Sunday, December 28, 2008
By DOUG NURSE /
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, December 28, 2008
It was going to be so perfect. Fed up with perceived inefficiency and neglect from Fulton County, the newly incorporated cities of Milton, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs were going to provide the same or more services at the same tax rate.
Their founders were so sure of that when they formed the cities, they capped the property tax rates at the relatively low millage rate of 4.731, the same level the county had taxed residents in these north Fulton communities.
Chattahoochee Hills in south Fulton did not limit property tax millage when it incorporated and has almost doubled the rate.
Timing, as they say, is everything. Now, revenues from sales taxes, permits and fees are flat or falling and cities all over Georgia are struggling along with the national economy. And the new cities are finding they don’t have the traditional options available to governments wanting to keep the same services: raising taxes and going to the bond market to borrow money.
The new cities’ leaders are concerned, having cut revenue projections already. Some are saying the situation might get worse, and they are expecting even more declines in revenue.
“There could be some real problems in terms of our ability to meet basic service demands in two or three years,” Johns Creek City Manager John Kachmar said. “We haven’t seen a drastic decline in revenue because there’s a lag, but we’re gaming out what could happen. We’re worried about what’s down the road. It’s very hard at this time to predict what any fall-off will be.”
It’s a rough time to be starting out. Chattahoochee Hills, a south Fulton city, was launched Dec. 1, 2007 — the month the recession started. Sandy Springs was launched Dec. 1, 2005; Johns Creek and Milton on Dec. 1, 2006; Dunwoody incorporated Dec. 1.
Sandy Springs is probably in the best shape, partly because it has a larger commercial tax base. Assistant City Manager Steve Rapson said officials saw early on that they needed to drastically reduce some of their revenue projections.
Chattahoochee Hills may be in the worst shape. It has a small population – 2,500 people — is mostly rural, with only 1 percent of its property developed commercially, and patrolling and maintaining its 57 square miles of roads is expensive. The city nearly doubled its property tax rate — it has no cap — the mayor and City Council members are working for no pay, and they are even taking turns mowing the lawn at City Hall.
The millage cap
Perhaps the biggest financial impediment facing north Fulton’s new cities is the cap on the property tax rate.
Proponents pushed cityhood promising better services, local control — and low taxes. Their legislative sponsors imposed a legal cap on their millage at 4.731, the same rate Fulton County charged at the time. And they set the bar high to raise property taxes, requiring a voter referendum before increasing taxes above the cap.
The low-tax, small-government message resonated among many north Fulton residents.
State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), who sponsored the legislation founding his city, said organizers thought it was important to make sure taxes did not exceed the cap without the people’s consent. “I think it’s a pretty good safeguard,” Willard said.
Other north Fulton cities adopted the same language in their own charters.
The low millage was fine as long as commercial and retail business thrived and the area grew. But now, it’s potentially a problem.
“Other cities have the ability to raise taxes to offset declining revenues,” said Milton Finance Manager Stacey Inglis. “We have to be more creative in trying to find more revenue. We may start charging for services, such as false alarm calls, where other cities just eat that charge.”
Christopher Bloor, a Milton resident, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the city cut services to the essentials, such as public safety and roads. “Things in Milton have always been tight,” Bloor said. “Other than Police and Fire departments, what services has the city offered? But we haven’t seen a lot of quality of life services offered [by Fulton County] anyway.”
Johns Creek resident David Kornbluh said he never was a fan of the millage cap. “I always thought it wasn’t the wisest thing to do,” he said, “but it was required to sell [the idea of cityhood to voters]. The numbers were not analyzed as thoroughly as they could have been.”
In south Fulton, Chattahoochee Hills has no cap on property taxes. Officials found the $2.3 million revenue projected in a pre-incorporation viability study to be off – by about $1 million. As a result, the City Council voted in September to increase the property tax rate from 5.6 mills to 10.9 mills.
Phillip West, a 20-year resident, said in an interview after the vote that the city did the only thing it could do, given the circumstances. “Yes, this is a hard pill to swallow,” West said. “But nobody knew the economy would turn down the way it did.”
Carol Wolfe, director of administration for Chattahoochee Hills, said the viability study relied on 2005 and 2006 economic data. “I don’t think we could have made it if we’d had a cap on the millage,” she said.
Obstacles to borrowing
When facing big-ticket construction projects, cities traditionally borrow money through the bond market, said Monte Vavra, Johns Creek’s finance director. That may not be an option for the new cities.
Wolfe, the Chattahoochee Hills official, said general obligation bonds require a city to commit taxes to pay the debt. That’s why they’re attractive to investors, who are guaranteed a return. So cities ask voters to cover the debt.
Issuing general obligation bonds requires a referendum. What are the odds of success?
When asked, Inglis, the Milton official, shook her head. “Zilch.”
In a survey last year, Milton residents were asked whether they would be willing to tax themselves extra to improve parks, build senior centers and make traffic improvements. The No. 1 response from a list was: “Don’t spend any more than what is generated from current tax base.”
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said he believes people would tax themselves if a convincing business case were made. “There’s no question it handicaps the city, but it forces the City Council to prove any millage above 4.731 is needed,” Bodker said. “I don’t believe people would say, ‘I don’t believe in taxes and I’m voting it down.’ “
The cities are studying the possibility of going to the bond market by 2010, assuming money is available. With the credit crunch, it could be tough going: The New York and New Jersey Port Authority, rated at the highest credit level, went to the bond market to borrow $300 million recently and got no takers.
With property tax rates limited, new cities are more dependent on sales tax revenues than older cities. In Johns Creek, sales tax proceeds make up about a third of its general fund revenue. Sales tax income is currently flat because of a slowdown in consumer spending, and the future looks uncertain.
“Everything you read, it sounds bleak,” Vavra said. “I projected a 9 percent decrease in sales tax revenues in 2009. That’s a lot.”
Property valuations are no cure
The millage cap’s impact wouldn’t hit so hard if property values were expected to keep rising like they were a few years ago. Even with the same tax rate, the rising value of property would put more money in city coffers. But with values flat or on the decline, there’s little prospect of more revenue.
“There are pockets in north Fulton where we’ll see a downturn of 4 to 5 percent,” said Burt Manning, chief property assessor for Fulton County. “We do expect to see a general flattening in the commercial values in north Fulton.”
Adding to the anxiety is a proposal the 2009 General Assembly is expected to consider that would cap property assessment increases at 3 percent. It’s meant as relief for taxpayers, but Kachmar said Johns Creek might have a hard time surviving if the bill passes.
“With millage and assessment caps in place, your ability to generate any new revenue is extremely limited,” Kachmar said. “There would be no money to pay for salary increases; parks improvements come to a screeching halt. You’d have to do triage. If the cost of gas goes up, you don’t buy as much gas. What do you do then? You say, ‘We’ll only patrol a little bit?’ It would have a very deleterious effect.”
Other revenue also iffy
Cities also draw income from licenses, permits, fees, investment income, and assorted odds and ends. There’s unlikely to be good news there, either.
Income from permits is down because people aren’t building, companies are going bankrupt or not seeking business licenses. Rapson said he slashed Sandy Springs’ projected revenue from permits and fees by 21 percent.
In Johns Creek, revenue from building permits has fallen off 50 percent from what was expected — since August.
With the nation in recession, federal and state governments are cutting back on grants. And even if grants are available, cities have to weigh whether they can afford the 20 percent local match that’s typically required and whether they can afford to operate the program the grant might establish. These days, the answer is often no.
“We’ve given money back to the federal government,” Rapson said. “There were too many strings attached.”
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
December 22, 2008
Milton residents are urged to recycle their Christmas trees through a program brought to the city by the Milton Grows Green (MGG) committee."Bring One for the Chipper" is a statewide program sponsored by the Georgia Forestry Commission. This program has existed across Georgia for several years, but is being brought to Milton for the first time by MGG with the generous support of Freeman's Tree Care. The mulch will be used in public beautification projects, helping to reduce costs for the city.Recycling will be available Saturday, Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Birmingham Fire Station, located at 750 Hickory Flat Road. All trees should be carefully checked to be sure that lights, ornaments, etc., have been removed. Seedlings, including dogwood, green ash and red cedar, will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.Volunteers aged 12 to 96 are needed to help unload trees - no machinery contact involved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer, or to request more information.
December 23, 2008 ALPHARETTA -
A 17-year Milton High School teacher and popular coach is recovering from injuries sustained in a head-on collision on Cogburn Road Dec. 12.Tim Chastain, a 50-year-old Dawsonville resident who has taught health and physical education courses while coaching baseball and football at Milton since 1991, is in North Fulton Hospital suffering from a severely broken leg, dislocated foot, broken pelvis and a ruptured spleen. He received the injuries after his 2003 Toyota Tacoma drifted across the center lane and hit a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche head on just before 3:45 p.m. near North Park."I'll be OK. It's just going to take a while to rehab," said Chastain. "It's going to be a slow process."
The other driver was not injured, said investigators.Principal Ron Tesch said the school has been in regular contact with Chastain's family and is monitoring his recovery."He has been a good teacher who is respected by his students and staff," said Tesch. "He is in our thoughts and prayers."
The long time coach, who took a break from football this year, said he appreciated the sentiment."I need all the prayers I can get right now," he said.
Monday, December 22, 2008
MILTON, Ga., Dec. 22, 2008 - The City of Milton Fire Department would like to wish you a festive and safe Holiday Season. As you celebrate with family and friends please be mindful of holiday light, candle, and decoration safety. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, holiday fires kill hundreds of people, injure thousands more and cause millions of dollars in property damage each year.
For more information call the Milton Public Safety Department at 678-242-2570 or visit the U.S. Fire Administration Web site.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
In one of the first projects by the city-sponsored Bell Memorial Parkenvironmental group Milton Grows Green, signs and barrels will be placed for recycling at various locations at Bell Memorial Park.
Milton Grows Green, a brainchild of Council member Julie Zahner Bailey, was established last month to promote environmentally sound practices and to advise the city on green issues.
Joined by Community Waste Services, a trash hauler, Milton Grows Green will provide the containers and recycling pickup for free. Bell Memorial Park is the city’s busiest park.
Those interested in the committee’s activities or in environmental issues is encouraged to contact the organization at email@example.com.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
December 16, 2008MILTON - Milton police arrested a 38-year-old Twinrose Way mother Dec. 3 after her young son was found with no pants, shoes or jacket in the SuperTarget on Ga. 9.The boy said he'd ran away from home because his mother had allegedly beaten him with a telephone cord after discovering he'd been burning things again.
According to the incident report, the boy had tried to hide burnt pencils and napkins from his mother by taking them out with the trash. He admitted to police he "likes to burn things."His mother discovered the items and allegedly began beating him with nearly two feet of telephone cord while he was backed into a corner.The boy ran off when he had the chance, he said. He later told police his mother locked the door behind him and told him to stay outside.
The cold child ran into the SuperTarget because it was the first business he'd found that was open, he said.When questioned, the mother allegedly admitted to "spanking him, but not with her hand." She said the boy has a problem with fire and had burnt hamburgers so bad the fire department had to be called.The woman was largely uncooperative during the investigation, said officers, and was charged with second degree cruelty to children.The boy, who police said had marks in the shape of looped telephone cord, was taken to Hughes Spalding Childrens Hospital and turned over to DFACS staff. Officers said the boy's aunt had earlier refused custody, and he has no other relatives in Georgia.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
DATE: Sunday, December 14, 2008.
TIME: Approx 5:15pm.
OFFENDING VEHICLE: Late Model White Town and Country Chrysler Van / Tag #BQ57E8.
REPORT: A white Chrysler Town and Country Van passed a commuter at a high rate of speed going south on Bethany Road between Mayfield and Providence Roads. The vehicle passed on a double yellow line which means no passing in residential node. This situation has been reported to the City of Milton.
Dear Milton Neighbor,
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as your District 5 City of Milton Council Representative. One thing that I am reminded of each Holiday Season is the freedoms we enjoy living in America . We are blessed to have the opportunity to choose to celebrate our faith in different ways. As you celebrate in your way this season, I wish you the very best of Hope, Peace Joy and Love.
Monday, December 15, the City of Milton will host the final Council Meeting for 2008. It is a good time to reflect on all the successes this year.
In a few weeks, you should receive a City of Milton Annual Report. You can read about some of the tremendous accomplishments and enjoy some nice photos and a 2009 calendar. I appreciate our city management, Mayor Lockwood and my fellow council members. Together we have made our citizens proud.
I am most proud of the unparalleled citizen involvement in our community. We host more than 20 distinct citizen committees that are ensuring a balanced voice in our diverse city. I am proud of the Milton Disability Awareness Committee formed in 2007. This group, chaired by Laura Barham and Ann Coggins continues to help and support our city staff in ensuring accessibility and inclusion for all people. The city is also honored to have Marie Latta consulting with our team as we develop new and improved infrastructure throughout the city. You can read about Ms. Latta on the city website.
My commitment to maintaining our unique quality of life has never been more evident than with the citizen committees formed in 2008. Community involvement is the driving force in a strong city. The committee that best exemplifies my desire for a distinctive community that embraces, preserves and enhances its rural character is the Highway 9 Design Board. This committee along with city staff will embark on a Livable Centers Initiative developing a full master plan, resulting in not only a vision but also implementation strategies such as recommended amendments to the overlay, design guidelines, and identify transportation improvement projects. I am proud to sponsor this committee. My vision remains steady for 2009; appropriate development in our community, keeping our citizens safe, controlling traffic and developing our parks.
There are several groups I would like to thank for their hard work this year including our boards and the Comprehensive Plan Committee (CPAC). These volunteer citizens have worked tirelessly all year so that the future of Milton will depict the vision.
I am proud to support these committees and look forward to working with citizens and watching our vision develop in 2009.
May you be blessed with a safe and Happy New Year.
For additional information and updates, visit the City of Milton website.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
December 15 City Council Agenda
City Council Agenda
City Council Meetings are held at City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Milton, Georgia 30004.
Meeting Calendar of the City Boards and Commissions
Monday, December 15, 2008 Council Meeting Agenda 6:00 PM
INVOCATION - Tass Welch, Community Minister, Community of Christ Church
1) CALL TO ORDER
2) ROLL CALL
3) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (Led by the Mayor) (Agenda Item No. 08-744)
4) APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA (Add or remove items from the agenda)
5) PUBLIC COMMENT
6) CONSENT AGENDA
(Agenda Item No. 08-745) 1. Approval of the December 1, 2008 Regular Meeting Minutes. (Jeanette Marchiafava, City Clerk and Clerk of the Court) (Agenda Item No. 08-746) 2. Approval of the following task orders:
November 19, 2008 - Task Order 09-SSI-01 from Street Smarts, Inc. for traffic calming services for the City of Milton with a total cost of $15,162.27; and
November 7, 2008 - Task Order 09-KHA-01 from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for Phase 1 Crabapple Crossroads Southeast Quadrant Study with a total cost of $17,635.00; and
November 25, 2008 - Revised Task Order 09-KHA-01 from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for Revised Phase 1 Crabapple Crossroads Southeast Quadrant Study with a total cost of $21,783.00
(Dan Drake, Public Works Director)
(Agenda Item No. 08-747) 3. Approval for Street light acceptance agreement with Crabapple Crossing Subdivision. (Dan Drake, Public Works Director)
7) REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
8) FIRST PRESENTATION
9) PUBLIC HEARING ALCOHOL BEVERAGE LICENSE
APPLICATION (Agenda Item No. 08-748) 1. Approval of Alcohol Beverage License Application for Wu & Huang Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Ru San's Milton located at 13085 Alpharetta Highway 9N, Unit #440, Milton, Georgia. The applicant is Kent Wu for Consumption on the Premises - Wine and Malt Beverage. (Presented by Stacey Inglis, Finance Manager) END OF PUBLIC HEARING
10) ZONING AGENDA (Agenda Item No. 08-734) 1. ZM08-08/VC0-07 - South side of Webb Road, To modify condition 2a. and a 2 part concurrent variance to 1) To reduce the side yard setback from 20 feet to 10 feet along the east and west property lines; 2) To reduce the minimum rear yard setback from 25 feet to 10 feet along the south property line. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) (Agenda Item No. 08-735) 2. RZ08-10, 622 N. Main Street by Larry Singleton, ADT Real Estate, LLC, To rezone from C-2 (Commercial) to C-1 (Community Business) to develop a 28,260 square foot retail home fashion center at a density of 12,504.42 square feet per acre on 2.26 acres. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director)
11) UNFINISHED BUSINESS (none)
12) NEW BUSINESS (Agenda Item No. 08-749)
1. Approval of a Resolution Amending Resolution No. 08-12-54, A Resolution to Create the Milton Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and to develop the Milton Parks and Recreation Ordinance. (Presented by Brad Chambers, Parks and Recreation Representative) (Agenda Item No. 08-750)
2. Approval of a Resolution Amending Resolution No. 08-12-55, A Resolution to Create a Committee to Serve as the Highway 9 Design Guideline Committee for Potential Revision to the Highway 9 Overlay District of the City of Milton Zoning Ordinance. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) (Agenda Item No. 08-751)
3. Approval of a Resolution Amending Resolution No. 08-12-56, A Resolution to Create a Committee to Serve as the Historic Preservation Committee for Development of a Historic Preservation Ordinance for the City of Milton. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) (Agenda Item No. 08- 752)
4. Approval of a Resolution Amending Resolution No. 08-04-32, A Resolution Appointing Members to the City of Milton Bike and Pedestrian Path Committee. (Presented by Alan Tart, Councilmember) (Agenda Item No. 08- 753)
5. Approval of a Resolution to Create a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for City of Milton Transportation Plan. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director) (Agenda Item No. 08- 754)
6. Approval of a Resolution to Create a Citizen Advisory Committee for City of Milton Concept Plans for the Intersections of Birmingham at Providence and Arnold Mill at New Providence. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director) (Agenda Item No. 08-755)
7. Approval of task orders for concept studies of Birmingham at Providence intersection for $116,434.06 and Arnold Mill at New Providence intersection $70,496.70 with Street Smarts, Inc. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director) (Agenda Item No. 08- 756)
8. Approval of a Resolution Requesting the Transmittal of the draft City of Milton 20082028 Comprehensive Plan Partial Update to the Atlanta Regional Commission and the State of Georgia Department of Community Affairs. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) (Agenda Item No. 08- 757)
9. Approval of a Resolution to Adopt the 2009 Zoning and Use Permit, Zoning Modification, Board of Zoning Appeals and the City of Milton Design Review Board Schedules. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director)
13) MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
14) STAFF REPORTS 1) Discussion of the right-of-way privatization policy. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director)
15) EXECUTIVE SESSION (if needed) (Agenda Item No. 08-758)
Committee and Board Nominations
Council members will be nominating committee members this month.
Tina D'Aversa's nominees to date
1) Parks and Recreation Committee -
District 5 Nominee: Tom Mulroy
2) Highway 9 Design Guidelines Committee
District 5 Business Rep Nominee: Adam Orkin
District 5 Citizen Nominee: Roger Festa
3) Historic Preservation Committee.At Large Nominee: JT Adams
District 5 Nominee: Travis Allen
4) Transportation Committee.
District 5 Citizen Nominee: Vic Jones
5) Transportation Intersection Committee
At Large Nominee: Marty Littleton
These committees will begin working if they have not already in early January 2009. The Parks and Recreation Committee is already developing a list of priority review items for early 2009. Public Works Director, Dan Drake and P&R Consultant, Brad Chambers will be the staff liaisons.
Community Development Manager, Alice Wakefield will be working with the Highway 9 Review Board very soon to review the LCI process and to begin setting discussion priorities. We encourage citizens to be involved and attend these meetings. Meetings will be listed on the city website.
Please email the city council member serving your district if you are interested in participating on one of these boards or committees. City Council contact information.
City Council Meeting agendas are posted seven days prior to a meeting.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Due to the annoucement that the Milton Round Up has moved to the public schools in Crabapple next fall, we have a new Accessmilton.com poll up. This month's question ask:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The Georgia Cemetery Board has approved an application for a green cemetery in Milton.
The board on Tuesday signed off on a plan by Milton resident Jim Bell, who sought state approval to use 17 acres of pasture as a green burial ground. In a green cemetery, people are interred in a shroud or a biodegradable coffin without embalming, vaults or even tombstones. Graves are marked by a GPS system or flat markers.To motorists passing by, the cemetery would look like an open field.
“We’ve already had a good bit of interest,” Bell said. “It’s less expensive, environmentally sound, and we’ll give part of the proceeds to give to the city to buy more green space.”
Bell said he wanted to find a way to keep the land from being developed.
Traditional burials average $7,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. A green burial would cost up to $4,000.
Embalming is not required by law except in some circumstances, such as transporting a body by airline, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
Bell wrote in an email that he plans to open cthe emetery in January.
December 09, 2008 MILTON - City Council established a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, a Ga. 9 Design Guideline Committee and a Historic Preservation Committee at its meeting Dec. 1.• The Parks and Recreation Advisory board will be staffed by seven volunteers tasked with developing a parks and recreation ordinance. Councilwoman Karen Thurman nominated Mark Reed, Councilman Bill Lusk nominated Lauren Jackson, Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa nominated Tom Mulroy and Councilman Alan Tart nominated Sandy Shelley.• The Ga. 9 Design Guideline Committee will be staffed by 14 volunteers, representing an equal mix of business and homeowners in the Ga. 9 area. They will weigh potential revisions to the Ga. 9 Overlay District, and if revisions are made, could eventually be pared down to a seven-member recommending body for review of cases in the area. Mayor Joe Lockwood nominated Dennis Potts, Thurman nominated former Councilman Rick Mohrig, Lusk nominated Rodney Reese, D'Aversa nominated Adam Orkin and Tart nominated Brenda Hemphill.• The Historic Preservation Committee will be staffed with 14 volunteers tasked with creating a Historic Preservation Ordinance. Thurman nominated Gordon Hunter, Lusk nominated Norman Broadwell and, as an "assistant," local historian Billy Bates. D'Aversa nominated Travis Allen and J.T. Adams.The committees still need a number of volunteers. Interested parties should contact volunteer coordinator Linda Blow at 678-242-2489.In other news, council:• Approved unanimously a little more than $449,000 task order with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. for Milton's Transportation Master Plan. Due to an 80-20 funding match, Milton will pay just shy of $90,000 for the work, which Public Works Director Dan Drake said will take 18 months.• Approved unanimously a modification to the Fulton County Service Delivery Strategy Agreement to allow participation by the South Fulton Municipal Regional Water and Sewer Authority. City Attorney Ken Jarrard said the modification does not involve Milton (it affects Union City, Fairburn and Palmetto), but due to its contract the county must have all cities in Fulton who receive county water sign off on the move.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Milton officials are hoping to pull a rabbit out of a hat and recover $863,000 in lost insurance premium taxes.
The city has an “error and omissions” clause in its insurance policy with the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Association that officials think might cover the lost money.
The city lost its chance to collect $863,000 in its first days of cityhood in 2007. It missed a deadline to alert the state that it intended to collect its share of taxes on insurance premiums sold in Georgia. The city rectified the oversight.
Officials did explore legislative solutions but were told the law was clear about having to meet the deadline.
So stop by and look around; from what I hear, they have some great gifts!
Friday, December 05, 2008
December 02, 2008 MILTON - State Rep. Jan Jones probably doesn't talk about the weather without mentioning the need for a new Milton County, but she does not see her elevation to the Republican State House whip as a bully pulpit to that end.But that is because she sees the course for a new county as sailing fairly straight as it is. Will being the whip help?"Well, itcertainly won'thurt," Jones said. "We already have a very strong North Fulton team, as evidenced by the passage of the three cities [Sandy Springs, Milton, Johns Creek], which we got passed in pretty much record time."
Jones saw getting legislation for those cities as the first step before going on for a new county. That came from the North Fulton legislative team's influence as a whole, she said.In addition to her new role, state Sen. Dan Moody is the Senate caucus chairman, state Rep. Wendell Willard is chairman of the House Judiciary and state Rep. Mark Burkhalter is House chairman pro tem.
"As each of us takes on more roles, such as my appointment as majority whip, it helps," Jones said. "I think we are all unified in the conviction that it is time for a vote now. We are now ready to take that constitutional amendment forward."
The amendment would allow any former existing county that had since merged with another county to reconstitute itself. The state Constitution limits the number of Georgia counties to 159. The only possible county that could be affected 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.
A feasibility study commissioned by the Legislature should be out next month, Jones said."I think the effect of the study will be to let the legislators and the people of Georgia see it is a very reasonable desire and request to let North Fulton choose its own county government. I think it will show the reconstituted Fulton and Milton counties will have the same revenues as they do now on a per capita basis," she said. 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.
"It will take a few years to get this all in place. There would be a transition period," she said.As whip, it will be Jones' job to assist the majority leader and keep members advised about key floor and committee votes. It will be her job to count noses to be sure legislation the party supports will get the support it needs to pass. In short, she will manage the legislative agenda of the party."Being the whip, I will be monitoring and influencing the flow of information," she said. "I view it as information central. I will be supplying information and perspective on the issues to the Republican Caucus."
Every piece of legislation that makes it to the floor of the House goes through the whip's office, which then issues a daily report. Around 10 deputy whips will assist Jones in the process."During the session, it will be a working job. I said I wanted the job to do something in the party - not to be something - and I think I got that."
December 02, 2008 MILTON - Milton is holding its second annual holiday event, this year named Christmas at Crabapple. Set for Dec. 6 from 5-8 p.m. in downtown Crabapple, the evening's festivities include time with Santa Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides and choir concerts.According to Linda Blow, volunteer coordinator with Milton, each participating Crabapple merchant will put white lights on the outside of their businesses. Grab a card at the Christmas tree at the corner of Mayfield and Mid-Broadwell roads, visit each of the retailers, collect all the stamps and return the card for a chance to win a basket full of goodies donated by each business.A lighted horse and carriage at five points around Crabapple will mark the perimeter of the event. After the holidays, the donated tree will either be planted at a local fire station or left in Crabapple.The Christmas in Crabapple logo was designed by Bob Berry of Berry Designs in Crabapple.
December 02, 2008 MILTON – It is not easy finding a place where the children of Spectrum, a nonprofit support group for Gwinnett, North Fulton and Forsyth children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), can go as a group. But one place that opened its arms wide was Hunter's Christmas tree farm operated by Gordon and Brooke Hunter on Wood Road in Milton.
"We are thrilled to find a place to come where the kids can be themselves," said Spectrum member and parent Monique Bernstein. More than 60 families came for the hayrides around the tree farm and a chance to climb on a tractor, make ornaments and just have a good time."We were glad to open up a little early to give these kids a good time," said Brooke Hunter. "It is a great way to give something back to the community."For information about the tree farm to to www.hunterschristmastreefarm.com.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
November 25, 2008 MILTON - City Council apparently will take personal field trips to the Bethany Creek subdivision to determine if changing the city's noise ordinance will do anything to quell the battle that's been brewing over music bleeding from Montana's Bar and Grill into homes in the area.Montana's has been cited just once for violating Milton's nighttime 60 decibel cap.
Residents in Bethany Creek, which backs up to the popular restaurant, routinely call police to complain about the noise.To try and fix the problem, Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom and City Attorney Ken Jarrard proposed in October lowering the allowable night time decibels from 60 to 55, which Lagerbloom said would match several local municipalities' laws.
Montana's owner Cary Eubanks said publicly he believes changing the ordinance constitutes his business being "railroaded."At its meeting Nov. 17, City Council heard from Eubanks, Bethany Creek residents and a number of business owners and homeowners from all over Milton, each with an opinion on changing the city's standing noise ordinance by five decibels.
"We have done everything possible, and we have been within the ordinance," said Eubanks. "I just don't know what else to do. I just don't think it's fair."He implored council to visit Montana's and listen for themselves before voting on a law change that could potentially put him and his 25 employees out of business.
Board of Zoning Appeals chairwoman Sandy Jones — speaking simply as a citizen — is a Bethany Creek resident. She said there wasn't a problem in the area until Montana's opened its former greenhouse venue. Jones said the change to the law doesn't keep Montana's from playing live music, it simply "alleviates the intrusion our families experience." She also invited council to her living room so they could feel the vibrations at 11 p.m.
Mayor Joe Lockwood was skeptical a five decibel change could be decided without real world experience."As I listen through, I'm not really sure what five decibels does, and as I listen to residents, I hear about vibrations. I wonder if that's just the type of tone," said Lockwood.
"Before we make a decision that affects our whole city, I want to see if it makes any difference or not."
Lockwood asked if council would defer the decision, and Councilwoman Karen Thurman put forth the motion to postpone the decision until Dec. 15."I would like to see for myself what it is like from the property line," she said. "I value my sleep tremendously, and I'm sure other people do, too."Councilman Bill Lusk agreed."I don't see how we could sit up here and objectively evaluate a five decibel differential out there," he said.The vote to defer the decision was unanimous.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Sometimes it seems that half the city of Milton is involved in running the city.
On Monday, Milton City Council set up three new advisory committees. Two will have 14 members; the other will have seven members.
“We have a population that’s proud of where they live, who are invested in the community,” said Mayor Joe Lockwood. “I don’t think there will be any trouble filling these committees.”
One of the new panels, the Historic Preservation Committee, will help draft an ordinance to protect old buildings and historic sites in the city of about 20,000 residents.
Another, the Ga. 9 Guideline Committee, has the more delicate task of coming up with design standards for the city’s main business corridor. The council decided to expand that committee from seven to 14 members so that each council member could appoint a homeowner and a business owner.
They also set up a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to recommend improvements to parks and come up with a game plan for improving recreation citywide.
People wanting to volunteer should call Linda Blow at 678-242-2489.
A dog was found by the Nadler's near the intersection of Freemanville and Redd Road. ?They took him to the vet and sadly there is no microchip. As you can tell from his photo, this sweet guy has been looking for food for some time.
There was another dog seen lost near the same spot but has not been saved from harm yet. ?We are not sure if these two are related. ?
Do you know anything about this dog? ?Could it belong to one of your neighbors? ?Could one of you have it in your heart to adopt him and give him a chance in a happy home?
Please contact Todd Nadler at 770.619.0660 or Patti Silva at 678.234.9141.
Please make sure to pass this email to all of your contacts in our area.
Monday, December 01, 2008
New Foundation comes to Milton
Feed the Firefighters Foundation has made its debut in Milton. The foundation's purpose is to support firefighters and other emergency personnel who serve the community by supplying food and other nourishment during emergencies of extended duration and to increase public awareness of the contributions firefighters make to the community.
ZPIZZA in Alpharetta is the third restaurant to become a member of this organization and the first to participate in Georgia. As a member of FTF, ZPIZZA will supply local firefighters and other first-responders in Milton and Alpharetta with food at no cost in emergency situations as well as a daily discount at the restaurant. FTF is a non-profit organization located in Raleigh, NC that was founded in 1999 to provide food and other nourishment to firefighters and other first-responders in emergency situations.
To learn more please visit the Feed the Firefighters site.
Earlier this year, The City of Milton passed an ordinance requiring all gated properties, residential and business, to have a key lock box - known as a Knox Box - installed on the entrance side of each gate for emergency access by public safety personnel. Deadline for compliance is March 31, 2009.
Questions? Contact the Public Safety Department, 678-242-2500.
In an ongoing effort to support the Arts, the City of Milton will host its second art show at City Hall. More than 40 works by 14 members of the Alpha Arts Guild will be on display including landscape paintings, portraiture, photography, abstracts, collages, stained glass, fabric art and quilts.
The show opens Monday, Dec. 1 and runs through the end of the year. The pieces are displayed at each main entrance and in Council Chambers.
A reception for the artists will be held on Monday, Dec. 1 at 5 pm in Council Chambers.
To learn more about the Alpha Arts Guild, please visit the Alpha Arts Guild Web site.
There will be three phases of registration:
- Phase one begins Monday, Dec. 1 for all City of Milton residents.
- Phase two begins Monday, Dec. 15 for all Hopewell Veteran Players (regardless of residency).
- Phase three, open registration, begins Monday, Dec. 29.
Registration ends Sunday, Jan. 11 and a $25 late fee will be charged for any registrations after this date. Registration fees will be published on the HYA Web site prior to the start of registration.
PLEASE NOTE: Based on the success and growth of the baseball program HYA expects most age groups to sell out. Skill assessment will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24. Practices start on Saturday, Feb. 7 and Opening Day is Saturday, March 7. The Spring season ends Wednesday, May 20. For more information visit the HYA Web site. Play Ball!
Santa will be on hand - complete with a live reindeer - for children to share their secret wishes and get their picture taken. Everyone can enjoy hot chocolate, cider and S'mores while listening to carols sung by the Milton High School choir. Admission is free, and children will get a special gift from Santa.
It is easy to forget that everyone in the world is not as fortunate as us. Not everyone can afford to buy gifts for their loved ones. Some people cannot even afford to put food on their tables. The good news is there are countless ways to help people in need this winter. Please keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily cost anything to lend a hand. Volunteering your time can be appreciated just as much, if not more, than volunteering your money.
This winter you could serveat an Atlanta soup kitchen or help build a home for Habitat for Humanity. You could help deliver food for Meals on Wheels or donate gently used coats and toys to the Salvation Ary or the Kidney Association. You could even visit elderly people in nursing homes or children in local orphanages. And of course, if you don't mind spending some money, you can always donate new toys to Toys for Tots or a meal for someone who might otherwise go without.
Overall, we can make a difference. With over 20,000 residents in Milton we can contribute greatly this holiday season. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all did something for our community or neighboring communities. We can make this winter a little bit better for those who need help the most. And you'll benefit too. As Maya Angelou said, " I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. "
Best wishes to you and your family this Holiday Season.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Dear Friends and Neighbors of Milton:
I hope that you and your families had a great Thanksgiving. I also want to wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you. I am always open to your comments and suggestions.
Listed below are several committees for which I still need volunteers. I have indicated the committee positions for which I must select someone from within District 6.
By living in a city that is only two years old, each of you has a unique opportunity to be part of a city's history. You can make a positive mark on your city's history and help shape her future by volunteering. At the same time, you can meet friends and neighbors with similar interests and passions.
Please carefully consider being involved in your city by serving on one of the committees below. Your input and involvement are encouraged and needed for our city's success. Working together, we can ensure that our city remains the best place to live in all of GA.
Thank you for your support and consideration!
Council Member, District 6 (At Large)
Cell: (678) 464-8550
E-mail: AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net or Alan.Tart@cityofmiltonga.us
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
During tomorrow night's (12/1) city council meeting, the mayor and council will consider a resolution to form the Milton Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. This committee will work closely with City of Milton Public Works Director Dan Drake, City of Milton Parks Consultant Brad Chambers, and the mayor and council towards the development of current and future parks and recreation in the city. If you are interested in serving on this committee and live in District 6, please send your resume with letter of interest to me at AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net. No specialized experience is required.
Historic Preservation Committee
During tomorrow night's (12/1) city council meeting, the mayor and council will consider a resolution to form a Historic Preservation Committee. Once established, the City of Milton Historic Preservation Committee will be responsible for preserving the character and fabric of historically significant areas and structures for all present and future citizens of Milton. The committee will accomplish this task by protecting structures through local designation and through providing technical assistance on the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures or areas. It is possible that each council member may be able to appoint two persons for this committee - one with historical roots to Milton or the NW Fulton area regardless of residency and one from within each council member's district. If you have historical roots in the area and would like to be on this committee, please let me know. You do not have to live in District 6 to be considered. Also, if you live in District 6 and would like to be part of this committee, please let me know. Send your resume with letter of interest to me at AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net. No specialized experience is required.
Transportation and Intersection Improvement Committees - Volunteers Needed
Two additional committees will be considered by the mayor and council during the month of December. These committees will work closely with our Public Works Department to develop recommendations for transportation needs (transportation master plan) in Milton, as well as work with staff on providing recommendations for intersection improvements. Specialized experience in the area of transportation design is a plus. Luckily, I have had some interest in these committees, but I am still accepting applications if you are interested. If you live or own a business in District 6 and are interested in serving on either or both of these committees, please send your resume and letter of interest to me at AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net.
Pedestrian and Bike Path Committee
Due to a recent resignation, there is a position on the Milton Pedestrian and Bike Path Committee. This committee is responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of the bike and pedestrian path plan and for working with city staff to secure grants in support of the plan. If you live in District 6 and are interested in serving on this committee, please send your resume and letter of interest to me at AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net. No specialized experience is necessary.
Milton Grows Green Committee
As noted in the Committee's Executive Summary, the mission of the MGG Committee is "Advocating responsibly managed growth by conserving and protecting resources, while preserving Milton's heritage and natural landscape for future generations." I am still looking for someone living or owning a business in District 6 who would like to serve on the Milton Grows Green Committee. No specialized experience is necessary. You just need to be enthusiastic about saving our environment, waterways, trees, etc. If you would like to serve on this committee, please send your resume and letter of interest to me at AlanTart4Milton@comcast.net.
Unless otherwise noted, all meetings will occur at Milton City Hall located at 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Building 100, Suite 107, Milton, GA 30004.
To review agendas or materials for upcoming cases, please visit the city's website and view the community calendar.
Dec 1: City Council Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
Dec 2: Design Review Board (DRB) Meeting - 6:00 p.m. Dec 3: Milton Grows Green Committee - 6:00 p.m. at the Birmingham Fire Station
Dec 8: City Council Work Session - 6:00 p.m.
Dec 15: City Council Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
Dec 16: Board of Zoning Appeals - 7:00 p.m.
Dec 17: Tree Committee - 3:30 p.m.
Dec 23: Planning Commission - 7:00 p.m.
Dec 25 - 26: City Hall Closed for Christmas Holidays
Each Thanksgiving, families around the country gather to give thanks for the past year and hopes for the next. Many times, we forget that while we enjoy our feasts, fire and policemen are working hard to insure that our safety is priority one on this most precious day and the other 364 days each year.
November 30, 2008
Easlan Capital of Atlanta keeps building despite the economy, and has fewer worries about its shopping centers staying empty.Jessie Shannon, the vice president of retail development, said the company won't even start building until it has a center 50 percent leased. They keep their centers small, closer to 20,000 square feet than the big centers.
An example will be seen at the Webb Road development that's begun construction on Ga. 9 across from the Super Target center that continues to be built in phases in Milton.
The inline portion of that center, which sits on a site that's a little more than seven acres, will be 35,000 square feet, with a series of outbuildings, one a multiple tenant building and the remainder single tenant.Shannon said a small grocer has an agreement for 17,000 square feet of space, with American Bodyworks, a small gym, also on board. A series of restaurants are in discussions with brokers. Lease rates are between $24 and $26 a square foot, he said.A conservative opening date is the first week of May 2009. Good weather could allow an earlier date.
If you've seen the Steinway piano center at Mill Creek Avenue on North Point Parkway north of Haynes Bridge Road and across from the Golden Corral, you've spotted another Easlan property. It's a little under 28,000 square feet, has just been completed and is 86 percent leased. Tenants are putting in fixtures. They include Figo Pasta, a nail salon, American Bodyworks, Quiznos and an H&R Block office.Another project on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is the second phase of a center, adding 20,000 square feet. Chik-Fil-A and Starbucks already have spaces, with remaining tenants building out.
Look for another American Bodyworks, a nail salon, Fedex/Kinkos, an optometrist and a T-Mobile store.North of these two centers, at the intersection of Castleberry and Bethelview Roads, Easlan Capital is about 30 days from completion of a 26,000 square foot center, just across from the Publix grocery store.An Italian restaurant and a Mexican restaurant, plus Dunkin Donuts, a veterinary clinic and a financial services business handling tax accounting and similar services to H&R Block have leases."It's pretty well leased, in the high 80s, probably 87 percent," Shannon said.Easlan Capital's Jessie Shannon said a lot of vacancies exist down Ga. 9."We are having to do a little bit more for the tenants these days, a little more improvement dollars. We are not always hitting our pro forma rents," he said.The company hasn't been offering "free rent" at this point. With its centers heavily leased, that hasn't been necessary.
Reducing the shop space makes it easier to lease. Above 20,000 square feet, similar shops start opening in the same center, essentially competing with each other. That's not what retailers want to see.A builder pays from $180 to $200 per square foot to build a center. Up to 25 percent must be put down as equity to get finances. Once leased, the carrying costs have to be paid and it must generate cash flow to meet the costs.Well located centers can succeed, Shannon said. It's still competitive to get space in those centers. The biggest challenge is for the retailers to find financing for build outs, including people with good credit."We kind of changed our business model in order to get our centers leased," he said.
Hello to my neighbors... I am at 405 the Hermitage Drive for those who do not know me. I am in foreclosure and I must be out by December 2. The reason for my contacting you all is that I have a beautiful cat named Aslin who is about 10 years old. He is declawed and neutered and his shots are up to date. I can not take him with me! I have called at least a dozen shelters, many vets, and MANY friends and family to find him a good home, but no luck. It's now down to the wire and he needs a home or I will be forced to take him to the pound where he will most likely be put down.
So, I'm swallowing my pride, as if I have any left these days... But, I'm begging each of you to please find it in your heart to give him a good home. He is so loving and sweet, and great with children. He is very shy though so he does hide a lot. He would do best as a single pet or with other docile cats, but at this point I just need to find him a home where he will be loved. And, due to his being declawed he is an indoor cat only.
His picture is below, and he looks like a big old Garfield cat! Please help me.
Humbly and sincerely,
Thursday, November 27, 2008
VOTE TUESDAY / December 2 Runoff Elections!
Dear Milton Neighbor,
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! As you celebrate all that you are thankful for this holiday season, I hope you will take a moment to be thankful for the wonderful community we live in and make sure that no community member is suffering without support this holiday season.
I wish you all the very best and thank God for the blessings that he bestows on each of us now and throughout the year! Enjoy your friends and family today!
I will be brief in this update. For additional information and updates, visit the City of Milton website.
Board Volunteers to be Appointed
During the December 1, 2008, City Council Meeting, each council member will appoint citizens to the following advisory boards.
1) Parks and Recreation Committee -
District 5 (Pending) Appointee: Tom Mulroy
2) Highway 9 Design Guidelines Committee
District 5 (Pending) Appointee: Adam Orkin
3) Historic Preservation Committee.
District 5 (Pending) Appointee: JT Adams
District 5 (Pending) Appointee: Travis Allen
4) Transportation Committee.
District 5 (Pending) Appointee: Open
Please email the city council member serving your district if you are interested in participating on one of these boards or committees. City Council contact information. The meeting agenda will be posted seven days prior to the meeting.
The next Council Meeting is Monday, December 1, 2008, 6:00 pm - Council Agenda.
Meeting Calendar of the City Boards and Commissions
City Council Meetings are held at City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Milton, Georgia 30004.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
December 1 City Council Agenda
Monday, December 1, 2008 Regular Council Meeting Agenda 6:00
1) CALL TO ORDER
2) ROLL CALL
3) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (Led by the Mayor) (Agenda Item No. 08-729) 4) APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA (Add or remove items from the agenda) 5) PUBLIC COMMENT 6) CONSENT AGENDA (Agenda Item No. 08-730)
1. Approval of the November 10, 2008 Special Called Work Session Minutes. (Jeanette Marchiafava, City Clerk and Clerk of the Court) (Agenda Item No. 08-731)
2. Approval of the November 10, 2008 Work Session Minutes. (Jeanette Marchiafava, City Clerk and Clerk of the Court) (Agenda Item No. 08-732)
3. Approval of the November 17, 2008 Regular Meeting Minutes. (Jeanette Marchiafava, City Clerk and Clerk of the Court) (Agenda Item No. 08-733)
4. Approval of the following plats: 1) The Preserve @ North Valley (aka Vickery Heights) / change name 2) Lake Haven / revise setbacks 3) Greystone Farms / combine lots
4) Canine Assistants / revise property lines
5) Deerfield Green I / add deleted lots 308-324
6) Crabapple Estates / add drainage easement (Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director)
7) REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
8) FIRST PRESENTATION (Agenda Item No. 08-734) 1. ZM08-08/VC0-07 - South side of Webb Road, To modify condition 2a. and a 2 part concurrent variance to 1) To reduce the side yard setback from 20 feet to 10 feet along the east and west property lines; 2) To reduce the minimum rear yard setback from 25 feet to 10 feet along the south property line. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) (Agenda Item No. 08-735) 2. RZ08-10, 622 N. Main Street by Larry Singleton, ADT Real Estate, LLC, To rezone from C-2 (Commercial) to C-1 (Community Business) to develop a 28,260 square foot retail home fashion center at a density of 12,504.42 square feet per acre on 2.26 acres. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director) 9) ZONING AGENDA (None)
10) UNFINISHED BUSINESS
11) NEW BUSINESS
(Agenda Item No. 08-721)
1. Approval of Resolution Amending Resolution No. 08-10-46, A Resolution to Create the Milton Grows Green Committee and its Governing Board and for other Designated Purposes by Adding an MGG Committee Governing Board Member. (This item was deferred on November 17, 2008.) (Presented by Councilmember Alan Tart and Councilmember Burt Hewitt)
(Agenda Item No. 08-736)
2. Approval of a Resolution to Create the Milton Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and to develop the Milton Parks and Recreation Ordinance. (Presented by Brad Chambers, Parks and Recreation Representative)
(Agenda Item No. 08-737)
3. Approval of a Resolution to Create a Committee to Serve as the Highway 9 Design Guideline Committee for Potential Revision to the Highway 9 Overlay District of the City of Milton Zoning Ordinance. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director)
(Agenda Item No. 08-738)
4. Approval of a Resolution to Create a Committee to Serve as the Historic Preservation Committee for Development of a Historic Preservation Ordinance for the City of Milton. (Presented by Alice Wakefield, Community Development Director)
(Agenda Item No. 08-739)
5. Approval of a task order for City of Milton Transportation Plan with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for $449,140.99. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director)
(Agenda Item No. 08-740)
6. Approval of a Resolution to authorize the Mayor and City Council to approve the submission of a grant application to the Georgia Safe Routes to School through Georgia Department of Transportation. (Presented by Dan Drake, Public Works Director)
(Agenda Item No. 08-741)
7. Approval of a Resolution Adopting the 2009 City of Milton City Council Meeting Schedule for Regular Meetings and Work Sessions. (Presented by Jeanette Marchiafava, City Clerk and Clerk of the Court)
(Agenda Item No. 08-742)
8. Proposed Modification to the Fulton County Service Delivery Strategy Agreement to allow participation by the South Fulton Municipal Regional Water and Sewer Authority and for other purposes. (Presented by Ken Jarrard, City Attorney)
12) MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
13) STAFF REPORTS 1. Patti Silva, Chair of the Arts Committee, will introduce all of the artists from the Alpha Arts Guild whose art will be on the walls through the holiday season. (Presented by Linda Blow, Projects Coordinator)
2. Christmas in Crabapple event on Saturday, December 6, 2008. (Presented by Linda Blow, Projects Coordinator)
14) EXECUTIVE SESSION (if needed) (Agenda Item No. 08-743)
Vote for Georgia
The runoff election will be held Dec. 2 for any voter who was registered for the Nov.4 general election. One does not have to have voted in the November election to be able to vote on Dec. 2. The sample ballot contains the runoff for U.S. Senator, GA Public Service Commissioner, and Appeals Court judge. There may also be local races on the ballot.Sample ballots are available on county web sites under 'Elections' or 'Registration and Elections', or contact the county elections superintendent, phone number in blue pages of the phone book.Early voting and advanced voting are available for this runoff starting the week of Nov. 17.
The county offices and voting will be closed for Thanksgiving Day. There will be no advanced voting on Monday, Dec. 1. Schools will not be closed for voting on Tuesday, Dec. 2.Absentee by mail ballot applications are being taken now by fax, mail, or hand delivered. Sooner is better. One must return the voted ballot to a permanent voter registrar location by 7 p.m. on election day by mail or hand delivered.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
November 25, 2008 MILTON – While the weather and the tax incentives to film in Georgia proved very attractive to the producers of "The Joneses," which was wrapping up filming this week in Milton, the people of the neighborhood made it a very pleasant experience.
On a cool, windy afternoon, David Duchovny, in character as "Steve," was spending his time getting in and out of a car driven for Lauren Hutton, who portrays "KC," a high-level executive with interest in his family.
Movie terms such as "rolling," "action" and "cut" could be heard called and repeated up and down the street within The Manor subdivision serving as the filming location. But the term most used was "watch your back."
Plenty of people live in the hundreds of homes in The Manor, and whenever someone needed to get by, the call came out to "watch your back" as security let the car through, passing right next to the filmmakers. Even when lighting equipment was being taken down and reconfigured, the call came out again: "Watch your back."
Time after time Duchovny stopped "jogging," peered into the car, exchanged some dialogue and then climbed in for a scene with Hutton's character.
If you aren't a film buff or an actor, it can seem tedious, not glamorous. For the actors, it's certainly work, though it is their craft. For a comparison, think of the time spent standing in line to vote or to get a driver's license. The wait was horrendous, but the payoff was sublime.
Only $8 million is budgeted on this independent film, kept a bit lower thanks to the 30 percent tax incentive provided by the Ga. Department of Economic Development.
The 27-day shoot wraps up in time to let the two families who turned over their homes to the filmmakers celebrate Thanksgiving at home.
The top six or seven actors flew in from Los Angeles and New York, but the bulk of the actors are Georgians, including a few from The Manor neighborhood who got the chance to be a part of a party scene.
Producers Kristi Zea and Andrew Spaulding, president of Echo Lake Entertainment, said those Georgia actors made filming here a treat. Often producers and directors are faced with one of two problems in filling out the cast away from a studio. Either they have to fly someone in from L.A., New York or Vancouver for just two lines in the movie, or they are stuck using local actors whose talents are lacking. There was no such problem in North Fulton.
Filming in The Manor was just as much a delight for filmmakers. Residents were happy to see the film crews and have been very cooperative in what is a disruption to their lives.
"It's kind of like being on a back lot," Zea said, "with a lot of people that have been incredibly cooperative."
Zea, whose credits include "Fame," "Terms of Endearment," "Philadelphia," "Goodfellas" and "The Departed," helped pick the location at The Manor – and several other nearby sites – for the film. She said she was looking for somewhere in the country in which the real estate market boom of the past 10 years could be seen. Atlanta was it. Being easily accessible, with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport offering direct flights to almost anywhere in the world, was another plus. Most of the places that offer such strong incentives require connecting flights.
The two homes Zea picked in The Manor fit the tone of the movie – upscale, but seemingly attainable by many people.
"We wanted some houses that people can relate to," she said.
The film crew needed an open floor plan for the home of the Joneses, while the neighbors, portrayed by Gary Cole and Glenn Headley, had to have a home with a pool. All the furniture had to be taken out of the home for the Jones, while the neighboring home used the furniture already inside.
What worked out even better for the crew was the grass lot just behind the homes off Hopewell Road that allowed space for parking and the catering van and tent. With the reception they received in Georgia, expect more movies to be filmed in the area, Spaulding said.
November 25, 2008
MILTON - Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, has devoted his life to anti-smoking efforts at great personal risk.
Railing against his family's wishes, he divested all of his stock in big tobacco in 1979 and has given half of his inheritance to fighting the dangers of cigarettes and chewing tobacco. He's used the rest of the money to fuel the Los Angeles-based Foundation for a Smokefree America, a non-profit organization he started in 1989 after speaking out to Congress about the dangers of smoking.
But what would cause a man to bite so hard the hand that feeds him?
Patrick's father, R.J. Reynolds Jr., died in 1964 of emphysema when his son was just 15.
"The only memories I have of my father are a man dying of smoking," he said.
So, he said, it's of utmost importance to him to empower teenagers to make the right choices about tobacco by exposing them to the industry's marketing tools. In addition, the foundation provides a host of information on how stop using tobacco products.
As part of his mission, Reynolds was at Milton High School Nov. 19 on the eve of "The Great American Smokeout," an advocacy day aimed at ending smoking in America. There, at the behest of the PTSA, he gave his powerful anti-smoking presentation to 1,300 ninth- and 10th-graders, which ends with letting kids in on a little secret: Adults often smoke, drink and use drugs to escape the pain of what can sometimes be a harsh world.
"I tell them to face their pain, to talk to others about it," he said. "The future is looking incredible, and we'll get through all of this together."
It's a life lesson duly learned, said Reynolds.
The partial heir to one of the largest and most vilified industries in America said he certainly wasn't thinking about helping to stop smoking nationwide when he traveled to Washington, D.C. with a friend in 1986. But things just sort of "fell into place," he said.
It was while speaking with then U.S. Sen. Robert Packwood, who was working on tax reform, that Reynolds brought up the idea of taxing cigarettes heavily. Packwood asked if Reynolds would testify to Congress to help pass the measure, and that got the ball rolling.
A Reynolds family member hadn't served in a position of power in the company for 50-odd years, said Reynolds, and so he wasn't prepared for what he was up against.
"I went home to L.A. and contacted the American Lung Association," he said. "The more I learned about Big Tobacco, the angrier I got.
"When I did speak out, I was catapulted into the headlines," he said. "It was the first public speaking out against the tobacco companies from someone like me. I mean, I was a Reynolds."
Reynolds was "besieged" with requests for speaking engagements and began to become more involved with local ballot initiatives across the country to ban smoking in public places and raise cigarette taxes.
The deeper he got in, the more resolve he garnered, he said.
"A lot of people find their life's calling in their deepest wound," he said.
And now, after taking his message to more than 150,000 students and producing a video bought by more than 10,000 schools, Reynolds said he understands what he was meant to do.
"I get to make a difference," he said.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Authorities are investigating the Fulton County 911 center’s handling of a Sept. 22 car wreck that left a 21-year-old woman dead.
An ambulance didn’t arrive for about 45 minutes after somebody placed a non-emergency call to the 911 center about a car on the side of the road in North Fulton County.
Milton and Fulton County officials who reviewed the case said Thursday that 911 operators and emergency crews probably handled the call properly.
Erika Blood of Alpharetta, who was studying business office management at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, died Sept. 24 from injuries sustained in the early morning, single-vehicle wreck on Bethany Bend Road in Milton.
The incident has been turned over to consultants who are already reviewing operations of Fulton’s 911 center in the wake of an Aug. 2 operator’s error that delayed help to a Johns Creek woman who later died. Their report is due out next month.
Officials said police didn’t arrive on the scene for more than 20 minutes after the original call because the call came in as non-emergency — a vehicle on the side of the road with its lights on rather than a serious car crash with injuries.
Roberto Hernandez, Fulton’s deputy county manager who oversees 911 operations, said there was an initial delay of “a few minutes” while call takers and dispatchers tried to decide whether the incident occurred in Milton or Alpharetta. he incident was reported on a cellphone, not a land line that can be tracked to a specific address, he said.
Chris Lagerbloom, Milton’s public safety director, said nearly 10 minutes elapsed before the city finally got the call and dispatched help. More than 10 additional minutes went by before a city police officer arrived at the accident scene.
Lagerbloom said the response time was acceptable for a non-emergency call in the early morning hours of a rural community.
The officer who arrived first found two seriously injured persons – Blood and an unidentified passenger — prompting an ambulance to finally be sent, officials said.
Both Lagerbloom and Hernandez said they had reviewed the tapes and reports several times and could find no serious error in what happened. Hernandez said Fulton could have resolved whether the wreck happened in Alpharetta or Milton quicker and an ambulance could have been sent on the original call just in case.
“It’s always better to send someone. You can always call them back,” Hernandez said.
Blood’s father, Bill Blood of Alpharetta, declined comment when contacted Thursday night.
Since Oct. 1, Milton’s 911 calls have been handled through the Alpharetta 911 center, not Fulton County.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation of the Fulton County 911 center found more than 1,100 disciplinary actions taken against center employees over five years as well as chronic problems with tardiness, absenteeism and other issues that often led to potentially dangerous mistakes.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
There has been a local, grass roots effort going on for the past 8 years tohelp support ICM through a community outreach program right here in Milton and Alpharetta. Christmas gifts are loaded on to the FOUR (4) U-hauls headed for Kentucky. This is just one of several trips that take place every year up to Rattlesnake Ridge. It’s an amazing thing to see as dozens of neighbors from the community load the trucks on a Thursday night – and off they go - The number of kids in McCreary County who now get to have areal Christmas has grown from 40 the first year, to now 330 I urge you to please watch this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heGZqTj9zZY This is all going on right herein our community!! Someone recently told me that true greatness is a very simple choice, to step up and actually do something to help someone else.
Come help us load and see what Christmas is all about. We will start loading at 5:00 on Thursday the fourth. Here are directions to Mark and Eva Buckingham’s house:Alpharetta (East of 400)
The Highlands at Park BridgeEva Buckingham 770/569-4998 6085 Tamarack Court, Alpharetta 30005
From GA400, exit Old Milton Pkwy (exit 10) going East.ç onto North Point Pkwy.è onto Webb Bridge Rd. Go 2-3 miles. Highlands Subv. will be on your right(after Middle School).into Highlands Subv.ç at first stop onto Breckenridge Lane.ç onto Breckenridge Courtç onto Tahoe Pines Way onto Tamarack Court at end of street in cul-de-sac.For info and where to drop off used donations ( clothing, house waresfurniture) or new presents contact Margie Marchesani 770 521-0241 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She lives in Milton and will take any calls anddonations.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I hope this Thanksgiving season finds you and your families well in spirit and health. We have much for which to be thankful, most importantly our families, friends and faith. May this be a season in which we all have time to reflect and give thanks.
This brief release is intended to provide you information on the following:
The new school redistricting maps, proposals provided by the Fulton County Board of Education and ways to provide input,
Early voting and absentee information re:the Dec. 2nd Election,
If you are traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, please be safe.
It is indeed a privilege and an honor to serve you and all Milton citizens. If I can be of help with anything, please give me a call or email me.
Blessings to you and your families,
Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council
Fulton County Board of Education School Redistricting Information
With the new Birmingham Elementary School due to open in August of 2009, the Fulton County Board of Education is in process of conducting community meetings and seeking the input from citizens regarding three current proposals for redistricting lines.
Please use these links to view the three current proposals, as well as projected attendance figures, and to provide input directly to the Board of Education.
Please note, the City of Milton does not have any input into these redistricting lines as the decisions are those of the Fulton County BOE. Community input is critical in this process and I urge you to send in your opinions.
The deadline for providing input via the online forum on the BOE website is November 21st. The BOE staff, however, will continue to receive comments via email, mail, and fax from the community through the end of November.Again, please note that the online forum will close on November 21st at noon.
The purpose of the third community meeting which is scheduled for December 10th, is to gather further input about the pros/cons of the draft plans. BOE staff will revisit the criteria and use the information collected from and after the third community forum to develop the final Board recommendation.The Board of Education will receive a recommendation in January for first reading. They are scheduled to take action in February.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
"I'm excited about taking greater leadership in the Georgia House as we continue to make Georgia the best state to live, work and raise a family," said Jones. "I'm deeply appreciative of my Republican colleagues' trust in electing me as majority whip."
Jones represents District 46, encompassing Milton, Mountain Park, and parts of Roswell and Alpharetta, in the state House.House Speaker Glenn Richardson said Jones is a tireless worker and an insightful member of the caucus."Her passion and willingness to bring new ideas to the majority whip position will help advance the efforts of our caucus as we continue to move our state forward," he said.
For Jones, the position is an opportunity to meet her constituents' needs."I'm passionate about doing what friends and neighbors in north Fulton elected me to do six years ago – be their effective voice and champion in the Georgia General Assembly. As majority whip, I will be better positioned to make sure their interests are considered when decisions are made," said Jones.
Jones' colleague from Johns Creek, Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter, who proud of the appointment."The election of Jan Jones to majority whip is a great day for the Georgia House of Representatives, the Georgia Republican Party and for north Fulton County," said Burkhalter. "Jones' election to this position is an affirmation of her outstanding leadership, which I have long recognized and appreciated."
November 19, 2008 ROSWELL – Recently Roswell Women's Club held a working luncheon at the 2009 Showcase Home as a "meeting of the minds" to introduce key players in the annual event which has become the club's biggest fundraiser supporting local charities.This year's Showcase Home, a farmhouse aptly named "The Homestead," will be in Milton and is the private residence of Mayor Joe and Dawn Lockwood.
Capstone Building Group was hired by the Lockwoods to custom build their home, designed by Bryan and Contreas, before the club approached the Lockwoods and Capstone about the Showcase Home idea."The farmhouse theme is totally different than any showcase house we have done before. There are horses and a 100-year-old caretaker's cottage. It's an incredible property," said Jennifer Perrotta, tour chairwoman. "Each year is different, but this year has been absolutely incredible working with the Lockwoods and Capstone. They have been working with us to give exactly what we need to help make this a success. They have come through for us."
This year there are 35 designers for the farmhouse, many of whom are new. Although they are free to decorate as they want to show off their talents, the difference this year is the decorators are working with the homeowners' taste, which revolve around the old, simple farmhouse style.The custom built home reflects this simplicity.The main house has two floors plus a terrace level with a seven car garage, pool and tennis court.
The Caretaker's Cottage, the current residence of the Lockwood family, still has many features from the original home 100 years ago. The barn and stable are home to several horses, a bull and a donkey.
With 150 volunteers, Roswell Women's Club Showcase Home raised over $200,000 benefiting North Fulton charities, of which half is donated to educational scholarships and grants. The Showcase Home Tour is scheduled for March 8-29.