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Decatur City Commission will consider extending mask mandate, refinancing debt

COVID-19 Decatur Trending

Decatur City Commission will consider extending mask mandate, refinancing debt

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FILE PHOTO: Steve Wohl, Sr. Vice President for Oakhurst Realty volunteered to pass out protective masks during Chabad Decatur’s free drive through mask distribution at 315 W. Ponce in downtown Decatur May 9. Photo by Dean Hesse.


Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission at its Aug. 17 regular meeting will consider extending the city’s mask ordinance through Sept. 21.

The City Commission will also consider refinancing some of the city’s debt and an operational management agreement with the nonprofit Decatur Legacy Project for the operation of Legacy Park on South Columbia Drive.

The regular meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the instructions for the public to access the meeting:

– View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

– Register in advance to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/93568116277. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

– If you are unable to participate in the virtual meeting, you may email your “public comments” on agenda items or submit “requests and petitions” by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 17 to: Andrea Arnold, City Manager, [email protected]

The City Commission on July 10 passed an ordinance requiring the use of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance applies to the city limits of Decatur and requires the wearing of a face covering or a mask while in a public place. The City Commission on July 20 amended the ordinance to expand the “requirement to outdoor public places when it is not feasible to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from another person who is not part of the same household.”

The ordinance is set to expire at midnight on Aug. 17, but if the City Commission at its Aug. 17 meeting will consider extending it through Sept. 21. People who violate the ordinance can face civil penalties of $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $100 for the third and successive offenses. To learn more about the city’s ordinance, click here.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday signed a new executive order allowing cities and counties to require masks after weeks of refusing to allow cities to adopt them. Some cities, including Decatur, adopted them anyway despite the governor’s previous order prohibiting local governments from doing so.  Kemp recently withdrew his lawsuit against the city of Atlanta over the city’s decision to require masks.

In other business:

– The City Commission will consider approving a bond resolution to refinance some of its debt.

City Manager Andrea Arnold said, “We are looking at refinancing two different bond issuances; the 2010A bonds that financed Fire Station No. 1, the Decatur recreation center and the public works building and the 2013A/B bonds that financed the Beacon municipal project, including the school administration building.”

The amount of debt being refinanced is around $33 million, she said.

“The bond resolution allows us to move forward with the bond sale within certain parameters to ensure that there will be a savings to the city,” she said. “At this point, the savings will be more than 3% of the net present value of the amount being refinanced.”

– The City Commission will consider approving the operational management agreement with the nonprofit Decatur Legacy Project for the operation of Legacy Park on South Columbia Drive.

The agreement would allow the Legacy Project Board to manage the operations at Legacy Park and implement the city’s master plan for the property. Any changes to that plan would need to be approved by the City Commission.

Decatur Legacy Project is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2015, originally to oversee the planning of the city’s bicentennial celebration for 2023, but it shifted focus when the city acquired Legacy Park in 2017. The Decatur Public Facilities Authority purchased the 77-acre property which was formerly owned by the United Methodist Children’s Home.

The city foresees the park management services including an environmental stewardship program, an arts program, a recreation program, housing development and operations, and grounds and facilities maintenance. Commissioners George Dusenbury and Lesa Mayer have raised concerns about the budgeting for the operational management agreement.

If adopted, the agreement would be effective from October 1st, 2020 to June 31st, 2023, when it would be reassessed.

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