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Commissioners postpone action on eviction relief plan

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Athens Clarke County commissioners decided last night to postpone a decision on the future of a local eviction relief program. Only one organization responded to the county's request for proposals and staff recommended against accepting that bid.

Commissioners could have decided last night to reopen the request for proposals and extend the deadline, but instead decided to address the issue at their October 5th meeting.

Commissioner Jesse Houle introduced the motion to postpone action, telling Commissioners, “We need time to make sense of what the next step is, and I think that includes probably a lot of what staff is recommending, but we also need time to, I think, engage with the one organization that did apply to better understand where they came from.”

Commissioners also discussed at length a request from the University of Georgia to encroach on county rights of way in order to install fiber cabling for security cameras at seven locations near the UGA campus. While the University told the county that footage from those cameras would be available for ACCPD investigations as well, some Commissioners seemed skeptical. Commissioner Alison Wright reminded her colleagues that UGA security cameras played a role in identifying a suspect in a local crime in recent days.

“I think that we all probably are up to date on the current event where UGA surveillance cameras did indeed help us with a violent crime,” Wright said. “I think that improving public safety in any way we can is great for us.”

Commissioners plan to vote on UGA's request on October 5th.

Other issues in front of Commissioners at that October meeting will be a county disparity study and a proposed downtown public bathroom that has been the source of friction between lawmakers. Some Commissioners like Wright and District 10's Mike Hamby question the project price tag - over $300,000 for a single restroom.

“In my mind, I think we need more than one public restroom in downtown, which leads me to wanting solutions that are more financially feasible.” Wright said.

Wright asked County staff to bring in more options for the next voting meeting.

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