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McDonough up for redevelopment, more police, youth council
by Christine Fonville
September 26, 2013 11:42 AM | 2177 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, McDonough city council members OK’d urban redevelopment, funding for two new police officers and the start of a youth commission program.

McDonough Business Development Director Adam Causey presented the urban redevelopment plan and the designation of the council as the city’s urban redevelopment agency.

The plan, which had no opposition from the council or citizens at the meeting, will help define the boundaries for and organize redevelopment impoverished areas throughout the city.

“This plan is not static, it changes and if anything needs to be added to it or removed from it later, such as the currently defined boundaries, it can be done.” Causey said.

Councilwoman Sandra Vincent said the plan could attract funding to redevelop areas, like Bridges Road, which she said was in need of revamping. “One of the reasons we enacted an urban redevelopment area is because it provides eligibility for additional types of funding, tax credits, and other tools that allow us to take an area from being impoverished to an area that is thriving,” Vincent said.

Although Causey said the redevelopment plan will have “no direct finical impact to the city’s budget,” the funding for two new police officers required a budget amendment.

City Administrator Frederick Gardiner said the cost for funding two additional patrol officers is estimated to be about $64,000.

The starting date for the officers “would be on or around Oct. 31,” he said.

“The money will be transferred from the human resources, governing body and police departments’ budgets to fund the officers,” Gardiner said.

After disclosing which amendments would be made to the city’s budget, Finance Director Lolita Grant said the budget would still be balanced at “around $11 million.”

In other news, students who are interested in government and understanding how the city council runs and works will have the opportunity to engage in a youth program coming to the city.

Councilman for Chatham County and Director of the Chatham County Youth Commission program, Van R. Johnson, spoke to McDonough’s council members, urging them to start a program for youth in the city.

The Chatham County program, founded in 1992 by Chatham County Commissioner Priscilla Thomas, helps involve middle and high school students in the city’s government by allowing them to participate in meetings and events and encouraging community service.

Johnson said the main incentive for a youth commission program is to keep youth interested in staying focused on their city.

“Because these children are our future city council members and voting citizens, we try to keep them committed and focused every day,” he said.

McDonough councilwoman and retired history teacher Gail Notti said although the city has tried to start a program to connect youth and local government in the past, the assistance of McDonough Councilwoman Kamali Varner, who sought out the youth commission, was needed.

“Ms. Varner is very involved with youth programs in McDonough and I want to thank her for bringing this information to our city,” Notti said.

Varner said the council “is seeking members of the community who are interested in helping get this program up and running.”

Information: www.mcdonoughga .org.


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