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Stone Mountain City Council extends contract for accounting services

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Stone Mountain City Council extends contract for accounting services

City of Stone Mountain seal on the historic railroad depot. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Jaedon Mason, contributor

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council at its June 20 meeting voted to extend the contract with Business Central Services LLC for accounting services through the end of the year. 

The contract will cost the city $52,560 and last through Dec. 31, 2023. Discussion around this issue was tense, as there have been no financial reports since April 2022, but City Manager Darnetta Tyus said extending this contract was necessary for resolving this problem. 

According to the city manager, the city is currently in the process of integrating new software into the city’s accounting process, as well as compiling financial reports for the council in advance of the millage rate discussions set to take place over the next few weeks. 

In other city council business:

– The city attorney announced he is continuing the investigation into the legal status of the flagpole at the city cemetery that’s been used to fly flags honoring soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. 

It appears the city is proceeding cautiously, as the Sons of Confederate Veterans previously sued the city for the removal of a flagpole in the same area. While the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied claims of a violation of First Amendment rights, upholding the city’s ordinances that banned private flag poles in the cemetery as constitutional, the court found the city proceeded too quickly with the removal and ordered damages be paid to the Sons of Confederate Veterans on those grounds. 

As far as evidence of an agreement with the city supporting the legal standing of the flag, the city attorney expects to present his full findings at the next city council meeting. 

– The council recognized the successful Juneteenth event this past weekend on Saturday, June 17. City Manager Tyus cited the “mayor’s incredible talent for managing the weather,” in addition to giving commendations for bringing in more than 50 vendors from all parts of Georgia. 

Mayor Beverly Jones said, “We are in the spotlight and this weekend showed that all kinds of people want to come to this town to have a good time and that’s because of you all. It was you all that came and made Juneteenth special, and I thank you.” 

– The city council held public hearings for a Special Use Permit for an auto dealership and an appeal of the Historic Preservation Commission’s denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Brenda Hunt is applying for a variance for her existing window tinting business to be used as an auto dealership. The dealership would store up to 18 vehicles, and perform handwashing of cars, minor mechanic repairs, and inspections. City staff and the planning commission recommended that the request be denied as it is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.

The plan states that “auto-oriented uses may remain, but future development should focus on building and site aesthetics.”

The applicant was not present, there was no public comment or discussion by the council and no action was taken.

Ginger Criswell is appealing the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to reject her application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install “ball and spindle” trim on her property.

According to the HPC, this trim is Victorian, and doesn’t fit with the character of Criswell’s home as a later style  “Craftsman Bungalow.” 

Adding “Ball and spindle” trim, a Victorian embellishment, to a house outside this era is against city code. 

Criswell said her house is in the transitional style, having elements of both architectural styles, citing the lack of a firm date for when her house was built, thereby not belonging definitively to an era. She also disputes the city’s jurisdiction in the matter, as her house hasn’t been deemed historically relevant until now. Criswell gave a brief presentation of her case and there was no discussion or action taken.

– The Downtown Development Authority announced the start of creating a new mural at Outrun Brewery working with artist Sonny Franks 

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