Council Meeting 3-2-2021

MINUTES
CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Via Zoom


Officials Present by Teleconference
Mayor:        Beverly H. Burks
Council:    Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, 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, Ahmed Hassan, Debra Johnson, 
    Arrived after rollcall Laura Hopkins

C.    ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION
C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 2-2-2021 and 2-23-2021 Executive Session
    Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve the 2-2-2021 and 2-23-2021 Executive Session minutes.   
Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (4 ,0). 

D.    REPORTS:  
1)    Planning & Zoning Report
Shawanna Qawiy reported on the status of the North Metro Water Audit that is due in May 2021.  She discussed the Membership of the Steering committee for the Comprehensive Plan and they will hold their first public involvement meeting on April 1.  The Zoning rewrite has held their first  joint meetings for zoning rewrite and comprehensive plan.
Filming for Raising Dion Season 2 will return to the Community Center on March 6th to the 8th for filming. Ms. Qawiy, provided for public information only, advised she had received an inquiry on Land disturbance for 1116 Smith Street, which is the triangle parcel across from Thriftown for a possible 5 story mixed-used development with retail on first level and residential above and parking in rear. A rezoning request has been submitted for property adjacent to the city boundary in unincorporated DeKalb, 3720 Jamieson Place (unincorporated DeKalb) for potential townhomes construction.

2)    City Manager’s Report
The City Manager provided update on status for the streetscape project on E Ponce De Leon, Market Street and Norman Road. He reminded residents to attend the upcoming social distance re-opening for Friendship Forest on March 12. He reminded residents to volunteer for the Water Clean up scheduled for March 27 starting at 9am at Friendship Forest. He provided a detailed Year to Date Financial Report thru February 28, 2021. The City will discuss with the pool contractor opening Milam Pool this summer with full safety guidelines in place. 

3)    City Attorney’s Report 
  No report

4)    Council Remarks
Awet Eyasu discussed his attendance of the protest for the voter suppression bills, and he encouraged  residents to contact their legislature to overturn the proposed bill.  He also attended the Coffee with Cop event held at Refuge Coffee. 

Debra Johnson advised on her attending the State of Dekalb address and she was impressed by other events and food drives in the DeKalb area during Covid-19. She also attended the Coffee with a Cop event and she had met two police officers she had not met previously.

Laura Hopkins apologized for not attending Coffee with a Cop, but she is still cautious in attending public gatherings as a caregiver for an elderly resident. She reminded registered voters of the upcoming Special Election on March 16 and she encouraged their participation.

5)    Mayor’s Report
The Mayor attended Coffee with a Cop and the State of  Dekalb and the Free 99 Fridge at Refuge Coffee as a food pantry event.  She discussed the video she recorded for Read Across America.  


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 read the public comment policy.
Mr. Gomez provided the names of registered speakers.

Brian Medford spoke in opposition to closing Waggoner Street and he discussed concerns with changing the CDA and its membership.
 
Amy Medford commented on the CDA/DDA and concerns on dissolving. She requested the Council let this item be tabled. 

Dean Moore commented on the rent relief item, and he discussed the need for updates to the minimum wage.  

Chris Busing spoke in opposition to a mask mandate.

Dean Waters spoke in support of a mask mandate.


F.    OLD BUSINESS

G.    NEW BUSINESS
G1) Adopt Resolution Calling upon President Biden and the U.S. Congress to Provide Additional Assistance to the Rental Housing Community

Awet Eyasu spoke on the need for continuing rental assistance for those affected by the pandemic. Council discussion on the resolution. 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to Adopt Resolution Calling upon President Biden and the U.S. Congress to Provide Additional Assistance to the Rental Housing Community. 
Jamie Carroll seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (3- Yes: Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, Jamie Carroll, 2- NO Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins). 

G2) Proclamation in recognition of Women's History Month 
Mayor Burks spoke on the purpose of adopting a resolution for recognizing Women in America. 

Laura Hopkins made a motion to adopt the proclamation for Women's History Month. 
Jamie Carroll seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G3) Proclamation in recognition of National Read Across America Day on March 2nd
Mayor Burks discussed the importance of reading and the purpose of the proclamation. 
Mayor Burks spoke on the purpose to encourage reading especially among young people. 

Laura Hopkins made a motion to adopt Proclamation in recognition of National Read Across America Day on March 2nd. 
Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G4) Adopt Resolution Authorizing, Among Other Things, the City Manager to Execute a Lease Supplement under the GMA Direct Leasing Program for the Lease/Purchase of a Bucket Truck ($91,324) and a Pickup Truck ($29,877) in the Principal Amount of $121,201.00
Mr. Gomez discussed purpose on executing lease purchase for a bucket truck and a pickup truck, to be financed over 7 years. 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to Adopt Resolution Authorizing, Among Other Things, the City Manager to Execute a Lease Supplement under the GMA Direct Leasing Program for the Lease/Purchase of a Bucket Truck ($91,324) and a Pickup Truck ($29,877) in the Principal Amount of $121,201.00
Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G5) Adopt Resolution Authorizing, Among Other Things, the City Manager to Execute a Lease Supplement under the GMA Direct Leasing Program for the Lease/Purchase of a Sanitation Truck in the Principal Amount of $145,919.00
Mr. Gomez discussed purpose on leasing a sanitation truck to replace the previous truck purchased 21 years ago.  The city has spent over $20,000 in repairs in the past two years.  
Vice Mayor Eyasu discussed consideration of bringing sanitation and/or recycling as an in-house  function. 

Debra Johnson made a motion to Adopt Resolution Authorizing, Among Other Things, the City Manager to Execute a Lease Supplement under the GMA Direct Leasing Program for the Lease/Purchase of a Sanitation Truck in the Principal Amount of $145,919.00. 
Laura Hopkins seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G6) Resolution to create a task force to provide recommendations on policies and training for the Clarkston Police Department
Mayor Burks discussed the purpose of establishing a Police Community Task Force. The Clarkston Police currently adhere to the training requirements under POST but there may be other opportunities for training that could be implemented in Clarkston’s diverse community. The Task force would report to the Public Safety Committee and then the Public Safety SAC would report to the Council. The City will present potential members at the April Work Session. 

Debra Johnson made a motion to Resolution to create a task force to provide recommendations on policies and training for the Clarkston Police Department
Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G7) Amend Clarkston Code of Ordinances, Article II. – Property Maintenance Code, Sec. 5-66 Notice of Violation Requiring a Warning Before Issuing a Citation Unless Issue is an Immediate Threat to Public Health or Safety        
Shawanna Qawiy provided an overview of the proposed ordinance to require a warning be issued prior to a citation.  This is currently the practice of the City, but this ordinance will codify that process. Ms. Qawiy read the specifics of the ordinance amendment. 

Councilman Eyasu spoke on supporting and hope it would assist first time minor offenders and provide an educational component to code enforcement. Councilman Carroll spoke on the ability for violators to have an opportunity to come into compliance without a citation.  

Awet Eyasu made a motion to Amend Chapter 5, Article II of the City Code concerning property maintenance to clarify that a warning shall be issued before a citation is issued for a violation of the property maintenance code.
Jamie Carroll seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G8) Review request to vacate/abandon Wagoner St
Shawanna Qawiy reported that the Mayor and City Council shall discuss a request to abandon Wagoner Street from Kathleen Andres (3769 Church Street) and Maridale Goff and Steve Goff (3757 Church Street). In order for the City of consider a request to abandon a public road, the applicant(s) must Submit a letter explaining a request and explain the detailed portion of the road requesting to be abandoned and why the request is being made.

Council discussion on the request and requestors were afforded an opportunity to provide their explanation on the need. Consideration on the Issues with access to adjoining streets if Waggoner street were closed and thoughts on reviewing other traffic remediation options other than abandoning the street. 
City Attorney discussed the Council should consider only if this public street provides any transportation purpose. 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to deny the request to abandon Wagoner St from Kathleen Andres (3769 Church Street) and Maridale Goff and Steve Goff (3757 Church Street).
Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  
A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0). 

G9) Consider Adopting a Mask Mandate Ordinance 
The City Manager reported that the Councils adopted a resolution on masks in July 2020, requiring people in public to wear a mask when entering a business. The Council has disused an interest to adopt an ordinance to regulate mask mandate. 

Council discussion on the ordinance to require and regulate mask wearing to encourage the use for public safety.  Assistant Chief Hess stated enforcement will be a burden and difficult to enforce.  Council discussion on hope police would focus on providing a mask and not citing individuals and for the burden to be with the local businesses to enforce in their locations. Georgia is currently in the top 6 states for cases.   

Awet Eyasu addressed concerns with burden placed on the police and that he prefers the City focus on education rather than enforcement.  Lengthy discussion of proposed parameters for the ordinance and enforcement in businesses.  

Discussion of security concerns if mandating masks for individuals could make the city liable as it relates to businesses and knowing the identity of those entering.  The City Attorney provided his legal opinion that the City would not be liable due to the pandemic and that the city has the authority to make regulations due to public health. 

City would provide signage for the mask mandate if adopted. 

Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve the Ordinance change with a clarification under section 2 signs required entrances, that the city will provide the “Mask Required” signs and those signs will say “Mask Required” for entrance masks and in restaurants, the sign will say masks will be required when you are not at your table. 
Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  
Discussion on consequences for businesses, and signage and adding a section on covering the mouth and nose.
Jamie Carroll amended his motion to add to section 1 shall wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose. 
Discussion on dancers in adult entertainment.
Debra Johnson seconded the motion.
Additional discussion on types of businesses and compliance for masks.
A vote was called for the amended motion and the motion carried (4- Yes: Jamie Carroll, Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins, Ahmed Hassan, 1- Abstain: Awet Eyasu). 

Original motion: To approve the Ordinance change with a clarification under section 2 signs required entrances, that the city will provide the “Mask Required” signs and those signs will say “Mask Required” for entrance masks and in restaurants, the sign will say masks will be required when you are not at your table. Jamie Carroll (original mover) and Debra Johnson (second).

A vote was called and the motion carried  (4-Yes: Ahmed Hassan, Jamie Carroll, Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins,   1-No: Awet Eyasu).

G10) Consider amending/dissolving the Clarkston Development Authority
City Manager provide explanation for City to dissolve the CDA by going thru the State Legislature.

Awet Eyasu discussed the original intention was to focus on the downtown area and have more council as membership.  When it was approved by the legislature some council members had concerns with the larger boundaries, so we are now considering dissolving the CDA and forming a typical DDA. Discussion on greater restrictions placed on authority by regular DDA. City Attorney opinion that it was not advisable to create a DDA while still having the CDA in place; that the city should dissolve the CDA first, before forming a DDA. 

Laura Hopkins made a motion that the Clarkston City Council request that the Local Delegation of the General Assembly to repeal Act No. 134 of the 2017 General Assembly and dissolve the Clarkston Development Authority.
Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (4- Yes; Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins, 1-No Jamie Carroll). 


H.    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).  Meeting adjourned 10:02pm.