Local News Update: August 6, 2019

Welcome to Athens Politics Nerd where we break
down commission meetings to bring you the important local news. Recently, the mayor and commission finalized
SPLOST 2020 – now it’s fate is up to us. They also discussed the inefficiency of private
trash haulers and debated a new study that could revolutionize transportation options
in Athens. All coming up! Don’t miss a thing! You can keep up with local news, Georgia politics
and national policy by subscribing. The SPLOST 2020 project list was approved
last month, setting up a referendum on November 5th. If Athenians vote yes, our 1% sales tax for
special projects will continue for another 11 years, raising over $300 million dollars. 9 yes, 1 no. This money will fund 37 different projects,
including renewable energy generation, an eastside library, broadband connectivity across
Athens, and a 5,500 seat arena for the Classic Center. The arena was a controversial last-minute
addition, but we can rest assured that the jobs it creates will pay living wages, something
which was requested by the commission. Commissioner Tim Denson also fought to include
a childcare facility in the structure, to assist working parents. Moving on to solid waste collection, which
became an issue at this month’s commission meeting. Commissioner Russell Edwards proposed Riverbend
Parkway’s trash pickup be handled by the county instead of by private haulers, which
sparked an interesting conversation. I look forward to this, moving forward, and
our community learning that this is possible. It could motivate other clusters, and neighborhoods,
to also move forward with this idea. A lot of us in our communities want the same
thing. I think we need to take a holistic approach,
instead of taking a singular approach. Yeah, I agree. I hope we can come up with a holistic approach
very soon, because we’ve got some haulers who just aren’t doing the work. They’re just failing, week by week by week. Trash is picked up by the county within the
old Athens city limits, but outside that area it quickly becomes a free-for-all of competing
private haulers. This causes unnecessary noise and can even
be dangerous, because not every resident living on any one street will have the same hauler. With multiple trucks coming and going at all
hours, Riverbend residents and others have gotten fed up. There are eight trucks roaring through our
neighborhood. And since there’s only one entrance, it
becomes a round trip. That means 16 passes of trucks weighing as
much as 56,000 pounds each, and each getting about 2.8 miles per gallon. That’s a lot of waste, for a little bit
of waste. Some feel that the public system should provide
trash pickup to the whole county. Others have suggested a zone system, with
one private hauler being given a monopoly in each zone. The local government is wondering what your
opinion is, you can tell them at a series of open house meetings coming soon. There’s also an online survey at accgov.com/collectionsurvey
– go ahead and give them a piece of your mind! I’ll link the survey in the description
below. Also at this meeting, the commission accepted
a detailed study of the Lexington Road and Atlanta Highway corridors. It included a total of 52 recommendations,
such as reconfiguring some major intersections, redesigning Georgia Square Mall, enhanced
bike and pedestrian infrastructure including miles of multi-use paths, and many public
transit improvements such as implementing queue jumping lanes and building additional
transit hubs beyond the multi-modal center. I have to say, I think this study is amazing
and I look forward to it being implemented! I think there’s a lot to be excited about:
things like queue-jumping, transfer hubs, so that it’s easier to transfer between
buses. Multi-use paths are a great asset; an amenity
for our community. They connect residents, create a more vibrant
democracy, encourage exercise, allow safe places for children to play and for the elderly
to navigate, so I’m very much in favor of this plan. The project also includes suggestions for
the airport. I think it’s a wonderful plan. However, not all commissioners felt the same
way. In fact, there are some recommendations in
here that I could probably never support. Hey, did you know that you can sign up to
receive emails whenever I release a new video? Head on over to athenspoliticsnerd.com/signup
to get the updates! And make sure to hit that like button if you
liked this video. I’ll see you, on the next one.

About the author


  1. The Eastside Library sounds nice. I'm not sure how I feel about the arena. When they were talking about putting it in a certain neighborhood a while back I did not like the idea. It was going to affect low income housing which we have too little of already. I don't know where they ended up deciding to put it.

  2. As to the infrastructure issues, Obama designated money way back in 2009 for the intersection at Lexington and Barnett Shoals, it's my understanding that Nancy Denson instead used that money to create the park and ride lot near the Waffle House. So nothing's ever been done about making that corner less congested. I hope this is going to be addressed.

    Furthermore, we need a far more direct route getting through the campus area to the east side of town. You've either got to go all around the moon or weave through residential streets in other confusing areas to get downtown or across town from the East side.

  3. I would like to say once again how much I appreciate you keeping track of things for us, it makes it so much easier to understand what's going on in our community father than trying to piece it all together from newspapers or online, Etc. Very comprehensive thank you so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *