Watkinsville got a new mayor tonight (Wednesday) as Connie Massey took the oath of office at the beginning of the City Council meeting.
Massey replaced Charles Ivie, who resigned as mayor on Monday morning because of health problems. Ivie had previously announced that he would not run for re-election.
The Council approved a 2017 millage rate of 2.677, down from the 2016 rate of 2.791, and gave first reading to an event ordinance that will control use of public right of way for pedestrian events.
The Council also completed action on a solicitation ordinance that matches one passed by the county earlier this year.
The city called a press conference for Monday morning to give Ivie a chance to say publicly that health problems had led him conclude he should resign immediately rather than complete his term at the end of this year.
Ivie vacated his office on Monday and Massey, mayor pro tem, assumed the responsibilities of mayor.
Massey was elected in November of 2012 and was sworn in to fill an open seat on the Council before beginning her full term in January of 2013.
Massey saluted Ivie during the time on the agenda for the mayor’s report.
“I would like to take this time to say ‘Thank you’ to Mayor Ivie for all that you have done for this wonderful place called Watkinsville. You have done a great job of looking out for the citizens and the city, and I appreciate all that you have done.”
Ivie was elected mayor in 2011.
The Council selected Marcia Campbell to serve as mayor pro tem.
Qualifying for the office of mayor and for Council Post 1 and Post 2 will take place on Monday through Wednesday of next week at City Hall.
Brian Brodrick holds Post 1, and Massey’s Post 2 is now vacant, though she can decide to run again for that position.
Council members and the mayor serve two-year terms.
Qualifying also will take place next week in each of the county’s other three cities.
Two posts on the Bogart City Council will be decided in November. Janet Jones and Michael Ward hold those positions at present.
Posts 3, 4, and 5 on the North High Shoals Council are up for election. These posts currently are held by Ann Evans, Paul Dotterweich, and Violet Dawe.
The mayor and all four spots on the Bishop City Council also will be decided in November.
Watkinsville City Attorney Reitman presented Council members with a six-page draft of an events ordinance that limits use of public right of way in the city to sporting or recreational events approved by the Council.
Council member Brodrick offered several suggestions for changes to the ordinance, and Reitman said he will come back to Council next month with a revised ordinance responding to those comments.
The Solicitation Ordinance restricts door-to-door commercial solicitation in the city to those obtaining a permit from the Office of the Sheriff.
The ordinance, which regulates the language and techniques used in solicitation, was requested by Sheriff Scott Berry.
The city decreased its millage rate over the year before in 2015, 2016 and now again in 2017.
The rate had been steady from 2012 to 2014.
City residents pay property taxes to the city and to the county, and the Oconee County Board of Commissioners set the rate for the incorporated and unincorporated parts of the county last month.
The rate for the incorporated parts of the county is higher than for the unincorporated parts of the county.
The video below is of tonight’s meeting, held at City Hall.
Massey made her comments about Ivie starting at 12:20 in the video.
Discussion of the Event Ordinance begins at 14:50 in the video.
Discussion of the millage rate begins at 24:45.