JUNE 24, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the City Council Work Session and City Manager’s Briefing was held via Zoom video communications at 4:00 p.m. Alderwoman Lanier offered the invocation.


PRESENT:  Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

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

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


Acting City Manager Michael B. Brown

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Director of Economic Development Manuel Dominguez

Director of Planning & Urban Design Bridget Lidy

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Enterprise Zone Renewals and Retail Redevelopment Areas and Strategies

Acting City Manager Michal Brown gave an update of Enterprise Zone and retail developments in prior and recent years.  He introduced Director of Business Opportunities/Economic Development Manuel Dominguez who discussed the primary incentive zones, and Director of Urban Planning & Design Bridget Lidy who discussed the retail sector.

Following the presentation, there was a question and answer session with presenters and Council, along with various discussion items which include, but were not limited to the following topics:

  • Auto Repair Shop on Montgomery corridor, residents have numerous complaints, zoning should be discussed/updated. 
  • President Biden's American Rescue Plan, an effective plan to fight poverty; housing on Pennsylvania Avenue is greatly needed; local job creation; and equity & wealth issues. 
  • Southside Legacy Project; poverty as a city-wide issue. 
  • Concept of walking neighborhoods, this supports local economy. 
  • The differences between opportunity zone & enterprise zone; policy making needed; and tax credit recipients need to contribute to the community.  
  • Retail and commercial corridors in the City.  Habersham retail area is a wonderful example of expansion.
  • Who is receiving the benefits of the opportunity zones.
  • Policies should be created by local policy makers; Community Benefits Agreements should be enforced.

Mr. Brown recommended review of the zones.  He will provide data of how the zones have worked during the past ten (10) years and information on investors in the opportunity and enterprise zones to Council Members.  

2. Briefing on Upcoming Workshops

Acting City Manager Brown gave a brief recap of previous workshop topics:

  • budget
  • poverty;
  • Arena update;
  • drainage issues in the City;
  • housing;
  • blight;
  • crime; and
  • enterprise/opportunity zones.

Mr. Brown recommended Council focus on the following workshop topics:

  • City Manager search;
  • 6-month crime data;
  • revenue budget update - adopt millage rate; and
  • Fairgrounds update.

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter suggested revising the list and have Council review and re-prioritize.

Mayor Johnson stated the most pressing issues are:  hiring a permanent City Manager; reviewing the fiscal budget and making recommendations; and crime reduction in the City.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz added, there should be a discussion about alcohol issues. 

Mayor Johnson adjourned the work session at 5:35 p.m.

The audio recordings of the work sessions can be found by copying and inserting the below links in your url:


Mark Massey, Clerk of Council

Date Minutes Approved: July 8, 2021    

Initials:  mm

Agenda Plus