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Stockbridge votes ‘yes’ to police department


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  Stockbridge officials believe the time has come for the city to take responsibility for its own police services.

  A new service delivery proposal was approved Tuesday night by the City Council at a special called meeting, and more than 40 categories were addressed in a document. But the police issue has by far garnered the most interest throughout the county, not just in its most populous city.

  City manager David Milliron made it clear what his staff was recommending with this statement: “In simplest terms, establish the Stockbridge Police Department.”

  Milliron said the city has been paying $500,000 per year through its agreement with the Henry County Police Department, as well as other costs. A total of $1.2 million in cash was paid over a three-year period beginning in 2010 to coincide with the development of the Stockbridge precinct building, on the site of the old City Hall, which the city paid another $1.2 million in renovation costs. The county leases the building for $1 per year, Milliron said.

  The current service delivery agreement is valid through 2014, but Milliron said that it is tied together with the intergovernmental agreement that expired at the end of 2012.

  The vote on the police issue was 4-1, with Alphonso Thomas voting against.

  Changes in several other key areas were also recommended. The council voted unanimously to assume responsibility for building permits, inspections and impact fees; maintenance of its comprehensive plan; development plan review; planning and zoning; and soil/erosion control.

  In all of these areas, Milliron said that bringing the services in-house could result in a rollback on county taxes and a savings for city residents.

  Mayor Mark Alarcon called the meeting “historic” and “an opportunity to better serve our citizens.”

  Milliron said after the council meeting that all of these action items will be taken to the Henry County Municipal Association, whose attorney will work on a master agreement that can be presented to the county later this year. That agreement, once completed, will be ratified by the City Council at a later date.

  The earliest date any of these changes could be implemented is July 1, 2014, unless the county authorizes it sooner. Milliron expects that if everything is ratified by the end of this year, the city has six months to get its new plans in motion.



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