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Avondale Estates City Commission amends city manager’s contract

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Avondale Estates City Commission amends city manager’s contract

The Avondale Estates City Commission met on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at City Hall to amend the city manager's contract and donate a piece of right-of-way to GDOT. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
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Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its Jan. 11 regular meeting, amended City Manager Patrick Bryant’s contract to increase his pay.

Under the terms of the amendment, Bryant’s base salary will be $167,182. Bryant has received raises periodically since being hired in 2018. His base salary in 2018 was $145,000. In 2021, the city commission increased his salary from $153,830 to about $160,752.

“I’m proud of the development. I’m proud of the projects,” Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher said. “I’m proud of the infrastructure, of the team that you’ve built. I’m proud of the systems that have been put in place. I’m proud of the increased diversity that we see in our streets and our businesses and those kinds of things. Those couldn’t have happened without [Bryant’s] leadership and direction and staff. I’m looking forward to another very cool, busy year of stuff to do to continue to improve on what has been a great place to raise my family, here in Avondale Estates.”

The city commission also approved a resolution donating a portion of Lanier Gardens at 2699 E. College Ave. — a park the city recently acquired from DeKalb County — to the Georgia Department of Transportation as right-of-way for the U.S. 278 road diet project. The city will donate 904.18 square feet of the Lanier Gardens property.

U.S. 278 is the main drag in Avondale Estates, where it has the names of East College Avenue and North Avondale Road as it runs through the city and its historic downtown.

The corridor will have a 10-foot pathway throughout, and a five-foot landscape zone will run between the sidewalk and the edge of the curb. The project will include repaving U.S. 278, re-striping the road and upgrading all the traffic signals.

Bryant said the city is almost done with acquiring the rights-of-way needed for the project. He previously said the construction documents are almost finished for the U.S. 278 road diet.

The project is scheduled to go out for bid in the first quarter of 2023, which is contingent on finalizing right-of-way plans and approvals from GDOT. The bidding process will take about three months and construction mobilization will take about 30 days. Construction is set to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and will take 12 to 18 months.

In other business:

– The newly constructed path at Lake Avondale was washed out and damaged during recent storms. The city staff is aware of the issues with erosion and the damage to the path, Bryant said. The path was built during phase one of the North Woods stormwater project. 

“That issue, we identified the first time it happened during phase one of the project, and a temporary fix was installed until we can permanently address it when we begin phase two of the construction. That temporary fix was a mulch log that failed during the storm on Jan. 3,” Bryant said.

The city has identified a contractor to repair the path and complete the permanent solution, which is to raise the curb. The work will be finished by the end of the month.

“We also have met with both the engineer and general contractor for phase two of the project and have identified a few other areas where some redesign will be necessary,” Bryant said.

The redesign will take about two weeks, finalizing the budget will happen after that, and the city anticipates work on phase two will start in March.

– Commissioner Lisa Shortell, who is also a Downtown Development Authority board member, noted the DDA approved a development agreement for the commercial development of the Town Green.

“If folks recall, our Town Green park area was originally also planned with a commercial part to it,” Shortell said. “A development agreement has been reached. We will be getting to see the evolution and building and construction of that additional part to the long-envisioned [project].”

Bryant began working on the Town Green project when he started working for the city.

“That was my first meeting with Jerry Miller with Fabric,” Bryant said. “Almost four and a half years later we finally executed a contract for development after several iterations of what the development would be, several different types of economic climates. We were all patient enough and worked together and finally came out the other side with, I think, a project that everyone will enjoy.”

– During the work session, Bryant said the city has budgeted $26,000 for the Fourth of July fireworks. The contract increased by $1,000 from 2022. The city commission will vote on the contract at their next meeting.

–  The board also discussed setting the qualifying fees for the 2023 municipal elections. According to the resolution, individuals running for mayor would pay a qualifying fee of $216, and candidates for commissioner would pay $144. The city has to set the qualifying fee by Feb. 1. The city commission is expected to vote on this item at the next meeting. Qualifying will be in August and the election will be in November.

Mayor Jonathan Elmore and Commissioners Brian Fisher and Dee Merriam are up for reelection this year.

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