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Stone Mountain City Council approves raise for elected officials; Baptist lawn property purchased

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Stone Mountain City Council approves raise for elected officials; Baptist lawn property purchased

City of Stone Mountain Municipal Building. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Jaedon Mason, contributor

Stone Mountain, GA — Stone Mountain city council voted to approve the controversial raises during a special called meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22.  

This formalizes a $1,000 raise for the mayor, and a $700 raise for the city council, bringing the total compensation for both positions up to $2000 monthly and $1000 monthly respectively.

The vote went down to a tiebreaker, with Councilmembers Chakira Johnson, Gina Stroud-Cox, and Theresa Crowe opposed. Councilmembers Shawnette Bryant, Gil Freeman, Clint Monroe, and Mayor Beverly Jones voting to pass the amendment. The mayor described her tie-breaking vote as a “hard decision,” explaining since compensation can only be changed in an election year, Tuesday’s vote was all or nothing. 

“I did all I could,” Mayor Jones said. 

There was no public comment because the vote was held during a special called meeting, but it was clear many in the public were opposed to the raise. When the council adjourned to executive session after the vote, the crowd began chastising members of the council as they left the room.

Members of the crowd singled out Councilmember Monroe, chanting, “Monroe must go.” 

Below is a table of some other notable DeKalb County municipalities and what they pay their Mayor and City council. All data is from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, specifically from the 2021 Report of Local Government Finances annual survey and the 2022 Municipal Wage and Salary Survey.

City  Population  Total Revenue  Mayor compensation monthly  Councilmember Compensation monthly 
Avondale Estates* 3,496 $6,560,033 $600 $400
Brookhaven* 55,366 $87,501,638 $1,333 $1,000
Chamblee* 29,781 $40,056,546 $1,250 $1,000
Clarkston 14,538 $12,237,984 $1,250 $1,000
Dunwoody 50,901 $45,032,980 $1,333 $1,000

*Indicates the municipality pays the mayor pro tem a distinct amount from the rest of the council 

In other news, the city unanimously approved the purchase of the Baptist lawn green space property near the intersection of West Mountain and Main streets. The city purchased the property from Stone Mountain First Baptist Church for $1.1 million. This same property was the subject of controversy earlier this year when a rezoning request to convert the property to single-family homes was rejected by the city council. 

Grace Kelly, a 20-year resident of the city, spoke to Decaturish about what she saw as a major win for the city. 

“It’s only been the last 10 years that no one has gotten to use it,” Kelly said, reflecting on her background growing up in the city. “In the summers, we have concerts and other big events, but we have to host them in the parking lot across from this open green space, which just doesn’t make sense.” 

Kelly also cited the park’s importance in aiding with stormwater management, another area of consistent concern for the city. 

“This is really, really huge,” Kelly said. “It’s going to bring revenue. It’s going to reinforce what our business owners want, and it’s just going to make our community much more rich by having a place to come together right in the heart of our town.” 

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