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Friday, August 31, 2007

Milton, Johns Creek Are Embroiled In Court Battles


By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 09/01/07

John Steele of Milton revels in the scenic vistas of the newly created city, the sprawling horse farms, the stately homes, and the stacked-stone shops along Windward Parkway.

Nowhere is his line-of-sight spoiled by billboards — and he wants to keep it that way.
"The whole premise of the city was to keep it as rural as possible," said Steele, a development manager and a 17-year resident of Milton. "Billboards are so ugly. There's no place for them in Milton. I don't want to look at them."

The city of Milton and its sister city of Johns Creek are embroiled in court battles with Covenant Media, which wants to put four billboards in Milton along Ga. 9, and 14 billboards throughout Johns Creek. Milton has no billboards; Johns Creek has one.

Both cases are in Fulton Superior Court, being heard by different judges. Decisions could come before the end of the year.

Johns Creek residents jealously guard the upscale architectural and landscaping standards established by Technology Park/Johns Creek years ago.

"Billboards wouldn't be in keeping with the community," said Gary Tipps, a retired electric company executive and Johns Creek resident. "We're trying to keep Johns Creek from looking like other areas that have billboard after billboard. I drive to Florida once a month, and I hate the drive because of the billboards."

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said the feedback he's gotten from the public is uniformly against giant signs in the air.

"I think that view is representative of Milton's and Johns Creek's citizens," Bodker said. "There is a sentiment in Johns Creek that billboards are not consistent with the character of the community. We don't have interstates or major roads. It would seem out of place."

Adam Webb, attorney for Covenant Media, said outdoor advertising fills a valuable niche.
"People don't value appropriately the usefulness of outdoor advertising," Webb said. "It is the only medium that is cost effective and targeted for certain kinds of advertising. You can advertise to the entire metro area on the radio, but if you're a small restaurant in Johns Creek, you want to catch the eyeballs of people driving on your street so they stop in."

Last December, when both cities became legal entities, the city councils adopted Fulton County ordinances but imposed a freeze on zoning applications, including signs, to give them time to draw up their own ordinances. Within days, Covenant Media was knocking on the door with applications for billboards.

Johns Creek refused to take the applications. Milton took them. Covenant Media sued them both, saying the freeze unduly restricted its First Amendment rights.

"The billboard companies are trying to take advantage of loopholes in the new cities' ordinances during the transition time," Milton City Attorney Mark Scott said at the time.

The suits also claim that when the cities adopted Fulton County's ordinances, they embraced its sign ordinance. That ordinance had been declared unconstitutional by a superior court, which was later upheld by the state Supreme Court. That would mean the cities' sign ordinances at the time were unconstitutional as well.

The cities are arguing that Covenant should have applied with Fulton County at the time because the cities hadn't accepted planning and zoning responsibilities from the county.
The outcome of one may influence the outcome of the other, Scott said.

"If a judge issues an order, it could persuade the other judge," Scott said. "The cases are identical."

Glenn Barber, a 56-year-old accountant and Milton resident, hopes the courts don't allow the company to erect billboards in town.

"I think it would detract from the beauty of the community," Barber said. "I think when people voted for the city, that's what they wanted to preserve. We don't want to be downtown Atlanta. That's why people moved out here."

And Their OFF & RUNNING!

- Milton, GA.

Citizens interested in running for city council completed their paper work this week. With qualifying officially closing at 4:30pm today, the seats and candidates are as follows:

District 2 Seat Candidates-

Julie Zahner-Bailey
Roger Santi

District 4 Seat Candidates-

Burt Hewitt
Neal O'brien

District 6 Seat Candidates-

Alan Tart
Rick Mohrig

Special thanks to all candidates for working to make Milton, GA a better place to live.

From all of us at Accessmilton.com; best of luck!

Accessmilton Picture Of The Day!

What makes Milton so wonderful? Why our hooved friends of course! Meet Handsome Toy! Many thanks to Toy's special friend and owner; 12 year old Tori Bentley!

This wonderful photo taken by Milton, Ga's very own Nikki Haslett!

Did You Know?


A house fly lives only 14 days.

BORN TODAY IN...

1924 was US Comic Buddy Hackett

- "I've had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing."

(08/31/1924 – 06/30/2003)

Special thanks to "CL" for this cartoon!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Come Twist And Shout!

Contact: Deborah Lanham
Public Relations
Milton High School Touchdown Club
770/521-6320
deborahlanham@aol.com

Saturday, September 15, 2007

at the…

3rd Annual Milton Red & Silver Ball!
Alpharetta Marriott
5750 Windward Parkway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004
6:00 pm – Midnight

An exciting Milton tradition benefiting Milton Athletics!

Silent Auction * Live Auction * Live Band * Dancing * Food * Friends
Cash Bar – (21 and over please)

Tickets $75.00 per person

For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor please contact Joanne Mills- Red & Silver Ball Chairperson
Mills85@bellsouth.net or visit the
Milton Athletics Association website at http://www.miltonathleticassociation.com/

Auctioneer – Al Nagel: GAL2640

Paging Patti Silva...Patti Silva Needed In The Accessmilton News Section...


On behalf of everyone at Accessmilton.com, we would like
to take a moment out of our day and wish the wonderful
Mrs. Patti Silva a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Patti is a true
champion of Milton, Georgia and valuable asset to this
wonderful city! So if you see Mrs. Patti out and about,
give her a big B-day hug and tell her ACCESSMILTON.COM
sent you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI!!!

Do you have a loved one who's birthday is coming up? Let us know so that we can spread the wonderful word. Email us at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com / Subjectline: BIRTHDAY.

Milton, Georgia Birthday wishes; Only on Accessmilton.com!

Candidates In The Running-Who Will You Vote For?


Fall is here again in Milton, Georgia and election time is upon us! This year, residents have three city council seats that are up for grabs. They are districts 2, 4, and 6. With that, Accessmilton.com would love to share your input with others regarding your candidate of choice and why. Let it be stressed that all candidates are taking time away from their families and jobs along with spending quite a bit of time and money running. Thus, please be courteous in your opinions of these citizens. Running for office is no easy task.

In order to be viewed as more credible, we do recommend at least providing your name. Any unjustified attacks will be promptly removed by the administrator.

Come On Down For The Milton Round Up!

The City of Milton will host its inaugural anniversary event, the Milton Roundup,on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mark your calendars and bring your family and friends to this fun day of events and festivities!The day’s unforgettable events will include a Fire & Police Department chili cook-off, and live music by the incredible Peggy Hoskins and her band!Sponsorship packages are still available and there are still a few remaining spots for vendors.Sign up now while there’s still room left and help support this wonderful celebration of our city!Come out and enjoy the food, fun, games, contests, arts & crafts, and equestrian shows.We’ll see you there!

15770 Birmingham Highway,
Milton, GA 30004
Printable map

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

E-News By Councilman O'Brien


MILTON, GEORGIA: A Glance Back And A Look Forward

Hello Neighbors:

As one of seven of your inaugural elected officials, I wanted to share some thoughts at a time of tremendous progress & promise for the City of Milton. Just eight months have passed since taking office, yet incredible change has taken place on our watch.

Along with our friends across GA 400 in John’s Creek, we followed the lead of Sandy Springs late last fall into the great experience of city hood.

In July 2006, we voted overwhelmingly for self-government, but clearly not more government. In fact, much of the appeal beyond bringing control back into local hands, was the notion of an agile private/public partnership.

So, what is the greatest success to date?

Beyond continued validation of our partner in this enterprise, CH2M Hill-OMI (affectionately referred to as “CH2”), it has to be the remarkable implementation of our new Public Safety Department.

Initially, we paid Fulton County $20,000.00 per day to provide Milton with Public Safety coverage that consisted of old Fire apparatus and as little as one Police unit in the southeast corner of the area. Upon transition at midnight, April 30th, we immediately enjoyed cost savings, yet dramatically better coverage. A few weeks later, the Firefighters joined the fold, with three beautiful new engines straight from the factory, joined now by the “Quint”... bringing a ladder truck capability to Milton for the first time.

To put this in perspective, we replaced limited coverage and old equipment with brand new, state of the art vehicles and apparatus, all in less than seven months. On the Police side, we typically provide four or five units across Milton at any given time, with every officer AED/CPR equipped and qualified. Every firefighter is an EMT or better, with a large percentage of Paramedics on duty for the needs of residents in distress. That represents a dramatically improved capability, coupled with improved response time for those assets.

I’d like to mention two other items, with the promise that I will provide detailed coverage of these topics in coming weeks.

We have nearly completed our budget and millage setting process in the last few days. We have adopted a millage rate for Fiscal 2007, which is our operational year drawing to a close in a few weeks. As you might guess, it is a practical impossibility to lower a tax rate at the end of a budget year, but we did discuss the merits of such a move and the hope to lower our millage rate in the near future.

A parallel project was to fine tune our balanced FY-2008 budget plan. We have finalized a prudent financial plan that contributes appropriately to our Reserve Fund, provides only those items that are truly essential, but gets us moving on Parks and traffic relief in Milton.
The Staff at City Hall did an exceptional job through these important discussions, allowing the Mayor and Council to prioritize that which is most important to all of you, in a fiscally sound manner.

Finally, property owners in Milton will shortly receive their City Tax Bills in the mail. Many of us have already gotten Tax Bills from Fulton County, but remember that bill did not reflect the former “Special Service District” charge. Subject to more detailed discussion in another E-news, suffice to say that the average combined tax from Fulton and Milton should total approximately the same as last year.

On a personal note, it has been an exciting and very busy eight months in office. It is an honor and privilege to serve all of you and I encourage your continued feedback.

In fact, we often get the very best ideas & solutions from those we serve, so keep those emails coming. As we protect and refine Milton, continue to seek ways to provide cost effective services desired by our residents, and meet the challenges of coming years, we will need your help.
The support and encouragement of our “customers”, the taxpayers and families in Milton, will be an integral part of our success.

This is just the start of a great story and I am immensely proud to be a part of it!

Very Respectfully, Your neighbor,Neal O’BrienMilton City Council
District Four Neal.OBrien@CityofMiltonga.us
Paid for by Friends of Neal O’Brien, 635 Devonshire Farms Way, Milton, GA 30004-4322

****Press Release / August 29, 2007****




PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2007
For more information, contact:
Burt Hewitt—404-550-2751
cbhfour@bellsouth.net

Burt Hewitt announces his commitment to the City of Milton by
becoming a Candidate for City Council District 4


With the tremendous support of friends and neighbors, Milton resident Burt Hewitt announces his candidacy in the upcoming election for Milton City Council District 4. He wants your vote November 6.

“I believe I can offer an open-minded approach allowing me to be a better leader for District 4, the Council and serving the City of Milton.” Hewitt vows to be a team player and work effectively with the Mayor and other Council members to further the development of our City. “There will be difficult decisions to be made concerning a variety of topics from land use to historical preservation and we need someone who can stand back as an average Citizen and objectively represent the entire Milton Population.”

Hewitt is an experienced business leader with strong family values. He is passionate about Milton and the proper growth and development for this unique community. "I will work hard to preserve the values of Milton and to represent the desires of the people," promised Hewitt. "My strength is listening to the needs of my customers. I will consider the entire city my customer to serve.”

“This is a unique opportunity for me to be involved in the continued building of the City of Milton foundation. The Citizens of Milton should be proud of what has been accomplished in such a short time. With solid council leadership, I know we will keep that momentum.”

Burt Hewitt is a Regional Sales Manager for a small Company serving the food industry. An eight year resident of what is now Milton, he was born and raised in Columbus, Ga. and received a B.S. Degree in Marketing from Auburn University.

Burt resides on Bethany Road with Ivey, his wife of nine years and their three daughters. He is currently Chairperson for the “Milton Round Up”, the City’s first birthday party. Hewitt says this milestone event will celebrate all the wonderful things the City has accomplished while looking towards the future. Hewitt and his family are active members of Birmingham United Methodist Church, where he is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees and along with his wife helped develop the base for what is a very successful Youth program.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

****Press Release / August 28, 2007*****

Julie Zahner Bailey Announces Campaign for Re-Election to Milton City Council Seat, District 2

MILTON, GA (August 27, 2007) - Milton City Council member Julie Zahner Bailey has qualified to run for re-election to her current seat as at-large council member from District 2. A 19-year resident of the Milton area, Zahner Bailey says she is committed to upholding the policies and values that the citizens elected her to represent - specifically a transparent, open government, consistent application of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the protection of the low-density, residential areas and the overall rural character of the area.

"As a council, we have accomplished much over the past year including deployment of fire and police, a balanced budget in both 2007 and 2008, and the passage of critical ordinances and procedures," said Zahner Bailey. "However, much remains to be done. The decisions made during our first few years as a city will echo for decades and I am committed to the principles that will continue to protect our quality of life."

Zahner Bailey says she has been a consistent supporter of conservative fiscal management out of respect for the tax dollars paid by Milton citizens, and stands firm on the no-sewer and no inter-basin policies to protect Milton's low-density, rural-residential communities. "I believe strongly that consistent application of our comprehensive land use policies is critical to protecting us from the mistakes made by other communities," she said.

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said Zahner Bailey has been an asset both to the City of Milton and the City Council. " I respect council member Julie Zahner Bailey not only for the past 11 years of hard work she has given to our community, but also for the positive difference she has made this first year working together on our council," said Lockwood. "I believe we share the same vision moving forward as the overwhelming majority of our citizens do for our community. I will be proud to have Julie serve on our council for the next four years and look forward to continuing to work with her."

Zahner Bailey graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Finance from Florida State University. She lives in the Birmingham community with her husband Bill and their two children, Savannah, 9, and Zachary, 13. They own Bailey Farm & Gardens, Inc., an ecologically friendly landscape, nursery and horticultural business, and attend Roswell Presbyterian Church.

For more on Julie's accomplishments go to www.julie4milton.com.
Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council District 2, City of Milton
255 Hickory Flat Road
Milton, Georgia
30004Email: Julie4Milton@mindspring.com ; baileyfarmandgardens@mindspring.com
Phone: 770-664-5529(h), 404-310-6344(c)


Liquid Dreams fills a need for local homeowners by providing pond and fountain maintenance. Whether it’s a yearly cleaning or a Spring and Fall cleaning or monthly maintenance, Liquid Dreams can help you keep your water garden functioning at its best! To find out more about Liquid Dreams, click here

The Stories Of Milton

Story of a lost dog brings Milton residents closer.

Last Sunday, the Silva family was driving through the huge rainstorm up Hopewell Road and found what we thought was the biggest Golden Retriever ever seen, in the middle of the intersection at Bethany, as cars were swerving to avoid him. We always keep dog bones in our glove compartment just for times like this. We blocked the intersection and went to save the dog. He jumped right in our van and immediately began kissing the entire family.
We found his owners Charlie and Marcie who let us know that the dog was not a Golden but a Great Pyrenees named Porter. Charlie and Marcie brought him home, only to find that he had jumped the 9+ foot fence once again and was found traveling down Hopewell towards our home (or so Charlie says, smile). Since then we cannot get Porter out of our minds and hope to adopt a Great Pyr one day in the future.
But, the best part, we had the opportunity to meet some new Milton residents who we can now call friends. Please consider adopting or fostering this breed, especially if you have a farm or large tract of land, as they are incredible watchdogs and beautiful as well. And, take the time to rescue a lost dog on the roads in Milton.

Contact: Charlie Fisher
President
Metro Atlanta Great Pyrenees Club
http://www.pyrrescuega.com/
770.569.8611

Special thanks to the Silva family! Do you have a story of Milton that you'd like to share? If so, email us at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com / Subject Line: Milton Stories.











Crabapple Fair Is Back!


Find treasures, meet local artists and enjoy an old-fashioned family event.Saturday, October 6, 2007, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Located in Milton, GA,at the Crossroads of Birmingham, Mayfield, Broadwell and Crabapple Roads Area Map / Directions For more information, visit Urban Art Works Atlanta or call 770.448.3860Sponsored by the City of Milton and the Crabapple Merchant Association

*****Press Release / August 27, 2007*****

Alan Tart announces candidacy for Milton City Council - District 6

Milton resident Alan Tart proudly announced his candidacy for Milton City Council - District 6 on Monday. Alan is self-described as a "fresh face in leadership for the new City of Milton."

"This is a pivotal moment in our city’s history. Over the next several years, our city council will be making many important decisions that will have longstanding effects on our city’s future. While growth is inevitable, I, like the majority of Milton’s citizens, believe that we have a collective responsibility to preserve Milton’s small town character and distinctive heritage by ensuring responsible growth and land use, efficient community services, and fiscal responsibility and accountability. As your councilman, I will listen to your interests and concerns and make decisions based on the will of the majority. I will work to build consensus on council and in the community, and I will make decisions that preserve our city’s unique char acteristics. I would greatly appreciate your support in this important election."

Alan attended Berry College in Rome, GA where he received a BS Degree in Biology. He was born and raised in Columbus, GA where he also taught high school. Alan now serves as a Regional Retail Food Specialist and National Team Leader for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Elected by his peers to represent their interests on the national level, Alan has over 10 years of experience with developing and interpreting policies and regulations and with analyzing the legal, social, and economic impact of policies and regulations on governmental stakeholders, including industry and the public. Alan is a current member of the Atlanta Federal Executive Board Leadership in Government Program – a distinctive program that is designed to enhance the team building, leveraging, and interpersonal skills of government leaders.

Alan also serves as President and CEO of the Avensong Community Association, located at Deerfield Parkway and Hwy. 9. With assistance from many fine volunteers, Alan and the other Avensong board members have worked diligently to build a sense of community and pride in the neighborhood. Alan recently led a community fundraiser to raise $3,000 for the Milton Police Department. In his spare time, Alan enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and friends.
For more information, please contact Alan Tart (678) 464-8550.

Accessmilton Doggie Of The Day!

"Do you see what I see?"

With those wonderful blue eyes, who knows? Maxwell is looking dashing in all his glory as he strikes a handsome pose! No wonder he is Accessmilton's Doggie Of The Day!

Special thanks to owner Nikki Haslett

Six Towns Set To Begin Election Qualifying

By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 08/26/07

It's only been nine months since Johns Creek and Milton became functioning cities, but it's election time again.

Monday morning begins the qualifying period for the two new municipalities — and four of the five other cities in north Fulton and Forsyth counties. The chance to be on the ballot in Johns Creek and Milton closes Friday. Elections are set for Nov. 6.

Winners of this year's election will be the first in the two young cities to earn full four-year terms.

The legislative framers of Johns Creek and Milton wanted to stagger the terms on the city councils to avoid clean sweeps and create more stability. So half of the first elected city council members are serving less than a year before standing for re-election. The balance of the city council seats will be up for election in 2009. The seats are nonpartisan.

To qualify to be on the ballot requires a fee, usually a small percentage of the annual salary of the post sought, and the candidate must meet rules for residency and age.

Both cities have asked Fulton County to run their 2007 elections so the system will be the same as in the past, although a few polling places may have changed. For more information, call the Fulton County Office of Registration and Elections at 404-730-4000 or visit ww2.co.fulton.ga.us.

Oct. 9 is the cut-off date for registering to vote in the November elections. Voter registration forms are available at many public facilities, such as city halls, Fulton County offices, and libraries.

Other cities in north Fulton County are conducting elections as well.
Alpharetta has three seats plus the mayor's office up for a vote. Qualifying there runs Monday through Wednesday.

All five city council seats and the mayor's job in Cumming are up for re-election.
Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt and Councilmen Quincy Holton, Lewis Ledbetter and Rupert Sexton have all been at the helm of city government for the past 40 years. Councilmember Ralph Perry joined them in 1979, and Councilman John Pugh is the relative newcomer. He's been on the council since 1993, according to the city's Web site.

Qualifying runs Monday through Friday.

Roswell expects a competitive election season, with three City Council posts up for grabs. Already, six people have indicated they plan to run.

The defining issue is expected to be Roswell East, a $2 billion housing and retail development planned for the intersection of Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400.

The development plan has yet to be submitted to the city, but developer Charlie Brown plans to move ahead shortly.

Tiny Mountain Park also will have a lively election this year. The 500-resident city is governed by a city council of seven members, and a mayor. Three positions will open, as will the slot for mayor.

Sandy Springs does not have an election this year.
Staff writers Mary MacDonald and Nancy Badertscher contributed



Milton Hoping To Buy Parkland

By DOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Published on: 08/26/07

Travis Allen grew up using Providence Park in Milton, hiking the wooded trails, camping, fishing the lake, and watching people climb the quarry walls.

Then, in 2004, Fulton County closed the 40-acre park after discovering many of the 200 55-gallon drums stashed in the park were leaking. Since then, the county has cleaned up much of the pollution by hauling off 8,331 tons of dirt from 37 acres. Now, city and county officials are awaiting an assessment by the state Environmental Protection Division.

Anticipating a positive report, Milton city officials have begun trying to work out a way to buy the cleaned-up portion of the park from Fulton County. If all goes well, the city could take over and open a majority of the green space by the end of the year.

"That's great," Allen said. "There really is a need. I think it's been missed. It was used a lot before, but attendance will exceed that now. In an area that's park-poor, everyone will flood down there. I'll probably go once a week."

Fulton County recreation officials estimated the park used to draw about 20,000 visitors a year. People would canoe, rock climb, hike and mountain bike the trails, or use the pavilion or community center.

At least some of the contamination is believed to have come from county road building that occurred before the site became a park in 1972. After closing the facilities, scientists found that soil near the drums contained about four times the amount of lead allowed near a home and as much as 10 times the limit for some kinds of chromium, an EPD spokesman said in 2004.
The city has three parks, but only one is open, and it is used for baseball. Besides Providence, there's a 200-acre undeveloped park.

When voters approved incorporating northwest Fulton County into the new city of Milton, many of them felt a city of their own would help rectify a lack of services — including a paucity of parks. Opening Providence Park would be a step toward delivering on that promise, said city Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa.

"We have baseball fields, but that's all," D'Aversa said. "This will be so exciting for everyone. This will broaden recreational choices for people."

Typically, new cities — such as Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton — buy Fulton County facilities within their boundaries in their entirety, but the city has asked the county to subdivide Providence Park. The city would buy the cleaned-up part.

Milton is planning to hire an environmental engineer to determine which areas are safe.
"The city and the county are taking every precaution to make sure everything we do has a clean bill of health," D'Aversa said.

Monday, August 27, 2007



Let the Qualifying Begin!

Political Hopefuls Start Qualification today.

Citizens interested in running for a city council seat may pay the $390 qualifying fee with the City Clerk's office at City Hall, Suite 107 A/B in the City of Milton. Candidates may submit their paperwork and payment from Monday / August 27 through Friday / August 31st from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Voter registration is handled through Fulton County.

Candidates are allowed one free press release in accessmilton.com's news section. This press release will incorporate a picture of the candidate and a one paragraph description.

Those interested in increasing their exposure by being listed in the special "Campaign 2007" section via a "Campaign Web Brochure Package" can contact us at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com / Subject line: Campaign '07.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Milton's Finance Director Resigns

By DOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 08/24/07

The ongoing turmoil in the city of Milton has prompted Finance/Operations Director Carol Wolfe to submit her resignation, effective Sept. 7.

"It's been stressful at City Hall," Wolfe said Friday. "I have to have energy to take home to my two boys, who are 5 and 9. I felt like I was using all my energy at work. You have to strike a balance."

In addition to finding an interim city manager, Milton's City Council now has to hire a new operations director.

City Manager Aaron Bovos resigned Aug. 9 after coming under fire for the loss of $900,000 in tax revenue because of a missed deadline with the state.

Since then things seemed like they were calming down in Milton. The city council had had back-to-back uneventful meetings, and appeared to be in harmony on the budget.Wolfe said no one on the city council ever blamed her for the mishap with the tax revenue, which dogged Bovos.
"I never felt like a target," she said. "It was just the collective environment. "

City Councilwoman Karen Thurman spoke highly of Wolfe, who shepherded the city through its first annual budget process after Bovos left. "She was a valuable asset," Thurman said. "She's been wonderful, helping me become comfortable with the budget."

Wolfe said she is planning to join CH2M Hill-OMI, the company hired to provide day-to-day services at Milton. As a finance consultant and projects manager, she will join a pool of experts who parachute in when needed to help client cities, including Milton, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs and now Chattahoochee Hills. She said she probably will continue to be in Milton three days a week for the near future.

Wolfe came to Milton on Oct. 16 from Alpharetta, where she was city finance director. She earned $120,000 a year.

Accessmilton.com Doggie of the Day!

" UGA - Watch out!"

It appears as though the Athens Bulldog UGA is not the only big fan. Here, Angel sports her fandom in all it's glory. Go Dawgs!
Special thanks to owner Michele Gunter.

DOG FOUND!


Special thanks to a wonderful Milton Resident for bringing us this information! If you can help us bring this little fellow home, that would be great! Please see description and contact info below.

BULLDOG/TERRIER MIX
FOUND IN THE LAKE AT COOPER SANDY NEIGHBORHOOD, OFF OF BETHANY, ON SUNDAY 8/19.

PLEASE CALL 770-410-9066




Candidates Qualifying Week is August 27-31st for 2007 Election

The next City of Milton municipal election takes place on Nov. 6 with races being held for council seats in districts 2, 4 and 6. Qualifying for candidates takes place Aug. 27-31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; candidates need to file their Notice of Candidacy and pay the $390 qualifying fee with the City Clerk’s office at City Hall, Suite 107 A/B. Voter registration is handled through Fulton County.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Accessmilton.com Picture of the Day!

"One World."

Special thanks to Ginger Enloe of Milton for this wonderful picture!
Here, we see Ginger's favorite pup Caesar focusing intently on the little moth fluttering above.
Are you a fan of man's best friend? If so, share your passion here->
Do you have a picture that you would like to share?
Send them our way at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com today!

Residents Meet with Milton Public Safety Director

Accessmilton.com is a community focused website that encourages citizen feedback. Should you have information you would like to share, please email us at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com

Meeting designed to curb speeding abuses; increase safety.

The Bethany Farms at Bethany Road Home Owners Association met with Milton Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom and Milton Public Works Representative Abby Jones Tuesday evening. The focus of this meeting was to work on a remedy to enforce speed limits and increase commuter safety in Bethany Farms.

“During the push for incorporation, we always heard that things would be better due to local control,”commented life long resident Ginger Enloe. “It is nice to see that promise come true in this instance. Thank you to Chris and Abby!”

Mr. Lagerbloom & Ms. Jones listened to many of the residents concerns and offered feedback
as to how best rectify the problems at hand. In summation, a six month game plan has been put in place which will gather information from speed devices as well as officer enforcement and visibility.

Tim Enloe, who initiated a speed control petition through Fulton County four years ago, seemed pleased with the results. “It is good to see attention brought to this concern. However, it should be stressed that Bethany Farms is not the only open-road neighborhood or subdivision in Milton dealing with these type of abuses. Hopefully, through education and time, all commuters will drive in a cautious and safe manner throughout our Milton.”

Bethany Farms at Bethany Road is a 1.5 mile open road neighborhood located between the intersections of Mayfield / Bethany and Providence / Bethany. Home styles and lot sizes vary from 2 acre brick ranches to sprawling high acre estates.

To find out more about the South-eastern gateway into Milton, GA,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Protect Milton Update

The "Protect Milton" Top Ten list of reasons not to put the High School and possible Middle School between Wood Rd., Freemanville Rd. and Rolling Links Drive:

1. 2- 3 schools planned bordering Rolling Links, Freemanville Rd., and Wood Rd. and Birmingham Hwy. (Birmingham Elementary School, new Middle School, new High School).
2. 3 large/commercial septic systems for all 3 schools since the schools will yield a minimum of 10,000 gal/day of waste.
3. Pollution and increased impairment of the creeks, streams and lake on this land from septic and storm water run-off from paved areas.
4. Increased traffic at key drive times on Freemanville Rd., and surrounding roads, increased traffic on Wood Rd., traffic lights at intersections and turn lanes.
5. Increase in teenage drivers on Freemanville and surrounding roads traveling to and from 2 major highschools on Freemanville Rd. (2-3000 teenage drivers 16+ years of age), with the increase risk of traffic accidents on an already heavily traveled 2 lane road.
6. Football stadium lights, P.A. system noise, band and stadium noise 9 months out of the year and on weekends, and during the summer with band and athletic/sports activities at the high schools.
7. Decrease in property values.
8. Clear cutting/destruction of most of the trees and (specimen)trees on the 116 acre property to build the schools, stadium and sports fields. (Where is the Arborist when you need him?)
9. Inadequate buffers/trees and professional landscaping to provided by the BOE for blending and buffering of the schools into our rural area (ie. MHS, Summit Hill, Cogburn, Northwestern, Hopewell, Crabapple, etc. ). Take a look around at your schools and see for yourself.
10. The BOE did not take into consideration our City's needs, any input or direction from our City Council, Planning Commission, Planning Committee, or our Existing Land Use Plan. They chose this site based on the opportunity to purchase one large tract of land from one land owner.
11. One more for the heck of it: Construction noise, traffic and disruption for approximately 2 years while the schools are under construction on Birmingham Hwy, Freemanville Rd., and Wood Rd..
12. And another one: the over expenditure on property to build a new high school when the Old Milton High School should have been renovated and/or rebuilt for students from Alpharetta as well as Milton. This would have saved the BOE and the tax payers a tremendous amount of money. The plans for the renovating of the Old Milton High School were completed and planned. Then the BOE built the new existing Milton High School that opened in 2004 instead of renovating the old school. This decision did not incorporate growth, it only moved existing children from an old school to a new expensive one at the cost of the taxpayer.

Please look around your community and when you drive down Freemanville Road envision potentially 3 school campuses lined up in a row down Wood Rd, bordering Freemanville and Birmingham Hwy. and Rolling Links Drive. Is this what we want for our new City when we already have MHS 2.8 miles on the same road. Is this the best placement for a new high school and possible middle school for Milton? You decide. Easy, readily available property, offered by one willing seller, should not be the one and only criteria for choosing a school site for our City. Is this responsible planning or easy planning by the BOE. They state "Where Students Come First", but how about the parents of the students from whom they collect the money to build these schools?

Lisa Cauley
Chairperson - Protect Milton





Sunday, August 19, 2007

Accessmilton Picture of the Day!


Special thanks to Milton Resident Nikki Haslett for this wonderful back yard summer picture!

Do you have an interest in photography? Do you enjoy taking pictures of our beautiful Milton, GA?

If so, email us at magnoliamedia@yahoo.com today
and share your passion!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Update on the Greyhounds

NOTE: Special thanks go out to the Milton citizens that brought us this update! Wonderful news!

"I looked into this and called the people to inquire. They have found foster homes for all the animals from Florida and none have been euthanized. They do encourage you to contact your local greyhound adoption center as there are other opportunities to foster or adopt a former racing dog if you are interested."

- Milton Citizen.

PLEASE HELP!

NOTE: Accessmilton.com is a big advocate of our wonderful four footed friends. Thanks to one of Milton's residents, we have recieved the following article. Any help you or friends could provide here would be greatly appreciated!

Everyone - the Florida Greyhound rescue world has been dealt a devastating blow this week - the Melbourne race track is closing early this season, and over 300 dogs are in danger of immediate death, just because their use has come and gone on the track..... This terrible situation created by the Melbourne track closing is going to be bad over the next 2 or 3 weeks, but particularly in the next week.

These beautiful dogs waiting in line to get out of Sanford Orlando will be put down to make room for the active racers being moved from Melbourne if we don't get them out of there. And, when I say "put down", I am not saying that they will be humanely put down. There is no guarantee of that. Trainers, dog handlers, rescue groups are all working together to save these dogs. But the task is daunting and we need all the help we can get. Greyhound rescue groups are moving dogs out of FL at a phenomenal rate! If you are able to take an extra foster or a first foster, it will not be for a very long time. A week or two, most likely, until we can get the dogs vetted and arrange a ride out of here. The groups up north are very busy placing dogs and need quite a few NOW. Foster homes are needed to keep the dogs safe until they can be sent north for adoption.

This is the time to act! If you've never fostered before, you will be amazed at how well these dogs fit in right off the track.

We supply everything you need..a crate, leash, dog food, and we'll even throw in a comfy comforter for a bed. Medications are provided for the dog. The only thing you provide is safe haven, lots of love, and assurance to a dog whose world has been ripped apart by folks who only see dollars where others see a loving, gentle creature. Greyhounds are 45 mile hour couch potatoes who love toys, napping, lounging, going for walks (no unleashed dog parks please), and did I mention the napping marathon? A fenced yard is preferred, but not necessary, as greyhounds are leashed trained and love to walk. If you have a cat or small dog, the groups will make sure you have a greyhound that is cat- and small-dog safe. We will not jeopardize any greyhound, nor will we jeopardize any foster home and their animal family members. Please talk this over at the dinner table tonight. If you've ever thought about fostering, this would be the time to give it a try.

If you are sincerely interested in helping, or if you know anyone who could consider helping out as a foster home, please have them contact Carol Becker of Gold Coast Greyhound Adoptions at vocalsinc@mac.com, or have them contact me at bwmccartt@cfl.rr.com (407-760-1484, cell), and I can put them in touch with the local groups as well as the various Florida groups helping out the pups. Please spread the word at church, your neighborhood, work, etc.

Thanks! Bev McCarttBeverly W McCartt CCMT American Canine Sports Medicine Association - Member ( acsma.org ""> )407.760.1484 cellbwmccartt@cl.rr.com

Millage Rate FAQ's

The following FAQs provide additional detail surrounding commonly asked questions regarding millage rates. Should you require additional information, please contact the City of Milton at info@cityofmiltonga.us, or by phone at 6782422500.

What is a "millage rate?"

The millage rate is a multiplier applied against the value of property in order to calculate property taxes.

How does the millage rate affect a property owner?

Property owners pay taxes on real and personal property using the millage rate approved by the government. The millage rate can change from year to year, either by an increase or by a decrease.

Why does the government collect property taxes?

In Milton, property tax is the largest source of revenue and is used to fund service delivery such as police protection, fire prevention and suppression, zoning and permitting, code enforcement, public works, recreation services, parks maintenance, and other essential services.

How are my property taxes computed?

Following is an example of how property taxes would be computed on a $350,000 home using the millage rate of 4.731:

Appraised Home Value $350,000
Calculated assessed Home Value (40% of appraised value) $140,000
City of Milton Basic Homestead Exemption <$15,000>
HTRG Credit <$ 8,000>
Home Value subject to property taxes $117,000
Millage Rate Applied for Property Tax Due ($117,000 x 4.731) / 1000 $553.53

What is the current millage rate?

The City’s current budget for fiscal year 2007 (October 1, 2006 – September 30, 2007) is based on a millage rate of 4.731 mills. This is the millage rate being adopted in August for tax bills mailed around September 1, 2007.

Why are we approving a millage rate for a budget that has already been in effect for eleven months?

The City must receive a certified tax digest from Fulton County prior to adopting a millage rate. This digest was received from Fulton County in July 2007. We anticipate this will occur in June in future years.

Why not lower the millage rate now?

The millage rate for fiscal year 2007 must stay the same due to balanced operating budget currently active for funding city operations.

Why not lower the millage rate in the future?

The City is in its infancy and must look at longterm financial stability, especially in the early years. Sound financial footing includes an operating reserve equal to two months expenditures, much like a family’s savings account. There are also numerous capital and infrastructure improvements throughout the city that need funding. Maintaining a 4.731 millage rate is contributing to a strong financial foundation and the City’s longterm financial success.

What other forms of tax relief does the City offer?

The City offers a basic homestead exemption of $15,000 for each primary residence within our borders. We also have additional senior and full exemptions for those who qualify. The City publishes a Property Tax Guide with details on all homestead exemptions.

What is the HTRG Credit?

The HTRG credit, if shown on your tax bill, is the result of the Homeowner’s Tax Relief Grant enacted by the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Georgia. In order to qualify, you must have received another homestead exemption. If you have applied for a homestead exemption, you do not need to take further action to qualify for the HTRG Credit. The HTRG is credited in an amount not to exceed $8,000.

Milton City Manager Gets $72,500 Severance

BY DOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Published on: 08/17/07

The city of Milton gave departing City Manager Aaron Bovos a lump sum of $72,500 in severance pay, half of what it would have paid if he had been fired.
The terms of the severance agreement forbid city officials and Bovos from commenting on his leaving the city.

After deliberating for 20 hours in closed-door sessions over a two-week period, the Milton City Council accepted Bovos' resignation on Aug. 9. The agreement states his resignation is in lieu of termination. It also states that Bovos resigned voluntarily. Bovos earned $145,000 a year.
City Council members were angry that Bovos waited four months to tell them that the city was in danger of forfeiting $900,000 in tax revenue because the city missed a Jan. 1 deadline with the state. Bovos joined Milton in September from Sandy Springs, where he served as assistant city manager in that city's successful start-up in 2005.

Under Bovos' brief tenure, Milton started its Fire and Police departments, launched Municipal Court, found a temporary City Hall, adopted ordinances and regulations common to cities, and established procedures for inspections, issuing permits, and tax collections.
The separation agreement states that Bovos will provide up to 25 hours to the city as a consultant to ease the transition.

After Bovos resigned, Milton Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom assumed city manager duties. The city is searching for an interim manager until a permanent replacement can be hired.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Authorities Believe Escort Service Owner Behind City's First Homicide

The Associated Press - MILTON, Ga.

Authorities believe the owner of a metro Atlanta escort service was the mastermind behind the first homicide in the new north Fulton County city.

Keith Brown was found shot to death inside his apartment on June 12th.
Milton police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation believe 29-year-old Kisha Rutledge planned the hit on Brown after she learned from women who worked for her that he carried large amounts of money.

The two suspected triggermen have been arrested. Authorities believe Rutledge hired them and drove them to the location where Brown was killed.

Authorities believe Rutledge may be hiding in the Orlando, Florida, area.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

After Ethics complaints, Milton City Council changes ordinance.

by DOUG NURSE / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Published on: 08/14/07

Fearing that ethics charges are becoming a political weapon, the Milton City Council is clarifying standards under which complaints can be filed and adding penalties for frivolous allegations.
In the eight months Milton has been a city, ethics complaints have been filed against Mayor Joe Lockwood and City Council members Neal O'Brien and Bill Lusk by activists and supporters of other council members. All were thrown out.

And then an ethics board member filed an ethics complaint against another board member.
By comparison, Roswell has had an ethics board in place for 20 years and it has never had to meet.

In all the Milton instances, the defendants claimed the charges were frivolous and politically motivated. And in all cases, the complainants said they were motivated by a desire to hold public servants accountable to a high standard of ethics.

"In this political environment, public officials are vulnerable to ethics charges and we're attempting to reduce the potential that it will be used as a political weapon," said city attorney Mark Scott. "It can paralyze the council from doing the people's work, and it can cause them to spend considerable money on attorney's fees."

But at the same time, the ordinance makes allowances for people who believe their facts justify the complaints.

"We want to strike an appropriate balance," said Council member Julie Zahner Bailey. "You don't want to encourage misuse of the ethics ordinance nor do you want to discourage people from coming forward when they have legitimate concerns."

The original ordinance was modeled after an ordinance in Sandy Springs, which has yet to test its ordinance. Instead, Milton found the holes and contradictions.

Under proposed changes to the ethics ordinance, public officials are in trouble if they knowingly or intentionally violate the ethics ordinance or have a conflict of interest. That protects city council members from being targeted for accidental or technical infractions, Scott said.
The changes also allow false and malicious complaints to be submitted to law enforcement under perjury statutes. The city also may sue to recover the cost derived from a false or malicious complaint.

Zahner Bailey said some of the changes are patches discovered as the ethics ordinance was put into action. For example, she said, the original ordinance included a provision that had the city attorney, who answers to the city council, investigating complaints against the city council. That conflict was resolved by hiring an outside counsel to do the investigations, but now that practice is being added to the ordinance.

Clint Johnson, chairman of the ethics board, acknowledged that Milton has had a disproportionate share of ethics complaints in its short lifetime.

"There is a high interest in the community in what's going and that probably results in a lot of ethics complaints," Johnson said. "It's a new city and they're excited. They're paying more attention to things."

2007 Elections

Municipal General Election date: November 6, 2007

Secretary of State Website: www.sos.state.ga.us/elections
Candidates:

• Qualifying Dates for Candidates: August 27, 2007 to August 31, 2007 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

• Qualifying fee for Candidates: $390.00

• Last day to file Notice of Candidacy to
have name on Municipal General Election
Ballot 21-2-132 (3) (A) August 31, 2007, 4:30 pm

Voters:

Voter Registration deadline October 9, 2007

How do I vote?

The Fulton County Voter Registration Office, (404) 730-7072, handles voter registration for all Fulton County residents regardless of the city or unincorporated area where they reside.
You must be registered to vote in an election. You must be registered as a resident within the area in which you intend to vote.

You must be registered 29 days prior to the election date.

You will be mailed a voter registration card from Fulton County. Your precinct and polling location will be designated on the card. For more information on voter registration, contact the Fulton County Voter Registration Office (404) 730-7072.

In order to obtain an absentee ballot, a Fulton County registered voter fills out an "application for official absentee ballot" that can be obtained at City Hall, public library, or from the Secretary of State website: (www.sos.state.ga.us/elections). The application is then mailed to: Fulton County Voter Registration, Suite 4064, 141 Pryor Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303, or can be faxed to Fulton County (404-730-8839). Fulton County will mail the ballot to the voter and the ballot is then mailed back to Fulton County. It has to be received by Fulton County by 7:00 pm, Election Day, November 6, 2007.

OR, the voter can go directly to North Fulton Annex at 7741 Roswell Road, fill out the application, and vote there.

You may register to vote at any of these locations:

• Fulton County Government Building
141 Pryor Street, Atlanta
• North Fulton Annex
7741 Roswell Road, Atlanta
• College Park
• Also, any public library or facility that issues driver's licenses.

Where do I vote?

Fulton County designates and manages the precinct boundaries and polling locations. To find out what precinct you are in as a voter or where you will vote, contact the Fulton County Board of Elections at (404) 730-7020.

The current polling locations for City of Milton residents are listed below. These are subject to change by Fulton County. For accuracy, please refer to your voter registration card or call Fulton County Board of Elections at 404-730-7072.

Go to: www.sos.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/locator.asp for Poll Locator

POLL LOCATIONS:

Precinct Precinct Address
ML01 Northwestern Middle School
12805 Birmingham Hwy (temporary)
ML02A Providence Baptist Church
20075 Providence Road
ML02B Providence Baptist church
20075 Providence Road
ML03 Summit Hill Elementary School
13855 Providence Road
ML04 Hopewell Middle School
13060 Cogburn Road
ML05 Cogburn Woods Elementary School
13080 Cogburn Road
ML06 Manning Oaks Elementary School
405 Cumming Street
ML07 Hopewell Baptist Church
15730 Hopewell Road
Voting By Absentee Ballot

Eligible voters have two ways to cast ballots prior to Election Day:

1. Absentee by mail

Eligible voters desiring to vote by mail may do so WITHOUT PROVIDING A
REASON OR IDENTIFICATION. However, voters who registered for the first
time in Georgia by mail and did not provide ID, the first time they vote, must present
one of 17 acceptable forms of identification including a Georgia Driver’s License,
copy of current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other
Governmental documents.

Voters may mail or fax a written request for an absentee ballot. The written request should include the name and date of the election, voter’s name and address (as registered), and date of birth. Also, include the address to where the ballot is to mailed, daytime phone number, and voter’s signature. Or, voters may call Fulton County Voter Registration at (404) 730-7020 and they will send an application for you to complete and return. The absentee ballot request should be sent to:

Fulton County Voter’s Registration
Attn: Absentee Ballot
141 Pryor Street, Suite 4064
Atlanta, GA 30303

The fax number is (404) 730-8839. Requests for ballots may be submitted now. Applications for absentee ballots are available on the County’s website, www.myfultoncountyga.com. Users should go to "Government," click on "Department A-Z," choose Registration and Elections, download and print they application.

2. Absentee in-person (absentee in-person includes advanced voting)

Voters may cast an absentee ballot in person on weekdays,
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., beginning Thursday, September 6, 2007 - Friday, November 2, 2007. Those who vote in person during this period must provide a reason for voting absentee acceptable form of identification. Examples of reasons for voting by absentee ballot include being away from the precinct on Election Day, being an election official or public servant on duty during the entire time the polls are open, having a physical disability; observing a religious holiday, or being age 75 or older.

3. Advance Voting (In Person):

Voters may cast their ballot in person during the week before
the election, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., beginning Monday, October 29 - Friday,
November 2, 2007. Those who vote in person during this period are not required to
provide a reason for voting absentee, but must provide an acceptable form of Photo
Identification.

For additional information, please call the Voter Registration Office at (404) 730-7072. Locations for voting in person during the absentee and advance voting periods are as follows:
Fulton County Govt Center North Fulton Service Center South Fulton Service Center
141 Pryor Street, SW 7741 Roswell Road 5600 Stonewall Tell Road
Suite 4064 Room 209 Room 105
Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA College Park, GA

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Martial Arts Academy

OPENS DOORS FOR SPECIAL CHILD SAFETY COMMUNITY EVENT

Milton , Ga – Karate Atlanta in Milton has announced plans for a community Child Safety Open House scheduled for Saturday, September 29th from 1:00 until 4:00. The open House is part of ATA Martial Arts’ worldwide initiative to help minimize the risk of child abduction through education. With active membership exceeding 350,000 worldwide and 1,200 schools in the U.S. and abroad, ATA is positively positioned to reach children and adults with the message of abduction prevention. As part of the safety campaign, ATA has partnered with AMBER Alert.com to increase AMBER Alert notification via e-mail and personal communication devices. Once an AMBER Alert is issued, AMBER Alert. Com uses state-of-the-art technology to notify its subscribers of a missing child in a specific area.

According to local ATA instructor Jimmy Bell, education is the key to child safety. “Children of all age, gender and race are vulnerable to child abduction. Through age appropriate instruction, awareness of warning signs and ID activities such as fingerprinting, collectively ATA schools around the world hope to have a significant impact on reducing the risk of a child abduction and victimization”, says Bell.

The local Child Safety Open House event, held in conjunction with ATA’s Child Safety Month in September, presents an abduction education program called “Kidz in Power” and will include activities such as simple break away self-defense instruction, role playing with possible stranger dangers, methods to deal with bullies and child ID cards and fingerprinting. There will also be guests from local fire and police stations to share information regarding other types of safety concerns.

Karate Atlanta offers a variety of programs focusing on safety, including ATA Tiny Tigers for children ages 3-6, Karate for Kids, and the newest program ATA-Xtreme, which combines martial arts with gymnastics and dance moves.

For more information on Karate Atlanta, contact Jimmy Bell at 678-624-0506 or jimmykbell@gmail.com. To sign up to receive AMBER Alerts, visit http://www.amberalert.com/

Mr. Jimmy Bell
678-624-0506
13800 Highway 9 North
Alpharetta , Ga. 30004
http://www.karatewindward.com/

Friday, August 10, 2007

AJC Guest Editorial; Joe Lockwood; Mayor; City of Milton

The article, "The Milton Meltdown" (August 6, 2007) was hardly objective in its presentation of the City of Milton and would have been more fairly placed on the newspaper's editorial page.

Contrary to what the AJC asserts, the city council, staff members and I work together respectfully and are very proud of what we have accomplished. Just because we disagree on certain issues and butt heads on occasion doesn't mean we're dysfunctional; it means we are doing what we were elected to do - debate issues and consider all sides before acting, and we have done that in a civil manner.

Yes, I have been on the minority side of several votes and I'm sure that I will be again. However, I respect my colleagues and their opinions and support implementation of every properly enacted measure, whether I voted for it or not - and I can say without qualification that my fellow elected officials in Milton feel the same way.

I find it ironic that the AJC has published editorial opinions over the years assailing Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill for "marching in lockstep" when advancing certain legislation - yet when you have a local government body engaging in honest discourse and in anything but lockstep politics, apparently that's equally unacceptable.

With regard to the missed insurance premium tax deadline, we are working diligently - as a group - to solve this problem, and I am optimistic that we will receive the funds next year, as has been the plan from day one. This is not a shortfall in our current budget and will not affect services.

The AJC has conveniently ignored many accomplishments of the Milton government and failed to note that all of the initial goals set forth when official status as a city was accorded last December, have been met or exceeded.

We created a new city hall and staffed it with a team of skilled professionals. We adopted, enacted or improved upon most of the ordinances that keep our city running smoothly.

We have fully functioning public works, finance, community development and code enforcement departments and we have a new court system. Our public safety department includes new police and fire units staffed by officers and firemen that are doing a great job in keeping Milton safe and secure.

We are moving forward on several major intersection and road improvements that will relieve traffic congestion in the area and we are working to make our parks system better.

All of these accomplishments were achieved in a span of less than nine months. Sounds like anything but a "meltdown" to me.

- Mayor Joe Lockwood