The resolution, according to City Manager Casey Coleman, is “the coolest thing since sliced bread,” and not only aligns the city with a recent bill passed by the state legislature outlawing the synthetic drug, but takes the restrictions further to include bongs, pipes, scales, baggies and any other item that aids in the use or distribution of those drugs in the city.
“This is pretty important to me,” Coleman told the council prior to its vote Monday. “It seems like every time you turn on the TV you see another youth who's overdosed.”
Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards said he backs the ordinance and the means with which it will aid in combatting crime and accidental overdoses in the local area.
“What this ordinance is doing, is preventing these stores from selling it,” he said. “What we’re looking for is a way to keep this out of the hands of our teenagers. It’s saving lives. You can look at the statistics of the number of teenagers it’s killing.”
The council’s vote results in the immediate effectiveness of the ordinance, which according to City Attorney Charles Conerly will mean that stores that currently have any synthetic cannabinoids or newly banned smoking products will need to pull them from store shelves.
The penalty for violating the new ordinance can result in a maximum $500 fine and 60 days in jail, in addition to the possible revocation of a business license for those found to be in violation.
In addition, the council on Monday gave its blessing to the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department to begin progress on the renovation of the Lakeshore Recreation Center.
Coleman, in his memorandum to the council, recommended repairs due the facility’s heavy use. He recommended considering closing the city’s Bonner Center and using its operating expenses to assist in renovations.
According to Peter Maierhofer, director of the CPRCAD, the renovation project would include the addition of a fitness center and aerobics room, along with new locker rooms and restrooms to the facility’s gymnasium, in addition to a new metal, sloping roof to cover the existing one.
He said that safety and tourism traffic will be additional benefits.
“What I want to make clear to the city council is this is not a knee-jerk project,” said Ann Fletcher, chairman of the city recreation commission. “I can guarantee you that the attitude of the recreation commission is...the most bang for our taxpayer dollars. If you can keep your youth, your young adults, if you can keep a consistent adult presence...that’s a dollar well spent. I’m asking you, let’s do this.”
Coleman said the decision of the council was essentially to begin the process of planning and bidding. Using figures provided for by architect Alan Bell, it is the assumption that the project could total around $1.7 million and that it could be financed with special purpose local option sales tax collections.
Also at the regular meeting Monday:
• the council approved the minutes of the Feb. 6 meeting;
• the council unanimously authorized Coleman to execute documents related to a property swap near the Sharpe Creek Reservoir between the city and Jason McClung;
• the council appointed Cara Welch to the city Planning Commission;
• the council reappointed Emily Cole to the Board of Development Appeals;
• the council reappointed Dr. Richard Guynn and Mark Foster to the Redevelopment Authority;
• Patricia West of Wysteria Landing asked the council to intervene in the maintenance of foreclosed properties in her neighborhood. Assistant City Manager Tim Grizzard said he would look in on the neighborhood the following day;
• Carolyn Henderson, director of the Carroll County Tea Party, asked council members to explain or create a policy on its donations to non-profits;
• West Georgia Regional Library System Director Roni Tewksbury explained the budgetary needs of the Neva Lomason Memorial Library.
• In his announcements, Coleman said that there will be a presentation on the state of local tourism at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m., and that there will be a formal ribbon cutting for the downtown amphitheater on Friday, May 4, the day before MayFest.