Clarkston lowers millage rate, repeals late night alcohol sales, limits mask mandate

Clarkston City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Clarkston, GA — Referencing code violations by businesses and noise complaints from neighbors, the Clarkston City Council voted to repeal an ordinance that extended alcohol sales from 1:55 a.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 2:50 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The motion passed with three ayes, one nay, two abstentions.

The council also voted to limit the city’s existing mask mandate to public buildings only. While mask mandates have been or are about to be lifted in much of the state, Council Member Jamie Carroll pointed out that only 28% of DeKalb County has been fully vaccinated, which is below the Georgia average.

“Clarkston is one of the few places where new cases are going up. Over 99% of the new cases and over 99% of the people dying are unvaccinated,” said Council Member Laura Hopkins.  “The emergency isn’t over. It’s only over for some people.”

The city recommends that the public continue to wear masks while indoors at private businesses for the time being.

The council voted to lower the city’s millage rate from 15.89 to 14.89. Because the “rollback rate” that would maintain existing revenues would be 14.557, the new millage rate will increase the dollar amount of taxes paid by residents by about $20 per $150,000 in home value. Several council members pointed out that the new rate will allow the city to meet its adopted budget of $3,770, 384 without making additional calls for funds. Mayor Beverly Burks spoke in favor of creating a cushion so that the city can meet unexpected expenses without borrowing money.

The council authorized a Tax Anticipation Note in the amount of $500,000 to cover city operations until new revenue is received.

In other business, the council approved alcohol package sales of beer and wine for Fresh Food Town at 4604 Ponce de Leon Ave.

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