December 14, 2020 — Sugar Hill Mayor Steve Edwards called the December Sugar Hill Council meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. at Sugar Hill City Hall. 

Council member Marc Cohen gave the proclamation for the North Gwinnett cluster’s Teacher of the Year award. Amanda Flanter from Level Creek Elementary School, Genny Greco from Riverside Elementary School, Hope Russell from Roberts Elementary School, Medina Kovacevic from Suwanee Elementary School, Beth Cure from North Gwinnett Middle School and Kevin Blankenship from North Gwinnett High School were each recognized. Genny Greco was also a finalist for the Gwinnett County Public School System Teacher of the Year award.

In council reports, council member Marc Cohen gave a summary of the year from the election to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council member Brandon Hembree reminded residents to attend the Reach Across America meeting at the Veterans Memorial on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Council member Nic Greene wished residents happy holidays.

Mayor Edwards gave a special thank you to Charlotte J. Nash, Gwinnett County commission chair as her term ends.

City Manager Paul Radford gave reports on city management, including golf course renovations set to begin in January. 

Economic Development Director Mercy Montgomery thanked Santa, who met more than 40 families and read to residents on social media. The annual city ornaments giveaway was a huge success. There will be a community volunteer dinner with a volunteer of the year award. 

The Small Business Saturday special is open to residents until Dec. 20. More information can be found on the city’s website, and residents are encouraged to participate and receive exciting prizes.

The Youth Council met with the city manager for the 2021 city budget analysis as reported by Youth Mayor Pro-Tem Lexi Ducote. They have concluded for the semester.

In city comments, Gwinnett County Water Resources Communication Manager Varessa Butts thanked the city council and staff for their efforts with city budgeting.

In new business, the 2021 Proposed Capital Improvement and Operating Budget was presented by Radford. The proposal includes projects planned for the next five years. The 2021 fiscal year budget accounts for approximately $14.4 million with a 2.6 percent ($395,000) decrease from the 2020 budget. More information and a detailed breakdown of the proposed budget can be found on the city’s website.

    • The 2021 Proposed Budget by Fund:
      • 33 percent to the General Fund
      • 30 percent to the CIP (Capital Improvement Budget)
      • 17 percent to Gas
      • 7 percent to DDA Operations
      • 7 percent to E Center Debt SVC
      • 2 percent to Golf
      • 2 percent to Stormwater
      • 2 percent to the E Center mixed-use
      • 1 percent to the E Center
      • <1 percent to the Municipal Court

In city comments, Amber Chambers proposed additional budget cuts in many departments, including capital improvements, golf course budgets and more. She cited the city being able to work under limited budgets over the year. She noted the late release of the city budget does not allow for residents’ comments and additional edits. 

Resident Varessa Butts defended the city in retaining business revenue amidst COVID-19. She does, however, want additional public safety management from the city.

Following the comments, Mayor Edwards urged residents to make appointments to speak with the council if they have any concerns or questions.

The Planning Commission appointed Julie Adams for Post 3 and Jeremy White for Post 4. 

The zoning ordinance amendment is recommended to include corrections to a buffer and dimensional standards for new zoning districts. More information can be found here.

The city staff has urged the council to adopt the plan for the Trail Concept Livable Center’s Initiative Study. The motion was approved.

An updated Stormwater Management regulation was presented by staff to keep up with the Metropolitan North Georgia Water District compliances. More information can be found here.

A Gas Department Consent Agreement was presented to reduce the previous civil penalty from $15,000 to $5,000 for the Public Service Commission. More information can be found here.

The city approved a reduced amount of $938,283.15 to cover emergency park field repairs in Gary Pirkle Park. The remainder of $225,000 will be transferred to the SPLOST account for additional city projects and expenditures. More information can be found here.

This concluded the regular meeting. The council and staff went into executive session.

Nida Ramkumar

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