2020 Local Ordinances

Ordinances / Resolutions of Note

  1. Accept Agreement with the Classic Center
  2. Support the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program
  3. Start a Community Energy Fund
  4. Declare State of Emergency, Banning Public Gatherings
  5. Order Athenians to Shelter in Place
  6. Urge Leniency for Rent and Mortgage Payments

Accept Agreement with the Classic Center

Funding for a 5,500-seat arena was included in SPLOST 2020, but many details remained that needed to be worked out between the Classic Center Authority and the local government. This 37-page agreement covered many topics from living wages to renewable energy and many other details. Preliminary plans for a new hotel and senior living center were also included. Two commissioners opposed this agreement because they felt the public had not been given a chance to weigh in on these massive projects.

Voting yes on the agreement: Davenport, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: Parker, Link
Absent: Edwards

Proposal made by: NeSmith

Passed on February 18, 2020

Support the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program

The commission passed a resolution in support of pre-arrest diversion, a program intended to avoid arrest and incarceration for some low level crimes, including cannabis possession and shoplifting. First-time offenders will be able to opt-in to this program, which may include community service or moral reconation therapy.

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

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on March 3, 2020

Start a Community Energy Fund

This fund, initiated by Sustainability Officer Andrew Saunders, will help people improve their homes by offering incentives for energy efficiency. The ACC government might also buy solar panels to sell electricity direct to consumers at a reasonable rate. This will all be paid for by diverting some of the franchise fees that governments charge utilities for the use of public space. Increases in franchise fee collections, if any, will from now on be diverted to the Community Energy Fund, for use in the community.

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

Proposal made by: Wright

Passed on March 3, 2020

Declare State of Emergency, Banning Public Gatherings

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission declared a state of emergency due to the growing threat of COVID-19 (aka coronavirus). They originally thought of imposing a mandatory curfew, but instead opted to ban gatherings of 10 or more people in bars, restaurants and entertainment establishments (not including employees) from 5pm to 5am each day for three weeks, beginning March 17 at 5pm, and ending on April 7 at 5am. The ban on gatherings will also apply on all public property such as sidewalks and at all facilities owned by the ACC government, but there will not otherwise be a curfew.

Voting yes to ban gatherings: Parker, Link, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Hamby
Voting no: Davenport, Thornton
Absent: Wright

Proposal made by: Hamby

Passed on March 16, 2020

Order Athenians to Shelter in Place

The commission had already declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 (see above). With this vote at another special called session just a few days later, they ordered Athenians to “shelter in place” until April 7. This time, it was mandatory. All non-essential businesses were ordered to close as well.

Voting yes to order sheltering in place: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Hamby

Passed on March 19, 2020

Urge Leniency for Rent and Mortgage Payments

At their meeting on March 31, the commission unanimously passed a resolution calling on local landlords and mortgage holders to take a number of steps in support of tenants and homeowners who may be affected by the current economic shutdown.

Voting yes to urge leniency: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, NeSmith, Edwards, Herod, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Parker

Passed on March 31, 2020