The LaGrange City Council held their first meeting of the year Tuesday, January 9th. The first meeting of the year is known as the “Organizational Meeting”. There are always new appointments, position renewals, and other formalities that must take place at the beginning of the year. New this year, however, were two new councilmen, ready to be sworn in for their first meeting.
With Councilwoman Norma Tucker and Councilman Nick Woodson retiring from their positions on the City Council, Tuesday night was their last meeting as Nathan Gaskin and Jim Arrington took their places. The evening began with some words from Tucker and Woodson to the upcoming councilmen. Tucker, who was retiring after 12 years of service, addressed the new councilmembers, “I wish you the very best. The biggest thing I ask is just, talk to the people, be with the people, and be for the people. Always.” Woodson had some wise words as well. He implored the new councilmen to always return phone calls from concerned citizens. Woodson advised, “Always be responsive. Every problem is a problem to someone.” Leaving Arrington and Gaskin with these well wishes, Norma Tucker and Nick Woodson took their nameplates and stepped down from the stage one last time.
After Woodson and Tucker stepped down, the swearing- in ceremony was ready to commence. Mayor Thornton was sworn in for his second term, Dr. Tom Gore was sworn in for his second consecutive (but fourth altogether) term as a member of the council, and then it was time for the new members to be sworn in. The Councilmember’s oath is as follows, “I do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform the duties of councilman for the City of LaGrange to the best of my skills and ability, and as to me shall seem to be in the best interest of and welfare of the city, without fear, favor, or affection so help me God.” After Jim Arrington and Nathan Gaskin were sworn in, they took their places on the stage and received their nameplates.
After the swearing-in ceremony was complete, it was time to start the meeting. There were several items to be discussed that evening, including the formality appointments that are required at the beginning of each year. Carolyn Hammid was reappointed to the Community Action for Improvement Board, Sam Mitchell was reappointed to the Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals, Luther Jones was reappointed to La-Grange Troup County Memorial Park Board, James Baker was reappointed to Municipal Court Judge, Dr. Tom Gore took Nick Woodson’s seat on the Records Committee, Carrie Hightower was reappointed to Troup County Board of Health, Nathan GaskintookNormaTucker’s seat on the Troup County FEMA Board, Ricky Wolfe was reappointed to the La-Grange Development Authority, Richard Freeman was reappointed to the La-Grange Memorial Library Board, and the Mayor, Council, and City Manager were reappointed to the LaGrange Governmental Financial Corporation and to the Solid Waste Management Authority. Councilman Mc-Camey was also named Mayor Pro-Tem, who substitutes for Mayor Thornton when he is unable to perform his mayoral duties, for 2018.
Another item on the agenda was a variance for Great Wolf Lodge’s signage. As the new structure is much larger than most in LaGrange, their signs are much larger to match the proportion. This item will have a public hearing set for February 13th. The Georgia Department of Transportation also required the City to alter the speed limits on certain streets to continue using radar detection on those streets. This was a second reading, meaning it was up for vote. The Council was advised to approve this ordinance and voted unanimously in its favor.
The public hearing for the Special Permit use for 99 Johnson Street will be discussed on another page.