Kelly Girtz

Mayor Kelly Girtz

Kelly Girtz, Mayor of Athens, Georgia

2019 – present


Girtz’s website

“A new era of equity approaches.”
-Kelly Girtz, at his inauguration

  • Assistant Director for Student Services of Foothills Charter High School.
  • Formerly a teacher and administrator with Clarke County School District at W.R. Coile Middle School and Classic City High School (1998-2014).
  • Commissioner of District 9 (2007-2018)

Master of Arts in Teaching, Piedmont College
Bachelor of Science in Sociology, Old Dominion University

Primary Ballots: Exclusively takes Democratic primary ballots.
Donations: Donated to Charlie Bailey (D) in 2020, Mokah Jasmine Johnson (D) in 2020, Deborah Gonzalez (D) in 2020 and 2017, Jonathan Wallace (D) in 2017 and John Edwards (D) in 2007.

Inferred Party: Democrat

Signature Policies

3-Point Plan for Affordable Housing: Girtz ran on a 3-point plan for affordable housing during his 2018 campaign. It included: 1) a property tax freeze for low-income seniors, 2) significant investment in affordable housing via SPLOST and Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) and 3) pursuing a policy of inclusionary zoning.

Girtz has made good on these promises. The mayor and commission passed a formal inclusionary zoning policy in 2022 and Girtz has championed the North Athens Downtown Project which is building hundreds of additional affordable units in the downtown area. He started Athens’ first use of tax allocation districts to promote affordable housing such as in the Georgia Square Mall redevelopment and he’s streamlined regulations like our mass grading ordinance. Girtz also encouraged the state legislature to enact a tax freeze for low-income Athenians which finally passed by referendum in 2022.

100% Renewable Energy: Girtz signed the Sierra Club Mayor’s 100% Clean Energy Pledge shortly after taking office in 2019. The commission soon followed with their own resolution in support of 100% clean energy.

Voting Record

Approve Leisure Services Master Plan: YES
Fund Athens Achieves: YES

The mayor votes only to break commission ties.
(More information about 2024 votes)

Approve Apartments Near Airport: NO
Approve Apartments off Lexington Road: YES
Approve Official Homeless Camp: YES

The mayor votes only to break commission ties.
(More information about 2021 votes)

Fund Cedar Creek Solar Array: YES
Move Work Sessions to City Hall: YES
Redesign the Chase Street Corridor: YES
Update County Anti-Discrimination Policy: YES
Reject Concept Maps for Athens in Motion: NO
Adopt the Athens in Motion plan: YES
Protected Bike Lanes for Barnett Shoals: YES
Delay the Designation of SPLOST Projects: NO
(More information about 2018 votes)

Temporary Halt to Downtown Development: YES
Consultant Selection for Bike / Ped Master Plan: YES
TSPLOST project list and referendum: YES
Re-zoning Mitchell Street: NO
(More information about 2017 votes)

“Road Diet” for Chase Street: YES
Allow Sale of Growlers in Brewpubs: absent
Fare-Free Bus Rides for K-12 Students: YES
Downtown Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and Civil Rights Committee: abstain
(More information about 2016 votes)

Allow Backyard Chickens: YES
Remove Wetland Buffers: NO
Award Jail Phone Contract to Securus Tech: absent
Allow Food Trucks: YES
Keep Domestic Partnership Benefits: YES
(More information about 2015 votes)

Election Results

Kelly Girtz (incumbent) – 59.5%
Mara Zúñiga – 24.9%
Pearl Hall — 5.0%
Mykeisha Ross — 4.8%
Fred Moorman — 3.0%
Bennie Coleman — 2.8%

Kelly Girtz – 60.2%
Harry Sims – 30.3%
Richie Knight — 9.2%