At Mableton’s first city council meeting Thursday night, Mayor Michael Owens and the council adopted the city charter and officially began the transition process of building the city government from the ground up.
“We don’t have a bank account. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Councilman TJ Ferguson. “Give us a little patience. ... We’re working to make this thing happen.”
The council appointed an interim city clerk, Susan Hiott; an interim city attorney, Emilia Walker-Ashby; and an interim financial consultant, Frank Milazi. Because the city is not yet taking in funds, these initial employees have agreed to defer salary until the city has revenue to pay them, Owens said.
They also voted to name Ferguson the Mayor Pro-Tem, to fill in for the mayor when he is absent.
The first meeting was disjointed at moments as the council members — none of whom have held political office before — learned how to properly make motions and follow procedures. This was the first time ever that the entire council gathered and discussed city business.
“There is a learning curve,” said Councilwoman Patricia Auch of District 4.
It was also a new experience for many audience members, some of whom seemed confused about the process and voiced their “Aye” vote for agenda items along with the council. The room had standing room only as residents craned to see the new city’s first elected officials conduct business.
The city is officially incorporated June 1. In the meantime, the council can hold meetings, appoint interim positions and begin other preparations. There is a two-year transition period, during which Cobb County will continue providing all services until city officials are ready to take over.
Public speakers ranged from well-wishers to cityhood skeptics. One asked the council what the city would do for him, and another promised to keep an eye on council members.
“This is one citizen who plans to be at every single meeting where I am physically able ... to make certain that you’re on your job,” resident Corey Jiggetts said.
Owens said the Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, which owns the Riverside Epicenter, has agreed to allow them to hold initial meetings there for free until they find another location. Notification of future transitional council meetings will be distributed 48 hours in advance, he added.
The council will now be preparing to discuss city finances with its financial consultant, Cobb County, and the tax commissioner.
“We do not plan on having a separate millage rate for the city. We will not be imposing a city tax,” Owens said.
Who is the Mableton’s mayor and council?
Mayor: Michael Owens; District 1: Ron Davis; District 2: Dami Oladapo; District 3: Keisha Jeffcoat; District 4: Patricia Auch; District 5: TJ Ferguson (Mayor pro-tem); District 6: Debora Herndon.
What services will Mableton provide?
Proposed services include planning and zoning, code enforcement, sanitation and parks.