City News

Mayor, Council Gain Access to Funding

Mayor Jason Lary and the City Council will vote on a final hotel/motel tax ordinance at their next scheduled meeting on Monday. The ordinance will assess a 5 percent tax to Stonecrest's 10 hotels and motels for fees charged to their guest for lodging. The tax is 3 percent lower than hotel operators have been paying to DeKalb County.

On June 19, 2017, the mayor and council approved an 8 percent hotel/motel tax but later found that they had to rescind the ordinance until city officials get the approval of the State Legislature to charge 8 percent. Once approved the additional 3 percent will go toward promoting and marketing tourism, conventions and trade shows in accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Georgia law only allows for 3 percent of the tax to go into the city's General Fund. Taxes collected in excess of 3 percent must go into tourism and trade promotion. The city has not established a visitors' bureau; therefore, the additional tax will go to the Discover DeKalb Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The DCVB serves the entire county but will designate marketing and tourism funds for Stonecrest that match the amount of taxes collected. The tax shortfall for Stonecrest could be as much as $100,000 for the remainder of the year. Mayor and council are confident that they can persuade legislators to raise the taxes to 8 percent. According to James Tsismanakis, DDCVB director, 11 out of DeKalb's 14 cities have hotels or motels. Of those 11 cities, Doraville and Decatur are the only ones that charge less that the standard 8 percent tax.

City funding won't just stop with the Hotel/Motel Tax. Recently, the mayor and council voted to approve a Tax Anticipation Note for $579,000. IberiaBank Corporation and city officials finalized the note, Tuesday and the funds will be available today with the stipulation that all money borrowed must be paid back before the end of the each calendar year in which it was borrowed. The Tax Anticipation Note is designed to help fund the city until tax revenues begin to come in, according to City Attorney Tom Kurrie. Attached to the note is a $1 million line of credit which can be paid back over time.

New Vehicles, More New Employees

Three new Ford Fusions, one Ford 150 and a Ford Transit Connect are the initial vehicles in the city's fleet. The vehicles will be used for code enforcement, building inspection, and administrative duties. As the fleet grows so is the staff that will occupy them. Lillian Lowe and Leah Rodriguez joined the Stonecrest staff as administrative assistants. Josh Roth is the city's new building official and William Kirkland is the city's first code enforcement officer. 

Code Enforcement Officer, William Kirkland attaches a magnetic logo to one of the city's first vehiclesCode Enforcement Officer, William Kirkland attaches a magnetic logo to one of the city's first vehicles.