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Council praises emergency response
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Conyers City Council tonight praised the city's storm response, the planning department's high rating from an insurance analyst, and more than 20 employees for reliable service.

"Y'all did an incredible job keeping the roads safe during the snowstorm," said Mayor Randy Mills to Brad Sutton, the city's Public Works chief. Mills described how Public Works crews hand-shoveled sand during the Jan. 28 snowstorm when a piece of equipment broke down.

Chief Operating Officer David Spann announced that the planning department, led by Marvin Flanigan, scored higher than the national average on most local building codes and enforcement in a recent in-depth review. That likely means lower insurance costs on newly constructed buildings in Conyers.

The review, which took months, was conducted by Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), an insurance industry analyst. The rankings only reflect how codes and enforcement affect insurance losses, according a Feb. 14 ISO letter announcing the department's success. ISO ranked the codes well above state and county averages as well.

In other council business:

-Tanya Bechtler of the Yellow River Water Trail gave a presentation on her group's efforts to improve recreational access to the river, including through a better access spot with a kiosk within the Georgia International Horse Park. Bechtler's group is not seeking any city funding, just cooperation and approval. She did remind the council that a longstanding master plan calls for a multi-use land path and better river access in the Horse Park.

"We'll put this back on the front burner," said Mills.

-The council approved a beer and wine license for Neighborhood Food Mart, 1353 Klondike Road (applicant Nizar Punjani). It also approved a beer, wine and liquor consumption on premises license for Hawthorn Suites at 1659 Centennial Olympic Parkway (applicant Susan Danielle Rae, Centennial Resorts LLC).

-Construction waste was added to the city's anti-litter ordinance. In another sanitation issue, local waste management companies agreed to stop late-night and early-morning Dumpster-emptying following resident complaints. The council will consider a possible ordinance to formally limit such pick-ups, too, though officials indicated that might be legally complicated.

-The council reappointed Barbara Dockett to the Conyers Main Street board; George Levett Jr. to the Conyers Downtown Development Authority; and four people to the Conyers Convention and Visitors Bureau: Jim Burnham, Vince Evans, Harriet Gattis and Darrell Holmes. Evans is also a councilman who was once again named "mayor pro tem," meaning he will serve as acting mayor if Mills is absent.