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Leaky landfill leads more residents to sign up for Rockdale County water
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Seven Haynes Ridge Road properties are hooking up to county water service as a precaution against the leaky Miller Bottom Road landfill in a deal approved by Conyers City Council June 3.

Built in the 1970s and closed in 1993, the old city landfill is now leaking some contaminants, according to Conyers officials. Regular monitoring has never found the contaminants going beyond the landfill's property line, but many area residents who used private wells have switched to the county water system as a precaution. That optional move is funded in a 70-30 split between the county and city.

Conyers Public Works Director Brad Sutton told the council a year ago that residents on Haynes Ridge Road - the last local road without public water hook-ups - likely would be offered the service. That has now happened, and the seven property-owners to say yes will cost the county and city a total of $200,000 for the pipework and the capping of their wells.

Sutton told the News that there are no plans to decontaminate the landfill site, saying it will "clean itself up" by leaching out pollutants in small quantities over time. Sutton previously told the council that the site is regularly tested for contaminants by an engineering firm.

In other council business:

-The council held a hearing on its proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget, with a general fund of roughly $14.1 million. No one took the opportunity to speak or ask questions. The budget is up for approval at the June 17 council meeting. A full copy of the budget is available at City Hall, 1184 Scott St.

-The council approved a contract for AT&T to upgrade the city's 911 system in what city Chief Operating Officer David Spann called a "housekeeping" move.

-A 40-year-old Conyers police officer suffered a heart attack after a foot chase on Sunday and remains hospitalized, City Manager Tony Lucas informed the council. Sgt. Justin Lykins was stricken while driving the suspect to jail, Lucas said.

"He radioed and said, ‘I'm having a heart attack,'" Lucas told the News, adding that Lykins was able to get himself and the suspect safely to the jail.

Any residents wishing to offer get-well cards can send them care of the Conyers Police Department, 1194 Scott St., Conyers, 30012.

-Lucas said that WSB-TV was in town recently to film a story about one of Conyers' infamous unsolved murders. Ormelia Zackery was found beaten to death on June 1, 1986 behind what is now the Chamber of Commerce building. Lucas was a police officer at that time and was the first to respond to the scene. Lucas told the council that the police had a suspect who refused to answer questions about the case before dying while in jail for another crime.

"I've always hated that one," said Lucas of Zackery's killing.

-The council approved new alcohol holder licenses for new managers at the Jim N Nicks Bar-B-Q at 2275 Hwy. 20 and the Hawthorn Suites at 1659 Centennial Olympic Parkway.

-A real estate broker came to the council meeting to praise Marty Jones, executive director of the Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council, for his help in the recent sale of a notorious Ellington Drive property to Competition Clutch.

"It was a hard sale on my part, and I couldn't have gotten it done without the efforts of Marty," said broker Michael Penland of Powell Property Group, who represented Gwinnett Community Bank in the sale.

The strip of industrial buildings were known for poor conditions and crime, according to city officials. Competition Clutch, a maker of high-performance auto clutches, will move from its rented Blacklawn Road location into the new building, which it will own, and will rent space to other businesses as well.

Penland said the growing company had been courted by other communities and even by someone in Las Vegas. But with Jones's help, it chose to stay in Conyers. Jones was also present, and praised city officials and staff for their help in the negotiations.

-Mayor Randy Mills presented the 2014 Government Partner of the Year Award to Keep Conyers-Rockdale Beautiful. The presentation included an award made out of a plastic bottle flattened for recycling, a nod to the group's cleanup efforts.

-Several city employees were recognized for long service, including: Gilbert Herring (30 years) and Shane Blankenship (5 years) of Public Works and Transportation; Jennifer Edwards, the city's public relations and tourism director (15 years); Kelly Honea, director of the city's 911 call center (15 years); and Amanda Jackson (10 years) and Charles Bryant (5 years) of the Georgia International Horse Park.