Cheers! I hope everyone had a happy, safe and blessed Holiday Season!! As we welcome in 2021, I wanted to take a look back at the top actions taken by City Council in 2020! Of course, these are the top actions in my opinion and they are outside of the everyday budget and ordinance amendments.
Shelter in Place Order: March 28, 2020 Council approved the first shelter in place order due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We did so in conjunction with the DeKalb County order and before the State took action.
COVID-19 Relief: November 5, 2020 Council approved the Mortgage, Rent, and Utility assistance program to be administered by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Georgia. Funding of $150K was set aside for the program and residents of the City are eligible. For more information on how to apply click here, or call (678) 892-6163. The Council is working on approving a program for small businesses, it has been discussed and contracts are being reviewed. Approval should be given in the next few weeks.
March for Social Justice: On June 10, 2020 Council approved my request for a parade permit to hold a Peaceful March in Support of Social Justice. This year brought to the forefront the ongoing racial issues within our Country. This March, held June 20th, was the first time the City has supported any effort to speak on the inequalities that have plagued our nation for years. It was well attended, people were distanced and wore their masks.
Recognizing Juneteenth as a City Holiday: On July 7, 2020 Councilwoman Little requested that the Juneteenth Holiday be officially recognized by the City. Her request was approved. For many years the African American community has celebrated Juneteenth or June 19th in commemoration of the day in which the last of the slaves in Texas learned of their freedom on June 19, 2865. This was almost two and a half years after slavery was abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation. I look forward to working with Councilwoman Little to organize a celebration in 2021.
Downtown Master Plan: After much discussion, a year of work, months of community input and a second vote; Council Approved the Downtown Master Plan on October 6, 2020. This plan's focus was on the downtown business district and sets forth a plan and a vision for successful growth. To read the plan click here.
Rural Zone Designation: The development of the Master Plan included an application to the Department of Community Affairs for the Rural Zone Designation. On October 7, 2020 the City was informed that we had received the coveted designation. This is a 5 year designation that includes job tax credits for businesses, investment credits and rehabilitation credits. Look for more information to be rolling out on this soon.
Resolution requesting a Museum on the Atrocities of Slavery: This item is a little different, this is probably the most important resolution that Council DID NOT APPROVE! For months we discussed this resolution which called on Stone Mountain Park to build a museum on the atrocities of slavery. The language was fraught, the overall concept could not be agreed upon. The motion to withdraw the resolution was the most heartfelt approval given by Council all year! There is no way we, as a City, can boil down the complexity of racism and social injustice in this Country by passing one resolution and asking someone else to take action. I was proud of my council for agreeing that this was not the best course of action.
2020 brought much adversity, diversity, grit and grace to our Community. Through it all I am proud of the ways we have all been able to pivot and continue to thrive despite it all! Here's to an even better 2021! Stay safe, six feet apart and WEAR A MASK!! The sooner we can get the spread to slow the sooner we get back to a more normal day to day!
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.