By Monroe Roark
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
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
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.