Decatur Dispatch -February 2019

• LOCAL, POSITIVE COMMUNITY NEWS H ometown n ews A tlAntA Volume 29, No. 2 • FEBRUARY 2019 Decatur Dispatch Covering De atur, Druid Hills, Emory, Sage Hill, Toco Hill, & Avondale Estates PRICELESS ISSUE! Patti Garrett to Serve Fourth Term as Decatur Mayor Four terms sounds like a lot, but Decatur is unusual in Georgia in that the city’s mayoral terms are only a year long. Thankfully the citizens in Decatur don’t have to come out and vote for their mayor every year. Rather, the individual for the position is selected by the 5-member City Commission among its peers. In January 2019 it unanimously named Patti Garrett to serve a fourth term as Decatur Mayor. City Commissioners also reappointed Tony Powers as Mayor pro tem to serve a second term. Garrett has served on City Com- mission for nine years and Powers, who has lived in Decatur all his life, has completed three years as a commissioner. Decatur’s the only hometown in the Metro that doesn’t have popularly elected mayors. City Commission government is the Decatur model, where voters elect their five commissioners. Decatur has nonpartisan elections for overlapping 4-year terms for its City Commissioners. They determine city policies of Decatur and enact local laws for public health, safety, welfare and other essentials. It’s a not uncommon style of municipal government in the U.S., but not as much in Georgia. Some other City Com- mission governments in our state are in Griffin, Rome, Toccoa and Dalton. She gets around town: Mayor Garrett at the Decatur Book Festival. Continued on page 10 Rolling with a Need for City Electric Scooter Policy in 2019 It could be that such transportation is a good and sensible way to commute around town. In about October 2018 riders on electric scooters began to appear around Decatur and, as the year was winding down, the city began to look for some sort of policy to regulate this new kind of short-term urban trav- el. Decatur was still on the watch of City Manager Peggy Merris, preparing after more than 25 years in municipal government to step down on December 31. She put wheels in motion for Decatur to develop a policy for use of elec- tric scooters in the city, and it was one of the last times she exercised her office to help shape life in the city. As were some of her trademarks, Peggy Merris used common sense, public safety consciousness, and evenhand- edness regarding this new kind of transportation, all while keeping in mind the culture of Decatur. Electric scooters, she said, are “consistent with the city’s strategic plans and community transportation plan.” She acknowledged that electric scooters “can get people out of cars and contrib- ute to better air quality.” She was not opposed to electric scooters, adding “if used appropriately” as an important proviso. “They are not toys” she stressed, “and there has to be education, enforcement and role modeling.” Continued on page 10