Candidate Q&A – Stone Mountain mayoral candidate Eileen Smith

Eileen Smith. Photo by Ben Gray [email protected]

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 Eileen Smith, who is running for mayor of Stone Mountain. The answers have not been edited. 

1)      Why are you running for this office?

I want to help Stone Mountain Village become a destination City for shopping, dining and festivals.

2)      What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?

I don’t know my other opponents well if at all, but believe my organizational skills can bring some order to the City Council Meetings so work can be accomplished and not just discussed.

3)      If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?

To promote our Downtown area, increase the Commercial tax base and decrease property taxes for the residents.

4)      In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Stone Mountain?

Our reputation for empty store fronts and the image that we are not separate from SMP.

5)      What is your current opinion of the current Stone Mountain city manager?

I think she is doing an amazing job!

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?

I think several members have personal agendas and I will be voting for candidates that I feel have the best interest of our City at heart, one of whom is my husband.

7)      What can the city of Stone Mountain do to better distinguish itself from Stone Mountain Park?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but I think we need to stop competing with the Park and work with them to share the people who visit both.

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? 

No, but I do think the Mayor should have more of a voice on issues.

9)      Do you think the city should use paid parking to capitalize on park attendance?

NO!

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 think our City has done and excellent promoting racial justice and diversity to date and just want to continue to support those efforts.

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?

I think it’s been restrictive to our businesses, I think the Council needs to meet in person, and I think it’s up to the individual to protect themselves from the virus, not the City’s.

12)   What is your opinion of Stone Mountain’s current Downtown Development Authority and what changes would you make, if any?

The DDA has worked hard to bring businesses to the city, and have been ridiculed unnecessarily. The current Council has them in the bullseye, and has been resistant to meeting with them to discuss their concerns.  I do think new members need to be recruited and added for additional perspective.

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 make myself available to meet with any business considering moving to the City and to monitor the permitting processes currently in place to see if any improvements need to be made to streamline the process.

14)   What should the city do to diversify its revenue streams?

Continue to work with the current base of business owners to help them grow, as well as doing what we can to host festivals and events to draw visitors to the City.

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?

Absolutely! A property owner should take pride in maintaining their largest investment.

16)   What is your opinion about Stone Mountain’s current tax rate and do you think it should be higher, lower or remain the same?

It’s too high.  Promoting and adding new business would increase the commercial contribution and lessen the burden on the residents.

17)   Stone Mountain has recently decided to move forward with overdue upgrades to city parks. What park improvements would you like to see? 

The Parks and Recreation Committee did a good job with their survey and I participated. They are implementing what the community requested. It’s not for me to decide what improvements need to be made.

18)   What do you think is Stone Mountain’s greatest strength? 

It’s people. They love our City.

19)   What do you think is Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?

It’s people. There is division among the residents regarding growth.

20)   How would you address what you believe to be Stone Mountain’s biggest challenge?

Communication. Good things happen when more people participate, and reaching out to all our citizens to get them engaged will go a long way in uniting all of the residents.

21)   If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?

Absolutely.

How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government?

There needs to be better communication between the citizens and the government. A Citizens Comments Corner was recently implements on the City’s Web Site, but we have a large population of residents that are not Internet savvy that we need to reach out to, so I would like to see a printed/mailed newsletter created just for those residents.

More information about voting in the Nov. 2 election: 

All elections coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com and Tuckerobservervotes.com.  

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.

An absentee ballot application must be received by Oct. 22.

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)

For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding early voting times and locations, visit Decaturishvotes.com and Tuckerobservervotes.com or call 404-298-4020.  

The Tucker Observer is a new community news website owned by Decaturish.comWe provide locally sourced news about Tucker, Clarkston and Stone Mountain.

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