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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preserving Milton's Past, Securing Its Future

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

During election time there is always rhetoric about each candidate's views. I have always believed that the measure of a person can be counted not by what they say they will do, but by what they actually do. I think it is important to look past the talk and look closely at the record.

Preserving the Past

My husband Mark and I moved to this community over 25 years ago. I had fallen in love with the area after my family moved to Crabapple in 1979. As a teenager, I grew up riding my horse along the streams and over to the banks of the Chattahoochee in North Fulton. After graduating from Georgia Tech, I knew that the North Fulton area was the community where I wanted to live. My family frequented the shops and I remember Crabapple as a quaint crossroads community before it became noted for the congestion we now see.

My love for this community moved me to get involved in preserving our area and our quality of life long before I pursued public office. I served as the Co-Chairman of the Northwest Fulton Overlay and as Chairman of the Rural Preservation Plan Committee. I also had the privilege of working on the Crabapple Master Plan Committee. This committee worked with Fulton County and with the development community to plan a true live/work/play community for northwest Fulton in the Crabapple area. Unfortunately, Fulton County did not adhere to all aspects of the plan and we in Milton have been left with areas where clear-cutting has occurred and shops and storefronts are vacant. Fixing these problems will take more than talk, it will take planning and experience.

My service continued as a member of the City of Milton Organizing Committee and as Chairman of the Budget and Finance sub-Committee. I have been honored to serve on the inaugural City Council and was your first Mayor Pro Tempore. In September 2008, I, along with your Mayor and the majority on City Council voted to limit the area in Milton where sewer was accessible to even fewer parcels than had previously been granted sewer by Fulton County. We continue to work with members of the community to insure that our rural character and quality of life are maintained. Over the past three years we have worked hard to reach out to residents and to the business community to get your input on what you want Milton to be in the future.

Securing the Future

Historically the northwest corner of Fulton County was made up of several crossroad communities - Crabapple, Field's, Birmingham, Hopewell, etc. These areas that were brought together to form the City of Milton, always have and always should be predominantly low density, single family residential and equestrian.

I believe that a strong comprehensive plan should be central to all decisions concerning growth and development. The Comprehensive Plan will reflect not only what Milton is today but also what we want Milton to be in the future. It will also determine how we can achieve that goal while preserving our rural character and the other attributes that make us a unique community.

One very important aspect of this plan is the financial model. The purpose of the financial model is to insure that both the plan and our vision for the future of Milton are financially achievable. As a CPA, I can promise you that I will evaluate all aspects of the model as thoroughly as possible.

I also believe all our citizens deserve park and recreation areas. This includes the development of Birmingham Park, the purchase of additional parkland, and the development of bike and pedestrian pathways.

Finally, I believe we must fix our traffic problems. Our transportation plan is in progress and will be finalized by the end of the year. Once approved, we must aggressively pursue grants and other non property tax based funding alternatives to insure that the intersection and infrastructure improvements recommended in the plan can be accomplished.

We, as citizens and business owners in Milton, must continue working together to plan for the future of Milton. We have an opportunity to preserve our past and secure our future. Let's make sure this happens.-Karen


To learn more about Karen and her vision for Milton, please visit:

www.Thurman4Milton.com

Courtesy Paid for by Thurman for Milton

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tired of debating the issue, Joe Lockwood gives in to Karen Thurman and Bill Lusk, with his shadow voting with him, Burt Hewitt. Why did you even bother Joe Lockwood to support Alan and Julie getting elected when you defected teams this past year. You'd been better off just supporting Mohrig and O'Brien openly instead of changing your religion to Karen and Bill. I hope the people of this city see this article for what it truly is. But alas, the bloggers will hit this against Julie, watch and see, here it comes. Now read the Doug Nurse article from 2008. See how Karen is the first to motion to approve the map. Eagerly.

Anonymous said...

Bitter issue: Milton council agrees to extend sewer lines
Vote was 4-3 in highly controversial decision; some fear sewer system will end pastoral flavor of area
By DOUG NURSE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A bitterly divided Milton City Council on Monday finally put to rest an issue that has bedeviled the community since its inception — a sewer policy.

The council voted 4-3 to adopt a map and agreement with Fulton County defining where county sewer could go. In many communities, extending sewer is a routine activity. In Milton, it’s been grounds for political combat, leading to the defeat of two incumbents last November, and contributing to the resignation of the city manager after only five months on the job.

Related links:

• Milton sees septic tanks a defense for rural charm

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Man rescued from creek
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• North Fulton County news
Milton residents treasure their tree-lined lanes, pastoral vistas and other rural characteristics, and they fear development, especially dense development, will ruin that. Many believe that sewer is an engine for density, and they favor limiting sewer as a way to control growth.

But others argue that density can be controlled through zoning, that sewer in some areas is reasonable, and the city needs the tax revenue from commercial projects.

After three hours of sometimes testy debate, Council member Karen Thurman moved to approve the map and agreement, hammered out by the city attorney and staff. Councilman Bill Lusk seconded. They were joined by Mayor Joe Lockwood and Councilman Burt Hewitt. Opposing the motion were Council members Julie Zahner Bailey, Tina D’Aversa and Alan Tart.

“It’s a landmark,” Lusk said. “We can remove this political football that’s been use and abused and maintain the character of the area that everyone wants, and get on the more important things of running this city. Now we can enforce sewer service and move on.”

The minority vigorously objected to voting Monday night, arguing they hadn’t seen the map until Friday, the agreement until Sunday, and the public hadn’t seen them at all. They lobbied for a work session next week so the details of the map and agreement could be fully vetted.

But Lockwood countered that after months of discussion it was time to make a decision.

The council’s decision establishes borders for sewer to go along Ga. 9 and in some spots in the Crabapple area.

The two sides could not agree on what defined “sewer extension,” the equivalent in Milton political parlance to a curse word. For the minority, sewer extension was defined as providing sewer to any new parcels. For the majority, extension was defined as running it beyond the defined service area.

City Council chambers initially was packed with about 100 people, including some from neighboring jurisdictions who came to watch the climatic showdown. About 20 residents and business owners spoke at the meeting. Although in the past, most speakers have been anti-sewer, on Monday those addressing the council were more evenly divided.

D’Aversa said after the meeting that by approving sewer extension, the City Council had established a dangerous precedent that could haunt the city later.

Zahner Bailey said that some on the council forgot earlier promises to voters.

“You just witnessed four people who claimed to not to support sewer extension vote to extend sewer,” she said. “Sewer equals density.”

Anonymous said...

Karen Thurman is for keeping this area rural as Boone Pickens is for Windmills and Compressed Natural Gas. Her votes tell all, not what she says.

Anonymous said...

Karen supports the Live Work and Play concept especially in Crabapple because that is where her buddies will make their money, and her daddy. Ask her who is behind this Foundation that wants to donate all this stuff to develop this area of Milton. Bet you won't get an answer, until Nov. 4th. Why are the people behind this Foundation being held secret???

Anonymous said...

2009-01-22 MILTON HERALD
Sewer discussion turns into verbal shoot-out in Milton


by Jason Wrightwrite the authorJanuary 19, 2009
MILTON - A discussion concerning Fulton's response to Milton's intergovernmental agreement (IGA) and sewer map passed in September 2008 turned into a verbal smackdown Jan. 12 when council members disagreed yet again whether the map and new provisions constituted "sewer extension."

City Attorney Ken Jarrard and City Manager Mort Smedley had met Jan. 12 with Fulton County Interim County Attorney Larry Ramsey to discuss discrepancies between Fulton's original 2006 sewer agreement and Milton's new one.

Fulton said it wants two things: Milton must recognize existing lines in the ground that would not affect service, which Jarrard said would be no problem. Also seven lots that Milton had not included in its map must be lumped in with the serviceable area.

Jarrard said he's tried to get Fulton to agree to Milton's map, which he said will cover 95 percent of the service area, and that they can negotiate when it comes to those seven lots. If not, everything reverts back to Fulton's original 2006 IGA, rendering Milton's work moot.

He said Fulton authorities have taken it into consideration. Ramsey could not be reached for a comment.

Then Mayor Joe Lockwood opened a can of worms by saying the seven lots probably would not be considered an "extension of service" because they were included in Fulton's map in the first place.

Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey took exception to that position and said anything new would be sewer extension. She then said the map passed in September was sewer extension, and hypothesized the whole thing might have something to do with county water and sewer usage being down.

"I don't think we would need to be the tool to increase revenue," she said.

Lockwood, Karen Thurman, Burt Hewitt and Bill Lusk outvoted Zahner Bailey, Tina D'Aversa and Alan Tart to pass the map. At the heart of the issue were those two little words – sewer extension.

Lockwood said that some members "firmly believe [the September map] was not sewer extension." Karen Thurman agreed and asked Community Development Director Alice Wakefield if she thought the map was sewer extension.

Wakefield said no.

Zahner Bailey countered by asking Jarrard if the seven new lots were.

He said yes, under the "working definition used at the time."

After an uneasy silence and several more jabs back and forth, it was decided to let negotiations take their course and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tina and Julie for sharing the articles.

Lets' see: so we can obey the previous rulings that we knowingly inherited or be sued (with money we don't have)? Hmm, what should I do. If I am Julie (sic Tina) I would just rather be sued and ignore reality.

But if I can think for myself, maybe I should look at all of the facts.

Does not seem hard to decide what is in the city's best interests here. (PS: It is not Julie and Tina)

Anonymous said...

sewer extension is not in the best interest of the city. Karen and Bill have no issue with sewer extension if it means helping developers, especially those who support them, make money.

Anonymous said...

Joe defected? I think that people who have not paid attention and weren't involved are posting again. Joe actively campaigned for Julie, Alan, and Burt so that there could be peace on the council, no further need for shrinks in the council meetings, and and the rest of Fulton county and the world (everyone remember the USA Today article?) would cease to see us as a laughing stock. And you know what? It worked. Even with all of the discord at the moment, we aren't the freaks that we were back then. Take a real hard look at the manner of the debate that is raging at the moment and consider whether or not you really want to go back to that. Consider the mess that is caused by voting another voice for Tina on the council. Is that the Milton that YOU voted for?

Anonymous said...

Growth/Sewer/Growth/Sewer

Its as relevant to this election as Nixon, the cold war or slavery.

WHO CARES? Construction won't start up again in Milton until 2018!