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Avondale Estates City Commission appoints city solicitor, municipal judge

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Avondale Estates City Commission appoints city solicitor, municipal judge

(Left to right) Avondale Estates City Manager Patrick Bryant, Mayor Jonathan Elmore, Commissioners Brian Fisher, Dee Merriam and Lionel Laratte met for the last city commission meeting of the year on Dec. 20, 2023. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its Dec. 20 regular meeting, appointed the city solicitor and municipal court judge.

Josie Stevens will continue to serve as the city solicitor. The city solicitor serves as a prosecuting attorney in municipal court and is an independent contractor of the city.

Part of the role of the city solicitor is to prosecute cases that are within the Avondale Estates Municipal Court’s jurisdiction according to the city’s charter and code of ordinances, according to Stevens’ contract.

Stephen Nicholas will also continue to serve as the municipal court judge and is also an independent contractor of the city.

In other business:

– The city commission will also consider approving an underground easement with Georgia Power at the Town Green for underground lines, a pole, and a transformer box. The utility would provide power to the commercial development.

The city commission did not approve the easement at its Nov. 29 meeting and had requested more information about the exact location of the transformer. The commission also did not take a vote on Dec. 20 a few options for the location of the transformer were presented.

“Because we don’t have direction, we don’t have the Georgia Power easement in front of us,” Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell said.

In all the options, an existing overhead line that runs across the Town Green to a pole where the new building will go will be removed. The city will have to pull the power from a new pole on Oak Street to a transformer through an underground power line.

The transformer was initially proposed to be on concrete near the market pavilion and about 10 feet away from where the commercial development will be built. This was considered option 1A on Wednesday night, and the wider side of the transformer would face the building. Option 1B kept the transformer in this same location, but turned it 90 degrees, so the narrower side would face the commercial development.

The commissioners seemed to agree on option 1B, which will not have any additional cost to the city. In both of these options, the transformer would be located on concrete near the market pavilion in between two tree planters.

“It is broadside to the street, but I don’t think you’re going to be seeing it that way,” Mayor Jonathan Elmore said. “I think with the pavilion, the building, the stage, those are the things your eye’s going to be focused on. When the trees are leafed out, it’ll kind of help hide it. I don’t think you’re going to notice it there.”

City Manager Patrick Bryant added that if the city staff were to make a recommendation, they would support option 1B.

– The city commission also adopted the occupational tax formula. The ordinance did not change the occupation tax ratio but provides for codes that are easier for businesses and city staff to apply.

“For the purpose of this article, every person engaged in business requiring the payment of occupational taxes shall be classified by business profitability in accordance with the major line of business as defined in the North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) published by the United States government,” the ordinance states. “All separate businesses engaged in more than one (1) business activity shall be classified on the basis of their dominant business activity at each location where business is done; except, that a person whose dominant business activity is legally exempt as defined by this article shall be classified according to such person’s principal subsidiary business, if any, which is subject to the levy and assessment of occupation taxes.”

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