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Stone Mountain City Council will discuss giving itself a raise, but some residents oppose it

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Stone Mountain City Council will discuss giving itself a raise, but some residents oppose it

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

By Jaedon Mason, contributor

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain Mayor and City council will meet on Aug. 15 and will discuss giving the city’s elected officials a raise.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15, and will be held in person at city hall, located at 875 Main Street. 

This will be the second reading of an amendment to Ordinance 2023-12 Chapter 2 Article II Section 2-31 which is the section regarding the compensation of the mayor and city council.

Under the proposal the mayor’s pay would be raised from $1,000 monthly to $2,000 monthly and the councilmember’s pay would be raised from $300 monthly to $1,000 monthly. Stone Mountain has a population of 6,614 people.

In response to the proposed amendment, several citizens have reached out to Decaturish voicing their opposition to the proposed raise, citing the Georgia Department of Community Affairs 2022 Municipal wage survey. Opponents of the raise say it’s out of line with what is standard for similarly sized cities.

Looking at the data from the local government finance and wage surveys, conclusions from direct comparisons are difficult to draw, as a number of the cities similar in population size aren’t located in similar proximity to Atlanta and are thus less affected by the higher cost of living that entails. While at the same time, many cities with similar proximity have much larger populations, and or generate more revenue funds to pull from, making higher salaries less of a cost burden.  

For example, as many citizens pointed out, Stone Mountain’s total revenue for 2021 for the was $6,975,795. Austell, a city similar in population size and proximity to Atlanta, pays their mayor and city council $3,016 dollars and $1,200 dollars monthly, but they draw from a total revenue of $13,638,265 according to the Georgia DCA reports.

Hapeville (another city that shares these similarities) pays its mayor and city council $700 and $650 monthly, from a total revenue of $23,621,296. 

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 

Numerous emails in opposition to the raise have been sent to the city council and forwarded to Decaturish.

“I have no problem with a raise, I just want it to be in line with like cities and job performance. Council members should have done the research that the citizens are doing and come to the table with a reasonable raise request.” says resident Denise Phillips. “Had council come to the table with a reasonable ask, and the citizens were seeing revitalization of our city because of council’s actions, then this would be a non issue. [But] our Main Street, for the most part, is abandoned [and] we are at least 10 years behind other cities around us in revitalization.”

Also on the agenda are two public hearings about permits: one to allow for a personal care home to house three patients for St. Mary’s Independent Living Extensions Inc at Nancy Knight, 5230 Central Drive and the other to allow for an owner occupied rental property at 5252 Manor Drive.

These hearings will be in addition to a financial report from the city, Recommendations for the use of SPLOST II funds, a Rockborough Subdivision sinkholes status update, and a proposal from Village Forward Inc. for landscape management between Manor Drive and East/West Mountain Street.

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