City to join criminal justice innovation program
by Celia Shortt
The Newnan City Council is applying for the city to join the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, in light of the recent rash of shootings.
“The adoption of this resolution is a step in acquiring funding for seeking a long-term solution to the issue of the mindless shootings that recently occurred in communities of Newnan,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady at Tuesday afternoon’s city council meeting. “I know that it is the hope of the peace-loving people who live in the affected neighborhoods that a solution be sought that will address the culture of violence and lack of respect for human life that currently exists.” Within the last week-and-a-half in Newnan, four shootings took place, three of which were within a block of each other and fatal. Other shooting incidents happened north of Newnan on Howard Hughes Road and in the eastern Coweta city of Senoia.
BCJIP is part of President Obama’s administration’s larger national Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative’s efforts to help local and tribal communities develop place-based, community-oriented strategies to change neighborhoods of distress into neighborhoods of opportunity.
The city council’s resolution states its support for Newnan’s application to be a part of BCJIP, as well as its further possible partnership with the State of Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which will assist with application and implementation of the program.
Brady praised Newnan City Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Cynthia Jenkins for being “instrumental” in facilitating meetings during the week between city officials and community members to address short-term solutions. He also recognized the Newnan Police Department officials for its work.
“Enough can’t be said about our police officers,” he said. “They have professionalism… in handling these situations.”
“Our hearts and thoughts go out not only to members of the community, but to the victims as well,” he added. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, city council:
• Approved a change order for the connector road at the under-construction new public safety complex in the amount of $169,350. This change order encompasses items that were unforeseen and not part of the original budget or plan. Some of those items include removing and disposing of existing building foundations, removing trees, and sewer system needs.
The money for this change order will come from the 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
• Approved a second change order for the public safety complex. This one is for a $5,881 credit to go back to the city for a reduction in some of the items needed for the project. This amount will be tracked within the guaranteed maximum price documents for the city.
• Approved two contracts for audio/visual and cabling for the new public safety complex. The first contract is for $92,060.05 with Net Planner Systems and the other is with Technical Serv Audio Visual for cabling in the amount of $191,914.30.
According to Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips, the city decided to search for audio/visual bids outside of the contractor. He estimates these bids are 25 percent below what they would have been with the contractor.
• Approved the phase II processes for the new University of West Georgia satellite campus at the site of the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street.
• Recognized two Newnan Police Department officers who were promoted. Sergeant Mark Cooper was promoted to lieutenant, and Officer David Schrepfer was promoted to sergeant.
• Approved reconsidering the council’s recent decision with the property on Cole Street at their April 22 meeting. At the March 25 meeting, the council failed to pass a resolution paying for the damage done to Anthony Johnson’s roof by a tree in the city right-of-way during the Feb. 12 winter storm.
In response to the failure to pass, Johnson said he planned to sue the city.