proceeds of which, together with other available funds of the City, will be used for the purpose of (a) refunding the Series 2018 Bond outstanding in the principal amount of $4,420,000 (the “Refunded Bond”) in order to achieve debt service savings and (b) paying the costs of issuing the Series 2020B Bond. The proceeds derived from the sale of the Series 2020B Bond will be used simultaneously upon the issuance of the Series 2020B Bond to redeem the Refunded Bond (such date of redemption being the “Redemption Date”), by paying to Truist Bank (as successor to Branch Banking & Trust Company), the sole bondholder (the “2018 Bondholder”), the principal of and interest on the Refunded Bond on the Redemption Date. To finance the overall undertaking now contemplated, the Series 2020 Bonds were offered for sale pursuant to competitive bid by the Davenport & Company LLC, as financial advisor (the “Financial Advisor”), pursuant to a Request for Proposal, dated April 9, 2020, and the City will receive bids on April 30, 2020 and this Resolution shall ratify and approve the winning bid.
Mr. Gomez confirmed that the council has full authority to approve any projects that move forward and the bids for those projects. The financial advisors from Davenport provided additional details on the bond. Council discussion on the taking the proposed Bond or just paying for projects over time.
Ahmed Hassan made a motion to adopt a Resolution to issue a 2020 General Obligation Sales Tax (SPLOST) Bond for $3,585,000 and a refunding of the original 2018 Sales Tax Bond with a principal amount of $4,420,000. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5:Yes- YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Debra Jonson, Ahmed Hassan, Awet Eyasu,1: Abstain- Laura Hopkins).
G3) Adopt Resolution Authorizing, Among Other Things, Amending the FY2019 Operating Budget from $11,803,207 to $15,708,668
Mr. Gomez detailed that the City of Clarkston approves an annual budget at the beginning of each fiscal year
based on projected revenues and expenditures. Throughout the year, various factors influence the budget which impacts projected revenues being realized and which affect necessary expenditures. As part of our annual audit review, the Georgia Department of Accounts and Audits monitors our budget vs. actuals reports at the legal level of control, which for the City of Clarkston is by fund and departmental level. This budget amendment in needed to correct the Final FY2019 Amended budget appropriations based on actual expenditures in FY2019. He provided a detailed breakdown of the budget changes by each Funds.
Debra Johnson made a motion to adopt the resolution authorizing, Among Other Things, Amending the FY2019 Operating Budget from $11,803,207 to $15,708,668. Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G4) Discuss Funding for Additional COVID-19 Testing
YT Bell stated this item was to discuss additional funding for covid testing. The City has been partnering with various organizations for education on covid and the importance of adequate testing is critical in the City, but there are issues with financial impacts as the City moves through this crisis so she will recommend tabling this item.
YT Bell made a motion to table this item to the May 26 Work Session. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G5) Discuss Alternate Resolution to Encourage CKPD to Avoid Arrests for City Ordinance Violations during COVID-19
Awet Eyasu discussed that this item is in line with the current practices of the Clarkston Police Department. The intention is to encourage the Clarkston Police to avoid arresting individual on city ordinance violations under the current covid crisis, due to concerns with the safety of the jails and spread of the virus in those facilities. He also recommended an adding a paragraph that read:” the Council supports and appreciates Chief Hudson’s and the Clarkston Police Department’s decision to take into account the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission when making arrest decisions. The Clarkston Police Department should continue to take in to account the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission, along with the typical factors such as the nature of the offense and whether the person poses a threat to the community, when making an arrest decision in the case of a city ordinance violation.”
Council discussion on the purpose of the resolution, if there would be any negative impact on the community and purpose if the Police are already practicing this. Assistant Chief clarified that the City ordinances mirror the state laws.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to adopt a resolution with additional language that “the Council supports and appreciates Chief Hudson’s and the Clarkston Police Department’s decision to take into account the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission when making arrest decisions. The Clarkston Police Department should continue to take in to account the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission, along with the typical factors such as the nature of the offense and whether the person poses a threat to the community, when making an arrest decision in the case of a city ordinance violation.” Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 1: Abstain- Debra Johnson).
G6) Resolution to develop written Policies and Procedures for Clarkston City Council
Debra Johnson discussed her interest for the Council to review their current meeting procedures as a whole and then to adhere to those policies once adopted.
Debra Johnson made a motion to adopt the resolution to develop written Policies and Procedures for Clarkston City Council and amending the last paragraph to read: “Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by the City Council of the City of Clarkston that written policies and procedures will be proposed by the entire Council for adoption by City Council.” Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G7) Adopt Resolution to Re-Adopt the Clarkston Livable Community Initiative Plan update dated February 26, 2015
Jamie Carroll offered for Craig Tailor to discuss his request. Mr. Tailor advised stated the Council approved a Livable Cities Intiative in 2015 and in 2017 a study was completed on the Town Center which reaffirmed the guidance put forward in the LCI and the 2040 Comprehensive plan confirmed the goals of the LCI plan. Mr. Tailor wants to develop a fifty unit development community on N Indian Creek Drive, between Market and Montreal Street. As part of the financing they have applied to Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for tax credits. DCA has asked that any plans that fit the redevelopment goals in a Community that those Plans have been approved or reapproved within the last five years. They are asking that the City reapprove their LCI plan to assure there are no issues with their DCA submission. Discussion that there has been an extension by DCA on the due date as a result of the covid situation, so there are an additional 30 days that this item could be considered. Council discussion on concerns of readopting the LCI without reviewing the process further.
Councilman Hassan left the meeting at 10:09p
Jamie Carroll made a motion to table this item until the May 26 Work Session. Laura Hopkins seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).
Laura Hopkins made a motion to adjourn the Council Meeting. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).