Monday, October 1, 2018
Michael Stone Online

Government & Politics

5th Time Could Be Charm for Stormwater Fee (Patch)—After delaying setting the city’s stormwater fee four times, the Powder Springs City Council is again scheduled to vote on it at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Community Development building. “If we keep postponing it and we keep postponing it, we’re going to be in trouble. We’re already way behind,” Mayor Pat Vaughn said.

  1. Powder Springs Postpones Setting Stormwater Fee
  2. Powder Springs Again Postpones Stormwater Vote
  3. Powder Springs Approves $3 Stormwater Fee

Anti-Annexation Group Rallies for Fight (Chattanooga Times Free Press)—Monday’s meeting by the Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation wasn’t a desperate cry for money, but board members said donations definitely wouldn’t hurt. “Are we broke? No. We have money in the bank to cover this first round in the courts,” Bill Reesor, the group’s spokesman, told a gathering of about 150 at Westview Elementary. “But let me tell you: It’s more than just that.”

City Files Petition to Close Lodge (Chattanooga Times Free Press)—Andrienne Kitchen’s eyes fill with tears when she thinks about leaving her home for the past six years. Kitchen lives in a neatly kept one-bedroom apartment at Superior Creek Lodge in East Ridge and works at the complex as a cleaner. She enthusiastically shows off her decorated bedroom and living room.

City Manager: Police Force Shouldn’t Use All Property Taxes (Patch)—Powder Springs City Manager Rick Eckert said he’d like to see whoever takes over as police chief decrease the funding used by the police department to a maximum of 75 percent of property taxes. “It should be noted that the police department does use up 100 percent of property taxes and a percentage of the franchise fees that are paid into the general fund. This can’t continue into the future unless we see some serious economic increase in the community,” he said.

Concerns Arise Over City Manager Search (Patch)—Powder Springs Councilwoman Nancy Hudson questioned Wednesday how Councilman Chris Wizner had received information about the search for a new city manager before her. She said her concerns arose after reading Wizner’s comments on former Councilman Tom Bevirt’s latest Local Voices column on Patch regarding the search.

Douglas Commission Approves $3.63M in Cuts (Patch)—Since 2007, Douglas County’s general fund budget had decreased by almost $3 million when the current budget of $77,350,000 was adopted in December. On Tuesday, as a result rising fuel costs, declining property values and falling revenues, the Board of Commissioners approved cutting an additional $3.63 million.

Douglas Commission Approves Bond Agencies for $107M Jail (Patch)—The Douglas County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved two agencies for bond ratings for the $107 million in bonds being used to build the new county jail. The two agencies—Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s—will collectively cost the county $28,500 for the bond rating assessments. “Frankly, the fee (from bond rating agencies) is much higher than it use to be because they’re much more cautious,” Commissioner Mike Mulcare said, adding there are also fewer of the agencies because of recent economic troubles.

East Ridge Manager Steps Down (Chattanooga Times Free Press)—East Ridge City Manager William Whitson’s resignation was announced by Mayor Mike Steele and approved by the City Council on Monday at a special called meeting.

Ex-City Manager Receiving Full Pay as Consultant (Patch)—Former Powder Springs City Manager Rick Eckert is continuing to receive his monthly salary of $9,600, plus benefits, as he serves as a consultant for the city. He has received the pay since his resignation went into effect Feb. 17 and will continue to receive it through May, when his two-year, $115,000-a-year contract ends. If he finds another job prior to then, the pay will stop.

Final Powder Springs Budget Expects Larger Tax Drop (Patch)—Powder Springs is anticipating a bigger drop in property tax revenue than previously predicted.

Former Powder Springs Mayor Named Interim City Manager (Patch)—The man who preceded Pat Vaughn as the mayor of Powder Springs will serve as the city’s interim city manager until a permanent one is found. “It’s an honor. Thank you very much,” Brad Hulsey told the City Council Monday night after Vaughn recommended his appointment and members approved 4-0. Councilwoman Cheryl Sarvis was absent.

Powder Springs Council Raises Own Retirement (Patch)—Despite being met with opposition Monday, the Powder Springs City Council voted to raise the retirement for council members from $40 to $48 per month for every year in office.

Powder Springs Council Sends Sunday Sales to Voters (Patch)—Before the Powder Springs City Council voted Monday to send Sunday package alcohol sales to voters, two opponents of the measure offered several reasons it shouldn’t be on the presidential primary ballot.

Powder Springs Facing $375,000 Budget Shortfall (Patch)—Powder Springs City Manager Rick Eckert outlined several possible methods to the City Council on Wednesday on how to overcome a general budget shortfall of roughly $375,000, including staff eliminations and outsourcing the city’s sanitation services. “There’s no real popular option,” he said. “Some are less popular than others.”

Powder Springs Likely to Vote on Sunday Sales (Patch)—After rejecting the idea in June, the Powder Springs City Council appeared to have a change of heart Wednesday on Sunday package alcohol sales. “I think a lot of people showed up at the polls (on Election Day last week) to vote for it,” Mayor Pat Vaughn said at Wednesday’s work session. “I guess if they want it on there, put it on there.

Powder Springs Looks to Drop Inmate Work (Patch)—Powder Springs stands to save $75,000 annually in contract alone by dropping Paulding County inmates for landscaping and janitorial work and awarding the contracts to private firms, Public Works Director Greg Ramsey said. That figure could climb as high as $119,000 when lost time and other factors are figured in, he told the City Council at Wednesday’s work session.

Powder Springs Mayor Answers Ex-Councilman’s Criticisms (Patch)—Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn spoke for nearly 20 minutes at the end of Monday’s City Council meeting in response to former Councilman Ra Barr’s latest letter to Patch. “I don’t normally do this, but this has gone on for about 2½ years, and I’ve taken the high road,” she said in the council chambers at the Community Development building. “But … I’m going to address the concerns from now on.”

Powder Springs Mayor Cleared of Alleged Assault (Patch)—Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn has been cleared by police of an alleged assault after a woman said the mayor hit her with a door knob as she was shutting a door.

Recall Petitions Head to Election Commission (Chattanooga Times Free Press)—Organizers attempting to oust Mayor Ron Littlefield say they have enough signatures to start his recall.

Ron Paul at UF: Youth Support Marks Career Highlight (PBS/NPR)—Ron Paul said Monday night that the pinnacle of a decades-long political career has been “being well received on college campuses.” “The young generation are waking up to the fact that (U.S. government officials) don’t need to be telling the world what to do until we take care of our problems here at home,” he told the 2,062 gathered in the University of Florida’s O’Connell Center.

Spooky Sunday: Governments weigh moving trick-or-treating to Saturday (Chattanooga Times Free Press)—Allhallows eve is a day for pulling pranks, dressing like creatures from the underworld and lurking around after sunset. Sunday, on the other hand, is a day on which many people wake up early, dress in formal attire and travel to church.

State Rep.: Cobb Has Lacked Leadership in TSPLOST (Patch)—As metro Atlanta voters continue to weigh how they will vote on the upcoming transportation referendum, state Rep. David Wilkerson said Cobb has had a “lack of leadership” prior to the July vote.

With $300K in Unpaid Bills, Powder Springs Eyes Collection Agency (Patch)—Powder Springs officials are considering contracting with a collection agency to help cut down on the $300,000 owed to the city in water and sewer bills, and prevent such a backlog from growing again.