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Executive Exodus:
City Manager, Clerk & HR Director Resign
Will Firings of City Attorney & CFO Be Next?
(l. to r.) City Manager Odie Donald, City Clerk Diane White, HR Director Anquilla Henderson, City Attorney Emilia Walker, Treasurer & CFO Frank Milazi. 
The final item in the 851-page agenda for South Fulton's City Council meeting this Tuesday is the implementation of House Bill (HB)  921. Earlier this year, State Legislators Roger Bruce & Debra Bazemore authored controversial House Bills (921 and 1019) which dramatically expanded the Mayor of South Fulton's power.

HB 921
 could force City Council to create an in-house legal department, estimated to cost between $600,000 and $1 million. City Council allocated no funds in its 2021 Budget to cover such costs. 

Though Article I, Paragraph X of Georgia's State Constitution prohibits the Mayor from retroactively applying H.B. 921 (which gives him the power to fire the City Attorney), City Attorney Emilia Walker could still be fired by a majority vote (4) of City Council. South Fulton residents enjoy some of the lowest legal fees, per resident in Fulton County. Those cities with the highest fees all have in-house legal counsel.

"I'm not opposed to the idea of in-house legal," says Councilman khalid. "But being bullied by the State lawmakers to do this in the middle of a pandemic-induced recession is fiscally irresponsible."
Current legal costs paid per resident: South Fulton vs. other Fulton County cities. khalidCares.com/Budget
South Fultonites currently enjoy some of the lowest legal costs per resident in Fulton County.
The appearance of this item on the Council Agenda comes just weeks after resignations by the City Manager, City Clerk and HR Director; and the resignations of the Assistant City Manager and Communications Director this Summer. 

Wednesday, October 7, Augusta-Richmond's County Commission voted to offer South Fulton City Manager Odie Donald $240,000 plus additional benefits to lure him to Augusta.  From the moment the Augusta Chronicle broke the news of the offer,  citizens throughout South Fulton began to wonder whether their city would make Mr. Donald a counteroffer. 

Donald himself addressed the issue in a meeting with city staff October 7, stating he would "be open to listening to any offer City Council might make."  However, Donald had already submitted his 
letter of resignation to Council two days before.  


Also on the Agenda for Tuesday is a City Charter Amendment that would abolish the role of City Treasurer and place the job of Chief Financial Officer under the City Manager's supervision. This means Mr. Milazi, who has served as both Treasurer & CFO since the City was founded, could also be fired this month.  Just before City Council began 2021 Budget deliberations, the same sponsors of the Charter amendment passed legislation to dismantle the city's Finance Committee, which provided citizen-led oversight of city finances.  

"It's a tremendous amount of upheaval at a critical time," notes Councilman khalid, who publicized his concerns about city finances and government transparency by announcing his Mayoral campaign during 2021 budget talks.
Councilman khalid launched his campaign for Mayor from his childhood home off Old National, critcizing a lack of transparency in the city's budgeting & administration.
It is still unclear whether the City will go forward with spending $3.2 million to renovate space in the old Ingles at 7490 Old National Highway, whose owner would then rent the renovated space back to the city for over $18,000 per month (as outlined in a May memo by City Manager Donald); or whether South Fulton will have to dip into its Contingency Fund to finance the purchase of Wolf Creek Amphitheater. 

It is possible that neither the City Manager who negotiated these deals, the City Attorney who drafted the documents for these deals, nor the Chief Financial Officer who created the budget for these deals will be around to oversee their execution.

MANAGING THE TRANSITION
Tammi Saddler Jones most recently served as Smyrna's City Manager.
According to the International City & County Managers Association (ICMA) a quality, national search for a city manager takes at least 3 months.  In the meantime, City Manager Odie Donald has filled critical vacancies in the City's executive leadership with the hire of a highly-experienced Assistant City Manager. 

Tammi Saddler Jones will join the City of South Fulton’s executive leadership team in late October to serve as the Assistant City Manager. Jones has over 20 years of experience in local government, most recently as the City Administrator for Smyrna since 2017. In 2018, Smyrna made Money Magazine’s
50 Best Places to Live in the United States. Jones earned a Bachelor's in English from Tougaloo College, a Master of Public Administration degree from Ohio State University,  and and a certificate ICMA Leadership Program.
HOUSE BILL CHANGES CITY MANAGER SELECTION PROCESS

Text FULTON to 33777 to receive Live Updates on City of South Fulton Meetings. 

Next City Council Meeting
South Fulton's "New" City Council (l to r): Catherine Rowell (District 1, Cascade) ● Carmalitha Gumbs (District 2, Cliftondale) ● Helen Z. Willis (District 3, Welcome All) ● Mayor William "Bill" Edwards ● Corey Reeves (District 5, Flat Shoals) ● Councilman khalid (District 6, Old National)  ● Not Pictured: Naeema Gilyard (District 4, Cedar Grove) ● Mark Baker (District 7, Hwy 138) khalidCares.com/101
South Fulton's "New" City Council (l to r): Catherine Rowell (District 1, Cascade) ● Carmalitha Gumbs (District 2, Cliftondale) ● Helen Z. Willis (District 3, Welcome All) ● Mayor William "Bill" Edwards ● Corey Reeves (District 5, Flat Shoals) ● Councilman khalid (District 6, Old National)  ● Not Pictured: Naeema Gilyard (District 4, Cedar Grove) ● Mark Baker (District 7, Hwy 138)
Tuesday, October 27 • 10AM (YouTube)
Watch LIVE at khalidCares.com/News
ZONING ISSUES
Fourth Tuesday Council Meetings begin with Special Hearings on land development and Zoning. These Hearings usually run 1-2 hours, with time allotted for public comments from those both supporting and opposing particular developments.

The first such hearing is for proposed Tax Allocation Districts (TADs, pg. 42). TADs can attract builders to undeveloped areas by freezing property taxes for a time (usually 10-25 years). The County and School Board — who would also receive tax revenues on the land in a TAD district — are also asked to agree to the deal. In many states, a TAD is also known as TIF (Tax Increment Financing). 
Quick Explanation of TAD & TIF Financing.
Watch the video above, which offers a brief explanation of how TADs work; then submit your questions, comments or concerns on this issue to City Council at the red link below.  
Submit Comment on Tax Allocation Districts (TADs)
Other Zoning Hearings include:
 
  • Rezoning of agricultural land for a new subdivision at 2210 Wallace Road, 30331 (pg. 164)
  • Building of Senior Living Facility at 3895 Jonesboro Road (at Peters Road, pg. 197) 
  • Rezoning of 6705 Camp Valley Road, 30296 for 155-165 townhouses and single-family homes (pg. 141) 

Councilman khalid & the residents of Camp Valley have worked with developers to reduce the number of homes on this site from 164 to 155. They also secured commitments for a traffic circle to slow speeding in the area and sidewalks on both sides of the streets throughout the subdivision. 

Additionally, khalid is pushing for this development to include a clubhouse where residents can hold HOA meetings & events; and two-car garages for homes with more than two bedrooms, or additional parking spaces to supplement townhomes with one-car garages.  Watch Councilman khalid's discussion with PGO Investments and South Fulton's Planning & Zoning Department below.  
Councilman khalid Talks with Landowners on Development of 6705 Camp Valley Rd.
You can find more information on these developments and see videos from previous Planning Commission meetings at the blue link below. Submit your questions, comments & concerns to City Council about any of these developments at the green link below.
khalidCares..com/Zoning
Submit Comment on a Developer/Zoning Issue
OTHER AGENDA ISSUES
Unfortunately, South Fulton's City Council continues the antiquated practice of placing the most controversial topics at the end of a long meeting agenda. One such topic is the creation of new regulations for restaurants that allow dancing (pg. 661), even as these businesses face declining revenues from reduced capacity ordered by the Governor because to the COVID-19 pandemic (pg. 652).  
South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards is sponsoring an Ordinance that Regulates Restaurants with dancing that puts an undue finanical burdens on Black business owners who are already struggling to deal with reduced revnues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. khalidCares.com/News
Mayor's Ordinance Regulating Restaurants with Dancing (pg. 661)
Under the Mayor's new ordinance, businesses that "offer patron dancing and musical entertainment" would be required to provide & pay for two POST-certified officers (lines 53-56) and install security cameras approved by the Chief of Police (40-48).  This comes as these business are facing unprecedented financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well legislation passed last year South Fulton's City Council which rolled back liquor sales to 2 a.m. 

Last week, Councilman khalid met with local restauranteurs and club owners, as well as the
Old National Merchant's Association (ONMA) to seek less financially burdensome solutions to concerns about crime at South Fulton night spots. 

"I’m concerned that legislation like this could be unwittingly aiding the gentrification of our city," khalid explains. "As a native ATLien, I’ve seen this narrative play out from Auburn Avenue to Old Forth Worth, the Westside to East Lake Meadows. The first places to be gentrified are often the working-class neighborhoods like Old National, where slum landlords have been allowed to let apartments get so bad everyone calls for them to be demolished. And then officials go after the clubs and restaurants, owned and run for decades by Black owners. Under the auspices of 'cleaning up' a neighborhood, we end up cleaning OUT a neighborhood of all the people that used to live and congregate there.
South Fulton's Councilman khalid meets with local restauranteurs to discuss proposed new regulations of restaurants with dancing. khalidCares.com/News
Councilman khalid meets with local restauranteurs to discuss new regulations. 
Another such topic, saved for the very end of the Agenda, is the implementation of House Bill (HB 921), which could force the firing of the City Attorney and/or the creation of an in-house legal department as described at the beginning of this newsletter.   

Read the entire 851-page agenda and submit your questions and concerns to City Council at links below.  
October 27 Meeting Agenda & Docs
Submit Public Comment on All Other Issues
City Council to Discuss Zoning and Overlay Changes this Month
An Introduction to Zoning
The City of South Fulton is overhauling its Zoning laws, which govern everything from what kinds of businesses are allowed in what areas of our city to what kinds of materials must be used in the construction of homes or commercial storefronts.

The first of at least 2 Public Readings of the Zoning Rewrite will be held via Zoom/YouTube, Tuesday, November 10 at 3:00.pm

Text FULTON to 33777 to receive updates on the Zoning Rewrite and get more information on City of South Fulton Zoning, including YouTube broadcasts of Zoning Rewrite Hearings at khalidCares' Zoning Page.  
khalidCares..com/Zoning
City Council Considers New Meeting Times
South Fulton's City Council is considering changing its meeting hours from the currently proposed times. khalidCares.com/News
Current Proposed City Council Meeting Schedule for the next 6 months.
Also to be discussed this month is City Council's Meeting Schedule for the next 6 months. In March 2020, Council voted to move 4th Tuesday's Regular Meeting from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. Councilman khalid made the original suggestion to move these meetings to 10 a.m. to align with the work schedules of both Zoning Applicants & their attorneys, as well as out of concern for city staff. 

khalid continues to call for Council Meetings to begin the mornings, as is the practice of Atlanta City Council and the Fulton County Commission. His 2018 proposal, which called for meetings to begin at 1PM, included a data trend analysis of all South Fulton Council Meetings since the city was formed.  These data showed the average council meeting time was 5.5 hours — and getting longer. 

Please take the Survey below give your feedback on when Council Meeting times should start and how long they should last. 

Note: The survey asks which City Council district you live in.  You can find that information by entering your address at the black link below. 
Find Your City Council District
Citizen Survey on City Council Meeting Times

South Fulton 2020 Voter Guide
Visit Councilman khalid's Voter Education page below to:
 
  • Learn more about candidates, ballot questions and races on South Fulton's ballot.
  • Preview and Print a Sample Ballot you can study before you go vote.
  • Find Early Voting Locations and Hours.
  • Learning How Ex-Felons "Off Paper" Can Vote.
  • See videos and explanations of partisan vs. nonpartisan elections, the Electoral College
...and more!
khalidCares.com/Vote

This is Final Week of Early Voting 
Councilman khalid gives Preview of Early Voting at Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) in College Park
College Park Convention Voting SuperCenter
HOURS of OPERATION
Monday-Friday • 7AM-7PM
This week, October 26-30 will be the last week of early voting in Fulton County and in Georgia. While most polling places (voting locations) have only a few voting machines, voting supercenters set up by the Fulton County Board of Elections at State Farm Arena downtown has over 300 voting machines, while the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) has over 60 machines. Many voters there reported being in-and-out in under 15 minutes.

Both State Farm Arena and GICC are on the MARTA rail line (GICC is accessible via SkyTrain from the ATL Airport). Parking at both supercenters is also free during voting times.  

You can preview & print your exact ballot before going to vote by visiting Georgia's My Voter Page at the link below.  
Georgia's My Voter Page
Note: To see ALL the races in Fulton County — including Special Elections to replace John Lewis (Congressional District 5) and Nikema Williams (Senate District 39) — you must choose the Democratic ballot. Special Elections to replace John Lewis (Congressional District 5) and Nikema Williams (Senate District 39) — you must choose the Democratic ballot when you go to vote (see graphic below).
To see ALL the races in Fulton County — including Special Elections to replace John Lewis (Congressional District 5) and Nikema Williams (Senate District 39) — you must choose the Democratic ballot. 
Live Demonstration of Georgia's New Voting Machines
School Zone Cameras Escalate to Fines,
Not Just Warnings
Beginning this October in the City of South Fulton, the warning for speeding in School Zones will become fines — whether lights are flashing or not. 
South Fulton Speed Camera on Creel Road near Love T. Nolan Elementary.
You may have noticed Speed Monitors and signs being erected in School Zones throughout the City of South Fulton, notifying drivers they must slow to 25 miles per hour when their lights are flashing (see photo above).  You may have even received Warning Letters with pictures of your car or truck, alerting you that your vehicle was clocked exceeding the speed limit in these zones. 

Beginning this October, the warning for speeding in School Zones will become fines — whether lights are flashing or not. 

Under a
 law passed by City Council last October, speeders in school zones will now be subject to the following fines:
  • $100. First Offense
  • $150. Second Offense
Unlike speeding tickets issued by police officers, which are paid directly to the city's Municipal Court, payment of these speeding tickets must be made through a third-party vendor. You can find links to pay most tickets on the City's Municipal Court website using the link below. 
Pay School Zone Speeding Tickets
South Fulton Municipal Court

Donate now to help Councilman khalid create a city that is #BlackOnPurpose
Donate to khalid for Mayor (ActBlue)

Shop Black. On Purpose.®
Black. On Purpose.® is more than just a campaign slogan — it's a lifestyle.

Click the link below to purchase products created to celebrate people moving On Purpose to uplift our community. All products are printed by Union and/or Black-owned businesses.
Black. On Purpose.® is more than just campaign slogan — lifestyle. Click the link below to purchase products created by khalid to celebrate people moving On Purpose to uplift our community. Printed by Union and/or Black-owned businesses in South Fulton, the Blackest City in America. khalidCares.com/Shop
Black. On Purpose.® is more than just campaign slogan — lifestyle. Click the link below to purchase products created by khalid to celebrate people moving On Purpose to uplift our community. Printed by Union and/or Black-owned businesses in South Fulton, the Blackest City in America. khalidCares.com/Shop
Black. On Purpose.® is more than just campaign slogan — lifestyle. Click the link below to purchase products created by khalid to celebrate people moving On Purpose to uplift our community. Printed by Union and/or Black-owned businesses in South Fulton, the Blackest City in America. khalidCares.com/Shop
Black. On Purpose.® Apparel

Learn more about Councilman khalid & Atlanta's new twin city: South Fulton, GA
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