More Great Financial News for Milton
Increased Revenue Stream from Insurance Premiums
November 1, 2011
Dear Milton Neighbors, Citizens and Friends -
On October 21, 2011, the City of Milton received a check for Fiscal Year 2011 in the amount of $1,531,938. This money from the insurance premium tax is almost $680,000 more than anticipated in Fiscal Year 2011.
"The even better news is we remained conservative in the FY12 budget that the Mayor and Council just approved. This is an anticipated increase of $825,000. So, the reality is there are likely additional revenues of about that same amount in this budget year." Chris Lagerbloom, City Manager, e-mail to Mayor and Council, October 21, 2011.
This is great news and is a testament to the combined efforts of Council and staff toward financial strength and management.
If you are following this year's City Council election, you may be puzzled right now. Many of you know that my opponent has been publicly, and incorrectly, stating that Milton will be "bankrupt by 2013". Nothing could be more false or misleading. Please read further for clarity of the facts.
You Deserve the Facts
And the facts are that we as a city are in a very strong financial position. In addition to the revenue stream created from the insurance tax premium discussed above, we have accumulated a fund balance of $7.8M in just a few years. In addition, the population census figures (from 2000 census) used in the original planning were doubled after the 2010 census update, which will generate a minimum of an incremental $3.5M in annual sales tax allocation from Fulton County (at least $35M over 10 years). This sales tax allocation is legally mandated based on census. We also have saved an estimated $2M annually by terminating our outsourcing contract with CH2M Hill. We have much to do - road and traffic improvements, park development and more; and these are all planned, budgeted and funded. Many needed projects are underway or completed. This is all nothing short of excellent and we ought to be celebrating our position and future. We are sustainable as a community for the long term.
My opponent mistakenly believes that we are in a weak financial position. His stated position that Milton would "go bankrupt in 2013" was based on outdated, incorrect and incomplete information. He did not account for the updated census nor does he understand the implications. His figures also excluded the termination of our management outsource contract with CH2M Hill among other over-sights, and the accumulated $7.8M fund balance.
While an honorable profession, 3 years of experience selling investments and previous experience in the pest control business, a degree in American Studies and his questionable use of incorrect data does not qualify my opponent to make assessments of Milton's financial stability. He is either trying to create controversy with a problem that does not exist, or really does not understand. Either way, it is not acceptable. He is simply incorrect and this is easily confirmed. Click here for the 2012 Adopted Budget=> http://www.miltonga.govoffice3.com/vertical/Sites/%7BABDC6828-BCD1-4EB9-8063-A52F3C899020%7D/uploads/Budget_Book_FY_12_Final.pdf In his words, "we deserve better".
His presumption that business should be expanded to generate more revenue is flawed.
Milton is primarily a residential community - that is why we are here. Even doubling our commercial property would only make a trivial contribution to our revenues, and any gains would likely be offset by reductions in home values as we lose our uniqueness.
My personal commitment to this community and representing its citizens spans nearly two decades. My opponent has no experience in these areas. I am not tied to any special interest groups - I represent Milton residents and the vision that we have defined for ourselves. My opponent cannot say the same - all you have to do is look at his list of financial donors and sign locations.
For many years I have remained true to my word to retain a balance on Council and to demonstrate open and transparent government. My opponent has incorrectly said that I delay things during meetings. He does not understand the complexity and importance of the issues. In fact, I ask questions to help clarify complex issues so that we can make more informed and higher quality decisions with full transparency. My opponent does not understand that dialog and intelligent questions are necessary for open, transparent government. Inadequate understanding is not acceptable.
How many delays and bad decisions would occur because my opponent lacks the required knowledge and experience to lead on City Council? His inexperience will surely cost time and money as well as result in bad decisions which could cost our city its fundamental character and charm. In his own words during a recent debate, my opponent admitted that I have more experience. See for yourself why I am the one clear choice.Click here for video=> http://julie4milton.com/video/MiltonPeoplesForumOct2011.php
For his political gain in this campaign, my opponent is taking issue with the sign ordinance as it relates to business and commercial space. As I have publicly maintained, I am open to re-addressing the sign ordinance with the community right now. In fact, I supported having the sign ordinance reviewed. It is currently in the review process by staff and the Planning Commission (for Public Hearing) and will come back before Mayor and Council in November.
To be clear, the collective community voice rests in each legally-adopted ordinance through the Public Hearing process. Our ordinances protect and bring balance to our community.
Another example of the extremes in which my opponent is willing to engage regards parks. My support of parks dates back to the 90's and continues to this day. I am in full support of the development of the 200 acre Birmingham Park and any other parkland that we have available. I also support fully the acquisition of Providence Park once the environmental issues and subsequent liabilities with that land are resolved or mitigated. I believe we can and should set a national standard for a park system available to all Milton citizens.
To further spin his tale, my opponent has wrongly stated that I am a career politician. In fact, I am a teacher at Northwestern Middle School in Milton where I teach Math and Special Education. My passion is what drives me to further serve as your Council Member. I have no aspirations to serve otherwise.
Why I am the Right Person
In addition to a business career in senior management with both Citibank and Equifax and a degree in Finance, my leadership on zoning, land use policies, future planning, recreation, transportation, budgeting and more demonstrates that I have the knowledge, hands-on experience and proven leadership to ensure that Milton will remain unique and sustainable.
My long term efforts on your behalf have ensured a unique quality of life and community environment that are unmatched anywhere in the region. Our identity remains intact. This must continue or we evolve into just another suburb. Milton is unique by choice not by chance.
Make no mistake, development pressures have not gone away. As the economy turns, those pressures will mount, making balance on Council even more important.
"Experience with the details of the issues proved the decisive factor of the night... In the race between incumbent Julie Zahner Bailey (and her 2007 opponent), the incumbent's almost encyclopedic knowledge of tax, land use and transportation issues resulted in a quick fire, staccato delivery to her questions. She repeatedly made references to her own voting record and experience with the issues. In closing, she assured the audience she would stand firm on her commitments."
October 17, 2007 Milton Herald article entitled "Birmingham candidate forum draws crowd"
Can't Lead Where You Don't Go
I have lived in this community for nearly 25 years and have interwoven community service into the majority of those years. My opponent has lived in Milton for 9 years. To my knowledge, before this election he has not attended a single City Council meeting or public meetings of any kind including committees on land use, transportation planning, budgeting and parks acquisition and funding. How can he lead when he has not taken the initiative to step up or learn what our whole community wants and needs?
We Need Proven Leadership on Council
It is important that we elect decision makers who understand governmental accounting and the balance needed to maintain our quality of life and our unique sense of place while supporting this financially.
We currently have a Council that works together with our Mayor to lead our city. As a member of Council I bring a track record of proven leadership to Milton. I have fostered long-term relationships with community leaders of Fulton County, State officials, adjacent counties and cities, and the School Board. This is significant because their decisions affect Milton.
Re-elect me, Julie Zahner Bailey, your Council member, and the citizens' voice. If any balance is to be maintained, my knowledge and willingness to stand tall on the tough issues must remain at the Council table. The future of Milton depends on this election.
Choose Milton. Choose Julie.
Vote on November 8th.
It is an honor to serve as your Council Member and I take my duties on Council very seriously.
All my best -
Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council