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 Beverly Jones, who is running for mayor of Stone Mountain. The answers have not been edited.
1) Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for the Mayor of the City of Stone Mountain to be a strong voice for our communities and a strong advocate for policies and fiscal responsibilities that will make a difference in the lives of our citizens, communities. We are presently living in some very challenging times and what we need are leaders who will always put the concerns of the families, and communities first. I will ensure that all citizens are heard and respected. I understand the citizens’ concerns, and I will identify solutions to restore, revitalize, and to make the city a better place to live, work, and play.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I’ve live in the city of Stone Mountain for our 20 years. And I’ve always had a desire to serve the people, and help the communities to become one of the most sought out, safe, and vibrant places to live, As a former City Council member, I have a proven track record of accomplishments, and strong leadership. I was assigned to the personnel committee, and I worked closely with the police department and public works/Safety department. I know what’s in need for the city to run effectively and efficiently. I was instrumental in coordinating health fairs, 5k walks, mentorship programs, financial seminars, connecting communities, and feeding the seniors with a “hot meal and a smile.” It’s those seemingly small things that make the quality of life in Stone Mountain worthwhile. Of course, I have big pictures ideas, of promoting the city, fighting for, and accommodating our businesses, and maintain fiscal responsibility. However, I’ll never underestimate the community’s health, safety, and welfare.
3) If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?
My top priorities are:
Ensuring fiscal responsibility
Improving economic development by attracting new businesses and supporting existing ones, as well as, community revitalization without raising taxes. Support programs that facilitate home ownership.
4) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Stone Mountain?
The most important issues facing Stone Mountain are:
· Leadership that works.
· Maintaining a fiscally strong budget
· Improving community appearance
· Increasing our economic development within our commercial and downtown areas.
· Assisting the Downtown Development Authority to increase “smart growth”
· Better reputation/image
· Ensuring that residents feel safe and protected in their own communities.
· Attracting people to stop and enjoy Stone Mountain
5) What is your current opinion of the current Stone Mountain city manager?
The position is much needed in a growing government like the City of Stone Mountain. The current Stone Mountain City manager has acted in a professional manner in terms of the city’s business affairs.
6) What is your opinion of Stone Mountain’s current city council and who will you be voting for in the Stone Mountain city council election?
Serving on the Stone Mountain City Council is a very important job. The decisions you make affect the entire city, the people, and the community. I will support the person, new or incumbent, who will best represent the moral, fiduciary, and visionary interests of the city.
7) What can the city of Stone Mountain do to better distinguish itself from Stone Mountain Park?
The city of Stone Mountain can distinguish itself from the park by continuing to remind people that it has its own identity as a quaint progressive town and continues to move forward in building a stronger, inclusive, and respectful community.
8) Currently, the mayor only votes to break a tie on the City Council. Do you think the rules should be changed to allow the mayor a vote on all city issues?
This is rule is under the present charter. Any further consideration or changes should be discussed by the city council, the citizens and voted upon.
9) Do you think the city should use paid parking to capitalize on park attendance?
The current parking situation is a high priority in the City of Stone Mountain. Presently, information is being gather by a Mayoral committee to explore effective and efficient options to address the problem.
10) 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?
I will use education as an essential part of organizing and advancing change. I will also promote diversity of all forms, such as, fair community, business, and social practices, I would meet with local agencies, and organization and have a roundtable discussion on how we can BEST promote racial justice, and inclusion in the city and the state. I will also uphold existing laws as they pertain to justice for all.
11) 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 should encourage mask wearing, vaccinations and social distancing. The city should provide city workers with up-to-date information on Covid-19 risk factors, preventive actions, and community resources. The city employees sick leave policies should be reviewed and encourage sick workers to stay at home without fear of any reprisals. The city should also partner with the county, and health facilities to educated the communities, and also host a vaccine clinic.
12) What is your opinion of Stone Mountain’s current Downtown Development Authority and what changes would you make, if any?
I believe the current Downtown Development Authority is adhering the current vision for the city of Stone Mountain. That vision could be made more aggressive and expanded more to bring about increased growth.
13) 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?
I would sell the city by informing people who want to do business in that we have close proximity to state’s largest tourist attractions, Stone Mountain Park, and the city of Atlanta. The city also has affordability of the area and a host of downtown events, great restaurants, eatery’s, and shops. I would offer an incentive to business marketing/ advertising. More importantly, I would seek to improve the process for building permits and business licenses as well as zoning restrictions. I’d also encourage current and new business owners to join and/or participate with a county, state or regional chamber of commerce for promotions, guidance and networking so they can be successful in the City of Stone Mountain.
14) What should the city do to diversify its revenue streams?
The challenge is identifying and prioritizing the opportunities that will have the greatest impact and are relatively feasible. This is reflective, and has been submitted in the planning and the vision of the city.
· Reevaluate business risk
· Consider private partnership structures, such as joint development agreements or joint ventures
· Increase commercial business.
· Explore future opportunities for mixed use development.
· The city could consider conducting a citizen sentiment survey to understand how receptive residents might be to the possibility of specific changes in fee structures and charges.
15) 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?
This is presently under discussion, and I would like to have further discussions on the matter. Currently several grants opportunities are being sought after, to improve blighted residential properties. These discussions should be fair to all business and residential communities in the city.
“The city should offer other resources and services to help communities transform blighted properties into community assets”.
16) What is your opinion about Stone Mountain’s current tax rate? Do you think it should be higher, lower or remain the same?
Stone Mountain has one of the highest millage rates in the county. I think it should be the best achievable rate that will not compromise the quality of city services, or the needs of the community.
17) Stone Mountain has recently decided to move forward with overdue upgrades to city parks. What Park improvements would you like to see?
As a start, we need walking trails, basketball courts, upgrading the restrooms, and playground equipment for all ages.
18) What do you think is Stone Mountain’s greatest strength?
The city of Stone Mountain’s greatest strength is the great people that work together for the betterment of the community and the city of Stone Mountain to work, live, and play.
19) What do you think is Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenges are taxes, Maintaining Business, infrastructure, and Revitalizing our communities.
20) How would you address what you believe to be Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?
I will, along with the city council members explore, and assess the options and the opportunities available to address each challenge; taxes, maintaining business, infrastructure, and revitalizing our communities.
21) 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?
I promise to conduct myself in a professional, ethical, and transparent manner. I will stay focused on serving the public. I will adhere to ethics principles and ethics laws. I believe that transparency is critical and speaks volumes to the constituents. I will work for the best interests of the community, through citizens involvement.
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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