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McDonough Council signs off on filming agreement

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

McDONOUGH — The McDonough City Council has agreed to allow Tyler Perry Studios to film scenes of an upcoming Christmas movie in downtown McDonough later this month.

The council authorized Mayor Billy Copeland to execute the agreement during a meeting Thursday.

The city’s Business Development Director, Adam Causey, said the film crew will shoot scenes at the McDonough Welcome Center Jan. 21.

“They are excited about being able shoot on the Square,” said Causey. “It will definitely impact activity at the Welcome Center that day.”

Councilwoman-At-Large Gail Notti said she wants the film-permitting process for the city streamlined in order to attract more movie companies to McDonough.

“That is what ends up making us desirable,” she said.

Copeland also announced that an appeal on the value of property at 50 Lawrenceville St. has been withdrawn. The property was previously valued at nearly $1.4 million.

Copeland did not reveal details about the case but said he will give a “detailed statement” on the matter Jan. 22.

The council, as the McDonough Governmental Finance Corporation, received an update from City Administrator Frederick Gardiner on financing for Alexander Park for 2012. Gardiner said as of Dec. 31, the remaining principal on improvements at the park was more than $1.3 million, with 35 monthly payments of nearly $37,000 left until the final payment is made in December 2015.

Gardiner said SPLOST II funds are depleted, with a remaining balance of less than $14,000 and suggested that payments this year be made from SPLOST III excess fund collections.

City leaders previously approved the Bron Cleveland and Associates engineering firm to design and build walking trails at the park, with work to begin this year. SPLOST bonded funds totaling more than $819,000 will be used for the project, said Gardiner.

“Our goal is to get this off the books and completed, hopefully, by next year,” said Gardiner.

In other action during the meeting, District I Councilman Rufus Stewart was named mayor pro tem for the second straight year.

Stewart expressed his appreciation for the council’s confidence in him.

“I will continue to the best of my knowledge to represent this great city,” he said.

Copeland told Stewart he has done a good job in presiding over Council meetings in his absence.

“We’re thrilled for you and appreciate your service to the citizens of McDonough,” said Copeland.

The council also appointed residents to serve on McDonough’s Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Historic Preservation Commission.

Those named to the Planning Commission are Eddie Elliott, Alan Shackleford, John King, Bill Fort, Patti Doe, Stanley Head and Michele Wiggins.

Individuals appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals include Melvin Pullin, Larry Peeke, Terry O’Quinn, Jerry Hayes, Samuel Humphrey and Rosemary O’Toole. District 4 Councilwoman Kamali Varner will appoint a seventh member to the board at a later date.

The council appointed Jean Bell, Jean Hanger, Jim Sease, Angelic Muhammad, Linda McDaniel, Nakita Rainer and Idalia Johnson to the Historic Preservation Commission.

In other action, Council members approved the sale of a 1998 Ford F-150 truck and a high-service pump as surplus items from the city’s water treatment plant through the www.govdeals.com website.

They ratified an indemnification agreement with the owner of the parking lot used for Monday’s Geranium Drop event and met in executive session for personnel matters.