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Saturday, February 28, 2009

DUI / Drug Arrests In Milton

Courtesy Beaconcast

Laura Conn, 37, of Milton, was arrested February 21 on Morris Road for DUI and failure to stop at a stop sign.

Lynn Labuda, 47, of Milton, was arrested February 21 on GA-400 for DUI and driving within a median.

Christopher Sweat, 18, of Milton, was arrested February 18 on Bethany Bend for possession of marijuana.

David Hughes, 21, of Milton, was arrested February 22 on Windward Parkway for possession of marijuana and making an improper right turn.

Friday, February 27, 2009

ZM07-005 / VC07-014

Courtesy Appen Newspapers

City of Milton, Notice of Public Hearing, Zoning Modification, ,
Petition No: ZM07-005/VC07-014,
Petitioner: Webb Road Associates, LLC by Ken Morton, ,
Request: To Modify Condition 2.a.to modify the site plan (05Z-029) and a , 2-part concurrent variance: 1) To reduce the side yard setback , from twenty (20) feet to ten (ten) feet along the east and west , property line (Article 8.1.3.C.), 2) To reduce the rear minimum setback from twenty-five (25) feet to , ten (10) feet along the south property line (Article 8.1.3.D, This item was deferred from December, 2008, ,
Address: South Side of Webb Road, West of Hwy 9, ,
Public Hearing: Mayor and City Council Meeting, Monday, March 16, 2009, 6:00 P.M., , Location: City of Milton City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Bldg 100, Milton, Georgia 30004-6119, 678-242-2500

Kohls 4Q Income Drips 18 Percent

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Kohl’s Corp. reported net income for its fiscal fourth quarter ending Jan. 31 was $336 million, a decrease of 18.4 percent, as sales decreased 4.6 percent for the quarter.

The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer (NYSE: KSS) said Thursday that its earnings per share were $1.10, compared with $2.89 in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Comparable-store sales for the quarter decreased 9.1 percent.

For the 12 months ended Jan. 31, Kohl’s recorded a net income of $885 million, or $2.89 per share, compared with $1.1 billion, or $3.39 per share, for the year ending Feb. 2, 2008. Full-year net sales dipped 0.5 percent, to $16.4 billion, from $16.5 billion a year ago. Comparable-store sales decreased 6.9 percent for the same period.

“Despite the sales results, we delivered improved merchandise margins through strong inventory management and successful exclusive brand strategies,” Kohl’s president and CEO Kevin Mansell said. “We also managed expenses well while improving our store experience.”
Kohl’s executives expect 2009 “to be just as challenging from a macro-economic perspective,” Mansell said. He said the company is being conservative in its sales expectations, inventory levels and expenses.

Kohl’s issued its initial financial guidance for fiscal 2009 with the assumption that total sales will decrease 1 percent to 4 percent and comparable-store sales will decrease 5 percent to 8 percent. The company’s management expects earnings per share of $2.00 to $2.30 for the year. For the first fiscal quarter, the company said it expects earnings per share of 27 cents to 34 cents based on an assumption that comparable-store sales will be down 5 percent to 8 percent.

Kohl’s operates 1,004 stores in 48 states, including 21 stores in Atlanta. It plans to open metro Atlanta stores in Milton and Canton, Ga. this spring, bringing 300 jobs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Group Holds Public Meeting Supporting GA 9 Library Site

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

February 25, 2009 A group of Alpharetta and Milton citizens believe they have the perfect site for the proposed 25,000-square-foot Alpharetta Library slated to replace the existing facility on Canton Street — and to prove it they held a public support meeting Feb. 19 at North Park's Adult Activity Center.

The site, which is 6 acres and sits on Ga. 9 at the corner of Main Street and Winthrope Park Drive, is one of a few being considered for the new library including the proposed City Center and old Milton High School. Library Director John Szabo also said it has been proposed the collection be housed in the old Ingles building in the Stoneview Commons shopping center, but that is unlikely.

Zainab "Zee" Mirzaie, who lives in Winthrope Park subdivision abutting the site, helped organize the meeting with Friends of the Alpharetta Library (FOAL) board member Doug Davisson. She said she decided to get involved after receiving notices in the mail that the county was planning on making a decision on where to put the new site. She decided to take a grass roots approach, which Alpharetta Councilman Jim Paine, who was in attendance, lauded."The addition of a library at 495 N. Main Street will greatly enhance the positive environmental quality and charm to the surrounding area, and add great pride to the community with the display of an impressive structure for everyone to see on a major thoroughfare," she wrote in an e-mail sent out to surrounding residents."There are other choices," said Davisson, who was acting on his own behalf and not in any official capacity for the FOAL board. "But we believe this is the best site."

At the meeting Szabo and Scott Graham, head of staff for Fulton County Commissioner Lynne Riley, took prepared questions from e-mails and some from the roughly four dozen audience members in attendance. Szabo said of the eight new libraries planned after the November passing of the library bond referendum, only three have definite sites. All those have been donated, he said, so the system must look at a number of sites for the other facilities. And that means public input."Our ears are wide open," he said. "[At this point] it's not about numbers or votes. The best thing to do is talk about the positive aspects of the site."

Szabo said the site should be selected by the fall, and is recommended to the Library system's Board of Trustees, who then make recommendations to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

They vote on the ultimate site.Graham said the best thing for citizens to do is to be vocal — starting at the Board of Trustees meetings."Make your opinions known there, then make your way to each and every Board of Commissioners board member, as they all vote."Szabo concurred."We need to know why this site would be the best for Alpharetta," he said. That prompted one audience member to speak up."Because I would prefer a library to a mini mall," he said. It got a hearty round of applause.

Graham also warned folks to maintain their support and energy, because the wheels of government move slowly."This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. "This is not going to be a decision that's made in 30 days."

Mirzaie welcomed the challenge and promised the community's support even after the new facility is built."You've got a group of people here who are willing to volunteer and be a part of the new library community," she said.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Next MBA Meeting Scheduled


The next Milton Business Alliance meeting will be at the Alpharetta Athletic Club next to Crooked Creek, Thursday March 19th at 6:00. There is a dress code of no jeans and a collared shirt must be worn. There will be a $5 charge for appetizers and a cash bar. Don't forget to bring any brochures or business cards to promote your company. See you there.
For more information, feel free to contact Lauren Holmes of Crye-Leike Realtors at (770) 365-5800 or Tim Enloe of Magnolia Media at (770) 653-0552.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Milton's K9 Receives New Training

From The City of Milton

Raijin, the City Of Milton's newest police dog candidate, recently completed extensive training in narcotics detection and trailing. Milton Police Officer and Georga K9 Academy owner Kelli Collins and her partner Jeff Schettler have been training Raijin since he was around ten weeks old.

Trailing is the K9 dicipline of following a specific human odor from a person's start point, along the path the person traveled and finally to the place they ended. It is by far the most difficult of all K9 diciplines because it requires intense effort on the part of both the dog and handler, often over many miles.

Trailing is different from tracking since it is based on scent descrimination. The dog detects the individual based on their unique sent since no two people are alike. Additionally, trailing is not based on exactly where the person might have stepped but rather where their scent drifted.

Human odor is unique to the individual and is made up of thousands of microscopic skin particles that slough off the body through normal activity. The rate of production is relative to the individual's emotional state. Someone angry, afraid, or upset will normally produce far more "odor" than a calm person.

Raijin's training has been ongoing for almost a year now. He attended his first formal K9 school hosted by Georgia K9 Academy in Canton, GA. This course was for police trailing dog handlers from as far away as Modesto, CA. Raijin will attend many more schools over the course of his career. He is scheduled to work with his new K9 handler from the Milton Police Department sometime between March and May of this year.

Raijin is just over a year old and was donated to the City by Dr. Joanne Roesner of the Loving Hands Animal Clinic in Milton.

Milton Firefighters Get Training To Handle Horses


By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mark Stephens had 15 years of experience as a Fulton County firefighter, had battled white-hot industrial fires, dealt with life-and-death medical emergencies and spills of nasty toxic chemicals, but nothing prepared him for this.

Stephens, now a captain for the Milton Fire Department, was facing a skittish, head-tossing 1,300-pound horse on the loose. “This was brand-new,” he said. “I knew nothing about horses. I was definitely outside my comfort zone.”

Most of the city’s 53 firefighters came from urban areas, but semi-rural Milton is home to 100 or more horse farms. And sometimes the horses get out. When they do, they can pose a hazard to themselves, and especially to traffic, which can be heavy even in far north Fulton County.
So the city Department of Public Safety sent three firefighters who own horses to a Kentucky horse park sponsoring a clinic about how to handle the animals when they’re scared, and how to help them when they’re hurt. Those men trained the rest of the department and formed the area’s first Large Animal Rescue Team. The city has agreements to help recover escaped horses in Cherokee and Forsyth counties.
Crystal Matusevich, who owns nine horses, said if you have horses, they will eventually get loose by being too smart for their own good, such as opening a stall door by accident or by human error. “It’s not frequent, but at some point things happen,” she said, adding that she can envision several scenarios where people might call the team. “For regular people who aren’t used to handling horses, they may not know what to do. … We have a lot of private barns, and the owners may not be present or they’re gone to lunch or running an errand, then neighbors or the public has someone to call.”

Stephens said the idea started soon after the department was launched in May 2007, when a resident stopped by a fire station and posed the question: What would you do if you had an accident involving a horse trailer? Or a barn on fire? “We didn’t have an answer,” Fire Lt. Bill Bourn said.
After the trip to Kentucky, the department set up each shift with one of the three trained experts on duty. It has a trailer with equipment dedicated to extricating horses from mud, ravines, and damaged trailers.

One of the first things the firefighters learned was that horses can sense whether somebody’s scared of them, so they’ve had two training sessions to familiarize firefighters with horses.
“We’ve seen different comfort levels,” Stephens said.

Laura Bentley, president of the Georgia Hunter Jumper Association, an equestrian competition group, said horses can be intimidating to people who don’t deal with them a lot.
“The first thing a horse does when it gets out is panic because it knows it’s loose, and a panicked 1,200 pound animal is not good,” she said. “They’re very unpredictable. The best thing you can do is get a horse person.” Bentley said horse owners are glad the department is trying to be horse-friendly. “We need to work together,” she said. “Some of these show horses and sport horses cost $100,000. And if a horse causes a head-on collision, the owner can be liable.”

The association helped organize a training session, and it also donated a special sling to the department.
Much of department’s equipment is homemade. For example, if the firefighters need to put blinders on a horse or protect its eyes, they use a bra (size 34B for a thoroughbred). The straps fit over the horse’s ears and head, and the cups block its vision. Baby socks stuffed with cotton make good earplugs. Another tip: Bring peppermints, horses love peppermints.

The team has been called out a handful of times, including one time to help lift a sick horse in Forsyth County, and once when six broke free. Bourn said he expects the unit to be called out more and more as people become aware of its existence. In the past, horse owners had to call the state Department of Agriculture or their local veterinarian.

Police officers haven’t received the training and are advised to call the firefighters when horses run wild, City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said.

“The majority of the police are just like we were, unfamiliar,” Stephens said. “I think everybody in public safety is glad we have that training and those tools, which we didn’t before. We didn’t have options before. We had to invent the wheel as we went.”

Vote To Resurrect Milton County Called "Great First Step"

Appen Newspapers

Recent legislative passage only one of many hurdles; Atlanta, Fulton opposed to split

By D.L. BENNETT

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, February 20, 2009

Nearly two decades into a rancorous debate over splitting up Fulton County, advocates for re-creating Milton County in the suburbs north of Atlanta are celebrating their first legislative victory.

And, even though they recognize their goal may be years away, that’s not dimming the enthusiasm for folks who believe that Fulton is too big, too inefficient and too costly. They would be better served, they say, by creating a new county from Sandy Springs north.

“You have to start somewhere,” said George Ragsdale, a city of Milton resident who would be in the new county. “This is certainly a sign that at least some folks at the Capitol believe it’s possible. It’s a great first step in a long process.”

House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter started his political career more than 15 years ago complaining about a property tax revaluation in Fulton that sent appraisals skyrocketing. He quickly began advocating a rebirth of Milton, which was consolidated with Fulton during the 1930s.

For him, the House State Planning and Community Affairs Committee’s 7-1 vote Wednesday to pass House Resolution 21 was a sweet victory. For the previous two years, the bill, which would authorize a statewide vote on the issue, remained bottled up in committee without a vote.
“This is an important first step, a required first step,” said Burkhalter. “The net effect [of a new county] for residents of our area will be lower taxes, improved services and higher home values.”

Many steps remain. Georgia’s Constitution allows for only 159 counties, so to create Milton, the constitution would have to be amended through HR21. That would take a two-thirds vote by both the House and Senate. Then, it would be up to voters statewide in November 2010.
If the idea passes those hurdles, the General Assembly would still have to come back and write legislation dividing up Fulton and get voters of the proposed new county to approve it.
State Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton), who authored the legislation, said she’s not sure when she’ll push for a House vote on the resolution because getting the two-thirds majority to pass the chamber is by no means certain.

“We are going to be counting noses,” Jones said. “A two-thirds majority is a high number.”
Jones said if the counting doesn’t go well over the next few weeks, the bill remains alive through next year’s session. So, the north Fulton Republicans backing Milton have lots of time to work on the issue.

She said she expects the cause to be buttressed by a study that should be released within 10 days on the challenges of splitting off from Fulton and the viability of the two counties.
Jones would not say what the study would reveal other than the legal task is much more complex than setting up a new city and that both governments would be viable. The counties would have to divvy up court duties, school systems, health and senior services and libraries. Further, there’s the cost of Grady Memorial Hospital and MARTA.

Both Fulton County and Atlanta are already fighting full bore against the split.
“We do not feel this meets the fairness test,” said Mike Vaquer, lobbyist for Fulton.
Atlanta officials fear a new county might try to seize the water lines the city runs into Sandy Springs. Those lines have been a bone of contention for years because Atlanta packs a 21 percent surcharge onto its bills to Sandy Springs.

Still, the news of the win Wednesday was working its way through north Fulton and being hailed by many.

Brandon Beach, head of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, said the split is way overdue. He said schools, tax assessments and general services would all improve if Milton were allowed to be re-created. “Anytime we can be in control of our own government, it’s a good thing,” Beach said.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Milton County Push Clears House Committee

Appen Newspapers

February 18, 2009 A resolution to put re-creation of Milton County on the ballot as a constitutional amendment cleared a Georgia House of Representatives committee today, according to a report by the Office of Committee Services.

House Resolution 21, introduced by Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, was passed by the state Planning & Community Affairs Committee.HR21 proposes a constitutional amendment providing for the recreation of a pre-existing county.

The constitution states that Georgia may only be subdivided into 159 counties. This proposition would allow for only those counties that were previously merged the option to re-exist. This resolution would give citizens affected by the re-creation the option to vote whether or not the county should exist.Bills passing committees are reported to the Clerk's Office and then are placed on the General Calendar of the House.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Plan To Resurrect Milton County Passes House Panel

By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prospects for resurrecting Milton County cleared its first hurdle Wednesday when a state House committee gave its approval.

“Today’s passage of the constitutional amendment to re-create Milton County … is a significant step towards the long-deserved independence of North Fulton County,” said Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) “The net effect for our residents will be lower taxes, improved services and increased home values.”

Called House Resolution 21, the proposal passed out of the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee by a 7-1 vote. The resolution has several more steps before Milton County becomes real. Next it has to pass through the Rules Committee, then it goes to the House floor.
The resolution calls for a statewide referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow formerly existing counties to become resuscitated. It would have to garner two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before being placed on the ballot.

Supporters argue Milton County, which would include all Fulton County cities north of Atlanta, would create a government closer and more responsive to the people, and that it would operate more efficiently and be more accountable than Fulton County. It also would allow the tax money generated in north Fulton County to stay in north Fulton County.

Opponents say tearing Milton County from Fulton County would be costly and difficult, and isn’t necessary. A struggling Milton County merged with Fulton County during the Great Depression.

Milton County Resolution Passes House Committee

Courtesy Beaconcast

House Resolution 21 passed out of the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee in the Georgia House of Representatives today by a 7-1 vote.

HR 21 would allow a previously merged county to be re-created through a voter referendum. Only two counties remain in Georgia that were previously merged into another, Milton County covering most of North Fulton and Campbell County extending across South Fulton.

The resolution now moves to the House Rules Committee before it can be voted on the House floor.

As a constitutional amendment, the resolution would have to garner a two-thirds majority vote in the Georgia House and Senate before it could be placed on the General ballot for a statewide vote in 2010.

City-hood in the cities of Milton and Johns Creek just two years ago brought government closer to the People. County-hood would finally cut government down to size for all of North Fulton, stated Majority Whip Jan Jones (R-Milton), the bill's primary author.

Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R- Johns Creek) and Fulton County Commissioner Lynne Riley (R) spoke in favor of the bill during the committee meeting. "Today's passage of the constitutional amendment to re-create Milton County by the State Planning Committee is a significant step towards the long deserved independence of North Fulton County. The net effect for our residents will be lower taxes, improved services and increased home values," said Burkhalter.

In addition to Jones and Burkhalter, Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), Rep. Chuck Martin (R Alpharetta), Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R- Sandy Springs), and Rep. Wendell Willard (R- Sandy Springs) signed the legislation."The committee vote today is one more step in North Fulton's quest for more efficient, responsive government," said Jones.

MBA To Meet This Week

All: The Milton Business Alliance (MBA) is meeting this Thursday, February 19th at The Mad Italian Restaurant on Windward Parkway. Time is 6pm. Cost is $5 each to cover appetizers.

This is a great opportunity for those who do business in the Milton area to network.

To find out more about the Milton Business Alliance, click here=>
http://www.accessmilton.com/MBA.php

To find out more about The Mad Italian Restaurant, click here=>
http://www.accessmilton.com/Advertisers/MadItalian.php

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dog Needs A Loving Home


Hi all—

We have taken in a lovely, sweet dog that was on the verge of abandonment by her divorcing owners and would like to find a great home for her.

About Cali...
· Lab/border collie/chow mix
· Spayed female
· 6 ½ yrs
· Up to date on all shots
· Absolutely house trained
· Walks well on a leash & likes going for car rides
· Sits for petting & food, shakes paw, lies down
· Sweet & affectionate—loves tummy rubs
· LOVES kids
· Likes other dogs, but not good with cats (that’s why we can’t keep her)
· Needs exercise & good diet—at 90 lbs she’s a bit on the round side!
· Isn’t crate trained—we may be trying that in the next few days (looking for a used large dog crate if you know of one)
Even if you’re not interested in giving Cali a home, we’d appreciate it if you could send this along to anyone you know who might be. This dog’s a sweetie!
Thanks--
Ellen Winsor 770-442-5033 Alpharetta
Many thanks to Patti Silva of Miltonville.com for this information.

Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub Is Now OPEN!!!!


Milton's first and only Irish Pub is now open in the Crabapple Mercantile Exchange. It's the perfect place to gather for a pint, a bite, and live music. Their menu is a modern twist on both traditional Irish and American pub food all in a truly spectacular, have-to-see-it atmosphere. They're open daily for lunch & dinner, plus brunch on Sundays. 12650 Crabapple Road,Milton, GA 30004 678.624.1090.

Note to all: My wife Ginger and I ate there this past Friday night during a soft opening. Suffice to say that we were more the impressed. The food is simply fantastic and the staff is more the knowledgeable regarding the menu options. Make sure you say hello to William Wallace while you are there...

Milton should be proud to be the launching point for this wonderful new restaurant concept. Go today and as the 'dog says, " May You live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live."

- Tim Enloe / President
Magnolia Media, LLC

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ordinary Citizens Ride Along With Milton Police

By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, February 13, 2009

Ten Milton residents will be riding in police cars soon – in the front seat, not the back.
The residents are participating in Milton’s second Citizen Police Academy in which they receive an inside look at various police procedures, policies and law. The six-week class, which started Wednesday, includes criminal investigations, criminal law, police K-9 units, traffic law, and 911 operations.

The idea behind the academy is that the distance between the police and the people they serve is lessened as more people learn about law enforcement.
The next series of classes will be available in the fall.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lockwood's New Governing Coalition

publication date: Feb 14, 2009

author/source: The Beacon

Milton’s Mayor Joe Lockwood is startng to see results in his city after more than two years.It took him a full two years, a revolving door of city managers, a painful and embarrassing airing of his council’s ineptitude in the press and a Las Vegas style roll of the electoral dice, but Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood has finally cobbled together a solid working majority of council members in his recently minted city. We’ll call it the force of five. And the mayor deserves much of the credit for its assemblage.

His city is now making cogent and levelheaded progress towards solving its challenges – whether it be coming into compliance with Fulton County’s prior sewer enablement agreements or providing legitimate developers with a fair hearing in their zoning applications. His decision to shut the revolving door on city managers by permanently putting public safety chief Chris Lagerbloom in charge was astute and timely. Milton government needs stability – and sanity. Lockwood has deftly navigated his way to both. Given the cast of characters on his city council – past and present – this was no short order. The City of Milton may finally be poised for proficiency as a result.

Lockwood’s council coadunation includes members Bill Lusk, Karen Thurman, Tina D’Aversa and Burt Hewitt. This leaves more radical council members Julie Zahner-Bailey and Alan Tart isolated and standing alone on the fringes. The key shifts since the 2007 election have been D’Aversa and Hewitt. Both backed Zahner-Bailey in her successful re-election bid and in fact Hewitt may have been elected on the sole strength of Zahner-Bailey’s support for him.

Their evolvement to Lockwood’s governing center – and gradual estrangement with Zahner-Bailey’s uncompromising and wholly business antagonistic positions – may be linked to the fact that both have either owned or managed businesses. They get it.

This development is no doubt frustrating Zahner-Bailey to no end. Once the key cog in any Milton policy debate, she is now relegated to minority status, bordering on irrelevancy. At a recent Milton council meeting she questioned one city staff member a full 90 consecutive minutes about obscure minutia in the wording of a city zoning ordinance recommendation. In the end she changed a few words that had no impact on the intent of the ordinance, things like “shall” instead of “will.” We can only speculate, but antics like this smacks of the actions of someone desperate for a seat at a table she no longer heads.

Either way, Lockwood, through an adroit combination of patience and persistence has now forged a ruling government coalition in Milton that is attempting to make decisions in a much more thoughtful, deliberate and logical way. He’s even got his one time political nemesis, powerful Ga. House Majority Whip and Milton resident Jan Jones on his side. That is saying something.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Milton Business Alliance Forms

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

February 11, 2009MILTON - The Milton Business Alliance (MBA), a group formed to promote and support business growth in Milton to help increase the tax base for the city, held it first meeting Jan. 22 at Montana's Bar and Grill on Ga. 9.

More than two dozen business owners showed up to discuss their ventures and network.

Lauren Holmes, membership chairwoman for the MBA, said the group will meet once a month at a different restaurant in the city of Milton.

"We gather for networking, business support and updates on Milton's plans for the future," she said. "At the end an open forum will be provided for all that are present to promote their respective businesses. We anticipate this will foster much needed support in our community."

Holmes said to become a member of the MBA you must be a resident of Milton or own or operate a business in the city. Dues are $35 a year.

Members will receive a logo/sticker to adhere to the front of their place of business. Future plans include delivering a welcome basket of samples, flyers, coupons, and more to new residents. There will be a Web site set up on accessmilton.com listing all the members and their businesses."We will be looking to the members for charities to support as a group as well," said Holmes.

The next meeting will be Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.

To find out more about the Milton Business Alliance, Please click here=>

Monday, February 09, 2009

City Council Meeting Tonight / 6pm

All:

There is a city council meeting this evening at City Hall. To review the agenda, please click on the following.

http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/cityclerk/council/2009/02-09-2009-Agenda.pdf

Friday, February 06, 2009

Stray Horses Need Your Help


Milton's rural landscape and multitude of horse farms can present a unique problem for City police - escaped horses. It is not unusual for a Milton officer to respond to a call about a horse running loose. The first problem is catching a sometimes-stubborn equine while trying not to run it into traffic. If the officer is lucky, the horse might allow itself to be caught, but then the second and more difficult problem materializes - what to do with it?

Often horses are unknown, at work, or cannot otherwise be found quickly. To try to address this problem, the Milton Public Safety Department is soliciting interested citizens to volunteer for an emergency "on call list" to assist the department with horses in these situations.

If you have a horse trailer, extra stall, or even just an available corner of fenced pasture, it could be of real assistance to the department. Such an emergency placement would last only as long as it took the city to find the horse's owner.

If you would like to help, please call 678 242 2570. You will be asked to provide your name and contact phone number to be placed on the list.

City Hall Closed


In recognition of President's Day, Milton City Hall will be closed on Monday Feb. 16. City Hall will resume normal business hours on Tuesday Feb. 17.

2008 Annual Report


Be on the lookout for our 2008 Annual Reports in your mail this month. Like last year, the annual report will be formatted as a calendar. This 14-month, 2009 calendar will feature messages from your Mayor Joe Lockwood and Council, various City statistics, important phone numbers and updates on what is happening throughout Milton. City meetings, holidays and City Hall closure dates are also included on their respective dates.

Photo by Patti Silva

Congratulations to MGG


The Atlanta Regional Commission officially recognized the City of Milton with its CREATE Community Local Government Innovation Award on Feb. 5 for the work of the Milton Grows Green committee. MGG officially received this honor during an award ceremony Thursday morning in Marietta. The breakfast was attended by Mayor Joe Lockwood, Councilmember Julie Zahner Bailey, Acting City Manager Chris Lagerbloom and MGG Committee members. The award honors a local government in the 10-county metro Atlanta region for creative efforts to improve efficiency and services to citizens in each of five categories. Milton's award came in the category of Community Building & Involvement. The other categories were Environmental Sustainability, Innovation in Technology, Educational Excellence and Regional Prosperity The ARC describes this award as recognizing active community involvement and collaborative projects that demonstrate new and innovative ways of working with residents, neighboring cities and counties, the school system and other partners to support collective goals and attain a shared vision for a greater community.

Hopewell Students Give Back

More than 25 students planted seedlings around Hopewell Middle School's campus on Jan. 21. The students, who were from all grade levels, are part of an environmental club headed by Council member and teacher Tina D'Aversa and teachers Tom Sewell and Deb Lajewski. Additionally, some of the students are part of other environmental initiatives including Eco Explorers and Jr. Beta.

Bill Bailey from Bailey Farm and Gardens, Inc. and Milton Arborist Mark Law assisted the students in proper planting techniques. The seedlings were donated by the Milton Grows Green committee

Third Art Exhibit At City Hall


Milton City Hall is currently hosting a third art exhibit in Council Chambers. This exhibit features art by the children of Summit Hill Elementary.

The first exhibit featured the work of Milton resident Isabelle Gaultier and the second featured a variety of pieces from the Alpha Arts Guild.

Over twenty collage cut-outs, water color and oil pastel paintings by students from kindergarten to third grade are on display. Teachers Paul Karnowski and Fred Ciminelli selected and framed the work.

City Recieves Event Grant

The City of Milton has been awarded a grant from the Fulton County Arts Council. Milton's Project Coordinator Linda Blow applied for the grant back in Nov. 2008 and was informed Feb. 3 that the application was approved.

The Arts Council will award the City of Milton $3,385 for the Crabapple Arts and Antique Festival held on Oct. 3 of this year. Linda, along with Finance Manager Stacy Inglis, will attend the contract signing on Feb. 19 at the Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta to collect the check and to take a complimentary Managing Your Organization workshop.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Milton Goes "Rural By Design"

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

February 02, 2009 Traffic and growth are two top concerns in Milton, and the city held a kickoff Jan. 22 for its transportation master plan by bringing in a noted expert on both.

Randall Arendt, an author, planner and site designer, has written a number of books on modern modes of city building. His 1994 work "Rural By Design: Maintaining Small Town Character" has become a Bible of sorts for Milton's planners.

In the first of six "stakeholder" workshops Arendt spoke about ways Milton can maintain the rural character it cherishes while planning for the very real needs of the future. The stakeholders are the seven-member volunteer group tasked with guiding Milton's staff through crafting a transportation blueprint to be used in concert with the comprehensive land use plan.

High on Arendt's list are what are called conservation subdivisions, which provide both a place to live and a more natural, agrarian environment. Imagine a normal subdivision, only with about half the houses, no hard curbs and a whole lot more woods and greenery.

"All these things people want usually get cut up by standard subdivisions," he said. "It's a win for the community, a win for the developer, who doesn't have to put all those pipes in the ground and move that dirt, and a win for the residents."

Arendt said Hanover County, Va., saved 5,000 acres in 10 years by following conservation design principles. It could be the same for Milton, he said

"It's a way to avoid the utter fragmentation of all these rural resources that make Milton special," he said.

Dan Drake is Milton's head of Public Works Department. He said Milton's staff brought Arendt in to help set the tone for the transportation planning meetings, and his viewpoint is one they've certainly seen is popular in Milton.

A whole lot of citizens need to get involved and have their viewpoints known so the city can move forward confidently, he said.

"There is a clear link between development and transportation," said Drake. "[With these meetings] it's important we set up a process to achieve the community's [transportation] goals and how they relate to economic development and the quality of life."Milton's transportation plan will be what his department "makes all of our decisions on," said Drake.

Aiding in that plan is Faye DiMassimo, a consultant with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national design firm hired by Milton to bring their expertise to the transportation plan."We're here to help develop a plan that best serves the mobility needs of Milton," she said.

As part of that work, Kimley-Horn has set out a number of goals, chief among them improving road safety, protecting the environment, creating a sense of place through Milton's roads and intersections and maintaining the character of Milton while addressing any and all transportation issues.That means looking at alternative modes of transportation, bike and pedestrian pathways and road improvements citizens approve of."Ultimately we'll roll all that up into regular transportation plans that reflect Milton's specific needs," she said.The next transportation planning is set for spring, said Drake. The city will announce more plans as they become available.

Milton County Bill Introduced In Legislature

by Hatcher Hurd / Appen Newspapers

January 26, 2009 ATLANTA - Just as she promised, state Rep. Jan Jones placed a bill to create the county of Milton with the General Assembly on the first day of the 2009 Legislative Session. Actually, the bill is an amendment to the state Constitution that would allow any former existing county that had since merged with another county to reconstitute itself.

The state Constitution already limits the number of Georgia counties to 159.The only possible county where this could happen is Fulton, which merged with Milton County in the north and Campbell County in the south in 1932 as an economic bailout of the two faltering counties during the Great Depression.Thus other counties need not fear their borders might be changed.A feasibility study commissioned in the last session of the legislature should be released soon, Jones said.

It should show that both the new Milton and the reconstituted Fulton counties would be viable without raising taxes."The mandate to re-create Milton County becomes clearer and more pressing with each new disclosure of the continuing failure of Fulton County to provide adequate basic government functions," said Jones.

The bill has the support of the entire North Fulton House Delegation, comprised of representatives Mark Burkhalter, Harry Geisinger, Chuck Martin, Joe Wilkinson and Wendell Willard.The entire group signed the legislation with the intent to push for a vote on the resolution this year. A constitutional amendment will require a two-thirds majority in the House.Bonded indebtedness and SPLOST commitments would be continued to pay out as before. That would mean the libraries commissioned in the most recent bond referendum would be built and paid for in the prescribed manner by both counties."A two-thirds majority is a high threshold, but our constituents have clearly expressed that they feel poorly served by Fulton County.The future Milton County residents demand more local control and oversight of local issues," said Jones.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lagerbloom Takes Milton City Manager Job Again

By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, February 04, 2009

For Chris Lagerbloom, his first stint as Milton city manager was an ordeal; the second time was better; and the third time, he actually kind of wanted the job.

Lagerbloom, the city’s public safety director, now has the city manager job for keeps. The deal won’t be clinched officially for a couple of weeks while the city meets legal advertising requirements.

“He’s been around since the city’s inception (Dec. 1, 2006),” said Mayor Joe Lockwood. “He knows the ins and outs of the city, he gets along with the City Council, and the staff and the public. What he lacks in longterm experience, he makes up in willingness to go the extra mile.”
Lagerbloom said in a prepared statement that he’s enthused about the future.

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” said Lagerbloom. “Having lived in Milton for nearly two decades, I have a lot of faith in the City and would be honored to help lead Milton in this position.”

Lagerbloom stepped into the breach in August 2007 after then-City Manager Aaron Bovos resigned under fire. He labored to keep the city afloat until April 2008 when the City Council hired veteran administrator Billy Beckett.

But in August, Beckett threw in the towel, saying he was tired of the constant head-banging with some members of the City Council. Once again, the city turned to Lagerbloom, who, armed with some experience, felt a little more comfortable in the city manager position.

In October, the council hired Mortimer Smedley on a short-term contract until a permanent city manager could be found. Mayor Joe Lockwood said he determined Lagerbloom was willing to take the job.

When the Council agreed to let Smedley resign Friday, three weeks early, it asked Lagerbloom to fill in yet again.

Then on Tuesday, council members concluded they might as well let him have the top administrative post.

Before joining Milton, Lagerbloom served in the Alpharetta Police Department for 11 years, rising to the rank of captain. He was leader of the fledgling city’s Public Safety Work Team that planned the launch of the police and fire departments.

He has taught public safety leadership at Reinhardt College since early 2008. He also is co-chair of the State Certification Committee for the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police
Lagerbloom earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University.

Milton Looks To Make Lagerbloom Permanent City Manager

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

February 03, 2009 MILTON — City Hall officials announced Feb. 3 that Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom, who was sworn in for a third time as acting city manager the day before, is council's leading choice for the permanent position.

If there are any other candidates, nobody is saying.

Mayor Joe Lockwood appointed Lagerbloom, who at 11 months as interim manager has served as Milton's city manager longer than any of the three previous job holders. Lockwood said giving Lagerbloom the job permanently had been on his mind since Milton hired Mort Smedley to a four-month interim contract in October.

Smedley was an experienced manager, but he was also a semi-retired 2nd mate on a research vessel. He recently opted out of his contract a month early for more time at sea.

"Chris had expressed a desire for the job a while back," said the mayor.

Lockwood said Lagerbloom's assertiveness and comfort level with council, City Hall staff and Milton's citizens were big factors in his position as front runner for the permanent job.He gained that experience after stepping into Milton's top spot from August to April 2008 following the resignation of Aaron Bovos. Lagerbloom filled in a second time after Billy Beckett left Milton in September 2008."You know, sometimes you don't truly find something until you come back home," said Lockwood.

Lagerbloom has been with Milton since before the city incorporated, serving as the Public Safety work team leader for the city's steering committee.

On Dec. 1, 2006, he was appointed public safety director and oversaw the herculean task of launching the municipality's police and fire services, which went online nearly a year before those of sister city Johns Creek. "I am very excited about this opportunity," said Lagerbloom. "Having lived in Milton for nearly two decades, I have a lot of faith in the city and would be honored to help lead Milton in this position."

Lockwood said what Lagerbloom may lack in classic city manager experience he more than makes up for other areas."We have the resources [for him to learn]," said the mayor. "He'll research something if he doesn't know it. You know, attitude and willingness to work can offset experience."However, Lockwood was cautious to point out an official vote needs to be taken on the matter. That vote is expected in a few weeks to give the city time to legally advertise his appointment."Nothing is set in stone until it happens," Lockwood said.

Prior to joining Milton, Lagerbloom served as captain for the Alpharetta Police Department for 11 years. He has been an adjunct instructor at Reinhardt College since early 2008 teaching classes in public safety leadership.Lagerbloom also is co-chair of the State Certification Committee for the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and a council-appointed member of the Alpharetta Code Enforcement Board. Lagerbloom is also a member of the International Association of City/County Managers, Georgia Municipal Association and International Association of Chiefs of Police.Lagerbloom holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University and a master's degree in public administration from Columbus State University. He is also a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Class.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Message From Mayor Joe Lockwood - Traffic Concerns

In the cities throughout North Fulton, traffic and speeding are constant topics of conversation. By comparison, we are lucky that Milton's roads have less traffic. That being said, however, traffic and speeding are still a concern for council, City Staff, residents and me.

In the past few months, we have looked at traffic and speeding from various perspectives but have always kept the same question in mind: How do we keep the streets of Milton as safe as possible?

Being a resident of this great city and living on what we like to refer as an "open road subdivision", I have great concern for the cars speeding down my road, especially since I have a young teenage driver in my family. A significant portion of Milton residents are living on similar roads with the same apprehension.

Last month, I received a phone call from a worried citizen who wanted to discuss his theories on traffic and speeding in Milton. As a result of our conversation the Council and I decided to hold an informal meeting on Jan. 8 at City Hall, were we discussed the issue. During the meeting citizens from every district shared their stories as well as their opinions and suggestions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals who took the time to attend this meeting.

Inspired by our meeting and several conversations among council members, staff, residents, and me, we have put ourselves to the test by coming up with new and innovative ways to control the speed and traffic in Milton. I am very proud to say that we have a strong team of engineers, planners and public safety experts on our staff who are focused on keeping our streets safe.

On Jan. 22 we hosted our first Creek Club Drive Short Term Speed Safety Task Force meeting.
Here, individuals from the Public Works and Public Safety departments met with three representatives from Crooked Creek's HOA to discuss and explore the possibility of beginning a residential speed program.

A few months ago, Council and I created a Transportation Master Plan Committee that consists of seven members who are dedicating their time to improving and expanding Milton's transportation plan. Currently, we have engineers, highway specialists, and transportation, land use environmental experts on the committee.

Additionally, the hard working Public Works folks have worked with GDOT to lower speed limits on just over 12 miles of Milton roads from 45 to 40mph. They have also agreed to lower the speed limit on Ranchette Road from 40 to 35mph.

Rest assured your Council, City Staff and I are working tirelessly to make sure Milton's roads are safe. We will continue to listen to your concerns and try our best to make those concerns disappear.

Sincerely,

Joe Lockwood

Weiland Homes Fined For Building Wall Across Stream

By STACY SHELTON / Atlanta Journal / Constitution

Monday, February 02, 2009

John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, one of metro Atlanta’s most respected home builders, must pay a $150,000 fine to the state for impounding a stream in the city of Milton without a permit.

The fine, issued late last month, is among the largest imposed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Wieland built about an 18-foot-high retaining wall across a tributary of Cooper Sandy Creek. The creek feeds the Little River, which empties into Lake Allatoona, a water source for metro Atlantans. The wall created a stormwater detention pond to hold back muddy rainwater.
Bert Langley, manager of the EPD’s Mountain District office, said the state would not have allowed Wieland to build the wall, but will not force the developer to remove it. EPD’s investigation started last May.

The Wieland project, called the Braeburn Development, is at the intersection of Birmingham Highway and Crabapple Road. The project is designed for about 53,000 square feet of offices, 45 houses and 49 townhouses.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mayor Request Revote

Courtesy bhalliance.org.

February 2, 2009

The BHA Board of Directors would like to make you aware of a request to rehear a zoning case that could set negative legal precedent for the City of Milton.

(Agenda Item No. 09-785)

1. Public Hearing for Rescission of Previous Council Approval of Zoning Application, RZ08-10, and for Possible Additional Zoning Action. (Presented by Joe Lockwood, Mayor)
Today, Monday, Feb. 2nd at 6 P.M. the City Council will rehear a zoning case that was legally voted on during the December 15th meeting. As the AJC reported, "Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood wants a do-over on a recent zoning decision made while two City Council members and the city attorney were absent." Nurse, Doug. "Mayor wants 2nd vote on Ga. 9 rezoning." Atlanta-Journal Constitution 05 Jan. 2009. Mayor Lockwood is requesting the revote of case # RZ08-10, where the density being requested is too dense for the 2.26 acres - as evidenced by clear cutting of the entire property if approved for the full 28,260 and no ability to recompense any trees on the site. Noting has changed in the site plan from the 12/15/08 hearing.
It is important that the community let the council know their opinions on this item. Should this case be reheard and voted upon simply since the applicant was not fully prepared & all Council members and City Attorney were not present on 12/15/08? A rescission would set a negative legal precedent.

More information on the rescission available:

From The AJC=>

http://www.ajc.com/services/content/metro/northfulton/stories/2009/01/02/milton_zoning_vote.html%3Fcxtype%3Drss%26cxsvc%3D7%26cxcat%3D13

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/printedition/2009/01/05/re.html?cxntlid=inform_sr

From Appen Newspapers=>

http://www.northfulton.com/Articles-i-2009-01-08-176278.114126_Home_fashion_center_approved_in_Milton.html%20

http://www.northfulton.com/Articles-i-2009-01-15-176370.114126_Lockwood_wants_Milton_zoning_case_revisited.html

Please share this information with your neighbors, families and friends.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

City Council Meeting / Monday, Feb 2nd 2009 / 6pm

All:

The first city council meeting for February is scheduled for this evening at City Hall; time is 6pm.

Click here for the agenda=>
http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/cityclerk/council/2009/02-02-2009-Agenda-R2.pdf

Click here for the packet=>
http://www.agendapost.org/comga/council/01-05-2009-Packet.pdf

Tribute To Kevin Warmath

Kevin Warmath passed away earlier this week at the age of 43 from cardiac arrest. He left behind a beautiful wife, Sylvie, and 3 children. Kevin was an active member of our Milton community and practiced real estate for a living.

It is times like these that we must stand with our neighbor and let them know that the citizens of our city are there for them. Thus, please keep Kevin's family in your
thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Many thanks to all those who wrote in letting us know of his passing.
To view and sign his guest book, please visit http://www.northsidechapel.com/

Funeral plans will be announced.

Interim Milton City Manager Leaves Post

By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, January 30, 2009

In Milton, it’s out with the new and in with the old. Again.

The city released Interim Milton City Manager Mort Smedley three weeks ahead of the end of his contract date. Public Safety Manager Chris Lagerbloom will take over Sunday as acting city manager for the third time since the city was founded Dec. 1, 2006.

Smedley was hired in October on a short-term contract when veteran manager Billy Beckett resigned after a few months on the job because of conflict with some council members.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said that when he approached Smedley about staying through the end of February, Smedley told him he had another opportunity he wanted to pursue. Smedley, who is semi-retired, serves on scientific research boats in the Caribbean Sea and other locales.
Lockwood agreed to release Smedley early. Smedley’s contract was set to expire Feb. 20.
“It was never the plan for him to stay on permanently,” Lockwood said.

The city now has to start advertising for a new city manager, the fourth in the past two years, although Lockwood said the council has the option of keeping Lagerbloom as city manager. Lagerbloom has filled the breach between city managers.

Any Road Will Get You There - Unless You're Stuck In Traffic

publication date: Jan 31, 2009

author/source: Liz Flowers / Beacon Media

By Liz Flowers / SPECIAL

If you’ve been thinking about adding to your I-Tunes music collection or expanding your books on tape library because of the increased amount of time spent on your daily commute, 2009 might be the perfect time. It’s not clear whether state leaders will be able to get their arms around the gigantic state budget shortfall, but it is clear that local governments are feeling the pinch and are becoming creative in solving transportation and infrastructure project delays.State lawmakers continued discussions this week about how to close the $2.6 billion state budget gap, which includes a $190 million hole in the Georgia’s Department of Transportation (GDOT).

Georgia’s DOT local projects are already backed up 10 years, which comes as no surprise to anyone within commuting distance of North Fulton.City leaders have begun to shift transportation gears, as they prepare for another year of a weakened economy, decreased revenues, and a continental divide in how to fix the problem. “There is not a single transportation project in the City of Alpharetta, which includes state or federal dollars, that is not impacted directly by the shortfall at the state/federal levels,” said Alpharetta city councilman John Monson. “If the funding is available in the GDOT accounts, they are still holding them up in order to see how much of the trillion dollar federal O'bailout funds Georgia will receive,” Monson said.He said he completely understood the need to delay funding of any new local projects or projects that have not completed the milestone of right-of-way funding (the purchase of land associated with the project). However, Monson said to hold up projects promised in prior years' budgets, with those funds already in encumbered accounts, represents broken commitments to Georgia's taxpayers.

Alpharetta is moving ahead with some projects. On its own dime they are working on the Mayfield-Canton Road intersection improvement ($1.8 million); Upper Hembree at Maxwell ($601,000), an Adaptive Traffic Control System ($810,000), the northern end of Big Creek Greenway ($2 million from hotel tax funds), and another $1 million in sidewalks. But other projects may have to wait.Roswell’s Director of Transportation, Steve Acenbrak was preparing to make a presentation to council members, and his passion for infrastructure improvements was untainted by the economy. He said his department would concentrate on taking care of what they already have, but Roswell’s GDOT experience isn’t much different from Alpharetta’s.Acenbrak said the city is finally underway with the Grimes Bridge project, which GDOT has had on their “to do” list since 1997. He said another 10-year-old project at Holcomb Bridge was still bogged down over matters related to excessive grading.Julie Breckbill, communications director for Roswell, said revenues are down, but she said the city is prepared for years like 2009.

Mayor Jere Wood has promised not to lay-off or furlough any city workers, nor delay maintenance on infrastructure projects.Breckbill said Roswell has $31 million in its reserve fund; only $15 million in reserves is required under law. She said Roswell typically uses the reserves to fund one-time capital improvement projects.“Foreclosures are up, but not as severe as in some places,” said Breckbill. “Property values have remained stable. We are very lucky.”

The newer North Fulton cities of Johns Creek and Milton may face tougher transportation decisions due to smaller commercial tax bases, limited cash reserves, self- imposed millage rate caps and an inability to bond (borrow) against future tax payments.

In his State of the City address given this week, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker essentially asked community leaders to help push forward bond efforts, saying city leaders know what the problems are, but might not have the money to fix them. He said it would cost $15 million during coming years just to stay even with current conditions. The Johns Creek annual budget can’t handle the transportation fixes necessary or wanted by the citizens.Leaning heavily on a survey the city commissioned in late 2008, Bodker said that one-third of the 300 respondents said traffic was their No. 1 concern – slightly more than half of those respondents cited traffic and congestion as a primary concern for the city.

Managing Public Expectations

Getting “below the road,” makes good sense in lean times, says Josh Rowan, an engineer with the national firm PBS&J. The company has worked on two of Roswell’s downtown beautification projects.Part of traffic and transportation improvement, says Rowan, is managing consumer expectation. He said that when many of us visualize a traffic fix, we think of what the world might be like driving at 95 MPH at 1 a.m. with four other cars on the road. Not going to happen he said.“Sewers and water are things you can control locally,” Rowan said. “Manage what you can and don’t resurface just to resurface. There are plenty of secondary issues you can work on before you build a six-lane road.”

Rowan said without repairing what lies beneath, three days later a pothole fix can be peeling and that’s taxpayer money wasted. He said adding to capacity might not be feasible in this economy, but if you can afford it there is a whole construction community starving right now.“There’s not a lot of political glory in maintenance,” Rowan said.But maintenance is necessary and Acenbrak concurs. “Roswell is a bedroom community that is two-thirds residential. We don’t plan to spend a lot of time and effort and money to go 95 through our town. We want to make a safe system and look for ways to improve connectivity,” he said.

The Road Less Traveled

Two distinctly different transportation/infrastructure fixes that could pump much-needed cash into cities have emerged at the state level. One plan allows for regional transportation coalitions and taxing. The other option would allow the state to tax an additional one cent for transportation and provide those funds to local governments. One of those measures is backed by the State Senate, the other by the State House leadership with Gov. Sonny Perdue as the wildcard.

The trio has a track record of infighting.Convoluting the debate is a power struggle over who gets to control MARTA (Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority), GRTA (Georgia Regional Transportation Authority), and how much money Georgia will receive from any federal programs as they become available.Perdue is reported to be developing a measure to realign Georgia’s transportation departments.Georgia Democrats have a dog in the fight, too. After all, they are ones with the Obama connection.“While it will take several significant steps to solve our transportation problem, the voter-approved local option sales tax concept has been successful in the past to provide meaningful funding to local regions and communities,” said Jaillene Hunter, communications director for Lt. Gov Casey Cagle.The Senate’s regional tax plan is expected to come up for debate early in the coming week.