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Avondale Estates City Commission considers issuing bond for SPLOST funding

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Avondale Estates City Commission considers issuing bond for SPLOST funding

Avondale Estates City Manager Patrick Bryant, Mayor Jonathan Elmore, Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Shortell, and Commissioners Graham Reiney and Lionel Laratte, and Mike Smith attending virtually, discussed the city's plans for SPLOST and sanitation services during the city commission meeting on Feb. 28 at City Hall. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

This story has been updated.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its Feb. 28 work session, discussed bonding the city’s special purpose local option sales tax funding.

The city will have to declare the results of the SPLOST election, which was held in November 2023, in order to receive its SPLOST proceeds. The city of Avondale Estates will get $4 million in SPLOST funding.

The city commission will also have to declare the results of the November municipal elections. Mayor Jonathan Elmore was reelected in the fall, and Commissioners Graham Reiney and Mike Smith were elected as well. The city commission will likely vote to declare the results at its next regular meeting.

“Following the certification of election results, Davenport will be on hand to provide a financial plan for utilizing the SPLOST funds,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said. “As we’ve discussed, they’ve recommended a bonding of those SPLOST funds so we can get the money upfront rather than phased over the 72-month period in which those funds would be ordinarily.”

Bryant previously told Decaturish that as SPLOST revenue comes in each month, the city would use that money to pay off the bond. If the city commission approves the issuance of the bonds, this would be the second time the city has issued bonds.

The city issued $8.59 million in revenue bonds in November 2023 that will pay for the Town Green, market pavilion and part of the North Woods project. At the time, a spokesperson for the city previously said Avondale Estates currently doesn’t have any bond debt and has never had bond debt in its history.

In other business:

– The city commission, during the regular meeting, approved the purchase of an electric F150 Lighting for the police department.

In 2022, the city purchased three electric vehicles and charging stations for the police department. The department picked up the three Ford Mach-Es in August 2022, and they are reserved for administrative use.

Some agencies had ordered the F-150 Lightnings, but production of the truck took longer than anticipated, and those agencies canceled their orders. These trucks have now hit some Ford lots, Bryant previously said.

“Because of the excess supply than demand, we decided we would quote those vehicles to see if the cost was reasonably similar to that of a Mach-E and because the F-150 provides us with some additional capabilities that a Mach-E doesn’t, like the ability for the chief to go on-scene, especially scenes that are more difficult to access,” Bryant previously said.

Once the truck is purchased, blue lights, radios and other equipment will be installed.

– The city commission also approved a contract with SafeBuilt Professional Services to provide building official services like plan review, inspections and assistance throughout the permitting process. SafeBuilt would also provide the necessary software.

“The software that SafeBuilt offers is more robust than the system we’re currently using, meaning it can do more things,” Bryant said.

The transition to SafeBuilt would be completed by April 1.

– During the work session, the city commission continued discussing plans for the city’s sanitation services. The city commission is considering contracting with Arrow to take over sanitation services for Avondale Estates for a five-year period. The commission will likely vote on the contract at its regular meeting on March 13.

If the city commission moves forward with the contract, Arrow Waste will take on solid waste and recycling services for the residents and commercial properties in the city. Arrow would not collect or dispose of bulk items, construction materials, hazardous waste, storm debris, appliances or yard trash.

The city would continue to provide yard waste services, and would also contract out for landscaping services.

There would be a 60-day transition period and Arrow would begin collecting solid waste and recycling once a week on May 13 in Avondale Estates. During the transition period, Arrow will distribute garbage bins to residents.

The total sanitation fee assessed to households would be about $373.28. The city will be responsible for paying the tipping fee to use DeKalb County’s landfill.

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