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Conyers, Rockdale will call for $89 million SPLOST in 2022
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CONYERS — The city of Conyers and Rockdale County have approved intergovernmental agreements for the continuation of a 1% sales tax collection.

The six-year Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum will go before voters in conjunction with the Georgia Primary Election on May 24, 2022. If approved by voters, the 1% sales tax will take effect in 2023, following the expiration of the SPLOST approved in May 2016. The tax will be collected for six years and is expected to generate $89.1 million in revenues.

Rockdale County approved the intergovernmental agreement on Dec. 14, and the Conyers City Council followed suit on Dec. 15.

“I hope people continue to realize the importance of how much this has helped the city through the years, and the county as well,” said Mayor Vince Evans. “We would not have been able to do many of the things we’ve been able to do without the SPLOST, and I would hope the voters would continue to allow this to happen.”

Revenues collected will be divided between the city and county based on the most recent census population figures. The county will receive 81.51%, or $72.6 million of collections while the city will receive 18.49%, or $16.5 million.

Both the city and county have earmarked amounts for broad project categories as follows:

ROCKDALE COUNTY

♦ Roads, bridges, sidewalks and transportation — $35,199,846

♦ Sheriff — $5,346,000

♦ Fire and E911 — $8,019,000

♦ Parks and Recreation — $4,455,000

♦ Courthouse — $19,602,000

TOTAL — $72,621,846

CITY OF CONYERS

♦ Roads, bridges, sidewalks and transportation — $7,909,514

♦ Public Safety — $5,108,228

♦ Parks and greenspace — $1,812,597

♦ Equipment and vehicles — $1,647,815

TOTAL: $16,478,154


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O Holy Night

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Rockdale Courthouse mask order extended
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CONYERS — In response to the continued spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Rockdale County Superior Court has extended its mask requirement for all people in the common areas of the courthouse.

The court had issued an order Dec. 3 requiring only those who are unvaccinated to wear masks in the common areas. That order was to have taken effect Dec. 24. However, based on updated guidance from the CDC, the court issued an order Dec. 17 requiring that masks be worn by all people in the common areas regardless of vaccination status.

Common areas are defined as meeting areas, common workspaces, hallways, restrooms, courtrooms, jury rooms and jury assembly areas. The mask order does not apply to employees when in their individual offices. However, three or more people in an office would constitute an indoor setting subject to the mask requirement.

Judges, at their discretion, may allow witnesses and attorneys to remove their masks while speaking or testifying during a hearing or trial.

This order — the fourth issued by Chief Judge Robert Mumford — will remain in effect until amended.


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County Manager Lloyd Kerr praised at farewell reception
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COVINGTON — Newton County Manager Lloyd Kerr was praised for his leadership, humor and consideration for the county’s employees at a farewell reception Monday evening at the Historic Courthouse.

Kerr is being forced out of his position of six years after three commissioners voted not to renew his contract. His tenure will conclude at the end of the year. The county has not yet found his successor and is looking to hire an interim county manager before filling the position.

Department heads who worked with Kerr spoke at Monday’s reception, calling Kerr a servant-leader with an easy-going approach and a big picture problem-solver who never failed to bring humor to each work day.

Newton County Clerk Jackie Smith spoke with emotion about Kerr’s service to the county.

“The Bible says the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” said Smith. “And you are a good man, Lloyd Kerr.”

Smith also said Kerr’s impact on the county will endure.

“Your handprint is on Newton County. That will never go away,” she said.

District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards, who voted to renew Kerr’s contract, praised Kerr’s leadership abilities, particularly the fiscally conservative culture he developed surrounding the county’s budgeting process.

“You left this county better than you found it,” said Edwards. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Kerr, in turn, praised the county’s employees for their dedication and work ethic.

“All of the things that have been done would not have happened if not for all of y’all,” he said to the dozens of employees at the reception.

Kerr said his goal upon taking the county manager position six years ago was to work with the county employees, not to have them work for him.

“I’ve tried every way possible to make sure you knew you were a priority,” he said.

Kerr said an enjoyable aspect of the county manager position has been the fact that every day was different. And he always tried to find humor, even in stressful situations.

“I always figured I might as well have a good time while I’m here,” he said, “because I’m going to be here all day.”

He said he was certain the employees would continue to support Chairman Marcello Banes as the new year begins without a county manager in place, acknowledging that there will likely be a “rocky start” to the year.

“I really have enjoyed working with all of you. It’s been a heck of a good time … and it really touches my heart that all of y’all are here today.”

Banes presented Kerr with a Bicentennial Award, recognizing that Kerr came on board shortly after the county changed to a county manager form of government.

“He is someone who changed our government in his role, so I thought it was appropriate that he receive that award for all the work he’s done and for making the change’s he’s made in our community,” said Banes.


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