Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins has decided not to seek another term in office this year, concluding with 30 years of continuous service. Due to declining health, Jerkins has not been able to attend the last several City Council meetings - not since August 2018.
A new mayor will be elected on Nov. 5 with a Dec. 3 runoff if needed.
A businessman, Jerkins has served as both the mayor and the city manager at a combined reduced salary compared to other cities with a mayor and city manager, serving separately. Many of Jerkins’ achievements have included the city’s acquisition of the former Coats and Clark Threadmill, provision of both fire and police departments and downtown revitalization. Annual distribution of interest earned on the city’s $5 million Norfolk Southern railroad settlement with negotiations by Jerkins - when the Austell intermodal facility was constructed at U.S. 278 and 6000 Dr. Luke Glenn Garrett, Jr. Memorial Highway - has helped many in the city. A part of the $97,700 in interest from December, that funding included $2,500 for the Garrett Middle School truancy program formed by Jerkins to help meet basic needs of students and their families to encourage these students to stay in school.
As in other years, other funding went to Christmas bonuses for city employees, Austell area churches, Austell schools, Austell families in need and the upkeep of two city cemeteries.