Stone Mountain getting $1.9 million in new COVID-19 relief

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

Stone Mountain, GA — More pandemic help is on the way as the COVID-19 relief bill signed into law last month will deliver $1.9 million to Stone Mountain, $3.9 million to Clarkston, $11.5 million to Tucker and $147.2 million to DeKalb County.

Meanwhile, local officials are busy digging through the restrictions in how the American Rescue Plan Act funds can be spent and what to spend them on.

Stone Mountain will receive its share of the money directly from the state, according to City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton.

“So DeKalb County will not serve as a pass-through for those funds like the CARES Act funds were,” she said at the Stone Mountain City Council’s monthly regular meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Patricia Wheeler and several council members supported forming a citizen advisory committee to help decide how to distribute the funds.

“It shouldn’t be a top-down approach, it should be from the ground up,” Councilmember Clint Monroe said.

Councilmember Diana Roe Hollis suggested that each member nominate a resident to serve with the committee.

“That way the whole city is covered and not just one area,” she said.

The DeKalb Municipal Association is meeting with local city managers on April 16 to provide more information about the relief funds’ legislative restrictions.

“Once we get all the information, we’ll begin looking at putting together a committee,” Wheeler said.

Miller-Thornton also gave an update on the city’s small business and non-profit relief program at Tuesday’s meeting. To date, some 35 applicants have been deemed eligible for $199,500 in grants. That includes 17 commercial businesses, 9 micro-businesses and 9 non-profits.

The city partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to administer the grant.

“We are expecting a report from LISC in the coming weeks and we will present their report to council,” Miller-Thornton said.

The council also voted to approve the final contract with the non-profit Faith Works in Action to provide tablets and internet access to 30 seniors in the city. The council voted 5 to 0 with one abstention to approve $7,200 in city funding for the Tech-Connect for Seniors program.

Hollis abstained because of concerns that priority for the program wouldn’t be given to city taxpayers and citizens.

“If we’re going to be spending money that’s coming through the city, it should be spent on our citizens,” she said.

Wheeler cast a tie-breaking vote to have City Attorney Jeff Strickland continue to attend council work sessions and meetings. Councilmembers debated about saving city money by having him just attend work sessions.

“I’m going to have to vote yes on this item only because if you go back and look at some of the work sessions and council meetings, had we not had Mr. Strickland on the meeting, we would have had to table some issues,” Wheeler said.

The council unanimously approved $3,550 in funding for the city’s upcoming Juneteenth celebration on June 19. It’s the first such event hosted by the city. The funding covers $2,050 for fireworks, $500 for drummers, $500 for dancers and $500 for miscellaneous expenses.

“We’re going hard for this Juneteenth festival,” Councilmember Jasmine Little said.

The council also voted unanimously to approve an alcohol license for Thirsty Mona Lisa at 979 Main Street. The private event venue offers instructor-led paint-and-sip parties.

And the council voted 5 to 1 to appoint promote Alicia Daniels from assistant city clerk to city clerk.

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