Writer: Monroe Roark
Published March 6, 2020
Henry County Times
A lot of ground was covered at the Stockbridge City Council’s recent three-day retreat.
The first day included a review of the city’s FY2018 audit (the FY2019 audit begins this month) and an overview of financial options for funding projects. Monthly budget reports are planned for the future along with the quarterly reporting.
The city’s $18 million fund balance includes restricted funds, and is more along the lines of $16 million with associated commitments that will reduce the balance such as land acquisition, the de-annexation expenses and associated legal costs, according to officials. The fund balance for FY2019 was also reduced by the purchase of the upgraded HVAC systems and road improvements.
An update was given on the retreat’s second day regarding construction progress on the amphitheater, noting there are currently 23 sub-contractors, no recorded accidents, and considerable rain delays which have hampered progress. An update was also given on the cultural arts center, for which the design is being revised to allow for a 100-seat ballroom area as opposed to 60 seats. The design is currently 38,000 square feet with an estimated cost of $14.7 million and includes some furnishings, according to reports, and it was noted that the theater would be the priority of the facility.
A representative of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute presented an updated report of the specifics involved with a proposed city police department. The cost for an estimated 57 officers, equipment, weapons, insurance and benefits and a pension plan for a Stockbridge police force was pegged at approximately $5.3 million. This study was reportedly compiled based on comparable services from the cities of Villa Rica, Dunwoody, McDonough and Woodstock.
Ongoing transportation projects addressed included the right-turn lane at East Atlanta Road from Love Street to North Henry Blvd.; South Lee Street and North Lee Street realignment and widening; the Burke Street alleyway project; a completed traffic study for Country Club Drive at Corporate Center; and Patrick Henry Parkway and Country Club Drive. The city’s community development director will provide a copy of the Georgia Department of Transportation report requiring a light at Patrick Henry Parkway and Country Club Drive to Falcon Engineering noting the hotel developer is bearing the cost. Falcon Design recommended lowering the speed limit on Country Club Drive from 35 to 25, adding a flashing light to slow down in the area of Atlanta Heart medical office and removing Country Club Drive from the LMIG list and use the funding in other areas of the city where road improvements are needed.
Discussion items on the retreat’s third day included the wastewater treatment plant, which officials said is the city’s first major infrastructure project in a number of years. Construction of the new public works facility is also in progress. Other public works highlights were the current formation of an action plan for the city’s water system as well as its paving and resurfacing schedule. It was noted that additional parking is needed at Memorial Park, and the consensus of the council was to use SPLOST funds for repair work on Reeves Creek Trail.
The council voted to approve Swanson Towing for the city’s towing and wrecker services. Postcards will be printed for a mailout to notify the public and begin a 60-day warning notice timeframe, with a six-month trial period followed by a community town hall meeting to evaluate the program.