Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Milton District 3 candidates speak on issues

Courtesy Appen Newspapers

October 19, 2009

All candidates in Milton's City Council races were given the same three questions. Following are the responses from the district 3 candidates (each was given 600 words to answer the questions). Each week the Milton Herald will publish the answers from each race.

Bill Lusk

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

LUSK: Survival as a city. This past year, we have seen a decrease in property tax, ad valorem tax and business license collections. Until we come out of this recession, we can likely expect that this trend will continue.

The financial model presented by our city's outside consultants in August indicates that by the year 2015 our expenses will begin to outstrip our revenues if we continue on our current course.

At that rate, we will barely keep up with maintaining our roads and infrastructure, not to mention our public safety and other essential services.

Currently 14 percent of our tax base is derived from our commercial development. By comparison, Alpharetta's tax base is approximately 50 percent from commercial.

I certainly do not propose to overdevelop our city. It is essential that the commercial corridors be planned for smart growth so that we might ease the tax burden on the homeowner.

Hotels, restaurants, theaters and retail establishments pay a variety of taxes in addition to just real property. There is no reason why through sound planning and reasonable adherence to design guidelines we cannot achieve a community of which we can all be proud. We must concentrate on smart economic development.

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

LUSK: I have been on City Council since the city was founded three years ago. I have been through almost all of the major issues facing the city. Prior to incorporation, I was the co-chair on the Public Works Subcommittee for the incorporation of Milton.

For several years prior to that, I was a member of the Northwest Fulton Design Review Board. In short, I have been there all of the time, engaged in the issues. I understand all sides of them. I have no agenda other than doing what is right for Milton.

I am a civil engineer, a general contractor (church builder and historic preservationist). For the past 24 years, I have managed my own successful business. I know what it takes to make a payroll, make and live within a budget, and meet a schedule. I show up on time. All of these traits give me an appreciation of what it takes to run a city efficiently.

I have served the community and my country. I was a member of DeKalb Citizen Advocacy Board for seven years, including two years as president. I was also assistant Boy Scout leader for Troop 549, Northeast Georgia Council. Currently, I am a member of VFW Post 12002, American Legion Post 201, Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, Knights of Columbus, North Fulton Leadership Class of 2009, Fulton County Commissioner Lynne Riley's Task Force on Water Reuse and the Milton Business Alliance.

Continuing my interest promoting patriotism, I donated the flag pole that stands behind City Hall and am responsible fort the veterans' markers the city displays on Memorial Day, as well as the Memorial Day Ceremony.

As far as weaknesses, the one that comes to mind is that I trust everyone.

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

LUSK: My first priority will be to help organize our new form of city government by creating the most efficient model possible. We need to find more ways to collaborate with the other North Fulton cities to achieve even greater efficiencies.

At the same time I will continue promoting the preservation of our local history through the Historic Preservation Ordinance, which I co-introduced. It has taken almost two years to a draft, and it is high time to bring the process to fruition.

Al Trevillyan (write-in)

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

TREVILLYAN: The biggest challenge facing the city is the effort on the part of a majority of our council members to increase density.

We must stop that trend so we can preserve Milton as we know it now.

My opponent is in favor of extending sewer service and claims we can control density increases by zoning.

His record demonstrates he will grant a variance to any developer requesting a zoning change, which would provide a means of increasing density.

He and others on the council claim increased density is required to fund city services. They don't mention that increased density will result in increased road construction and maintenance costs, as well as increased city services that would consume tax revenues and seriously degrade our quality of life.

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


I will involve the citizens of Milton for their input on issues, and will insure they are aware of issues that will affect them and their property. My opponent does not.

I have ample experience in civic positions, such as the Economic Development Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and my tenure on Milton's Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC).

My opponent removed me from CPAC for the same reasons I'm running against him now — I disagree with his position on critical issues facing Milton.

I was vocal as a member of CPAC and will be aggressive in facing these issues as a member of the council.

With my science background, I can better evaluate environmental problems facing the city.

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

TREVILLYAN: I will recommend formation of an Economic Development Commission to help fill our empty buildings with quality businesses and increase our commercial tax revenues.

For too long our city has granted commercial property building permits without taking action to fill those buildings.

When the economy improves Milton needs to be poised to attract those new businesses.


Anonymous said...

"I show up on time."

No ya don't Bill.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Peoples Forum was secondary to Bill Lusk, who was supposedly attending Jan Jones' fundraiser (she is running unopposed) at Ron Wallace's house the same night. Couldn't leave the cocktail party to arrive on time for the Forum? It doesn't matter really where you were or what you were doing, you were late,yes, you were an hour and 15 minutes late. All the other candidates showed up at 7 pm, but Bill showed up beyond late then copped an attitude with his opponent the entire night.

Regardless of your apology for being late, it was inexcusible, rude, and disrespectful to the people who came to hear what you and everyone else had to say.

What was funny, was Gordon Hunter trying to get the event to end an hour after it started, so Bill could use the restroom. Amazing how the Beacon nor the Milton Herald bothered to comment how Lusk held up the start of the entire Forum. And you people think you are getting the news in these two papers? Hah!

Anonymous said...

If more forums are necessary, schedule amongst the Christmas trees on Gordon's farm and Combover can step behind a tree if he needs to relieve himself.