CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Officials Present by Teleconference
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
- CALL TO ORDER
Vice-Mayor Eyasu called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.
- ROLL CALL/ PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Present: YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson, Awet Eyasu,
- ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION
C1) Approve Minutes: Special Call Meeting 6/30/2020 10:00 am and 6:30pm and Council Meeting 6/2/2020 Minutes
Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve the minutes for the Special Call Meeting 6/30/2020 10:00 am and 6:30pm and Council Meeting 6/2/2020 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 and the status of ongoing projects. The Planning & Zoning Committee will hold their meeting on 7/21/2020 to hold a Public Hearing on amending the zoning ordinance to include NR3 to require submit plans for a rezoning request. Ms. Qawiy answered questions regarding the tree survey for the East Avenue development.
2) City Manager’s Report
Mr. Gomez provided a note that the East Avenue construction project is only permitted from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm. He reported on City operations and financial report thru June 30, 2020 including Covid expenditures. He provided the current status of City Operations food distributions and testing sites under Covid19. The status of streetscapes project was provided. Discussion to review opening the dog park.
3) City Attorney’s Report
Mr. Quinn reported that the Georgia Supreme Court extended their order to keep courthouses closed and they will re-evaluate the order on July 13, 2020.
4) Council Remarks
YT Bell spoke on the issue of racism and its impact as a public health crisis and she encouraged the Council to support the resolution. She reported on the virtual story time she hosted for children who are missing the library experience and she offered for the other council members to participate.
Jamie Carroll thanked the City Manager and City Staff for their hard work during covid. He reported on his attending the first meeting of the early Learning Task force.
Laura Hopkins thanked the City for working swiftly to close Market Street for the downed tree. She thanked Debra Johnson for her efforts in coordinating food distributions for 400 families in Clarkston.
Debra Johnson wished Vice Mayor Eyasu Happy Birthday and she re-iterated that 600 boxes of food will be distributed again in the next week and she discussed that there are several organizations that provide resources for community members.
5) Mayor’s Report
Vice Mayor Awet Eyasu thanked the City Council members for all the work they are doing to help out during covid as well as City Staff. He reported on his participation with the Food drives. He discussed his interview with Voice of America and his attendance of the Black Live Matter march and the functions he attended in June. He read remarks he had intended to give at the Black Lives Matter march.
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.
Warren Hadlock discussed zoom meeting, his support of city wells and issues at Friendship Forest.
Maryam Ahmad, candidate for DeKalb District 6 Commissioner, spoke on her candidacy.
Tracy Bishop discussed prior ethics complaint.
Brian Medford spoke in support of the City well water item.
Ms. Massabre spoke in support of Reproductive Justice Resolution.
Heidi Miller spoke in support of the Reproductive justice resolution.
Dr. Elizabeth Mosley spoke in support of the Reproductive justice resolution
The Vice-Mayor closed public comments.
F. OLD BUSINESS
G. NEW BUSINESS
G1) Approve 2020 Millage Rate
a) 2020 Millage Presentation
Mr. Gomez provided the 2020 Millage Rate Presentation. City Staff are recommending adopting the same rate as 2019, of 15.890 millage.
The City Manager provided a detailed presentation for the 2020 Millage rate.
b) Public Hearing to take comment on the proposed 2020 millage rate
Vice Mayor Eyasu opened the Public Hearing
Warren Hadlock thanked the City Manager and the Finance Director for their report.
c) Adopt 2020 Millage Rate by ordinance
Debra Johnson made a motion to adopt 15.890 for the 2020 Millage Rate. Yt Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (6, 0).
G2) Approve Refer to Legal Committee to create Citizens Review Committee
Debra Johnson stated the Legal Committee would review along with the public and consider what format the Citizen Review Committee would take.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to Refer to the Legal Committee to create Citizens Review Committee. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G3) Approve Resolution to Declare Racism as a Public Health Crisis
YT Bell discussed the importance of the resolution and touched on the topics covered under the work session and the $2,000 for an outside agency to conduct a survey and address/correct racial bias. Council discussion on support of the resolution with exceptions to appropriating funds for a study as that information would have to be confidential.
YT Bell made a motion to approve the Resolution to Declare Racism as a Public Health Crisis and amend to remove sections 5 and 6. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. Discussion on the meaning of ‘place’ in the resolution. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G4) Approve Resolution by the City of Clarkston Condemning Racism and Affirming the Compassion and Empathy Displayed by the Clarkston Police Department.
Debra Johnson stated this resolution stemmed largely from the letter Chief Hudson read at a previous meeting and this resolution is to assure the Community and the Police Department are in unity during these difficult time. Debra Johnson read the resolution.
Debra Johnson made a motion to Approve Resolution by the City of Clarkston Condemning Racism and Affirming the Compassion and Empathy Displayed by the Clarkston Police Department. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G5) Approve Resolution to Establish the Reproductive Justice Commission
YT Bell explained the purpose and need to establish a Reproductive Justice Commission and the services/ information the committee would provide. Council discussion on language referenced in the resolution, specifically ‘abortion’ and the need to establish a commission just for reproductive issues, when organizations are currently working and providing service in the community.
Question to City Attorney on city obligations on resolutions and Mr. Quinn confirmed that a resolution stated a specific purpose, then yes they are expected to fulfill, but a legal obligation is limited. YT Bell clarified the deliverables this committee would provide if passed.
Council discussion on deferring the item for Council to receive further information on the organizations the City would be supporting/working with.
YT Bell made a motion to approve the Resolution to Establish the Reproductive Justice Commission. Jamie Carroll seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion failed (2- Yes: Bell, Carroll, 3 No: Hassan, Hopkins, Johnson, 1-Abstain: Eyasu).
G6) Approve Tax Anticipation Note
The City Manager detailed the Tax Anticipation Note and that his would authorize the City to receive the issuance of a Tax Anticipation Note (TAN), which will allow borrowing of $600,000 through Truist Bank (formerly BB&T) at an interest rate 2.19%.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve the TAN for $600,000. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
G7) Direct City Manager to Research Possible City Use of Well Water
The City Manager advised if the Council wanted him to pursue the research of possible wells locations in the City could be completed within two months. Mr. Gomez discussed the known location at Market/College Ave is owned by DeKalb Scholl Board and the complete process to implement a well, including the EPA regulatory requirements, can take years for completion. Council clarification that this is not for all residents to go to well water, but only to study the feasibility of opening a single well for resident access. Discussion on having a SAC Committee research the feasibility.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to direct the City Manager to research the Possibility of the City using Well Water. Laura Hopkins seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (4-Yes: Hassan, Hopkins, Johnson, Eyasu, 2-Abstain: Bell, Carroll).
Laura Hopkins made a motion to adjourn the Council Meeting. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).