Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone had a good weekend and is staying safe and healthy! I failed to post a recap of the special called meeting last week, so I will do that today plus the regular meeting from last night. Let's go...
Special Called Meeting - June 30, 2020
Ordinance 2020-07 To Set the Rate for Ad Valorem Property Taxation for 2020 was approved with a millage rate of 20.00 mils. This is a 1 mil reduction from 2019. There was much discussion on the millage rate in the City. Many try to compare millage rates between the cities. This is not a fair way to assess the amount of taxes being paid by residents. For instance Decatur may have a lower millage rate but their average property value is much higher than the average property value in Stone Mountain. Therefore even though their rate may be smaller they could actually be paying more in taxes. At 20.00 mils the city will collect a total of $101,800 in additional tax revenue, making the total amount estimated to be received from Ad Valorem taxation $2,430,962. This number would decrease if more residents are unable to pay their property taxes or appeal their evaluations with the County. The ordinance was approved 4-2 with one voting no because they wanted to see a lower rate and one voting no because they didn't want to reduce the rate.
A first read was held on Ordinance 2020-06 to amend Appendix A Zoning and Ordinance 2020-08 to amend Chapter 2 administration. Both ordinances deal with changing the way in which the planning and zoning commission is formed. Ordinance 2020-08 is a revision to the ordinance approved in June for the formation of the commission by adding that 2 of the 7 members can be community stakeholders. The previously adopted version stated that all members had to be residents of the City.
Resolution 2020-11 to extend the term of the interim planning and zoning committee members was adopted. This extended the current interim members on the committee until September 1st or the appointment of the new member based on the formation set forth in the previously mentioned ordinance.
Regular Council Meeting July 7, 2020
A. Council member Little brought forth a request for the City to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday and day of celebration within the City. Motion was approved. For those who may be unaware, Juneteenth represents June 19, 1865 the day in which the last slaves in Texas learned of their freedom from slavery, almost 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The day has been celebrated by many communities across the nations for decades.
B. Contract addendum between the City and Project Transformation North Georgia, Inc. was denied in lieu of the City writing a letter of support for the additional services proposed by the organization to support the citizens of Stone Mountain. Project Transformation has applied for a grant with the County to be able to provide relief to those facing hardships due to COVID-19. It was determined the letter of support was sufficient and the addendum was not necessary.
C. Council member Bryant brought forth a request for the City to provide cell phones for all council members. Motion was approved 5-1. I voted against the request due to the budgetary restraints we are currently facing and the many comments we have received from citizens asking us what we are doing to reduce expenditures. City Manager did state that the phones would be paid for by reallocating the money that would have been spent on the annual convention that was cancelled due to the pandemic. Council members can choose not to receive a city provided/funded phone.
D. Request for Street Closure - Manor Drive between 2nd and 3rd Street, July 29th 4-8pm. The request was made by Sweet Potato Cafe and was approved. This will allow the restaurant to extend their outside dining for an annual dinner they hold in conjunction with a local farm. This does not allow them to extend their alcohol sales into the closed road. Additional measures will need to be worked out for that to occur.
New Ordinances and Resolutions
A. Ordinance 2020-06 To Amend Appendix a Zoning. A public hearing was held on this item immediately before the regular meeting. No comments were received.This was the second read for the ordinance and it was approved.
B. Ordinance 2020-08 to amend Chapter 2 Administration was approved. This was the second read.
Disclaimer: This City Council Recap is taken from my personal notes and memories of the meeting. For the official minutes of the meetings please visit the City web page.