Editor’s note: Decaturish and the Tucker Observer have published an Elections Guide, a 76-page e-edition featuring Q&As with nearly every candidate running in our communities. To see it, click here. This special e-edition features candidates running for public office in Decatur, Avondale Estates, Atlanta City Council District 5, Clarkston Tucker and Stone Mountain. There is a PDF version of this, which you can see by clicking here, but due to the format of this e-edition, we strongly encourage you to use the e-reader version.
The Tucker Observer provided each candidate in our local races with a series of questions about local issues. Here are the answers of candidate Teresa Crowe, who is running for Stone Mountain City Council Post 6. The answers have not been edited.
1) Why are you running for this office?
· As a proud longtime resident and taxpayer of the City of Stone Mountain, I am excited to run for City Council. This community is a special place and I want to be an active part of the commitment to make the City of Stone Mountain the vibrant, inclusive community it is destined to be.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
· Resident for 23 years in City of Stone Mountain with a solid business background. I am aware of the issues our town faces as I have been a regular participant in the town meetings for years and previously served on several committees.
3) If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?
· Emphasis on beautification and revitalization of Downtown Stone Mountain with local community support
· Foster an open and trusting relationship between citizens and local government
· Streamline the permitting process for new businesses
4) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Stone Mountain?
· Longevity of local businesses
· Attracting businesses the town will support
· Attracting businesses with working capital
5) What is your current opinion of the current Stone Mountain city manager?
· The City Manager is sharp with financials as confirmed by the CPA during the draft audit presentation.
6) What is your opinion of Stone Mountain’s current mayor and who will you be voting for in the Stone Mountain mayoral election?
· I appreciate the time and effort Mayor Wheeler has put forth into our community. Unfortunately, the mayor does not have decision making authority as that responsibility lies with the city manager.
· I will vote for the candidate who will serve the best interests of the entire community.
7) What can the city of Stone Mountain do to better distinguish itself from Stone Mountain Park?
· I do not believe the City needs to distinguish itself from Stone Mountain Park as we are located adjacent to the biggest attraction in the State. Our location to the Park is a driving force for residents to relocate here. The Park provides jobs for many of our retirees and a great gathering place for families and grandchildren.
8) Do you think the city should use paid parking to capitalize on park attendance?
· Yes . Currently, Stone Mountain Village provides free parking for people using the park who do not financially support the town. Free parking is used for hours when our merchants are in dire need of customer parking. Emphasis should be on parking to benefit our downtown shops and activity.
9) Racial justice and diversity have been points of conversation over the last year. What will you do to promote racial justice and diversity in the city of Stone Mountain?
· Emphasis on Community Involvement Building Relationships
· Stone Mountain has been a diverse city for a long time and our town needs to work together fostering relationships in our community.
10) What do you think of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what steps do you think the city should take to help reduce the spread of the virus?
· The City has done a very good job with this implementing the zoom calls and mask wearing. I would like to see the zoom calls continue when the pandemic ends as more people are able to participate than in person meetings.
11) What is your opinion of Stone Mountain’s current Downtown Development Authority and what changes would you make, if any?
· Post vacant positions on City website and by e-mail notification when the terms expire and allow citizens to apply. Approval by City Council versus reinstatement by the DDA and amend the Resolution to reflect this, if necessary.
· The DDA has been in existence 15 years and it has been difficult to attract new businesses due to various reasons including recessions and distressed appearance of downtown shops.
· It has been hard to maintain the DDA director for more than two years; however, the new DDA director is engaged and willing to put in the hard work necessary.
12) If elected, what would you do to support the business community and how would you sell Stone Mountain to businesses considering setting up shop in the city?
· Encourage service oriented businesses
· Discourage multiple businesses with same use
· Unique businesses
· Streamline the permitting process for business owners; this has been a deterrent for potential new business.
While we remember the previous businesses with fondness, we must recognize we need to embrace new ideas for our community. It may take a little longer to rent buildings to long term tenants but it is better to wait than encourage businesses who do not have the working capital and ultimately results in constant turnover. Constant turnover does not look good for our community.
13) What should the city do to diversify its revenue streams?
· Charge Parking – Parking revenue would enable City to hire additional police to offset cost of enforcement
· Unfortunately, most of the revenue comes from taxpayers. As the demand for the community increases and values increase, so will the tax revenue.
· Promote more events.
14) Do you think the city of Stone Mountain should implement a “blight tax” to penalize home and property owners who do not take care of their properties?
· Yes, but we do not want to burden low-income residents in this process. Many Stone Mountain property owners do not live here and are not engaged in the blight of our City. There needs to be stiffer penalties and enforced code compliance.
· I suggested the CHIP program which is a grant to the City for $400,000 to help lower income residents rehab their homes. The City is pursuing this grant and I plan to investigate more grant opportunities. This will help to improve blighted properties.
15) What is your opinion about Stone Mountain’s current tax rate and do you think it should be higher, lower or remain the same?
· Depends on DeKalb County’s reassessment. When properties values go up, taxes increase. Our tax rate is one of the highest in the state. Stone Mountain should carefully scrutinize their expenses which can result in lower taxes. The City should only approve necessary expenses to support our residents in the city limits. Our expenses are a driving force in the millage rate needed.
· There should be increased scrutiny of the tax roll to make sure new construction and upgraded zoning is timely reported to DeKalb County to consider in future tax assessments. This affects tax revenue and if not assessed appropriately, the taxpayers pay the difference when there are shortfalls.
16) Stone Mountain has recently decided to move forward with overdue upgrades to city parks. What park improvements would you like to see?
· Encourage youth sports to give our children recreational opportunities.
· The parks have been neglected for years and landscaping needs to be done particularly at the entrance. Clear the wooded acreage at Medlock Park and create trails, a dog park or play area if acreage permits.
17) What do you think is Stone Mountain’s greatest strength?
a. Stone Mountain Park – that creates demand for new residents in the village
b. The people of Stone Mountain and their willingness to work to bring change.
18) What do you think is Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?
a. Attracting successful and long-term businesses in the downtown area
b. Keeping our focus on our goals as we are all in this together.
19) How would you address what you believe to be Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?
a. City Council and Downtown Development needs to work together which has recently been requested. Working together to create new business, streamline the permitting process, and focus on cutting expenses.
20) If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government?
Yes, I am a very open person and have a high level of integrity. I am here to serve the people who elect me, that means listening to their problems and taking action.
More information about voting in the Nov. 2 election:
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting will begin on Oct. 12 and will end on Oct. 29. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 4. To register to vote, click here.
To see a list of important dates in the 2021 election year, click here.
Voters in DeKalb County are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot as of Aug. 16.
To apply for an absentee ballot:
— Visit the Georgia Secretary of State website.
— Complete the absentee ballot application using the state’s official paper form. Use black or blue ink only.
Applications can be mailed to the county elections office at this address: DeKalb County Election office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, GA 30032-1239.
Applications can also be submitted by fax, 404-298-4038, or email, [email protected]
Voters may send an absentee ballot request for multiple people who live in the same household in the same envelope or email.
If an absentee ballot is not mailed to you, call DeKalb Elections office, 404-298-4020. You may still vote in person, either early or on Election Day.
In accordance with SB202, a new voting bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March, a copy of a voter’s ID is required to apply for an absentee ballot. A Georgia driver’s license, Georgia state ID, Georgia voter card, U.S. Passport, U.S. military ID, employee ID issued by any branch of the federal or state government, tribal ID, or a document verifying a voter’s name and address – including a paycheck, utility bill, or bank statement – are accepted forms of ID.
Early voting begins Oct. 12 and ends Oct. 29. The hours for early voting are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be weekend early voting on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Call your elections office for hours.
Beginning Oct. 12, you can participate in early voting at the following locations:
– Bessie Branham Recreation Center (2051 Delano Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30317)
– Lynwood Recreation Center (3360 Osborne Road NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319)
– Berean Christian Church – Family Life Center (2197 Young Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30088)
– DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office (4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032)
– Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library (5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084)
– Stonecrest Library (3123 Klondike Road, Stonecrest, GA 30038)
– County Line-Ellenwood Library (4331 River Road, Ellenwood, GA 30294)
– Dunwoody Library (5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road., Dunwoody, GA 30338)
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