2019 Local Ordinances

Ordinances / Resolutions of Note

  1. Reconsideration of Designating SPLOST Projects
  2. Accept $250,000 Settlement with Taylor Saulters
  3. FY2020 Goals and Objectives
  4. Designating SPLOST Projects
  5. Expanding Vehicle Program for ACCPD
  6. Adopt 100% Athens Resolution
  7. Pass the FY2020 Budget
  8. Delay Bike Lanes on Hancock Avenue
  9. SPLOST 2020 Final Changes
  10. Adopt Resolution in Support of the Latinx Community
  11. State Legislative Requests
  12. Reorganizing Animal Control
  13. Approving the Neighborhood Leaders program

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 passed.

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

Accept $250,000 Settlement with Taylor Saulters


The commission voted to settle a lawsuit against the county by accepting a $250,000 settlement with Taylor Saulters, who was alleging slander and that he had received emotional distress. He was fired by former ACC Police Chief Freeman in 2018

Voting yes on the settlement: Link, Wright, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: Davenport, Denson
Abstaining: Parker
Not Voting: NeSmith (acting as Mayor Pro Tem), Herod (absent)

Proposal made by: Link

Passed on March 5, 2019

FY2020 Goals and Objectives

The commission sets their Goals and Objectives every year, which is the primary document that informs budget discussions. This year’s Goals and Objectives include a number of ambitious components, including a commitment to the 100% Athens plan for 100% renewable energy by 2035, moving towards fare-free transit, a municipal wireless network for broadband across Athens, and a number of criminal justice reforms showing a focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. The proposal was amended to add ending cash bail to the list of objectives.

Voting yes to set FY2020 Goals and Objectives: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Proposal made by: Denson
Amendment to add ‘ending cash bail’: Parker

Passed on April 2, 2019

Designating SPLOST Projects

The proposal to designate these projects to automatically go into the 2020 SPLOST was put on  hold in January, and the commission finally voted on it in April. The vote was split into two parts by Commissioner Thornton: one part included the affordable housing component, debt service and funding for Winterville and Bogart with the other including just the proposed new judicial center (the most controversial of the items).

Voting yes to designate money for affordable housing and debt service: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Voting yes to designate a new judicial center: Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Hamby
Voting no: Davenport, Thornton
Absent: none

CDO made by: Wright and Edwards
Proposal made by: Wright

Passed on April 2, 2019

Expanding Vehicle Program for ACCPD

The ACC Police Department has had a long-standing program allowing officers to take their police cars home with them. This was done to incentivize them to live within the community they serve. Over the years, it seems it hasn’t really improved the number of officers living in Athens, but what it has done is chip away at the morale of officers who don’t. They want the same perks, and the commission agreed to allow it and extend the program to all officers.

Voting yes to expand the vehicle program: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Proposal made by: Herod

Passed on May 7, 2019

Adopt 100% Athens Resolution


Cities around the country are making solid commitments to getting all of their energy from renewable sources. Athens joined them as the commission approved this resolution, which sets a goal for the ACC government to get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. It also sets a goal for Athens’ electric grid to be 100% renewably-sourced by 2035, and the same for all energy for the entire county by 2050.

Voting yes to expand the vehicle program: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on May 21, 2019

End Cash Bail for Local Ordinance Violations

The commission voted unanimously to end cash bail for violations of local ordinances, with some exceptions for violent offenses and for those with previous failures to appear in court. In addition, those who violate certain ordinances will now be given a citation only, with no need for arrest or trial.

Voting yes to end cash bail: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
Wright, Herod

Proposal made by: NeSmith

Passed on June 4, 2019

Pass the FY2020 Budget

The commission voted unanimously to pass the FY2020 county budget.

Voting yes to pass the budget: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
Wright, Herod

Proposal made by: Edwards

Passed on June 4, 2019

Delay Bike Lanes on Hancock Avenue

Transportation and Public Works recommended protected bike lanes on Hancock Ave between Pulaski and Hull streets, but they realized a few parking spaces would have to be removed. They presented this design to the Mayor and Commission for approval. Even though additional parking is being added to Hull street, some commissioners were uncomfortable with the new design and attempted to delay the vote.

After the vote to delay failed, the vote to add protected bike lanes on Hancock Ave passed 9-0.

Voting yes to delay bike lanes: Wright, NeSmith, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no, so bike lanes could be added sooner:
Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Edwards
Absent:
Herod

Proposal made by: Hamby

Votes cast on July 2, 2019

SPLOST 2020 Final Changes

SPLOST 2020 is a huge list of important projects and community aspirations that will fund progress in Athens for the next 11 years, if it passes in November. The commission had a special called session on July 18 to hammer out the final details. There were a number of Commission Defined Options for consideration that night:

CDO #1: Link and Parker

Commissioners Link and Parker proposed removing the explicit call for a Classic Center Arena in the 2020 SPLOST. Instead, they wanted to put the same amount of money in a general pool to be used for any “economic development and community improvement project(s) in Downtown.”

Voting yes to remove reference to the Classic Center Arena: Parker, Link, Denson
Voting no:
Davenport, Edwards, Wright, NeSmith, Thornton, Hamby, Herod
Absent:
none

CDO #2: Denson

Commissioner Denson wants to add childcare facilities to the Classic Center Arena and the new government building to be built as part of SPLOST. The way the language was originally written, the childcare center could only be for government or Classic Center employees. In this CDO, Denson wanted to allow for the possibility of childcare centers serving the community, and to make it a higher priority for the project as a whole.

This motion, made by Commissioner Wright, included the entire, final list of SPLOST 2020 in addition to Commissioner Denson’s CDO:

Voting yes on CDO #2 and on finalizing the SPLOST 2020 list: Davenport, Edwards, Wright, NeSmith, Thornton, Hamby, Herod, Parker, Denson
Voting no:
Link
Absent:
none

Votes cast on July 18, 2019

Adopt Resolution in Support of the Latinx Community

After the tragedy of El Paso, the Athens-Clarke County commission passed an official resolution denouncing white supremacy and supporting the undocumented community in Athens.

Voting yes to adopt the resolution: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Denson was the primary author of the resolution.

Votes cast on August 20, 2019

State Legislative Requests

Every year, the commission has an opportunity to request legislation from the state government. Every year, these requests are mostly ignored. Some commissioners feel that requesting progressive legislation is a waste of time; others feel they have a duty to constituents to pass along their requests to a body that could actually implement them. [check out the video below for more information]

Many progressive requests were made this year, and two commissioners asked to have some of them removed:

Commissioner Jerry NeSmith asked to remove a request for mandatory gun registration.

Commissioner Allison Wright asked to remove four requests, including: a wage increase for the lowest-paid UGA workers and the ability for undocumented residents to apply for driver’s licenses.

In the end, all items were returned to the list except for mandatory gun registration.

Voting yes on list of legislative requests: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Proposal made by: Denson

Votes cast on September 3, 2019

Reorganizing Animal Control

Public outrage after an unnecessary euthanization of over 30 cats at the ACC Animal Shelter (and attempted cover-up) caused a shakeup at the old Animal Control division. The commission reorganized it into the new Department of Animal Services, adding funding for three additional full time positions (converted from part-time). The commission also authorized a full audit of the new department.

Voting yes to reorganize Animal Control: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
none
Absent:
none

Proposal made by: NeSmith

Votes cast on October 1, 2019

Approving the Neighborhood Leaders Program

Neighborhood Leaders is an initiative run by Family Connection – Communities in Schools that was started during the Obama administration but has languished in recent years due to funding cuts. At its peak, Family Connection employed 20 people living in lower-income neighborhoods as organizers who would help connect their communities with services and resources for moving out of poverty. The commission voted in December to authorize $800,000 to reinvigorate this program as part of the “prosperity package.”

Voting yes to approve Neighborhood Leaders: Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no:
Davenport
Absent:
NeSmith

Proposal made by: Mike Hamby

Votes cast on December 3, 2019