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Monday, April 30, 2007

Milton Launching It's Own Police Department

By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 04/29/07

On Tuesday, the city of Milton reaches another milestone when it officially launches its own police department. Twenty-one officers strong, the department will equal or surpass the number of officers provided by Fulton County, said Chris Lagerbloom, the public safety director.

"I was looking for experience and diversity in skills," Lagerbloom said. "We have one officer with 36 years' experience. Another was a police chief in South Georgia. But you don't want all veterans. You need that spark. You need the Generation X officer who can deal with the high school students. We wanted the broad range of experience."

Some applicants brought unique experience and skills, such as Chad Taylor, formerly of the state Department of Natural Resources, who is knowledgeable about wildlife issues; Alexis Powell, who covered Milton while with Fulton County police; and Matt Marietta, who was once chief of police in Cuthbert.

And Lagerbloom specifically recruited some officers for their skills, including Doug LeCompte, formerly a member of the Georgia Highway DUI task force, and Lt. Sherry Cornett, the chief trainer in the Fulton County Police Department's police academy.Lagerbloom plans to bring the community policing style of law enforcement to Milton. Under this concept, police are not just hunting for bad guys; they also serve as liaisons between the community and City Hall.
Lagerbloom answered a few questions for AJC NorthSide reporter Doug Nurse.

Q: Tell us about community policing as it relates to Milton.

A: Milton's unique in that it has 86 percent residential communities, so it's a different style of policing for this model. That takes a special person that can put some of the traditional policing aside at times and deal with quality-of-life issues. ... I see us spending the larger bulk of our time in the neighborhoods. "That's not in my job description" is not in our vocabulary. Just because a pothole is not something we put blacktop in doesn't mean we can't find the right person to do that. In hiring, we were looking for somebody who wouldn't be upset if they were asked to do something that's not traditional police work.

Q: What's been the most difficult thing about starting the department?

A: It's been a challenge to coordinate the timelines. Everything has a timeline to it. Bulletproof vests is a prime example. The vests are a custom-fit piece of equipment. It takes six weeks to deliver it. Juggling that with the hiring and having the vests delivered from Jacksonville before we come on line on May 1 has been a challenge. There wasn't much wiggle room.

Q: What will be the department's first priority in terms of law enforcement?

A: We've got some of the normal police-type stuff. We're learning that from people like Alexis Powell when we drive around on familiarization rides in our 15-passenger van we rented. He can say, "Let me tell you what happened at that house" and "Let me tell you what that car means," because he has firsthand knowledge. There's not an overabundance of that stuff. Do I think there's drugs in Milton? Absolutely. Have I heard drugs are likely to come down Arnold Mill Road and Ga. 9 to stay off [Ga.] 400 and come down out of Forsyth and Cherokee counties? Yeah, I've heard that. In talking with the officers who serve the area, there's not a major identified problem. We've got to learn the community and find out what their needs are and formulate a plan to address it. At this point, everything is conceptual.

Q: How will you balance the need for aggressive law enforcement, which people say they want, without alienating the people you serve with aggressive law enforcement?

A: Right now we're everybody's best friend because we haven't taken action against anybody. We don't always have an attractive job. I want people to know we're responsive to their suggestions and we're responsive to their complaints. I hope in 95 percent of our encounters we'll remain the good guys. Community policing will help a lot.

Q: What benchmarks will you have for success?

A: I have a couple of concepts there. We will compare our crime statistics in the past with crime statistics in the future. The other measure I really believe will come from our citizens. Our success will be determined from the feedback and the comments from our citizens.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

To Sewer Or Not To Sewer - The Milton Question

All: Founder Tim Enloe recieved the following email on Wednesday. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, we thought it best to post it in our news and zoning sections. Should an opposing view point arise, we are more than happy to give them equal time.

- Anderson Lee; Accessmilton.com.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am emailing you today to ask you to consider emailing and speaking out to the Milton City Council and Mayor, we have a very important issue before them and your voice needs to be heard. There is a Work Session tomorrow, Thursday, 4/26 at 5:00pm where you can make your comments in person.

If you were not aware, Fulton County has asked Milton to write a letter in support of the extension of sewer and interbasin transfer for Mr. Dennis Potts, this will be discussed tomorrow evening at the Council Work session. Other developers have now come forward to request the same type of exception.

Milton City Council and Mayor need to hear loud and clear that we DO NOT support a letter to Fulton County for the exception of the no sewer policy and no inter basin transfer ordinance for Mr. Potts nor anyone else.

The reasons are simple as to why NOT to support the expansion of sewer and the exception of the No Inter Basin Transfer Ordinance for Mr. Potts or any other petitioners:

· The letter would violate the "no-sewer" policy of Milton and the No Inter Basin Transfer Resolution of March 1995.

· No Sewer policy of Milton is critical to this area to preserve the low-density and rural character of Milton.

· Expansion of sewer would negatively impact our quality of life by allowing more density.
Increased traffic, strains on the current infrastructure, noise, light pollution and lower property values.

· Exception to the No Inter Basin Transfer policy could lead to unnecessary and expensive upgrades or expansion to the Big Creek Treatment plant.

· To reserve our river basins, Etowah River Basin (Chicken Creek Sub-Basin and Cooper/Sandy Creek Sub-Basin), uncontrolled growth has a costly effect on the quality of our environment.

Your local government needs to hear from your today. Please preserve our beautiful community. Milton Contact email addresses are below.

Thanks,
A concerned Milton Resident

Mayor Joe Lockwood
joe.lockwood@cityofmiltonga.us

Karen Thurman – District 1
karen.thurman@cityofmiltonga.us

Julie Zahner Bailey – District 2
julie.zahnerbailey@cityofmiltonga.us

Bill Lusk – District 3
billlusk@cityofmiltonga.us

Neal O’Brien – District 4
neal.obrian@cityofmiltonga.us

Tina D’Aversa-Williams – District 5
tina.daversa@cityofmiltonga.us

Rick Mohrig – District 6
rick.mohrig@cityofmiltonga.us

Aaron Bovos – City Manager
678-242-2489
aaron.bovos@cityofmiltonga.

Tom Wilson – Community Development Manager
678-242-2534
tom.wilson@cityofmiltonga.us

Robyn MacDonald – Planner
robyn.macdonald@cityofmiltonga.us

Greg Wilson – Community Services Manager
678-242-2556
greg.wilson@cityofmiltonga.us

Jeanette Marchiafava – City Clerk/Clerk of Court
678-242-2521
jeanette.marchiafava@cityofmiltonga.us

Mike Tuller – Community Development Deputy Director
mike.tuller@cityofmiltonga.

Chris Lagerbloom – Public Safety Director
678-242-2570
chris.lagerbloom@cityofmiltonga.us

Carol Wolfe – Operations Director
678-242-2505
carol.wolfe@cityofmiltonga.us

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Milton Offers Few Parks

By Doug Nurse / AJC.com
Published on: 04/26/07

Milton is rich in wide-open spaces, but the city is not blessed with a lot of parks.

Milton has one for its 20,000 residents. Leaders in Milton are hoping to buy more park land for their communities, but at least for now, the city doesn't have much spare money. Milton also has park land that is undeveloped and another park awaiting environmental cleanup by Fulton County.

MILTON

Bell Memorial Park

Location: 15245 Hopewell Park Road
Amenities: Four baseball fields, a playground, a concession stand, a community house, picnic pavilions. It is operated by the Hopewell Youth Association.

Birmingham Park/Hickory Flat Park

This 203-acre park site has yet to be developed.
Location: Hickory Flat Road near Birmingham Highway
Amenities: The park's master plan includes equestrian and pedestrian trails, picnic pavilions, soccer/lacrosse/football fields, basketball/tennis/volleyball courts, skate plaza, mountain bike trail, habitat overlook.

Providence Park

Providence Park was closed in February 2004 after discovery of contamination and has not been reopened. It still is the property of Fulton County and probably will be transferred to the city of Milton at a future date, to be determined.
Location: 13440 Providence Park Drive
Amenities: 40 acres with a park center building, a pavilion, hiking trails, an outdoor amphitheater, grills, picnic tables, overnight camp sites, a lake, rappelling and rock climbing areas, and climbing walls.

City To Swear In Police Officers April 27th

The 21 members of the Milton police force will culminate their two weeks of pre-deployment training with a swearing-in ceremony and presentation of badges on Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m. at Milton City Hall.

The public is invited to join the officers, their family and friends, and city officials for the brief ceremony that will officially welcome them into the force, which hits the streets for the first time at midnight, Tuesday May 1.

The two-week training program includes administrative items such as human resources orientation, policy and procedure review, and familiarizing the officers with Milton ordinances, plus training on the various technology associated with the job, such as operation of the digital cameras installed in all Milton patrol cars, the reporting system and use of the Georgia and National Crime Information Centers. It also involves skills training such as firearms qualification, incident management, vehicle pull-overs, felony traffic stop management, handcuffing, self-defense and use of force. Trainees also spent time on the road, familiarizing themselves with city streets.

Officers also were outfitted for their uniforms, which feature heather grey shirts paired with black pants and campaign – trooper style – uniform hats.

At 11 p.m. April 30, the first shift will hold roll call at the Public Safety offices in City Hall. Officers will move into their patrol cars at 11:50 and 10 minutes later will roll out onto the streets of Milton, ushering in a new era of protection and service for city residents.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sandy Springs Must Share City Management Firm With Milton, Johns Creek

By CYNTHIA DANIELS, DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 04/24/07

Nearly 18 months into Sandy Springs' cityhood, some residents aren't that happy with their cutting-edge experimental government.It's not that the honeymoon is over between the city and the citizens who voted to create it. That happened last summer about the time of the first controversial zoning decisions.

OUTSOURCED CITIES• CH2M Hill-OMI is a Colorado-based employee-owned engineering and consulting company with 18,000 employees and offices in 110 countries. • Through contracts with the cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton, the company provides the staff for many cities services, including pothole patching and administrative operations, such as operating a 24-hour call center.• The company's contracts do not cover the Police Department, Fire Department or city courts.

The problem now is akin to jealousy: Residents have watched CH2M Hill-OMI, the private company that provides much of the city's staff, begin to send code enforcement officers over to work in the new cities of Milton and Johns Creek — the two newest North Fulton cities that also hired CH2M Hill for day-to-day services.

"This is maybe an aspect of privatization that we hadn't anticipated, and it's rearing its ugly head now," said Sandy Springs resident Thaea Lloyd, who worries that fewer officers will mean less enforcement.Sandy Springs was the first of its kind in Georgia, an elected government served by a largely outsourced staff.

After Milton and Johns Creek opened for business Dec. 1, CH2M Hill sent three Sandy Springs code enforcement officers to the new cities, leaving only four officers and one director. Sandy Springs is in the process of searching for an additional officer. Residents complained that they have seen enforcement of the city's codes dwindle.
Things got so bad that last month that City Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins complained to the city manager.

"I was driving down Roswell Road, and I felt like we were back under Fulton County control," Jenkins said. "There was graffiti on everything, there were signs everywhere with balloons on the signs, there were dancing bears advertising free rent in front of apartment complexes, and I went nuts. ... I felt like we were slipping back into the abyss, and it's real hard to crawl out of."
Jenkins' complaints resulted in a sweep that filled a truck bed with 75 signs collected from along Roswell Road. And now CH2M Hill is providing regular reports to the Sandy Springs City Council on its code enforcement work. Jenkins said Monday she is satisfied with the response and believes the company is "out there and being aggressive" on code enforcement.
CH2M Hill insists that Sandy Springs is not being shorted on service. The company has promised to provide a certain level of service to each city — not a fixed number of workers.
"We have not shortchanged anyone at all," said CH2M Hill Vice President Rick Hirsekorn. "If anything, we're supplying more service than what's in the contract."

In each of the three cities, most of the employees — except for police officers, firefighters, and city and court clerks — are paid by CH2M Hill and can be moved at the company's discretion.
Some workers may see duty in more than one place, but CH2M Hill has staff whose primary assignment is Sandy Springs, Hirsekorn said. For those workers, Sandy Springs is always top priority, he said.

In Johns Creek, Mayor Mike Bodker said residents seem content with the level of code enforcement there. Johns Creek has two full-time code enforcement officers, although city officials are expecting CH2M Hill to provide a third by the end of the year. They borrow from other cities as needed. He said he's seen no evidence that CH2M Hill is cutting corners.
In Sandy Springs, Mayor Eva Galambos and City Manager John McDonough acknowledge the complaints but say the city is going through an evolution. When it first opened in late 2005, the new city was busy making up for years of uneven enforcement by Fulton County.
Residents and officials say there was only one code enforcement officer for all of unincorporated north Fulton county.

In early 2006, the new city's seven code enforcement officers were busy inspecting apartments for violations like broken window screens, garbage and mold. The city even made cases against costumed characters advertising a local restaurant; they're considered portable signs under Sandy Springs law and are banned.

The volume of cases was so high that Municipal Court heard code violation cases every week.
But things have changed — violations have decreased and are now only heard in court twice a month. The departure of three code enforcement officers was warranted, Galambos said, since the city's properties are now more in compliance than they had been. That's precisely the kind of flexibility that the city intended when it hired the private company.

Sandy Springs is still a work in progress. When it comes to CH2M Hill, McDonough added, the city is still mastering balancing community expectations with learning how many people are needed in what departments "to get the job done."

"We have the right people in place, and we're fully staffed [once we hire the additional officer]," McDonough said. "And we're confident that these issues have been resolved."
Residents plan to keep an eye on things — and to complain again if need be.

"If code enforcement doesn't work, we're going to hell in a handbasket and our communities will deteriorate," said Alan Berk, who has lived in Sandy Springs for 25 years and regularly attends Sandy Springs Municipal Court. "You can't come out like gangbusters and then retreat."

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Two On Council

ByDOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 04/22/07

A Milton man has filed an ethics complaint against two City Council members because they asked the city clerk to publicize a political fund-raiser for their campaigns.Leon Cole Jr., a retired teacher, filed a complaint Wednesday alleging that council members Neal O'Brien and Bill Lusk improperly used city resources to promote a political campaign fund-raiser for them.

"Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Lusk should be formally and publicly reprimanded for their intentional, significant and unlawful personal use of public resources," Cole wrote. He also asked that any staff involved be held accountable.

The city attorney has 30 days to investigate the complaint and make a recommendation to the city ethics board. A fund-raiser was set for O'Brien and Lusk for March 29, and most of the City Council was invited. O'Brien has said he realized that if they all attended, there would be a quorum — which he reasoned would bring the fund-raiser under the rules for a government meeting. Those rules require most such meetings to be open to the public, and they also require that meetings be announced in advance. To keep from running afoul of the public meetings law, O'Brien said he asked City Clerk Jeanette Marchiafava to send an e-mail to newspapers.
The e-mail said: "Good afternoon! There will be a fund-raiser for Neal O'Brien and Bill Lusk, City Council members, City of Milton, at the Atlanta National Golf Club, 350 Tournament Players Drive, Alpharetta, 30004, on Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. Thank you."
Lusk said they were vulnerable to complaint no matter what they did.

"We erred on the side of caution," Lusk said. "We would have been criticized if we hadn't notified the press and we'd had a quorum."Cole said he doesn't want anyone removed from office.
"I'm not vindictive about this," Cole said. "To be removed would be too much. If they don't do anything, I think a message has been sent. I just want them to know we're watching and we're alert."

City Needs Citizens For Comprehensive Plan Update Committee

As the City of Milton prepares to initiate its first Comprehensive Plan Update process that will outline the city’s vision for its future and provide the framework for all future growth over the next 20 years, seven residents are needed to serve on a Citizens Advisory Committee that will provide recommendations to help shape the plan.

The advisory committee is part of the public participation portion of the planning process, which begins later this month. The committee will work with city staff and a consulting team in formulating the recommendations. The 16-member CAC will include the seven members of the Milton Planning Commission and the chairpersons from the Milton Board of Zoning Appeals and the Milton Design Review Board. The remaining seven members will be appointed by Mayor Joe Lockwood and Milton City Council members.

“Participation on this committee will require a significant commitment from the members as members will meet bi-weekly for a period of two to three hours for the 18-month period while developing the plan,” Community Development Director Tom Wilson said. Read the full story
here -> http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/news/compplancomm-041807.html

Friday, April 20, 2007

Celebrate Earth Day By Keeping Water Ways Clean

Did you know that the City of Milton has 283 miles of streams within its borders? With the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, the city’s Community Services Department wants to take this opportunity to remind all residents to exercise care to prevent pollution of these and all our valuable waterways. Here are 10 simple things you can do to prevent runoff pollution:


Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and gutters.
Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams.
Vegetate bare spots in your yard.
Compost your yard waste.
Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems.
Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider a rain garden to capture runoff. Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil.
Pick up after your pet.
Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fulton County Updates Providence Park Situation

Fulton County Manager Thomas Andrews recently provided an update on the environmental remediation work being conducted at Providence Park in Milton. The park has been closed since 2004 after numerous 55-gallon drums of hazardous material were discovered on the site. Andrews says the final phase of work, currently pending approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, will cost between $450,000 and $600,000 and take three years to complete. Click here for more information:

http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/gov/announcements/ProvidenceParkUpdate-041707.pdf

Milton Council Debates Issue of Counsel

City attorney vote raises conflict ires

By DOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 04/19/07

It looked as if the WWF was about to visit what was otherwise a boring government meeting. The agenda item merely indicated that the Milton City Council was re-naming Mark Scott as city attorney, a formality needed because he had changed law firms.

Things got heated when the council took up the question of whether Scott also should be the city solicitor, or prosecutor, in Milton Municipal Court. The newly appointed Municipal Court judge, Barry Zimmerman, had argued having one lawyer in both jobs could pose a conflict.Mayor Joe Lockwood invited Zimmerman to explain. The city attorney also has a say in the judge's contract, whereas the solicitor should not, Zimmerman said. If the solicitor were accused of misconduct, the city attorney would have to defend the solicitor, he said.

Then the fireworks began.City Councilman Neal O'Brien said there could be perception that Zimmerman, a part-time magistrate in Alpharetta, might have a conflict of his own.About a month ago, Zimmerman, who also is on the bench in Alpharetta, Roswell, Atlanta and Fulton County — all part-time — had suggested the Alpharetta solicitor Fran Shoenthal could double as Milton's solicitor."There is a perception that this was a package deal," O'Brien said, suggesting that Zimmerman's objections to Scott might be misunderstood.

Upon hearing O'Neal's speculation, Zimmerman, a wiry man reminiscent of a bantam rooster, hit the roof — and looked as if he might vault the bar separating the audience from the council seats."I don't get angry but once a year and I am an-ga-ry," he said to O'Brien, as he paced before the microphone. "I will not stand here and put up with that. I don't need this. I'll resign tonight."

O'Neal's eyebrows arched.

In a measured, calm tone, O'Neal said he hadn't meant to imply anything.You said it tonight, you said it in e-mails and you said it on the phone," Zimmerman said.O'Neal apologized, and ultimately Zimmerman accepted it.Zimmerman said in an interview that he suggested Shoenthal for the role just to be helpful and that he didn't care who the city hires.
Municipal Court hears misdemeanor cases relating to traffic, code violations and other city ordinances. The judgeship is part-time.Zimmerman first raised the conflict-of-interest issue in March, and Lockwood asked him to write a letter explaining his concerns. Then Lockwood and the city staff researched how other cities handle the issue. Lockwood asked Zimmerman to explain the potential for problems to the full council.

O'Neal has been a supporter of Scott when City Manager Aaron Bovos complained that his bills weren't detailed enough and other council members have expressed concerns over how fast the city is consuming is its budget for legal fees.In the end, Scott said he no longer wanted to be the solicitor anyway.

The council reappointed him as city attorney. The city agreed on Friday that Scott could be the interim solicitor when court convened its first session on Monday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

City Looking to Hire Solicitor

Title: Solicitor Rate: $400.00 per court session

The newly formed City of Milton, GA has an immediate need for a Solicitor. The incumbent in this position will represent the City of Milton as legal counsel in prosecution of cases, to include managing and conducing litigation, recommending disposition of cases, conducting legal research, interpreting laws and regulations, providing legal advice, and overseeing activities of support staff in/out of court.

The ideal candidate:Supervises, directs, and evaluates assigned staff, processing employee concerns and problems, directing work, counseling, disciplining, and completing employee performance appraisals.

Coordinates daily work activities, organizes, prioritizes, and assigns work; monitors status of work in progress and inspects completed work; confers with assigned staff, assists with complex/problem situations, and provides technical expertise.

Interprets, explains, applies, and ensures compliance with all applicable codes, laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures; initiates any actions necessary to correct deviations or violations.

Consults with Court Administrator, City officials, judges, outside counsel, and other officials to review operations/activities, review/resolve problems, receive advice/direction, and provide recommendations.

Qualifications: Juris Doctorate required; five years as a member of the Georgia Bar Association; supplemented by three (3) years previous experience and/or training that includes municipal law, criminal law, traffic law, prosecution in state/federal courts, general law practice, courtroom procedures, legal research, case management, personal computer operations, and supervision; or any equivalent combination of education, training, and experience which provides the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities for this job. Must possess and maintain valid State Bar of Georgia Law License, with membership in good standing to practice law in Georgia Courts. Must possess and maintain valid membership in the Prosecuting Attorneys Council and in the North Fulton Bar Association. Candidates must be of good moral character. Must possess and maintain a valid Georgia driver’s license. The salary for this position is $400.00 per court session.How to Apply: Please send your cover letter and resume (Word documents only) to Connie Jacobs at connie.jacobs@cityofmiltonga.us

Monday, April 16, 2007

Milton, GA gets Official Zip Code

City residents can officially use "Milton, GA" on letters, packages and other mailings with assurance that those items will be delivered properly and promptly now that the U.S. Postal Service recognizes the 30004 ZIP code to be a city address.

City officials have been lobbying the USPS for the designation since incorporation Dec. 1, 2006. Until now, the 30004 ZIP code was considered an Alpharetta address for mail delivery purposes even though the area lies outside the Alpharetta city limits. Under the change, which USPS officials confirmed April 13, 30004 applies to both cities.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price, working with Mayor Joe Lockwood and federal officials, played an instrumental role over the past several months to get the designation established.

When city staff moved into the new City Hall location on Deerfield Parkway in late January, officials at the Alpharetta post office gave informal approval for the city to use the Milton, GA. designation on the city's letterhead, business cards and other materials. The official designation affords all city residents and businesses the same opportunity as well as coordinating the city's addressing with delivery services such as UPS and FedEx.

Opinion Forums Regarding Birmingham High

By Anderson Lee; Accessmilton.com

We have received numerous opinions regarding the recently proposed Birmingham High School off of Freemanville Road. Due to this high activity, we have created two temporary blogs; one set up for those in support of Birmingham High’s placement, the other against. To insure that the numbers are accurate, we have required registration for these two temporary forums. They are as follows:

For those in support of Birmingham High, please share comments at:
http://forbhamhigh.wordpress.com/

For those against Birmingham High, please share comments at:
http://againstbhamhigh.wordpress.com/

Thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

City Staff Sends Notice of Fundraiser

E-mail was rookie mistake, says O'Brien
Milton city officials inadvertently strayed afoul of Georgia law when they had a city employee send out e-mails about a fundraiser for two city councilmen.The e-mail, sent March 28, reminded local media of the event, which was slated for the next night at the Atlanta National Golf Club. The fundraiser is to pay off the campaign debt of councilmen Bill Lusk and Neil O'Brien.It was signed by City Clerk Janette Marchiafava and includes the city's logo, e-mail signature and contact numbers.

State Ethics Commission Executive Director Rick Thompson said sending an e-mail or any other in-kind work for an elected official or candidate is contrary to the Georgia Code."The law states no public agency shall directly or indirectly promote a candidate or elected official. So speaking hypothetically, if the city of Atlanta sent out e-mails telling about a fundraiser for an elected official, that would be wrong," Thompson said.Both Milton Communications Director Bill Doughty and City Manager Aaron Bovos said the purpose of the e-mail was simply to announce a possible City Council quorum (a majority of the City Council) at the event, which technically makes it a council meeting. They also said it in no way was meant to endorse Lusk or O'Brien or aid in their fundraising efforts."Our goal [with this e-mail] was just to make sure we are overly compliant with the media when quorums are present," said Bovos.

The e-mails went out to news outlets only.However, the e-mail makes no mention of any council members being at the fundraiser other than O'Brien and Lusk. It also fails to mention that any possible quorum could take place. Mayor Joe Lockwood was more contrite."It appears this was a mistake, said Milton mayor Joe Lockwood. "If it was a mistake, it was unintentional and not a willing mistake. That's the bottom line"In defense of their position, both Doughty and Bovos recalled an earlier e-mail sent to media outlets announcing a fundraiser for the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Gala event at the Georgia Aquarium. In that case, notice was also given by staff to the media about a possible quorum since council members were sure to be in attendance.

However, that event raised no money for political campaigns.O'Brien said he believes the e-mail was worded in such as way as to provide for some confusion. He also said that as a new body, it appears as though the city might have erred on the side of caution by trying to announce a quorum at the event at which Lockwood is a host."But there is no intention to discuss any city business there," he said.Bovos said a problem could have surfaced for the city if it had not mentioned the event officially."The flip side of this is that we get someone who says, 'I went to this event and there were no staff members, but six city council members were there and they talked about Birmingham Park,'" he said. "Then we're liable for that notice."Milton's commitment to ethical, open government has been an important issue to staff and council. The city previously adopted Sandy Springs' ethics ordinance and has its own ethics board. In addition, it adopted the Georgia Municipal Association's five ethics principles in order to be named a "Certified City of Ethics."Lusk could not be reached for a comment by press time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hey, Pipe down over there!

Published on: 04/08/07 / www.ajc.com

•THE ISSUE

Noise: Milton has received complaints from people about noise, especially from the sound system and the roar of the crowd at the high school stadium. The City Council is considering an ordinance that would cap the volume and regulate when and where people can be noisy.

In its first draft of the ordinance, the city staff proposed allowing the police to use a common sense, albeit court-tested, formula for determining if a neighbor or event is unduly loud. However, some residents, businesses and council members were uneasy with the subjectivity involved.

So Milton is now considering noise limits by decibel, and that would allow the police to use a decibel-measuring device to calculate whether the noise is excessive. Using an ordinance in Washington as a model, the city staff devised a table that sets limits by land use. For example, the noise limits are lower in residential areas than in commercial, but it also calculates the effect that commercial noise has on residential areas.

As proposed, the limit is 65 decibels in a residential area — or the level of normal conversation. In a commercial area, the limit is 70 decibels. The limits apply from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. At night the level is reduced by five decibels.

There are exceptions for emergency vehicles, aircraft, bells and chimes operating for less than five minutes, and officially sanctioned parades. It caps noise from football games at 75 decibels.
Penalties include a $1,000 fine, and 30 days in jail.

Signs: The City Council will tweak limits on placement, dimensions, and number of signs in commercial areas. There will be discussion about whether the sign ordinance should cover the city with one set of rules or whether certain areas, such as Ga. 9 commercial, should have more leeway.

• WHO'S AFFECTED: The noise ordinance will affect the 20,000 residents of Milton, although it has particular interest for the folks within shouting distance of the Milton High School athletics stadium. The amendments to the sign ordinance will directly affect business owners in the Ga. 9 corridor, and indirectly affect members of the public who rely on the signs or have an opinion about the way they look.

WINDWARD FOR A CURE: A TASTE AND A TOAST!

Please save the date! This Friday, April 13th at 7pm at the Metropolitan Club for Windward for a Cure: A Taste and A Toast! Tickets may be purchased through the secure website: http://www.windwardforacure.org/. We all know someone who has been touched by cancer. Thank you for your support at the 2006 Windward for a Cure and welcome you if you are new to this fabulous event. 2006 was a success as our community raised $50,000 for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. This year we have pledged to raise $60,000 so we need your help! This year we are introducing a mini taste of Alpharetta with local restaurants like Sage and Village Tavern serving up fabulous food. Pop’s Wine and Spirits will sponsor the wine tasting, so you can sip as you shop for items during our silent auction or outbid your neighbor during our live auction. Some of the exciting items are a signed golf club by Nick Faldo, a safari trip in Africa, a Villa in Tuscany, golfing at the Golf Club of Georgia, spa packages and dinners out. For additional event information visit the website or contact Mindy Jones at 770-475-8969. Tickets can be purchased on line at Windwardforacure.org. Invite your friends and neighbors!

EVENT HISTORY

A group of Windward tennis ladies began this event as a tennis tournament 7 years ago in memory of Kathleen Dyer, an avid Windward tennis player that lost her life to brain cancer within 3 weeks of being diagnosed. Three years ago we expanded the tennis tournament to include the whole Windward community by adding a silent auction/wine tasting at the Golf Club of Georgia. With a sellout audience last year this year we’ve changed locations to the Metropolitan Club so we can expand our event. Because of the participation of the Windward community and local businesses, we were able to raise $90,000 over the last two years for the Alpharetta branch of the American Cancer Society. We are excited about having the support of the whole community to get behind a cause that has affected each and every one of us.

Deja vu for High School Site


BOE buys former Kings Ridge land; Middle school land nears closing
by Candy Waylock / www.northfulton.com / Appen Newspapers

April 04, 2007

Freemanville Road residents were able to chase off a private school from the 100-acre site near their homes, but now the Fulton Board of Education has chosen the same land for the Birmingham high school.Most school officials were off for Spring Break, so details are still sketchy. But developer Richard Wernick, one of the partners who owned the land, confirmed that the Board of Education closed on the property March 30.

When King's Ridge Christian School first bought the property in 2000, neighboring residents opposed the selection saying it would add traffic congestion to a road that was not built to handle it. They also opposed the quality of life disturbances a 1,200-student, K-12 private school would bring to such a rural area.The matter wound up in court, and Kings Ridge finally gave up in 2003 began another search that wound up with that school building at the corner of Bethany Road and Cogburn Road.

Meanwhile, Milton has continued to grow, and now the Fulton Board of Education has come calling with a plan for an 1,800-student high school which might include a new middle school as well.White Columns resident George Ragsdale, one of the leaders in the fight to stop Kings Ridge School, said he knew the school board was looking for a site and could see this news coming."I was expecting [news of the closing] any day," Ragsdale said.District school board member for the area Katie Reeves said she had not received official confirmation from school authorities on the close of the sale, but said any site selection involving 100 acres or more is likely to cause some controversy."Regardless of where [the high school] is, there is going to be a hue and cry against it," Reeves said. "We just have to make the best choices we can."The new schools would offload students from Milton High School and Northwestern Middle School, with shifting attendance zones also affecting other area schools.While school officials were mum on the exact location of the proposed property site, Assistant Superintendent Michael Russell did comment on the criteria the board put in place to purchase land."The [Fulton County School Board's] guidelines are you buy from willing sellers, with preferably the entire parcel owned by one person," said Russell.

While no timeline exists for when the new high school and middle school are slated to open, the funding is available in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which was just recently extended through 2012. Therefore, construction of the new schools will likely start construction by 2012.The system has long proposed a new high school for the city of Milton, with a new middle school more recently on the radar."What we've said for a long time, and the numbers support us, is that we need one high school east and one high school west of Georgia 400," said Russell. "We've started the process on a new high school in Johns Creek [opening in 2009] and are now on the west side."The SPLOST funds a middle school in North Fulton, but does not specify the location.

Therefore the school system could opt to build a middle school on the east side of 400 in Johns Creek if the need is greater on that side of the highway.As far as numbers for Milton High School, without a new school to offload students, the area's newest high school will have an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students by 2011, according to school system projections. Milton currently has 2,100 students.The purchase price of the land was not announced, but the school system budget is $25 million for land for a new high school and middle school.During a meeting with the Milton City Council in January, Fulton School Superintendent James Wilson pledged to work closely with the new city leaders to ensure the school is a fit for the community.

At the time, Wilson did not confirm co-locating a new elementary, middle and high school in one general area. However, he said the strategy has been successful at Crabapple Crossing Elementary, Northwestern Middle and Milton High.The arrangement allows schools to share resources and be more efficient with transportation.It is a strong possibility the school system will use such a tactic with the new high school and middle school slated for the county in the next few years. The Birmingham Road elementary school is opening in 2009.

Milton Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa-Williams said school officials have been clear from the beginning that local government has limited involvement in school site selection."We really have not been in the information loop, although [Fulton School officials] have been very cordial," said Williams. "I think most of the council members are in the same position as most of the citizens as far as what they know about the new high school."The secrecy involved in the purchase of a school site was necessary to provide confidentiality and privacy to the seller and to ensure the school system gets the best price for the land, according to school officials.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Milton, Georgia Forums Open!!!

Have an opinion on that proposed high school off of Freemanville?
Are people driving to fast on your street?
Are you passionate about something in your city?

If so, check out the wonderful Milton, Georgia Forums
section here -> http://www.accessmilton.com/Forums.php

Milton Municipal Court Will Be in Session April 16

The City of Milton Municipal Court holds its first session Monday, April 16 at 1:30 p.m. with Chief Judge Barry Zimmerman presiding over 22 scheduled cases.
In the meantime, those who wish to pay their fines prior to their scheduled court appearance may now do so online with a credit card via the Milton Municipal Court's page in addition to paying in person or by mail.

The Municipal Court hears cases related to traffic and code violations in the city, said Clerk of the Court Jeanette Marchiafava. Citations currently are issued through the city’s code enforcement officers and Fulton County Police Department, which operates under an intergovernmental agreement with Milton.

Court sessions are held in the city council chambers at Milton City Hall in the Deerfield Professional Centre, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107E. In addition to April 16, court will be in session May 14 with approximately 46 cases pending. Starting in June, the court will be in session weekly on Monday beginning at 1:30 p.m. The court office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, no in-person fine payments are accepted after 4:30 p.m.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Note About School Plans for Freemanville Road

According to media reports, the Fulton County School System has purchased a 116-acre site on Freemanville Road near the Crabapple crossroads in the City of Milton, the same location on which King's Ridge School had planned to build a new facility. Statements attributed to District 2 Fulton Board of Education member Katie Reeves, who represents the area, indicate that the school system intends to construct both a high school and stadium on the property to open in 2011, and is considering construction of a middle school there as well.

Milton City Council is committed to working with the Fulton Board of Education. It should be noted, however, that the city has no control over where the system opts to build schools. Under state law, school systems are sovereign governmental bodies, with independently elected representatives. As such, they are exempt from most city and county ordinances, including planning and zoning laws.Questions or comments should be directed to District 2 BOE representative Katie Reeves, reevesk@fultonschools.org; BOE President Julia Bernath, bernath@fultonschools.org; and Fulton Superintendent of Schools James Wilson, wilsonj1@fultonschools.org. The phone number for the system's central administrative offices is 404.768.3600.

Share your comments regarding these plans below. No registration is required!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Magnolia Media Co-Founder Profiled in the Milton Herald


Volunteers rescue fire stations
Fulton taking all equipment before official hand-over
Temura Bly of Accessmilton.com contributed to this story.

April 03, 2007

For Milton resident Tim Enloe, making sure the city's firefighters have everything they need when the department hits the ground running May 15 is about as worthwhile a cause as he will ever find.

Before he was born, Enloe's family lost two young boys, his brothers, in a fire. His father also died in a fire recently, and his younger brother was killed in a car accident on Mayfield Road.

In each case, Enloe said it was comforting to know that there were people there willing to try and help save their lives.

"I wanted to make sure I helped give back to the people who have given so much to me," he said. "How could I not try and give back? So I took the few campaign donations I recieved this fall, which was about $300, and use it to purchase three dvd / vcr players for these public servants. "

So as part of his efforts, he joined the Milton Volunteer Pacers in the drive to raise funds and collect donations for the city's new Fire Department.The drive is sorely needed.

When Fulton County hands over Milton's three fire houses May 15 – Station 10 on Thompson Road, Station 14 on Arnold Mill Road and Station 18 on Hickory Flat Road – they will come completely empty. That means no beds, no pots and pans, nothing.

Bill Doughty, Milton's communications director, said it was always understood that the firehouses would come bare."We knew the furnishings and equipment were Fulton County's and that they would take them when the transaction occurs. It's the same thing that happened in Sandy Springs," he said.

Everything, which of course was purchased with taxpayer dollars, will be sent to Fulton County Material Control and kept in the county's stock to furnish other houses throughout the county."Material Control dictates where the stock will go based on need," said Greg Chambers, a spokesman for the county Fire Department.He said everything in the house is assigned a bar code and is kept like stock in a grocery store so the county always knows where it is."For instance, if someone puts a requisition in for a desk [in another part of the county], it will probably be one of those," said Chambers.

Fulton County Commissioner Lynn Riley said the policy adopted in 2006 by the county will allow the city to buy each fire station for only $5,000. Anything inside would be extra, and Riley said there is nothing prohibiting Milton from buying it all part and parcel."It was very strongly debated that the citizens already paid for those [fire]stations, and it would be criminal to make them pay twice," she said.But if the things inside the station were paid for with government money, why couldn't those things stay, too?"You could make that argument," she said. "But at the time it was not contemplated [by the commission]."Tom Lowe, another Fulton County commissioner, said that the total amount of money inside the stations is so small that residents shouldn't worry about it."You're talking about a nominal amount of money, an infinitesimal amount of money," he said. "Just buy the real estate and forget about that stuff."

In other words, Milton won the war, don't quibble over the cost of the battle.So the burden to provide living quarters for their personnel comes back to the nascent city."The city is prepared to provide the basic necessities, but to have a fire department six months after incorporation, there's going to be a lot to do," said Milton Volunteer Pacers Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Jan Fowler.It was her idea for a fund-raising drive for the city, and she is heading up the effort. Fowler said her brother is a 25-year veteran firefighter in Texas, and when she heard the firehouses would be empty, she knew she had to do something

Traditionally, firefighters have to buy their own amenities, so lot of houses have a fund for things like televisions, pots and pans, groceries, things like that," she said. "This will send a strong message to our firefighters that they are appreciated and that they don't need to spend their own money to buy new things."Plus, she said the less money the city has to spend on amenities, the more it can spend on needed equipment.

So far, the volunteers have collected a number of donations for the three firehouses. Fowler said the best way for people to help, though, is by giving cash. That way, the houses won't be stuck with duplicate physical donations and the group can purchase exactly what it needs once the giving storm dies down."Everybody always talks about supporting our firefighters and police officers, but the question becomes how to do that in a tangible way," Fowler said. "This is that way."
You can contact Jan Folwer at jfowler770@comcast.net and Tim Enloe at tmenloe@aol.com.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Fire & Police Questions from Readers

Accessmilton visitor:

The following are questions we have received over the course of the past month. We have taken the time to email the City of Milton Staff. Hopefully, they will address these and future questions as time allows.

- Anderson Lee; Accessmilton.com

1. Why does Milton need it's own police department if all of the specialized functions have to be subcontracted to other departments? For example, SWAT callouts, traffic investigators, and property / evidence control.

2. Why offer Veteran North Fulton Officers & Firemen a defined benefits pension if there are no benefits on the back end? Why not offer a progressive 401K? For example, 2008; 2%, 2009, 2%, 2010 2%?

3. How do you plan on handling calls for service once your three or four beat officers are tied up with other calls? Do you have a mutual aid agreement? If so, what police actions does it cover and how much in our tax dollars does it costs?

4. With such limited personnel, what are you going to do if someone gets sick, has a family emergency, or gets hurt on the job or a litany of other reasons for not being able to work?

5. Who supervises the shift if the supervisor has to be off?

6. Who decided the city needed a director of public safety when the only othe agencies in the Metro area that have public safety directors are large agencies (such as Cobb & Dekalb Counties?)

7. If the public safety director position is deemed to be so important, why was it not opened up to a selection process? If this position is so important, why was somebody with only nine years of experience in limited police knowledge and no knowledge of fire department protocol selected?

8. Why are public safety workers not protected by the civil service?

9. Why does the city say it wanted to recruite veteran officers bu the benefits package offered does not make it financially possible for them to come and work for the City of Milton?

10. Are we so desperate for employees that we call people who have not submitted applications to come and take the physical agility test and why is the city of Milton entertaining hiring officers who have been recently fired or asked to resign?

11. Why are the majority of non elected Milton officials ex city of Alpharetta officials?

12. Why are you hiring an assistant public safety director who, as a fireman, has not fought a fire?

13. What qualifications were needed to be considered for the position of Public Safety Director?

14. What was the selection process for the Public Safety Director?

15. What plans do the Milton Police have for enforcing our current speed limits?

16. How many officers will our city have employed on a full time basis?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Accessmilton.com Covers You Up!

By Temura Bly; Accessmilton.com

Magnolia Media, LLC is proud to annouce it's most recent online Store item for community site Accessmilton.com; A Port Authority "Milton, Georgia" baseball cap with buckle clasp. "We are very pleased to offer another new item to showcase local citizen's pride on Accessmilton.com," commented Co-founder Ginger Enloe. "More wonderful items are on the way, so please keep checking back." The hat incorporates the running horse created by fellow co-founder Tim Enloe in the fall of 2005 with a green bill and tan head cover.

To order your very own Milton, Georgia hat, click here->

10% of Magnolia Media Profits are donated to the Local Fire and Police Departments.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Another High School Comes To Milton, GA

Courtesy; Steve Beechum; Hometown Mortgage.

Former King's Ridge Site now going to Fulton County Schools The 100 acre site on Freemanville Road where King's Ridge School had planned their new school has been sold to the Fulton County School system. Fulton County plans to build a High School and Middle School along with a stadium on the site.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Council faulted Over Fund-Raiser Ad

By Doug Nurse / dnurse@ajc.com

A Milton City Council member said he was trying to stay within the law
when he directed the cityclerk to advertise a fund-raiser Thursday
for him and another council member, a violation of the city of ethics code.

"There were going to be four or five members of the City Council there,
and that's a quorum," said City Councilman Neal O'brien, who is up for
re-election this year. "I understood that if there was going to be a quorum,
it had to be advertised. We were merely trying to comply with the
open meetings law."

He said there were no plans to discuss or vote on any issues pending
before the City Council. The fund-raiser, conducted at the Atlanta National
Golf Club, was also arranged to raise money for City Council member
Bill Lusk, who is seeking re-election as well. City Council members
Karen Thurman, O'Brien, Lusk, Rick Mohrig, and Mayor Joe Lockwood
were expected to attend the event.

Under the city ethics code, city resources cannot be used for
political campaign purposes. Neither O'Brien nor Lusk have any declared
opposition, although each survived runoffs that started with a field of five.