By Nida Merchant

July 8, 2019 — Mayor Steve Edwards called the July Sugar Hill council meeting to order at promptly 7:30 p.m. at the Sugar Hill City Hall. Connor Porter led the council and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

No proclamations or awards were presented.

Council Member Brandon Hembree noted that the Business Alliance golf tournament will be taking place on August 23rd. He acknowledged his interns and their hard work in preparing for the downtown cleanup day on July 20th. He is also working on multiple projects with the Historic Preservation Society including video interviews of old city residents and finalizing their scholarship application results.

Council Member Marc Cohen noted that there will be an Arts Commission reception on July 18th for two local artists involved with the Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Council Member Taylor Anderson reminded citizens that the city will be hosting its first Apollo event with a special premiere of the “Apollo 11” movie and a goal to set a new record!

City Manager Paul Radford noted city logistics starting with the E Center gym which now has over 6 thousand members and is planning on adding an adult basketball league. The Eagle theatre received over 500 people during the 2 dollar Tuesday’s event in June. The Players Guild wrapped up their 5th season and first inaugural season in the Eagle Theatre.

Mayor Steve Edwards thanked Paul Radford and staff for the amazing fireworks spectacle for their annual “Sparks in the Park” celebration.

Assistant City Manager Troy Besseche gave updates on city plans in regards to the greenway, the gas metering system and the logistical workings of the E Center.

Economic Development Director Mercy Montgomery noted that Indio is in the midst of hosting their soft openings and are located in the SHINE district. She gave a special shoutout to Joel Hoffman and her student interns on working extremely hard in making the city photoshoot event. The Craig Tilly Pop Up art exhibition will be taking place on July 20th as well,

City Manager Paul Radford took time to congratulate Mayor Edwards and Council Member Cohen for being chosen as board members for the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA).

No City comments or Old Business topics were listed during the meeting.

In new business, the third and final public hearing of the 2019 Property Tax Millage was announced in which citizens had quite a lot to say. Many city residents such as Lorane Gardner and Crystal Lake opposed the motion of maintaining the current 3.8 mills for our city since the property tax increase puts more burden on residents. Despite the multiple residential complaints towards the millage, residents such as Clint Christiansen and former Sugar Hill council member Mike Sullivan support the continuation of the millage rate in hopes that the money collected will help in the economic prosperity of the city. The motion to maintain the millage rate was approved.

At the previous meeting, the Citgo Gas station on 5245 Nelson Brogdon was at the risk of condemnation with extremely high levels of structural and maintenance issues. After a lengthy request, the city allowed them one month to prepare a list of grievances and cost analysis for the building to understand whether condemnation would be the best alternative.

However, at the July meeting, neither the defendant or his appellant (lawyer) appear with the information the city had requested. As a result, the city motioned to deny the client’s argument to withhold the condemnation.

There was a public hearing for a Vehicle Emissions Testing station in which the client requested to add an extra emissions area. The motion was approved by the council.

A 2039 Livable Centers Initiative Grant was requested for the Sugar Hill Greenway Extension which was approved by the council.

The 2020 Roadway Repair and Resurfacing maintenance grant requested funds to help keep up the maintenance of roads for the city. The motion was approved,

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

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