The work session and City Manager’s briefing was held at 12:01 p.m. Mayor Johnson called the meeting to order and recognized Alderman Purtee to offer a prayer.



Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter, At-Large, Post 1

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderwoman Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz, District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6


City Manager Joseph A. Melder

Chief of Staff Daphanie Williams

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Deputy Clerk of Council Margaret Fox

Workshop Agenda Items
1. REAL Taskforce Update
Exhibit 1: R.E.A.L. Task Force Presentation.pdf

Mayor Johnson introduced the R.E.A.L. Task Force lead by former Mayor Dr. Otis Johnson.  Mayor Johnson gave a brief outline of the how and why the task force was established.

Dr. Johnson explain all members of the task force are volunteers and introduced the coaches of the Task Force.  Step-Up Executive Director Alisha Johnson and Coastal Georgia Indicators Project Executive Director Liz Ann Roberts presented the PowerPoint presentation along with other sub-committees of the R.E.A.L. Task Force.

Following the presentation, there were comments and questions from Council Members:

  • Mayor Johnson thanked the Task Force for their dedicated work.
  • Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan thanked the Task Force for the presentation and the work completed.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter thanked the Task Force for the information.  She inquired if there was a specific ask from the Task Force of the City with regard to specific policies and ordinances to incorporate the recommendations of the Task Force. That is were the changes take place.  Not at this time, but the Task Force is willing to meet with staff and/or Council for further discussions.
  • City Manager Melder indicated on the bond reform, they must work with Court Judges.  Mayor Johnson indicated the Task Force is currently working with the Court Judges.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked what is CARES?  Mayor Johnson answered, the Citizens Accountability Review and Emergency Services.  It is the first task force and partnered with the R.E.A.L. Task Force.  Dr. Johnson stated the concerns within the Harvard Report are being addressed.  The R.E.A.L. Task Force will hold it's report until a decision is made by the CARES Task Force on how they will move forward.
  • Alderwoman Lanier expressed concern for the Food Security and the asset based economic development goals.  As it relates to the Westside community.  She hopes the community will not have to fight for their own food security. 


The PowerPoint presentation is on file and available for viewing in the Clerk of Council's office.

2. Inclusionary Zoning

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder and Director of Planning & Urban Design Bridget Lidy.  City Manager Melder indicated these are the City's base recommendations.  There still needs to be input from the community and  Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC).

Ms. Lidy made the PowerPoint presentation.  Following the presentation there were comments and questions by Council Members.

  • Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan asked how the formula was developed for in-lieu of fees.  Ms. Lidy indicated no formula has been developed, staff is currently working on the formula.
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz asked for the timeline with regards to the outreach to residents.  She recommended staff taking more time before presenting to residents.  City Manager Melder indicated staff will use the time wisely for all the input before presenting Council and then to the community.
  •  Alderwoman Lanier stated ADU's and IZ's were included as part of the Visionary Sessions held by Council.  She expressed concerns with IZ's located only in certain areas of the City.  Alderwoman Lanier discussed how developers build apartments in the more affluent areas of the city and the low-wealth areas need these policies for affordable housing, since all the units are not market rate.  City Manager Melder indicated the City wants affordability throughout the City.  The IZ policy will need to be tweaked several times to make it work for the entire City.  Alderwoman Lanier asked for a practice/policy that was established in zones, how it was implemented, and in what location (city).  City Manager Melder stated, staff will comply with Alderwoman Lanier's request.     


The PowerPoint presentation is on file and available for viewing in the Clerk of Council's office.

3. City Manager Update

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz recused (left the room) herself from the Workshop meeting and the presentation/discussion due to business related reasons. 

City Manager Melder discussed the final closeout modifications for the Enmarket Arena in detail.  He discussed the unforeseen issues which accounted for the modification overruns and the funding source to pay for the modifications.  

Following the City Manager's presentation, there were comments and questions from Council Members.

  • City Manager Melder discussed the OVG revenue share and audit.  The City will receive a third party audit from OVG on May 1st regarding revenues.  City staff will review the audit and send the results to Council as to any revenues due the City.
  •  Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked if the contract stated OVG does not have to give the City any revenue for 3-4 years.  City Manager Melder indicated the contract states, only if the arena is not profitable.  The City is optimistic, the Enmarket Arena has been very successful and the City may receive revenue.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked when will the City receive profit sharing.  City Manager Melder answered, the profit sharing will be itemized in the audit and the City will receive the profit sharing at that time.  The audit is due to the City on May 1.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter inquired the nature of recusal by Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz for AECOM/Hunt.  Mayor Johnson indicated business.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked if AECOM/Hunt has received the fund for modifications.  City Manager Melder indicated, the modifications are presented for Council approval today.  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked if the City staff was aware of cost overruns as the construction of the arena progressed.  City Manager Melder stated the staff knew they were getting close to the budgeted amount.  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter expressed concern that Council should have been informed of any upcoming cost overruns at an earlier date.  City Manager Melder believes he informed Council the arena construction was reaching the budgeted amount that might cause modifications and he is presenting those modifications to Council for approval.  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter expressed that she does not recall being informed that AECOM/Hunt was nearing a $4.5 million overrun.  City Manager Melder indicated he is presenting Councill with the Enmarket Arena closeout.  Council was recently presented with two additional closeouts, Broughton Street and the new Code Compliance building, both with modifications.  It is not unusual for a project to have closeout modifications, especially this project at $150 million.  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter expressed concerns for contractors winning a bid and then having cost overruns and/or modifications.   City Manager Melder explained the reason for the modifications for the Arena was unforeseen circumstances below grade.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter stated she has visited and had meetings with Cloverdale and Carver Village residents who have expressed concern for drainage issues, having a new neighborhood sign, and other issues in the neighborhood due to the construction of the Arena.  If the City could just appease the residents with something.
  • Mayor Johnson stated not only do the residents want the Arena, they end up with a better Stiles Avenue, they are receiving benefits from the construction of the Arena.  There is better water conveyance, the land has been mitigated, and the sign for the neighborhood will be addressed.  The Arena project is completed and Council is being asked to approve the arena construction modifications for closeout.          


The PowerPoint presentation is on file and available for viewing in the Clerk of Council's office.

Mayor Johnson adjourned the Workshop at 6:15 p.m.


A video recording of the workshop can be found by copying and inserting the link below in your url:





Mark Massey, Clerk of Council


Date Minutes Approved:      May 11, 2023  


Signature:   MM 

Agenda Plus