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Commissioner tackles issues
by Noreen Cochran
May 24, 2013 09:15 AM | 2131 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Investigations into alleged identity theft, keeping a commission seat, getting FEMA relief for a homeowner and finding a level playing field for a champion soccer team were on the docket Thursday during Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards’ quarterly listening session.

At the South Fulton Government Annex, attended by more than 100 residents, 15 speakers aired grievances, demanded answers and asked for help.


Crime and punishment


Horace Copridge demanded action on a rash of eight armed robberies on Old National Highway at Flat Shoals Road.

Lt. Ty Hayes of the county SWAT team said three robbers are under arrest.

“We’re doing good as long as three more don’t take their place,” Edwards said to laughter. “You’d be surprised at the amount of people being arrested. We just can’t keep them in jail. The problem is the judicial system. We’ve also banned some people. Banned means that you can’t come to south Fulton no more.”

Yvonne Barber reported attending a job fair Edwards sponsored on April 18 at Adamsville Career Center that had potentially damaging results.

“They took our identities. They took our Social Security cards and driver’s licenses That’s a total of 300 documents. There was no response. There were no jobs,” she said about MV Transportation.

Edwards asked the police to follow up.


Sports complexes


Charles Lawson and Ramon Maldonado of the Amazon Soccer Association, whose team attended, asked for a soccer complex in light of tennis center enhancements.

“We’ve been hearing dreams and talk,” Lawson said. “We need a safe place for our kids to play.”

Staff comments revealed there are 11 acres on Pleasant Hill Road behind a baseball field the county can use for a soccer field, while a soccer complex design is already “on paper,” and acreage next to a rugby field at Creole Park, next to Burdette Park where the team plays.“

Tonight we found some land,” Edwards said.

Edwards also fielded comments from a heckler who said, “Tell the truth.”

“You think I’m a liar?” Edwards said. “I’m going to let that go.”

Edwards called for a spirit of cooperation.

“We’ve got to learn to stop arguing and bickering and pointing fingers at each other,” he said. “Let’s start sharing information and let’s start envisioning, without fussing and carrying on.”

Woody Gray of the association protested an extra fee, said members were “told” of it, not given a chance to provide input and said there are “400” summer camps in the county but only eight of them in south Fulton.

“I see more taken from our kids than what’s actually been provided,” he said.

“Nobody comes,” Edwards said about some existing youth programs.


Redistricting


Harold Reid inquired into the county’s protest of the 2013 redistricting bill passed during the last legislative session that will reduce the number of commission seats.

Edwards said the county has “a good case” if it goes to federal court.

“That defense has nothing to do with racism and it has nothing to do whether two commissioners run against each other,” he said. “All of you in here now voted for three people. Under the new plan, you only get to vote for two.”


Keeping house


Barber also said she had a pressing need.

“The critical issue is $10,000 in federal grant money I have been eligible for since March 2011. I have not received any of those funds to rehab my house that was built in 1936,” she said. “The Sheetrock from the Great Depression is falling in.”

Edwards called on staff members to address the issues and get him their reports.

“I would love to see that it was worked out before it gets to me,” he said. “We want to get a resolution to it, whichever way it goes.”

Charles Browder said cleanup crews at a vacant property actually caused more damage by blocking drains with debris.

“Someone needs to take care of this,” he said.

Edwards called on code enforcement officers to confront the owners.

“They may be in court,” he said.

Alfred Jones talked about a “desolate eyesore” of abandoned property at the Old Grove Apartments, the gateway to his community on Scarborough Road.

“They’re in court,” Edwards said about the new owners. “We’re on it.”


Public facilities


Nancy Woods Sargent wanted to know Edwards’ vision for Old National Highway, inquiring into the potential to use 100 acres of county land for a senior center.

“That’s wetlands. We can’t do anything with that,” Edwards said.

But the area has had some economic development, he said, including retail stores Marshall’s and Burlington Coat Factory and a dialysis center planned next to Zaxby’s restaurant.

“We just put in a new Dunkin Donuts for you. The police department likes that,” Edwards said to laughter.

Andrea Miller and Odessa Williams spoke out for libraries, also saying a decision to relocate a branch was made “without full input.”

The site of the existing South Fulton branch on Flat Shoals Road is on a “bed of rock,” Edwards said, leading to more expense than the $8 million budgeted for an expansion.

But there should have been public input, he said.

“I want the signup sheets from the public meetings,” Edwards said to staff members.


Thanks


Debra Brasmore thanked Edwards for “not allowing [the Georgia Crossroads project] in our neighborhood” at the Carrington Points subdivision.

“Thank you for hearing the community, listening to us, researching with regard to that project. It’s been a long journey,” she said.

What's next? The next listening session is Aug. 22.

On the web: www.southfultongoodthings.com
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