UPDATE (12/6): The cost of the designated projects and estimated revenue from the SPLOST appear to have recently changed. They were originally quoted in this article as $160 million being designated out of $248 million total SPLOST revenue, or about 2/3rds.The numbers have been changed to $125 million designated out of $278 million total revenue, or about 1/2, to reflect the numbers in the CDO.
The Mayor and Commission meeting on Tuesday lasted over 4 hours, with dozens of items voted upon and lines of residents speaking their mind on a number of issues, including the stormwater fee and opposing a year-long moratorium on Bird scooters (see below for the video of public comment on these and other items).
Athens for Everyone members spoke as well, primarily in opposition to pre-designating half of the 2020 SPLOST dollars to a few projects picked by staff and the commission. Commissioners Parker and Link objected to this idea, as did incoming Commissioners Denson and Edwards. Commissioner Parker stated her commitment to government transparency and democratic values while also stating that she supported the projects on the designated list, especially the affordable housing proposal. Commissioner Link expressed concerns about the price tag for the proposed judicial facility (which is over $70 million), and made a motion to delay designating any SPLOST projects until the new commission has taken their seats next month. Parker seconded this motion, which unfortunately failed 2-8.
Commissioners discuss and vote on designating SPLOST projects
The final vote on taking half of the 2020 SPLOST dollars out of the hands of the citizen’s advisory committee passed 9-1, with Parker as the lone no vote and Link voting yes only so she would be qualified to file a motion to reconsider next month. The proposal was made by Commissioners Girtz, NeSmith, Herod and Hamby.
The tenure of Mayor Denson and several sitting commissioners ends in the beginning of January. For progressives in Athens, this is cause for celebration. It is also what gives Commissioner Link’s motion to reconsider a real chance to pass. We want to thank Commissioner Link and Parker for standing up for democracy and for trusting in the people of Athens to make good decisions when well-informed.
Also in this meeting, Parker and Link teamed up on another agenda item to bring a full discussion of Athens’ history of racial discrimination to a work session coming soon. The commission will be developing a plan to move forward on tackling this issue in the next few months, which we look forward to seeing.
Athens for Everyone
December 5, 2018
Videos from the Mayor and Commission Meeting (12/4/18)
Public comment by A4E members on designating SPLOST projects
Commissioners discuss the recommendations from the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion
Public comment on saving the Mack-Burney House
Public comment regarding the stormwater fee
Public comment regarding a moratorium on Bird scooters