Commission to discuss Intown Ace purchases, Decatur Heights speed limits

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 15, 2016
Decatur City Hall.

Decatur City Hall.

The Decatur City Commission will consider authorizing the city’s practice of buying supplies from a company co-owned by a City Commissioner.

Commissioners will also consider setting a 25 miles per hour speed limit on roads in the Decatur Heights neighborhood.

The meeting is on Feb. 16 and begins with a work session at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.


A memo written by City Manager Peggy Merriss attached to the Feb. 16 agenda says the city routinely purchases supplies from Intown Ace Hardware, a business co-owned by newly-elected City Commissioner Tony Powers. The commissioner tells Decaturish he will recuse himself from a discussion and a vote on authorizing city staff to continue making purchases from Intown Ace Hardware.

“The City of Decatur has purchased maintenance items from Intown Ace Hardware on a continuing regular basis for a number of years,” Merris wrote. “With the closure of Smith Ace Hardware on East College Avenue, Intown Ace is the most convenient location for the purchase of as-needed items such as miscellaneous hardware, wheat and pine straw, and paint. The only feasible alternative for these types of routine purchases is the Home Depot on Lawrenceville Highway, approximately 2 miles outside the City limits. The total amount spent by the City of Decatur at Intown Ace for calendar year 2014 was approximately $10,000 and for 2015 was approximately $17,000.”

The memo says that the city asked its attorney if that relationship could continue now that Powers is serving on the City Commission.

“Commissioner Tony Powers is a part-owner of Intown Ace Hardware and the city would not normally conduct business with a business owned by a city commissioner,” Merriss wrote. “However, in light of the following factors, the city attorney has opined that continuing this purchasing relationship with Intown Ace does not violate either the letter or spirit of the ethics ordinance or the city charter [because]: (1) the city had a pre-existing purchasing relationship with this store prior to Commissioner Power’s election; (2) the total amount of purchases made by the City at Intown Ace Hardware appears to be de minimus in comparison to the store’s overall sales; and, (3) there would be additional costs of inconvenience, time and equipment usage to purchase as-needed items at the next nearest hardware-type store; therefore, not serving the best financial interest of the taxpayers of the city of Decatur.”

Merriss writes in the memo that an authorization by the City Commission is not required. “However, out of abundance of caution and in full disclosure to the public, I am bringing this matter to your attention and recommending that the City Commission expressly authorize city staff to continue to purchase miscellaneous tools, maintenance items and supplies at Intown Ace Hardware.”

The ordinance on speed limits for roads in the Decatur Heights neighborhood would set a limit of 25 miles per hour for Lockwood Terrace from Grove Street to  the end of the street, Ridgeland Avenue from Sycamore Drive to the end of the street and Sycamore Drive from East Ponce de Leon Avenue to .12 miles north of Forkner Drive.

“Once designated as a Residential District Speed Zone and added to the approved Georgia Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety list of roadways and, enumerated as an off-system (local) street, law enforcement can ticket for exceeding the speed limit by one mile per hour,” the memo attached to the ordinance says. “If approved, the required signage designating the residential speed zone will be installed by the Public Works Department before enforcement begins.”

The Decatur Heights neighborhood is part of a pilot project to reduce speed limits throughout the city.


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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