October 20th Council Recap
So, I am a week behind!! My apologies. We had a Public Hearing before the Work Session. This was our first Work Session with Mayor/Council/Staff in the building and the public attending virtually. Not sure I like the format but it's 2020 so what can you do?
Application for Variance on 787 Fourth Street for deviation from Appendix A Zoning, Section 5-4.5 (a) District Development Regulations. Applicant is asking for a variance to increase the width of their driveway and to place a shed and a gazebo within the rear yard setback. Comments were received in favor of and against the application. Council will vote on the item at the November 5th meeting.
A. Nomination by the Mayor - Historic Preservation Commission Members. Council is to have their short list to the City Clerk by the close of business on Monday November 2nd.
B. Nomination by the Mayor - Planning Commission Members. Council is to have their short list to the City Clerk by the close of business on Monday November 2nd.
A. COVID Relief Programming - Discussion was had on establishing COVID Relief programs for the City. City Manager Thornton informed the Council about the ability to join the St. Vincent De Paul mortgage/rent/utility relief program. We would allocate a set amount of money and pay a 10% administration fee for them to administer the program for residents. Additionally discussion was had on modeling a small business relief program similar to the one Decatur has established. Discussions will continue and hopefully the programs will be in place in November. The programs will be funded through the CARES Act funding the City received in September. As the programs are finalized the City will publish and announce the details.
B. Administrative Proposal for Reorganization of Positions for the City of Stone Mountain Police Department. PSA Thomas Brown briefed the Council on the proposed organizational changes that would include creating a second Lieutenant position. One LT position would be operations and manage patrol and the other LT position would be over training and accreditation. This would allow for more balance in the department and room for growth for our officers.
C. GMA Intergovernmental Coordinator Michael McPherson gave a brief Governmental Relations update. He stressed the importance of Mayor/Council building relationships with State Legislators. He also touched on GMA's equity and Inclusion Tool Kit. https://www.gacities.com/Trending-Topics/Equity-and-Inclusion.aspx
D. Development of Interactive Zoning Map. City Manager Thornton briefed Council on the importance of having an up to date and digital zoning map. Currently we only have a paper map that hangs in City Hall. It is estimated that the map will cost about $25,000 but will help us keep up to date with zoning changes that have been made.
E. City of Stone Mountain Traffic Calming Plan. Director Tavenner briefed the council on the traffic calming plan. Previously we were a part of DeKalb County's traffic calming plan, however, the latest service delivery agreement eliminated the County providing that service to the City. The plan discussed would be similar to the County plan but would be administered solely through the City. It would still include a petition process from residents wanting traffic calming devices, a traffic study of the area and they would then have to share in the cost of those devices.
F. Outstanding Stormwater Issues. Director Tavenner briefed Council on the multiple outstanding stormwater projects that need to be addressed within the City. Our stormwater system is aging and will continue to fail until we prioritize and find the funding needed to do the replacement projects. There is roughly $2.5 million in outstanding projects and the stormwater fee/fund does not generate enough to cover the expenses. The City will need to consider bonds, grants, loans, etc. to fund the projects.
G. Council Policy Discussion Topics. Council received an update from City Attorney Strickland on changes to the code to address Graffiti and defacement of property; updates to alcohol ordinances (including the percentage of food sales required by restaurants who have liquor licenses) and reviewing the parking ordinance to help address some of the parking issues occurring due to people walking into the Park.
H. Application for Variance on 787 Fourth Street for deviation from Appendix A Zoning, Section 5-4.5 (a) District Development Regulations. Applicant is asking for a variance to increase the width of their driveway and to place a shed and a gazebo within the rear yard setback. Council discussed the application and comments that were made during the public hearing. Of greatest consideration when deciding a variance application is if the applicant has a hardship as defined in the code. Council will vote on the item at the November 5th meeting.
New Ordinances and Resolutions
A. Ordinance 2020-23 To Amend Chapter 28 Storm Water Utility. First read of the ordinance change was made. The changes will ensure that our ordinance is up to date and in accordance to the State Regulations.
B. Resolution 2020-21 A Request to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to Establish a Museum on the Atrocities of Slavery. We have been discussing this idea for a few months. In general I am not opposed to the idea of making the request. However, the language in the resolution leaves a lot to be desired and I personally am against it. Additionally, it does not mention slavery or slaves in the resolution. I have requested that the City also take some steps to address the fact that the 1860 Slave Census does show that there were slaves within the City Limits. I do not see how we request the Park to address the issue when we are not addressing it as well. See the original language of the proposed resolution below. Councilmember Hollis has developed alternative language, and I have also developed alternative language.
Resolution 2020-23 FY2020 Budget Resolution. Big items on the resolution include revenue from 2020 property taxes is less about $80K less than anticipated. Municipal fees are also down due to the COVID shut down about $187K shortfall. Decreases in other departments and interfund transfers will continue to balance the budget.
Executive session to discuss personnel was held. No action was taken from the discussion.
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.