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ACC Commission changed their regularly scheduled meeting location to address safety concerns

Nicole Jordan

The Athens-Clarke County Commission met in a new location Tuesday night.

The Commission convened in the Clarke County School District’s administrative building on Prince Avenue last night. Commissioner Ovita Thornton of the 9th District, who served as Mayor Pro Tempore during the meeting, said the change of location was made to protect both commissioners and attendees.

“I know people are familiar with last month’s regular meeting, but after that meeting there were some concerns and some rumors that there were guns in that chamber. And we were not equipped to handle any kind of threat. Not just for ourselves, also for our constituents that come down. We wanted to ensure your safety,” she said.

Members of the sheriff and police departments were present at the meeting. They escorted one Winterville resident out early in the meeting after the man refused to yield his comments to Thornton.

Thornton also spoke about Mayor Girtz’s absence.

“I am also sitting in for the Mayor again. I think he felt he needed some R&R. I have no problems, and I have no regrets. I feel as though this is my job, and I’m going to do it. And so if there are questions about the Mayor’s absence, I suggest that individually as taxpayers here, you should probably reach out to him,” she added.

He was also not present for the regularly scheduled Commission meeting on April 2nd.

Mayor Girtz has not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
During the two hour meeting, commissioners authorized a plan to create more parking spaces at Athens-Ben Epps airport, which may pave the way for passenger service within the next two years.

In addition, the Commission approved the distribution of nearly three million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to organizations aiding the unhoused population.

The Commission pushed discussion about Fire Station Number 5, which the government hopes to move to a new location, to next month’s meeting.

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