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  Commission Meeting Notes: - 9/4/01 - 9/17/01 - 9/18/01 - 10/02/01 - 10/4/01 - 12/4/01 - 1/2/02 - 1/15/02 - 2/5/02 - 2/19/02 - 3/19/02 - 4/02/02 - 4/16/02 - 5/21/02 - 6/18/02 - 7/16/02 - 10/08/02 - 10/15/02 - 11/12/02 - 1/21/03 special - 1/21/03 - 2/4/03 - 2/6/03 pc - 2/18/03 - 3/4/03 - 3/6/03 pc - 3/20/03

Commission Agenda-Setting Session Tuesday, March 19, 2002

No zoning items were on the agenda for this meeting.

The most controversial issue discussed was that of proposed changes to the ACC Employee Health Benefits package. One citizen spoke against the proposal on behalf of all ACC retirees; he pointed out that some retirees receive pensions that are smaller than the amount of the insurance payment they will be expected to pay. Commissioner Linda Ford explained that the committee that looked into the Health Benefits package held 14 meetings with current and retired ACC employees, and incorporated their input into the final recommendations. The impetus for these changes is the skyrocketing cost of providing health insurance under the current plan. Commissioner discussion focused on whether these changes will save ACC enough money; how the plan stacks up against other plans (according to Commissioner Carl Jordan, it compares favorably to UGA’s,) and whether relying on HMO coverage at no cost to retirees meets ACC’s obligations according to the Charter (according to County Attorney Ernie DePascale, it does; although Commissioner Alvin Sheats warned that HMOs “are an Enron waiting to happen.”)

Other issues discussed included:

Request from Clarke Central HS to implement a no-parking tow-away zone on Dearing St from S. Milledge to S. Billups St., and Franklin St. from Dearing to Waddell. This is intended to prevent Clarke Central HS students from parking in these locations; apparently there have been numerous break-ins there. Commissioner Barrow wanted to know how the residents of these portions of Dearing and Franklin Streets felt about the proposed change. Police Chief Ira Lumpkin said that 12 of the 16 were in favor of it; the other 4 did not respond. Commissioner Barrow wanted to be sure that if, after the change has been in effect for some months, the residents feel inconvenienced by it, the Commission will be able to consider instituting a parking permit system instead.

Request by the Bottleworks for changes to parking restrictions along Meigs St.

Changes to the East Athens/Thomas N. Lay Community Center renovation contract with Driver Construction. Commissioner Carl Jordan expressed concern that some of the changes being suggested were fundamental and often very costly, and wanted a chance to study these more closely to determine whether they are worthwhile.

Memorial Park Master Plan. Discussion centered on the relocation of basketball courts.

Community Development Block Grant Action Plan for FY 03. Commissioner John Barrow wondered whether the withdrawal of HELP as a Community Housing Development Organization would mean that the East Athens Development Corp., as the remaining CHDO in town, would be asked to take on a bigger burden without a commensurate increase in resources. Manager Alan Reddish said he would look into it. Commissioner States McCarter pointed out that some of the funds are being used to extend water service to some low-income neighborhoods; while expressing that he felt this was a legitimate use of these funds, he wanted to know if there was a way to use Enterprise funds for this purpose instead, so that the CDBG funds could be put toward housing. Manager Reddish said it might be possible, but not in time for this year. Commissioner Jordan expressed concern that sewer extension was not being offered; there have been serious environmental impacts to streams where septic systems have failed. Commissioner Barrow asked whether the extension of water service to these neighborhoods was consistent with the land use plan; he was concerned that there would be no unintended consequences such as attracting developers and exacerbating septic problems. Commissioner Harry Sims said that these were built-out, long existing neighborhoods. Commissioner Sheats wanted to be sure that if any of these were in rural areas where people had gardens, they would be allowed to keep their wells for irrigation. Assistant Manager Bobby Snipes explained that if the well has a backflow device to prevent its water from getting into the ACC water system, it can remain in use.

Review of free leaf & limb drop-off at the ACC Landfill. Solid Waste Director Jim Corley explained that the program has been very expensive, and resulted in lots of staff time due to arguments with non-ACC residents and commercial operators trying to dump at the landfill, as well as cleaning up illegal items dumped in with the leaf and limb loads.

Southeast Clarke Community Park. Discussion centered on parking lots, and whether 150 spots were still necessary without the ball fields that were removed from the plan at an earlier date.

Beth Gavrilles