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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Milton District 5 candidates speak on issues.

Courtesy Appen Newspapers

All candidates in Milton's City Council races were given the same three questions. Following are the responses from the district 5 candidates (each was given 600 words to answer the questions). This is the last week the Milton Herald will publish the answers from each race.

Tina D'Aversa

MH: What is the biggest challenge facing the city, and what is your solution for it?

D'AVERSA:

The greatest challenge is the balancing of tax dollars and other funding with providing necessary and desired services for our citizens. Citizens want parks and high levels of public safety, better and more efficient infrastructure and appropriate economic development.

The challenge is that Milton does not have the money to do everything that is desired. Milton has the money to provide necessary services at a higher level than Fulton County provided these services in the past. The city council and staff must find alternative forms of funding for the desired services. The Parks Authority is one good example of a funding body that can help the city to provide a higher level of parks and programs to the city.

The vision for Milton can be maintained and the government will have the money to do so if we manage taxes, balance budgets and do not spend beyond our means. Finding alternative sources of funding for non-necessities is very important. I have a plan for these alternative sources and funding.

MH: What strengths and weaknesses make you the better candidate than your opponent?

D'AVERSA:

Tina D'Aversa strengths: Business credentials; master's degree in finance; 20 years of business management experience in various top-level roles at large and mid-level companies; three years teaching college-level business courses; three years serving the city of Milton as the district 5 council member.

Community Service Record: I have a proven record of service to this community and to the greater North Fulton community.

My service includes: Parks and recreation 11-year volunteer coach and various board positions through the county; inclusion of all citizens in the community and disability awareness activities with 10 years in various board and volunteer positions throughout the community; education of children and adults throughout the community for 10 years; planning and development volunteer in Alpharetta and Fulton County prior to Milton for 10 years; homeowners' association board member for 10 years at vp level and five years as president prior to living in Fulton County.

Opponent: My opponent, from what I have read, has limited experience volunteering outside his own subdivision/HOA, and he spent most of his volunteer time in another state. My opponent also admittedly travels on corporate business that takes him away from the community a great amount of time.

Milton is unique and needs leadership that understands the diverse cultures of the city. I have the proven leadership and a record of successfully leading the diverse community and serving all citizens of Milton. My vision is an inclusive Milton where all citizens are treated equally and fairly no matter their cultural differences, ability levels or area of Milton they live in.

MH: What is the first thing you would like to accomplish in office (or your second term)? And be specific.

D'AVERSA:

In my second term serving Milton, I will pursue the establishment and launch of our Parks Authority. Milton citizens stated on a citizen survey that parks and recreation programs are very important (top 3 ranking) to them. I heard the appeal and will work with the city council, staff and state representative to ensure the parks authority is established in early 2010 as urgently as possible. This will help with economic development in Milton, so I have two priorities working simultaneously.

Joe Longoria

MH: What is the biggest challenge facing the city, and what is your solution for it?

LONGORIA:

The greatest challenge facing the city of Milton is one of finance. We must ensure that our future revenues meet the service and infrastructure demands of our citizens. The cost of existing services will increase over time, as will the population of Milton. This growth will require new and improved services. How to meet those demands and expectations will be our biggest challenge.

Milton has finite revenue to support these growing demands. While property taxes on real estate are by far Milton's largest source of revenue, these taxes are fixed and would not provide the required increases needed to meet expense demand. Historically, about 15 percent of Milton's tax revenue comes from commercial businesses. Milton must seek ways to increase its revenue in this area. I am firmly committed to maintaining Milton's uniquely wonderful rural character. I would not support any initiative that would raise taxes. Thus, in order to avoid a budget deficit in the next few years, Milton must find a way to maintain our rural tradition in a fiscally responsible way.

MH: What strengths and weaknesses make you the better candidate than your opponent?

LONGORIA:

I am not a professional politician, but I am very professional. I am action-oriented; I will get the job done. I am also collaborative; I will work with and through others.

I have always been an entrepreneur, learning early on how to run a business. Small businesses constitute the heart of commerce in the United States. I have experience working with business start-ups and have expertise in mergers and acquisitions. I have used this experience to combine and create global organizations. This work has led to a deep understanding of team building and the difficult decisions that are part of this process.

On the civic side, I have often volunteered to help organizations that benefited my community. I have served in numerous capacities with the YMCA, local school boards, development committees and the Boy Scouts of America. As a district chairman for the Boy Scouts, I was part of the Atlanta Area Council's board – a board that served more than 80,000 youth and leaders. Managing a group of this size and diversity was a wonderful and challenging experience.

I believe that my business and civic experience has direct impact on my ability to serve the city of Milton.

One weakness that I must acknowledge is a tendency to be optimistic. Optimism usually encourages cooperative problem solving. However, sometimes needless bickering and personal agendas can get in the way of progress. I want the citizens of Milton to share a common vision of our future success. I want to help the city achieve this vision. I offer the voters a choice for a new approach.

MH: What is the first thing you would like to accomplish in office (or your second term)? And be specific.

LONGORIA:

My first priority will be to help the city prepare for a new era following the termination of the comprehensive contract with the outside consulting firm CH2M HILL OMI. This company has managed most city functions, except public safety, since the city's founding three years ago. The city hopes to reduce costs by substituting one all-inclusive contract with a number of competitively priced services from multiple vendors — so called "point solutions," an area where I have had considerable experience.

Managing service providers is not a simple task. It will pose a number of challenges and a new level of detailed oversight on the part of the city. The city council will need the right talent, skills and expertise to manage multiple vendors. It is important to ensure we have a strategy and the revenue in place to support this type of outsourcing arrangement. My background has equipped me to make a solid contribution in this area.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You first priority Joe Clinton isn't to help Milton but to get a girlfriend, right?

Anonymous said...

I just stopped my morning and said a prayer for you. Perhaps you are only able to accuse that which you yourself are capable of? May GOD have mercy on your soul.... assuming there is one there.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhh, another naive sheep being led to the slaughter.

Michele Collum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

To quote the ever-wise Buzz Light Year: You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.

Anonymous said...

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to see the worst of the worst , a person that preys on our military men for more $$ for herself--Karen thurman