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Douglas County: 2012 in Review
by Tom Spigolon
tspigolon@neighbornewspapers.com
December 26, 2012 12:04 PM | 1570 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new downtown Douglasville parking garage opened with a vintage car ceremonially breaking the ribbon to open it. It will serve existing downtown businesses and the new, adjacent conference center set to open in January.
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Douglasville and Douglas County voters in 2012 narrowly re-elected Republican office holders over Democratic challengers, and overwhelmingly rejected a regional sales tax for new state road projects.

They also followed others in metro Atlanta in approving liquor by the drink and package sales on Sundays; elected the first new Douglasville mayor in 12 years; and celebrated the openings of a new county jail and new city downtown parking garage.

JAIL, GARAGE OPEN

Douglas County opened its new, $115 million jail and sheriff’s office facility in November on 34 acres off Fairburn Road.

The new facility includes four floors capable of housing 1,500 inmates. It replaces a 29-year-old facility in downtown Douglasville that had become overcrowded.

Douglasville formally opened its new 300-space downtown parking garage on the former site of a 150-space surface lot near O’Neal Plaza in October. It adjoins the new, 37,000-square-foot downtown conference center which is targeted to open in January.

CHANGE OF THE GUARD

Former city councilman Harvey Persons was elected mayor in 2011 and took office in January 2012.

Among his moves in his first year in office was a veto of a measure to set a referendum on Sunday retail alcohol sales in Douglasville.

Persons succeeded three-term mayor Mickey Thompson, who later in the year lost a bid for a state House seat and pled guilty to charges related to being paid for 91 meetings that he attended but shouldn’t have been compensated for while in office.

SUNDAY SALES APPROVED

Almost two out of three Douglasville and Douglas County voters on Nov. 6 chose to allow Sunday alcoholic beverage sales in retail stores. County voters also voted to allow restaurants outside city limits to sell alcohol on Sundays.

More than 63 percent of county voters approved both package sales and restaurant sales, with 37 percent opposing. A higher percentage of city voters, 70 percent, approved Sunday retail sales with 30 percent opposing.

ELECTION 2012

Republican incumbent County Chairman Tom Worthan squeaked by Democratic challenger Romona Jackson Jones to earn a third term. However, incumbent Republican Sheriff Phil Miller had an easier race, winning 56 percent of the vote to defeat challenger Derrick Broughton.

Longtime District 67 State Rep. Bill Hembree of Winston resigned his seat to run for a vacant State Senate seat. Voters then chose Republican newcomer Micah Gravley to replace Hembree as the Republican nominee.

Gravley won the District 67 seat Nov. 6. Mike Dugan of Carrollton defeated Hembree in a Dec. 4 runoff for the State Senate District 30 seat. And Douglasville's Kim Alexander, a Democrat, defeated former Republican representative Bob Snelling of Douglasville for the House District 66 seat.

T-SPLOST REJECTED

Douglas County was part of a 10-county region in which voters could have raised about $8 billion if they approved a 1 percent sales tax for road and transit projects.

The region was one of 12 statewide which voted on the tax, dubbed the T-SPLOST, on July 31.

Voters in the region overwhelmingly rejected it, with about 60 percent of Douglas County voters voting against the tax.
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