City Council Meeting 1-12-2021

MINUTES
CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Via Zoom


Officials Present by Teleconference
Mayor:        Beverly H. Burks
Council:    Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu, Laura Hopkins Debra Johnson
City Manager:    Robin I. Gomez 
City Clerk:    Tracy Ashby 
City Attorney:    Stephen Quinn

A.    CALL TO ORDER 

B.    ROLL CALL/ PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE   
    Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu, Debra Johnson, Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins

C.    ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION
C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 12/8/2020 
Jamie Carroll Made a motion to Approved   Laura Hopkins seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (5,0). 

Laura Hopkins made a motion to amend the agenda to remove from consent agenda the appointment of the members to the Planning & Zoning to discuss and approve them individually. Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A Vote was called and the motion carried (5,0).  Item moved to the last agenda item (H12). 

C2) PRESENTATION:  Starnes Senior Living Housing Development – Housing Development Corporation
Dorothy Bell and Kerry Taylor provided an update on the Starnes Senior project.  The project is currently 88% completed designed for seniors age 62+.  She provided details on unit types available, amenities and rental rates. The tenant selection will give preference to DeKalb County applicants.   


D.    REPORTS:  
1)    Planning & Zoning Report
Shawanna Qawiy reported the Comprehensive Plan is underway with the first public meeting during tonight’s meeting. The Zoning rewrite team has sent the recommendation to the Council and will proceed with the Councils approval.  She advised a Proposed conditional use permit application has been submitted for 1051 Montreal Road for a laundry mat. 

2)    City Manager’s Report
Mr. Gomez provided a detailed report on City and staff activities as COVID continues to impact operations. The City offices will remain closed to the public through the end of the month and he advised where individuals can access the city website for staff contact information. He provided a status report on how the new recycling is proceeding and the progress of the Streetscape project. He advised upcoming locations for COVID testing and planned student tutoring assistance program.  The Financial Report for December 31, 2020 was provided with detailed information on expenditures and revenues and COVID expenditures reimbursed by the CARES funding. 

3)    City Attorney’s Report 
    No report


4)  Council Remarks
Laura Hopkins expressed solidarity with the Police after the scenes witnessed at the Capitol on January 6th.   She discussed that a posting by a Clarkston resident who had been a refugee and their horror in having come from a war-torn country where their country and government were destroyed, and to witness that same sight here.  She stated she understood the concerns of the residents and she extended her respect to the Police and the job they are doing to guard our safety.  

Vice Mayor Eyasu wished Happy New Year and Ethiopian Christmas. He was proud of the strong turn out for the run off election and congratulated the community members. 

5)    Mayor’s Report
Mayor Burks discussed the Clarkston COVID Task force is doing a Day of Service on MLK Day with the hope to distribute 10,000 masks to the apartments.  The City has seen an uptick in COVID numbers so we will do our part to reduce transmissions.  Working with Soccer in the Streets to do a program about MLK to educate  our youth, so they will have an appreciation of peaceful protest.  Mayor Burks is a member of AKA Sorority and Alpha Kappa Alpha has scheduled to have a 3D mammogram unit and COVID testing on Founders Day (January 16)  at the Tahoe Village.  The Mayor reported she has been participating on weekly calls with GMA on COVID to get status of our community.  She is also working with Mayors of community had DMA meeting.

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.

Mayor Burks opened the meeting for Public Comments.

Tracy Bishop addressed concerns with item H9 creating a subjective protected group.

F.    OLD BUSINESS
       
G.    CONSENT AGENDA
The Mayor read the items listed under the Consent Agenda
Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve the listed items in the Consent Agenda.   Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5,0). 
G2) Confirm Attorney
G3) Confirm Auditor
G4) Confirm Judge
G5) Confirm Solicitor
G6) Confirm Ethics Hearing Officer
G7) Appoint Historic Preservation Committee member

H.    NEW BUSINESS
H1) Vice-Mayor Selection
Mayor Burks reported there were two nominees, Debra Johnson and Awet Eyasu, for the Vice Mayor seat. She requested if there are any additional nominations.  No additional candidate names were submitted.

Debra Johnson thanked Laura Hopkins for nominating her and expressed it was an honor to be nominated.

Awet Eyasu gave thanks for the opportunity to serve as Mayor and that it has been a challenging year and they all have served the community during these trying times.  Being the vice mayo has been a great pleasure and the honor to conduct the meetings since March to November. He would like to continue serving. 

Mayor Burks thanked them both for their willingness to serve and called for the votes. 
Debra Johnson – 2 Votes: Laura Hopkins and Debra Johnson.
Awet Eyasu – 3 Votes: Jamie Carroll, Ahmed Hassan and Awet Eyasu 
Awet Eyasu will continue to serve as Vice Mayor for 2021.

H2) Approve Package Alcohol Application – 4556 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Mr. Gomez  stated this is a change in ownership for 4556 E Ponce de Leon.  All of the required inspections have been performed and the required background check has been passed.

Debra Johnson made a motion to approve the Approve Beer/Wine/Malt Package Alcohol Application for Might Money Inc DBA 76 Food Mart located at 4556 E Ponce De Leon Ave
Jamie Carroll seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (4-Yes: Johnson, Hopkins, Carroll, Eyasu, 1-Abstain; Hassan). 

H3) Award Trailhead & Rowland St Pedestrian Improvements bid to the lowest bidder – SOL Construction
Mayor Burks stated that going forward a process would include notifying potentially impacted residents. 
Mr. Gomez detailed information on the Trailhead Rowland Street Pedestrian Improvements including information from the Project Open House held in December 2018 and from the seven bids received.  

Discussion on public parking and the details of the project.  Consideration was given to adding sidewalks on Rogers as well as Rowland to improve pedestrian safety on this project by change orders. The residents on Rogers would prefer to have parking included on Hill Street.  

Jamie Carroll made a motion to award the Trailhead & Rowland St Pedestrian Improvements to the lowest bid by Sol Construction in the amount of $1,081,011.10 with understanding the Project Manager will bring proposed change orders for adding sidewalks along Rogers Street between Market St and N Indian Creek and along Rowland Street between Lovejoy and N Indian Creek Dr, and a change order to potentially remove Hill street to allow for additional parking.  Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. Discussion that the potential change orders will be for the Council to consider at a later date, but not necessarily approved. Project cannot begin until NAMB has moved from the parking lot, estimate mid-February and the contractor will be directed to not start on potential change areas.. A vote was called and the motion carried (4-Yes: Jamie Carrol, Awet Eyasu, Debra Johnson, Ahmed Hassan, 1-Abstain: Laura Hopkins)

H4) To present to the Mayor and City Council the selection committee’s recommendation to perform the City’s zoning ordinance rewrite services
Shawanna Qawiy reported detailed the process and  the City received  four proposals for the Zoning Ordinance rewrite.  The selection committee did interview the four firms and the committee recommended Pond & Co.  and submitted their recommendation to the Council for consideration to approval.  The City would then proceed with drafting a contract upon approval of the company. 

Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve Pond & Co.  for the City’s Zoning rewrite.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).  

H5) Public Hearing 2021 Comprehensive Plan Update
Shawanna Qawiy reported on the City of Clarkston Comprehensive Plan, know as Clarkston 2040, is to be updated before October 31, 2021.

Mayor Burks opened the Public Hearing
Dean Moore spoke in support of the public being involved in the Plan. 
No other speakers in support or opposition of the Comprehensive Plan.
Mayor Burks closed the Public Hearing. 

Mrs. Qawiy provided a schedule of planned upcoming meetings. 
H6) Approve an additional 10% hazard/COVID-19 pay for all City employees for all hours actually worked at a City facility or in the field during the continued Pandemic.
Mr. Gomez reported this had been in place since March 2020 at an initial 5% and then increased to 10%.  City Staff that are remotely working do not receive the increase and it is only paid when staff are working on-site or in the field for their job. Council members expressed appreciation to the city staff.

Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve to continue to provide the 10% hazard/COVID-19 pay for all City employees for all hours actually worked at a City facility or in the field during the continued Pandemic, until such time as the pandemic slows and employees can safely return to city offices. Debra Johnson seconded.
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

H7) Adopt Proclamation for MLK Day
Mayor Burks discussed the proclamation to recognize this day as the 26th Martin Luther Day of service. 

Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve the Proclamation designating the Martin Luther King Holiday as a day of service in Clarkston.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5,0). 

H8) Adopt Digital Inclusion Resolution
Mayor Burks stated this resolution is to assure assurance of accessible, available, affordable, relevant, privacy and equitable access to the World Wide Web.

Debra Johnson made a  motion to approve the Digital Inclusion Resolution. Laura Hopkins seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

H9) Adopt Resolution by the Clarkston City Council condemning the act of falsely reporting a crime or otherwise causing a police officer to contact a person in order to discriminate against the person on the basis of the person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Mayor Burks stated the intent is to stop any misuse of 911. Mr. Quinn reported he added section 4 to encourage the officers to cognizant of the Councils intent.  Discussion, based on the earlier citizen comment, that this is a resolution and not an ordinance, as false reporting is already against the law, but the resolution intent is to bring attention to the misuse of 911 and educate the public.

Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve the Resolution by the Clarkston City Council condemning the act of falsely reporting a crime or otherwise causing a police officer to contact a person in order to discriminate against the person on the basis of the person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

H10) Amend City Manager Employment Agreement
Mr. Quinn discussed the City Manager has a written contract, per the Charter, but to provide for a salary increase requires a contract amendment.  This amendment is for a 3% compensation increase. 

Jamie Carrol made a motion to approve the contract amendment for a 3% salary increase.  Laura Hopkins seconded.  A vote was called and the motion carried  (4 -YES: Jamie Carroll, Debra Johnson, Lauran Hopkins, Ahmed Hassan,  1-Abstain: Awet Eyasu )

H11) Approve a Resolution on the Administration of Business Licensing Regarding Special
Licensing for Pawnbrokers
Mr. Gomez detailed the Resolution is proposed to clarify for City Staff how to administer Article I and Article VII in concert. Any business looking to provide pawnbroker services must first apply and obtain the City’s business registration/occupational tax certificate pursuant to Article I, prior to applying and obtaining a pawnbroker license pursuant to Article 7. No pawnbroker may operate without these two requirements in
the order listed.

Additionally, the attached Resolution would also waive the annual regulatory fee for the “title pawn”
subset of pawnbrokers that require proof of title in connection with their pawn transactions since these
businesses do not require extensive monitoring by the Police Department.

Awet Eyasu made a motion approve the resolution regarding the administration of Article 1 of Chapter 11 of the City of Clarkston Code of Ordinances concerning business licensing, in conjunction with Article VII of that same chapter regarding licensing for pawnbrokers.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

H11)  Moved from Consent Agenda: G1) Appoint/ fill one (1) vacant position and to reconfirm three (3) expiring term positions on the Planning and Zoning Board.
Laura Hopkins stated she requested to move the item from the consent agenda so each seat could be voted on separately.  
Birendra Dhakal:  Awet Eyasu made a motion to re-appoint Birendra Dhakal to the Planning & Zoning Board.  Laura Hopkins seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

Amy Medford:  Jamie Carroll made a motion to re-appoint Amy Medford.  No second received.  Council Discussion on Mrs. Medford service on the Planning Board. Mrs. Medford was afforded an opportunity to respond to Council comments. She was willing to change her interactions in meetings if the other members are provided training on Roberts Rules of Order. Discussion from the City Attorney that the Chair could entertain a repeat motion on this appointment.

Mayor Burks offered to entertain a repeat motion.  Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve Amy Medford to serve another term after having heard her responses and she is rained in this area.  No second received. Motion failed. 

Felecia Weinert  Laura Hopkins made a motion to re-appoint Felecia Weinert  to the Planning & Zoning Board.  Jamie Carroll seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to appoint Susan Hood to the vacant Planning & Zoning Seat.  Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

Council discussion that Vacancy would be filled at next meeting and the need for  providing training for Planning Member. 

I.    ADJOURNMENT: 
Awet Eyasu made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried. (5,0).