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County business tabled for election
Special called meeting to be held next Tuesday

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

In the wake of Tuesday night's election, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners put much of the county's business on hold. While a regularly scheduled business meeting took place on Tuesday night, the majority of the items were tabled, to be discussed and voted on during a special called meeting next Tuesday.

Of the few items passed, the county gave nearly 2 acres of county-owned property on Iron Gate Boulevard to Eurindus, Inc., a charcoal wholesale company. There was a public hearing to discuss the matter, but nobody responded, thus the matter passed without question, according to BOC Clerk Shelby Haywood.

The county also approved just over $2 million in community development block grants (CDBGs), to be administered to various municipalities and agencies:

· Alzheimer's Support Services, Inc., received $600,000 toward the construction of a new Alzheimer's service facility in the county.

· The City of Forest Park received $16,000 for the acquisition of a built-in commercial dishwasher for the Forest Park Senior Center; $9,000 for the enclosure of the Forest Park Senior Center's patio area; $34,395 for improvements to a small playground at Starr Park; and $88,469 for improvements to a large playground at Starr Park.

· The City of Riverdale received $150,000 toward the construction of a multi-purpose community/recreation center, one of the key components of the city's proposed Town Center. The city's original request for $3 million in CDBGs was denied.

· Clayton County received $350,000 toward planning and administration of the CDBG program; $400,000 toward the construction of a senior fitness center at the Frank Bailey Senior Center in Riverdale; $70,000 toward a program to purchase foreclosed properties in the county, and $182,708 toward contingency funds for unplanned project costs.

· The Housing Authority of Jonesboro received $120,000 for the rehabilitation of four public housing units owned by the authority.

· House of Dawn, a shelter for teenage mothers, received $1,500 for playground equipment.

· Metro Fair Housing received $40,000 for foreclosure education, outreach, and counseling programs.

Of the items to be discussed next week, the county will vote on whether to revamp a contract between the Clayton County Police Department and the Clayton County School Board to provide School Resource Officers (SROs) for public schools.

"It was around '93 when we first signed that contract, so we have been going from that," said Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner. "Times have changed. More schools have been built in Clayton County.

"The school system wants more officers in their schools, they want truancy officers, and some investigators," Turner said. "We want them to pay more toward the officers' benefits and income, as well as some administrative fees."

Turner promised to "work together to make sure everybody is accommodated."

The police department has also asked the county to approve $74,000 to be taken from the department's drug forfeiture fund for the purchase of a new license plate reader system. The units, which can be mounted on a car or on a stationary pole, have the ability to read and check the license plates of every car that passes by.

Turner believes the system will be able to greatly reduce auto theft and kidnapping in the county.

"With this reader ... instead of an officer checking 10 or 15 tags on his shift, he can literally read thousands of car tags," said Turner. He said the reader will alert the officer if a car is reported stolen or if the car belongs to "a person of interest, such as a child molester."

Turner has asked for two mobile units and for two stationary units to be placed in high-crime areas of the county.

The next BOC meeting will take place on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m., at the County Administration Building in Jonesboro.