L-R Diane Adoma (District 5), Jazzmin Cobble (District 3), Jimmy Clanton (District 1)
Council approves adoption of new city charter
Stonecrest City Councilmembers Jimmy Clanton (District 1), Jazzmin Cobble (District 3), and Diane Adoma (District 5) were sworn in for their first full term today during a special called City Council meeting. Municipal Judge Jonathan Weintraub administered the oath of office.
The councilmembers were originally elected in the city’s first elections and runoffs in March and April 2017. In accordance with the city charter, half of the council had to run again in November of 2017. The remaining councilmembers and mayor will have to run for office in 2019.
The council did not elect a new mayor pro tem. City Attorney Tom Currie advised that Councilmember Adoma would continue to hold the position until May 8, 2019, unless state legislators adopt a new city charter that would require elections to be held every January. Currie cited a City of Nashville, TN case law for his decision and that of outside counsel.
In other city business, the mayor and council voted 5 to 1 to adopt a new city charter. Councilmember Cobble cast the dissenting vote. The charter now goes to the state legislature for approval.
“The reason we have a new charter is to separate the executive branch from the legislative branch and their duties,” Mayor Jason Lary said. “By law, we have to take on additional departments such as public works. Also, the addition of a SPLOST budget drove us to adopt the new charter,” he added.
The new charter provides for the following:
- Gives the City Council the authority to develop policy
- Grants the council authority to create, abolish, merge, and consolidate departments
- Grants the city council authority to investigate the activities of departments and other offices of the city
- The city council has the authority to appropriate and adopt the annual budget
- The city council has the authority to confirm mayoral appointments
- Limits the term of the mayor pro-tem to one-year with the election of the office to be held each January
- Restores the mayor’s salary to the original charter amount and makes him a full-time chief executive officer
- Eliminates the voting power of the mayor except in the event of a tie
- Provides for the veto power of the mayor
- Revises the age requirements to 21 years old for elected positions, boards, commissions and authorities
- Raises the age of those eligible to serve as a municipal judge to 35 years with a minimum of seven years as a member of the State Bar of Georgia
- Increases the authority of the city manager to prescribe the functions and duties of all departments
- Provides for the assessment and levy of an 8 percent hotel/motel tax on rooms, lodgings, and accommodations provided that in each fiscal year, a portion of the taxes collected is spent for promoting tourism, conventions and tradeshows for Stonecrest
- Changes the name from the Stonecrest/Lithonia Industrial Park CID to Stonecrest Community Improvement District (CID).
Provides for any non-residential property owner’s membership into the Stonecrest CID.
Councilwoman Adoma said although she voted to approve the resolution, she wanted the record to reflect the following statement:
“As we prepare to vote on this resolution, respectfully, there are a few items I simply don’t agree with. However, most of the changes I do agree with. I believe it would be in the best interest of our city to operate more efficiently and effectually. Therefore, in the spirit of compromise, and moving the city forward, and working with our legislative delegation, I’m voting, reluctantly, in favor of this resolution.”