Sunday, November 04, 2007

Press Release / Sunday / November 4, 2007

A letter from Mayor Lockwood

Dear Citizens of Milton, when I decided to pursue the office of mayor, I did so with the hope of engaging you, the citizens of Milton, in a collaborative effort to create a community that is financially sound and the envy of North Fulton.

Today, I envision a Milton that protects and represents its citizens in the best possible light. I envision a Milton that old and young will be proud to call home. You elected me because you too believe in this vision. We are well on our way. We've had successes and we have had challenges. I am proud of our accomplishments, grateful for the education from our challenges, and above all else, excited and optimistic about our future.

I write you to ask for your support in overcoming the three biggest threats to our vision. We must first control the cost of living. Property taxes and the overall cost of living increased for many of us this year. While actual property tax amounts are controlled by Fulton County through assessed values, the city can take steps to protect your overall costs. We had the opportunity, and some pressure, to increase millage rates this past year, and chose not to. My vision includes a "city center" located in an appropriately zoned location, which will be chosen by our citizens through public participation in our Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This will promote business and business tax revenue, provide a vibrant walking and meeting place for our residents, and help establish our city's own unique identity. The resulting business tax revenue will help fund the acquisition of land for trails and parks, and reduce the burden on Milton's citizens to carry the entire financial costs of running our city.

Secondly, increased traffic congestion threatens our quality of life. Our two lane roads bear traffic loads for four lanes. Our commute to the grocery store, parks, school, church, and work seem to grow with every new subdivision. As a resident of Milton, you should not have to wait 10 or more minutes just to back out of your driveway. I will work with the new council to quickly implement responsible growth through the Comprehensive Land Use plan. We have already begun the process of improving many of our intersections. Our residents will see the benefits in the near future.

Finally, our identity as a city is threatened. To me, being a part of Milton means being part of a special area with roots dating back nearly 100 years. It means having a strong downtown district with a city hall and libraries within our city limits. It means protecting and celebrating our historic sections while creating crime free neighborhoods for our new residents. It means preserving our farms and open land as much as possible. It means making Milton unique and distinct from our neighbors. It also means overcoming the negative press from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and USA Today based on the personal agendas of certain city council members.These are just a few reasons that the AJC characterized the city of Milton as having a "dysfunctional council": Four council members pushed forward a resolution to remove a Mayor's Assistant position from our budget, knowing full well that if they had been successful, it would have negatively impacted customer service response and resolution intervals for our citizens in this crucial first year.
Four council members decided to hire an "organizational psychologist" at taxpayers' expense against the will of the mayor, staff and other council members.
Political appointees/associates of certain council members continue to bring frivolous ethics complaints against me, other council members, and our appointees. It has costs the city thousands of your tax dollars.

Four council members supported, and allowed the passage of key, behind-the-scenes changes to our city's charter without any previous discussion with the mayor, staff or other council members.

Highly valued, key employees have left the city's staff due to politics. Among other things, these political antics have cost us time, productivity, and considerable tax dollars. I need your help to put an end to this. I need your help to focus our energies and financial resources on moving forward, responsibly and aggressively, towards our mutual vision for the City of Milton. I am concerned with and opposed to extending sewer in Milton. The groups requesting it earlier this year have filed a request to re-open the issue just after this election.

Julie Zahner Bailey, Burt Hewitt and Alan Tart share my concern and will work with me, on your behalf to implement our vision. Please stand with me by casting your vote for Mrs. Bailey, Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Tart on November 6. Vote for the principles of responsible growth, reduced congestion, and a positive local identity. Vote for keeping control of our future in our hands, not in the hands of special interest. Vote for candidates who will work to reduce crime, preserve our lifestyle, and who hold high the virtues of character and professionalism.

Milton needs Julie Zahner Bailey Alan Tart, and Burt Hewitt on our City Council. Milton needs you and your vote on November 6. Let's move forward!
Joe Lockwood, Mayor


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

If we have our city center with a Town Hall and Libraries in "Appropriately zoned" area, doesn't that remove the zoned property from the tax base?

I don't see how that would increase tax revenues.

Thank you in advance for your response.

Confused in Milton

Anonymous said...

Even if you implement "responsible growth" planning, What can specifically be done to lessen traffic THROUGH the City of Milton as Cherokee and Forsyth Counties continue to expand.

Even if nothing was built in Milton, I can't see how traffic will be improved or "congestion reduced"

Please enlighten me. Where can I view "The process of improving many of our intersections?"

Anonymous said...

Be careful whom you allow to define "responsible growth". During elections candidates try to sound like one another and mimick the popular desires of the citizens in order to get elected. What they really support can be found with a little searching -- look at how they vote and who contributes to their campaigns. Here's a short list of Santi contributors:
Chatham Road LLC, Eastbrook Properties, NorthPointe Hospitality, Ebenezer Pond LLC, Liberty Grove LLC, LSI Birmingham LLC, LSI Broadwell LLC, Eric Chaffin Homes, LSI The Summit, Bill Fantozzi, Providence of Atlanta National, McCarr Homes, Innovative Water Solutions (a private sewer company). He's already given a thumbs up to the developer of a private school in Milton (before we even have the elections results and before the public hearing --- presumptuous, isn't he?)

Don't forget his voting record on the Environment and Land Use Committee (ELUC): He voted FOR 12,000 homes in a designated Wildlife Management Area despite the study findings of the regional impact team that the development was too intense for the area and NOT in the best interest of the region. It also was too intense for the regional and local land-use plans. This was a massive development in Cherokee County which could cost taxpayers well in excess of $300M. One more thing, if you look up his attendance record as part of his commitment on ELUC, you'll see he hasn't taken his public service role very seriously. Sort of like he's treated these elections -- have you seen his ads with the baby girl in diapers and nana nana boo boo comments? Ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

Seems the mayor is mum on answers to serious questions.