2019 Local Ordinances


These are the votes taken by the ACC Mayor & Commission on which A4E’s Policy & Elections Committee took votes on a position.

Reconsideration of Designating SPLOST Projects

Back in December of 2018, the previous commission designated one-half of the money for the 2020 SPLOST before the citizen’s committee met to discuss the proposals. Commissioner Link called for this to be reconsidered by the new commission, which A4E supported.

Voting yes on reconsideration: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Link

Passed on January 8, 2019

The Taylor Saulters Settlement

The ACC Police Department fired Officer Taylor Saulters in June 2018 after then chief Scott Freeman determined that Saulters had acted wrongly in hitting suspect Timmy Patmon with his patrol car. Saulters, who immediately got a job in Oglethorpe County law enforcement, then sued the ACC unified government. The commission then hastily voted to settle with Saulters for $250,000, with no public input. We opposed this decision.

Voting yes on settling: Link, Wright, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: Davenport, Denson
Abstaining: Parker, NeSmith (the latter because he was acting as mayor pro tempore in Girtz’s absence)
Absent: Herod, Girtz

Proposal made by: Link.

Passed on March 5, 2019

SPLOST Designation Vote on Judicial Center

The commission voted on designating certain projects as part of the 2020 SPLOST list, which would go up for a vote in November. This part of the vote included an up or down on including the $82 million judicial center, which we opposed.

Voting yes: Park, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Hamby
Voting no: Davenport, Thornton
Abstaining: no one
Absent: no one

Proposal made by: Wright

Passed on April 2, 2019

The Mark Easement

The commission voted to approve a temporary construction easement for The Mark, a giant building of luxury student apartment, holding the developer to no requirements and, essentially, giving them exactly what they asked for. We opposed this decision.

Voting yes: Wright, NeSmith, Herod, Thornton, Hamby, Girtz (who broke the 5-5 tie)
Voting no: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Edwards
Abstaining: no one
Absent: no one

Proposal made by: Wright

Passed on April 2, 2019

100% Athens

This proposal required the ACCUG to get 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2035 and for the county’s electric grid to do the same, as well as for all energy in the county to come from renewable sources by 2050. The 100% Athens group, which pushed for the legislation, also has a strong focus on environmental issues as being racial justice issues. We supported this legislation.

Voting yes: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: no one
Abstaining: no one
Absent: no one

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on May 21, 2019

Cash Bail Revisions

This revision of the local code removed cash bail as an option for violations of local ordinances, with a few exceptions. It also moved toward a citation model for these offenses. Although it did not go far enough (we believe all cash bail should be eliminated), we strongly supported and pushed for this legislation, working with coalition partners like AADM to help it pass.

Voting yes: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: no one
Abstaining: no one
Absent: Wright, Herod

Proposal made by: NeSmith

Passed on June 4, 2019

Equalizing Rent for Nonprofits Leasing from ACCUG

Mariah Parker pointed out that East Athens Development Corporation, Athens Neighborhood Health Center, Athens Tutorial Program and the Clarke County Health Department, all of which serve primarily poor Black and brown people, were paying “maintenance fees” in the amounts of thousands of dollars yearly, while groups like Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Town and Gown Players and the Junior League of Athens were paying $1 yearly rents. She proposed that these four organizations receive the same treatment, which we supported.

Voting yes: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: no one
Abstaining: no one
Absent: Wright, Herod

Proposal made by: Parker

Passed on June 4, 2019

Support for the Latinx Community

At a special called session in August, the commission resolved that “The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government is welcoming to people from all lands and backgrounds and strives to foster a community where individuals and families of all statuses feel safe, are able to prosper, and can breathe free; and The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government denounces white supremacy and recognizes the role that some government institutions have played in creating it and commits itself to working to reverse the damage that has resulted to black, brown, and all other minority communities.” Although this resolution has no legislation with it, we still supported it and its forceful language as a powerful show of support for undocumented people.

Voting yes: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: no one
Abstaining: no one
Absent: no one

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on August 20, 2019

State Legislative Requests

Twice a year, our state legislators meet with the ACC Mayor & Commission, who make requests of them for legislation on the state level. Given that the state legislature is under Republican control, Athens rarely gets what we want there, but in previous years our requests have been more modest (and still ignored). This year, the list included: raising the minimum compensation for school board members to $15,000 annually; reversing the ban on undocumented residents receiving driver’s licenses; supporting wage increases for lower-paid University System of Georgia employees; re-establishing the income cap on the HOPE scholarship (and investing these savings into enhanced child care and educational programs in low-income and at-risk communities); and increasing gun control measures (repeal of Campus Carry, universal background checks and banning all assault weapons). There was some controversy over the list as originally proposed, but we supported this version.

Voting yes: Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: no one
Abstaining: no one
Absent: Davenport, Herod

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on September 10, 2019

View more 2019 votes here.