Stone Mountain City Council will declare COVID-19 state of emergency for virtual meetings

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

This story has been updated.

Stone Mountain, GA — With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching into its second year and many local governments returning to in-person meetings, Stone Mountain’s City Council is contemplating the same.

The City Council plans to hold a special called meeting on July 28 at 4 p.m. to declare a local state of emergency for the city due to COVID-19. The meeting will be held virtually. Here are the attendance instructions:

There is no in-person attendance to this meeting. The public can access the meeting via City of Stone Mountain – Government Facebook Live or Zoom.
Meeting ID: 885 4396 8455
Passcode: 714542
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Meeting ID: 885 4396 8455
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kMFN1uKCv

The state of emergency will clear the way for the City Council to continue having virtual meetings going forward. It’s unclear from the ordinance whether the city will remain fully virtual or if they will be holding meetings in a hybrid format.

“During the 07/20/21 session of Council, the Council expressed many concerns for public health surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and heightened conditions also affecting the immediate area,” a memo from City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton says. “Attached please find [the proposed] ordinance in final draft form of Ordinance 2021-07 – To Declare a Local Emergency Condition Related to the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.”

According to the ordinance:

1. The Mayor and City Council hereby declare a local emergency condition regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which remains a public emergency within the City affecting life, health, property, and the public peace.

2. In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(g)(1) and (2), during the pendency of this local emergency condition, in order to further protect the public, all City meetings which are required to be open to the public shall be held remotely by teleconference (e.g., online Zoom meeting format). This format requirement shall apply to all public meetings of the Mayor and City Council, the Planning Commission, and any other City committee or commission that conduct meetings subject to O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1.

3. The remote participation by the Mayor and City Councilmembers or its committees means full participation in the same manner as if such members were physically present.

4. In the event such remote meeting involves a public hearing, members of the public shall be afforded the means to participate fully in the same manner as if such members of the public were physically present.

5. This emergency ordinance shall automatically stand repealed at 11:59 p.m. on the 30th day following the date of adoption noted below unless reenacted by action of the Mayor and City Councilmembers in accordance with City Charter Section 2.23 for so long as the emergency still exists.

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