Each year around this time, I’m asked to take a look into the future and report on what the City of Milton will be up to throughout 2012.
In municipal government, goal setting exercises are especially important, because these guideposts help chart the path of a large organization responsible to taxpayers.
And this upcoming year looks good: Just days before I was asked to write this letter, Milton was recognized as having the best quality of life in the state and ninth in the South by Business Journals, Inc. I suspect that quality of life will only increase, because after a few tough years, the economy seems to be picking up, both here in Milton and across the United States.
With that in mind, here’s what you can expect from the City of Milton government over the next 12 months:
** Georgia 9 Livable Communities Grant Initiative: In February 2011, the Atlanta Regional Commission awarded Milton $100,000 for a land development and transportation planning study of the Ga. 9 area from Bethany Bend to Mayfield Road and the areas east of Ga. 9 to Ga. 400, which includes Deerfield Parkway. You’ve already seen online visual survey portion of this process.
This study will be complete and turned into ARC by April, 2012. Due to the work, this area will now be eligible for additional money to implement the transportation projects identified in the study.
** Recreation and Parks Master Plan: The Parks and Recreation Master Plan, for which there have been four public meetings covering the plan as a whole and the trails and Birmingham Park update components, will be delivered to City Council from consultants Moreland Altobelli Associates in early 2102.
Once adopted City Council will begin discussing possible funding strategies for the improvements outlined in the plan. Based on a number of factors, including a cost of services study (discussed below) we will move forward with the expressed goal of creating a robust inventory of parks and recreation options for residents.
** Crabapple Overlay District Form Based Code Project: Stakeholders began meeting on this project in December and will continue throughout the new year. At the end of this process, City Council will vote on adopting the resulting zoning code regulations, which could include visual standards for development in Crabapple and a mechanism for transfer of development rights to protect Milton’s agrarian land from density and development. This effort is a direct result of the Crabapple Visioning study from earlier this year conducted by Lew Oliver Wholetown Solutions, Inc. and is expected to be complete in June, 2012.
** Cost of Service Study: There has been a dialogue since Milton’s birth regarding how to balance expected levels of service with available tax funds. In an effort to define several strategies both for City Council and voters, City Manager Chris Lagerbloom and Finance Director Stacey Inglis have embarked on a process by which we will be able to create several possible models for government and the resulting impact on city budgets.
** Web based reporting for Strategic Plan objectives: This year Milton created its first three-year strategic plan to guide budgeting. But what good is this document if the goals and objectives it establishes aren’t easily checked by residents? That’s why this year you’ll see a whole new section of the city’s Web site where each objective is explained and given a current score for level of completion.
Of course, there are more projects in the pipeline, including paving more roads in 2012 than we ever have before, a video-on-demand citizens’ government academy and a Newcomer’s Guide for new residents. My sincere hope is that you’ll be with us every step of the way and let us know what you think.
I’m always available to talk, and City Hall’s doors are always open. Please stop by sometime.
Mayor Joe Lockwood