Snellville city council meetings always seem to take a strange turn and Monday night’s meeting was no exception. Everything went along smoothly until the last piece of business which was the approval of a contract to renovate the Towne Green.
Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Everyone agreed LAST YEAR that the Green needed some maintenance and improvements. The city asked for bids and when they got them, they were way too high and some people wondered if the work could be done in the time available. So the city decided to postpone the work and ask for new bids this year. Nobody had any objections.
And nobody had any objections Monday night until the floor was opened up for public comment and former mayor Jerry Oberholtzer came up to speak. From his tone and his body language it was obvious he wasn’t just against the contract. He had an axe to grind. He wasn’t just objecting. He was grandstanding. The way he spoke it sounded like a campaign speech. Oberholtzer isn’t running for anything, but judging by the way he spoke and the things he said, I’d say he’s acting like somebody’s campaign manager.
After Oberholtzer finished his comments, council member Barbara Bender replied and for the most part she pretty much said that Oberholtzer’s accusations were incorrect. City Manager Butch Sanders also spoke up and what he said poked a lot of holes in Oberholtzer’s claims. Council member Bobby Howard also made some points that made Oberholtzer’s claims doubtful.
Like I said, it was really strange. So strange, we decided to look at minutes and videos and media reports from last year. What we found makes us really question Oberholtzer’s motives. The improvements were talked about many times and no one ever came up with the slightest objections. Now all of a sudden Oberholtzer thinks these improvements are a terrible thing? Why didn’t he object to them a year ago when they were originally discussed? Why didn’t he have any complaints until it was right before an election? The answer seems obvious.
I’m no political expert. Not by a long shot. But it doesn’t take one to see something that has all the marks of a hidden agenda.
On a more pleasant note, the council unanimously approved resolutions about childhood cancer awareness and named the basketball courts at Briscoe Park after Amanda Riley, a young lady who lost her fight with cancer. Amanda’s parents Barbara and Steve Riley have done a great job raising awareness of childhood cancer and helping with their Amanda Riley Foundation. They were very happy to have the courts named after their daughter who loved playing basketball.
The council also unanimously approved Bill Kingsbury for a Planning Commission seat and approved council member Dave Emanuel to be the city’s representative on the Downtown Development Authority and the Urban Redevelopment Agency.
The next council meeting is September 28th. Hopefully it won’t be as strange but I’m guessing that’s wishful thinking. Election season is here.