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Clarkston plans to renew weatherization program using ARPA funds


Clarkston plans to renew weatherization program using ARPA funds

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: L to R, Council Member Susan Hood, Mayor Pro Tem Debra Johnson, Mayor Beverly Burks, Council Member Jamie Carroll, Council Member Awet Eyasu, Council Member Laura Hopkins, Council Member YT Bell. Photo by Sara Amis, contributor

Clarkston, GA — The Clarkston city council discussed renewing the city’s weatherization program for residents at the council’s Oct. 31 work session.

The program was established with American Rescue Plan Act funding received by the city, and has proven very popular. Homeowners can apply for up to $6,000 per residence which can be used for home repairs, energy efficiency improvements, and weatherization.

The city allocated $120,000 for the program in September and has already approved 18 applications and has 21 more pending.

Vice Mayor Debra Johnson suggested that the amount be increased to $240,000, in order to serve more people.

Mayor Beverly Burks made a point of saying that no one on the council or city staff should be eligible for the funds.

“None of us on this dais should be here for personal gain,” Burks said.

In other business:

— The council received an update from Tekton Training on its Empower Clarkston program which has provided on the job career training by offering water and energy efficiency retrofits for some Clarkston residents, using a grant from the city.

Several city council members asked questions about both how houses were chosen, how much outreach was done for the program, and how much follow-up evaluation was done. City council member YT Bell, who drafted the resolution for the grant, said that part of the goal was to help low-income homeowners in the city, and it wasn’t clear to her how much that was accomplished. Bell requested more information about the income of homeowners who participated in the program.

— The city plans to pay PivotPath, LLC $5,000 for communications services and maintaining the city’s website through Dec. 31 of this year. The city disavowed a contract with PivotPath signed by the former city manager, but reached an agreement with PivotPath to pay for services already provided and to continue to do so through the end of the year.

— The council will consider an agreement with Davenport & Company, LLC for financial advisory services.

Finance Director Dan Defnall said that the city has been working with Davenport since 2018. Davenport is asking for a $20,000 flat fee for work they have done throughout the year.

Defnall said that the agreement was originally brought to the city at the beginning of the year, but was not brought to the city council then. The council asked for clarification of what Davenport has done thus far, and what the difference is between this year and previous years.

— The council discussed a resolution to hire Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson, LLP to revise the city’s personnel policies and employee handbook. The process is estimated to take 50-60 hours billed at $250 per hour, with a current cap of $15,000.

— A police Ford Explorer was totaled in an accident. Replacing it with a 2023 Ford Interceptor will cost $46,694, minus $32,416.50 received from the insurer.

— Luke Keller of Kicky, an art technology company, presented an idea for creating the world’s largest recycled statue in Clarkston. 

Council member Laura Hopkins said that she is interested in promoting public art, but didn’t think that size should be a criterion. Hopkins pointed out that the Mona Lisa is very small.

— The council discussed a proclamation to declare the third Thursday of October “Purple Thursday” and to partner with local organizations to educate city staff on resources.

The November regular council meeting will be held on Thursday of next week (Nov. 9) rather than Tuesday Nov. 7, because Tuesday is Election Day.

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