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October 15th Council Recap!

Happy Hump Day Y'all! Last night was a long night, needed that extra strong coffee this morning. We had 3 meetings last night and the Mayor was out sick, so I ran the meetings and spoke A LOT! Let's get into it and I apologize in advance for the long post.

Public Hearing: The second public hearing was held on the changing of "Venable Street" to "Eva Mamie Lane". Two pioneering women who had and still have an huge impact on our community. Champion Newspaper had a great article on them the other day:

The comments again were positive and in favor of the name change. I will say the only negative comment received was on how long it was taking to make the change. To that I respond, government action takes time and for good reason. There is a process that we must follow, especially on items such as this one, and having the required public hearings so that we can hear from the public is crucial to the City Council being effective.

Special Called Meeting:

Council approved the employee benefit plan, this includes the City paying 100% of the employee premium if they choose the base plan, and paying for their dental plan. There will be a second plan they can opt into for a higher premium and the employee will be responsible for the difference. The employee will also be responsible for their family members premiums on either plan. The city will also reimburse some cost for co-pays to help the employees offset their costs.

Council approved the appointment of our new City Clerk, Mrs. Mallory Minor. We are excited to be bringing her on board, her first day will be October 29th. Welcome to the Village Mrs. Minor!

The Council also approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 budget. This included the increased revenue of $233,499. You will recall that in July the Council voted to reduce the millage rate to 21 mills, however, because the County property assessments had increased it equated to increase in tax revenue received by the City. That increased amount is the $233,499. Some in the community have stated that the City raised taxes by 40% as you can see that is not the case, the reality is that this is roughly 8.8%.

Work Session:

A presentation was given to the Council from Pond Company, the engineering/planning firm selected by the DDA to develop a Downtown Master Plan. In a joint strategic planning session in January 2019, the Council and DDA set specific objectives for the DDA to work on, those are a Downtown Master Plan, a Marketing Plan, apply for the Rural Zone tax credit, and follow through with ongoing projects. The Master Plan is slated to be completed in the late summer of 2020 which will allow the City to apply for the rural zone tax credits in the fall of 2020. There will be public involvement meetings throughout the planning process. Please stayed to tuned for more information as this moves forward.

Public Works Director reported that bids had been received to repave Lucille Street and Pepperwood Lane. He is in the process of confirming the bids and checking references of the contractors. The City will inform us when the construction is set to begin.

Tourism Manager Cumbie presented on the Visitor Center and reminded us of the upcoming Trunk or Treat to be held on October 29th. Hope to see you all there!

Unfinished Business:

Hearthstone - the City Attorney is in communication with the attorney's for the subdivision and negotiating on the percentage of rental property allowed. Manager Thornton met with the builder to bring him up to speed on what was happening.

Extension of Sidewalk to Stone Mountain Park West Gate - Mrs. Becky Kelley from the Stone Mountain Memorial Association was in attendance and stated the park is looking forward to working with the city on this issue. They are willing to split the cost 50% on any level of work the City proposes. The City Manager will provide Council with potential funding sources to pay 50% of the cost for engineering and construction of the sidewalk extension and drainage improvements. This would exclude any improvements to the park entrance. The estimate total cost for those 2 items is $77,000, making the City's proposed portion $38,500. I suspect discussion on this will continue. Additionally, there is a discrepancy in the City boundary line from the latest survey conducted during the design of the E. Mtn Street Sidewalks and the boundary shown on the County parcel map. We will need to find a resolution to the discrepancy.

New Business:

An application has been received for 729 Pepperwood Trail for a Special Use Permit for a Vacation Home Facility. The application will be heard by planning and zoning on Monday, October 21st at 6:30pm.

A lease agreement for 2 additional police vehicles was reviewed. The lease is from Georgia Municipal Association in the amount of $104,291.30 for a 4-year term. This is typical for all the vehicles we lease.

2020 Mardi Gras Parade - the group met with the DDA at the suggestion of Manager Thornton and are working with the DDA to fall under them, similar to the way the Tunes by the Tacks Event is contracted. The proposed event would be held on February 22, 2020.

The Public Hearing for the FY2020 Budget will be held on November 19th, Council will be formally presented the budget on November 7th and are scheduled to vote on it at the December 3rd meeting.

City Manager Thornton presented to recommended additions to the personnel policy, adding a fraternization policy, and anti-harassment policy. Current policy only speaks to sexual harassment, the new policy will offer more comprehensive protection to employees.

New Ordinances and Resolutions:

Ordinance 2019-09 to approve the request to annex 5 parcels on Park Circle into the City. These properties have petitioned the city to be included and we have been working through the process with the County, which presented no objection to the annexation.

Ordinance 2019-10 to amend the Busking and Street performance ordinance by making the license obtained by business owners an annual license and to adjust the requirement for the city to obtain the contact information of the performers, the recommendation is that the business owners will retain that information.

Resolution 2019-26 to set the fee for the busking permit at $40.

Ordinance 2019-11 To amend Chapter 24 - Solid Waste. When we began using DeKalb County for trash collection we adopted the County's ordinance, this amendment will clarify some of the language and include the City of Stone Mountain.

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