Johns Creek City Council Approves CVB Request for Gateway Markers

Visitors to Johns Creek are apparently unable to recognize that this sign denotes where Johns Creek starts.

Apparently the majority on the City Council has forgotten that the Convention Visitor’s Bureau is NOT a charitable organization and their funds are dollars fleeced collected in taxes on individuals who generally have no say in the matter if they need a hotel room(none of us really have a say in the matter do we?)

City Council Treats CVB Dollars as Gift

Instead we see Council Members fawning over the “hard work” of the CVB to spend the tax dollars as if they have either earned the money themselves or that they have raised it in donations.

Adding insults to injuries were many comments made to justify shifting funds away from one project and to the Gateway Markers. Wasn’t Johns Creek supposed to “be the EXCEPTION? Instead we are working overtime to do what everyone else is doing. We are establishing and operating every aspect of government all the other cities around us have implemented. Rather than challenge ourselves and ask “Is this really necessary any longer” we continue to keep collecting the tax dollars and doling them out on projects and causes that any rational person would not claim is fundamentally boosting tourism.

Working overtime is not an understatement as this issue has been addressed for many valuable hours. Think about that. What might all the costs be so far between staff hours, emails, work session meetings, council meetings and behind the scene conversations? If time is money, we should consider how much time is allocated for these issues. Better yet we should eliminate this from being an issue in the first place. Eliminate the Hotel/Motel tax.

Johns Creek had revenues of 88.6 million dollars in 2018(source:CAFR Johns Creek).

The dollars the CVB has to spend is less than 1/3 of 1% of the annual revenues for Johns Creek and yet it has consumed so much time of the seven council members for the last 6 months.

What’s Wrong With Giving Tax Dollars to a Volunteer Group to Spend as they See Fit?

Everything of course. Taxes take money by force. As a taxpayer you have no choice. Want a hotel room in Johns Creek? You’ll pay the tax.

Ironically, we all know that tax dollars are wasted at the local, state and federal levels. Yet no one with the power to actually do something about that waste does so when they have the chance. We do now. Eliminate the Hotel/Motel tax.

I’ll be blunt. Having an “expert” decide what we are missing is Gateway Markers is a farce. It’s always puzzled me why in a City with the highly educated residents we have, we seek opinions and hire people outside of Johns Creek. Why not spend the money we collect locally and boost our own economy?

We have a manufactured “problem” that government must now fix. And rest assured, the consultant was going to find something. Somehow more than 80,000 of us live in Johns Creek and yet the issue is that some people do not know where the City Lines are located. And that is what ails us?

Who knows where Brookhaven ends and Buckhead starts at every entrance? Vinings and Smyrna? Suwanee and Duluth? Does that really drive your dining decisions? Your business decisions? Your choice of doctor?

These are “political” boundaries. They are not OUR boundaries. You cannot force people to self-identify because of your arbitrary legal boundaries.

Have you considered that during the Comprehensive Land Use Plan process, we constantly heard about the different Character Areas. Residents do not know where one ends and one begins. Yet somehow we know who we are.

Or do we? Are we mere sheep waiting for the City Government to tell us who we are and what we represent? Are you? Not me.

I’m reminded of all the drug commercials on TV. I did not even know I had a problem until I saw the commercial. Now I need to call the doctor to find out how to resolve my newfound issue. Yet before that commercial, I was perfectly content.

That’s how it works when you give “experts” lots of money to come in and tell you what you are missing. If you don’t already know, then you must not be missing it.

While the CVB has been asleep at the cash box, businesses in South Forsyth are calling themselves Johns Creek. There’s even a body shop three miles into Forsyth County calling itself a Johns Creek business(perhaps a Gateway Marker there is a good idea?)

“It’s a compliment”, Council Member Bradberry said when asked about it. And he is right.

Bradberry asked about return on investment for the three items that “CVB” wants to spend money(our tax dollars) on. They were:

  • The Wall That Heals
  • The River Corridor Greenway
  • Gateway Markers

While Bradberry did not get any answer that one could use, other Council Members saw the benefit. There was no return on investment cited other than it was something we were missing and needed.

Bradberry said “It would be great if people knew they were in Johns Creek because the streets were cleaner, the medians were beautiful and the traffic lights and intersections were such that traffic was better, and that is how you knew you were in Johns Creek- that we did it better than our neighboring cities”.

Bradberry is correct. That is leadership by example. Not leadership by Gateway Markers.

Bradberry’s desires are basic government functions. Nothing is stopping this Council from doing this today. Not money. Not time. Even Mayor Bodker seemed to acknowledge we were not doing as good as we once did.

Council Member Zaprowski believes it would be nice to have a Gateway Marker to help people find his business when giving directions. Seriously? Your patients do not use Waze for navigation? Google Maps? After all, Johns Creek is a Partner City. And we do have signs announcing Johns Creek is a partner with Waze at all of our entrances.

Zaprowski gets the award for the strangest logic of the evening. He was against Gateway Markers but voting for it and for the Greenway but was voting against it.

This City Council really needs to grow up. Wasting hours and hours on this is beyond ridiculous. For example, after six months of fiscal year 2019 we have $1,000,000 more in revenues and $1,000,000 less in expenses. That’s $2,000,000 that only one Council Member asked about. Council Member Endres asked several questions while the City Manager gave brief and less than helpful generic responses. This is the same Council that could not see fit to cut property taxes despite the overwhelming evidence presented by Council Member Endres that we were actually increasing taxes.

The same City Council that will spend dozens of hours debating BS “feel-good gotta do something” projects seem to be blind to the multi-million dollar issues.

It needs to quit treating tax dollars as charitable contributions and the CVB as a benefactor. It needs to address the real issues.

Of course that is really hard work. And it is certainly more mundane. The truth is that they will spend less time debating the millage rate this summer than they have spent on Gateway Markers.

This Council would rather dream and fantasize on pie in the sky concepts rather than follow through with the major issues that are most important to the majority of residents within Johns Creek. At the last meeting they bumped the Police Chief and Public Safety for Gateway Markers. Think about that!

“Be the Exception”-how long before we get rid of that slogan and adopt a new one:

Same as Everyone Else

A government cannot define us. An artist will not define us. Gateway Markers will not define us. We do not need outsiders to come in and tell us who we are.

Government can identify us but it will never define us. The moment we let government define us is the moment we have lost who we are. We should be defining government instead.

The sooner the majority on this Council gets that concept, the better off we will all be.

And if you are waiting for the proposal from the CVB so that you can see what we are, then you are part of the problem.

This problem is NOT going away, unfortunately. Next year will have even more dollars to allocate. And as long as they get tax dollars, we will face this issue.

End the Hotel/Motel tax. It’s a minute amount of our budget. And it’s a waste of time and resources to continue to debate these issues.

If they are worth doing, then do them out of the General Budget, and be accountable.

Do that and we can be exceptional.

The very last thing we should want to see in the fall are Gateway Markers this City Council is compelled to approve because they are now to far down the road to say no.

You should have said no in the first place.

Gateway Markers, The CVB, Volunteers and Tax Payers: What a Waste of Money

Everything that is wrong with Government can be seen in this Process

One has to look no further than the debate on Gateway Markers and the desire of some Council Members to give the “volunteers” what they want when it comes to spending taxpayer monies to understand what is wrong with government.

“They gave it great consideration and they came back with the same recommendation and added further data to it, so to me it’s supporting the people we ask to work on a volunteer basis for the city.” -Council Member Steve Broadbent

What about the actual taxpayers Council Member Broadbent? The ones that are forced to work for government? Have you considered what it takes to actually earn the monies you are suggesting being spent on “Gateway Markers”?

A total of $508,900 was collected in fiscal year 2018 by the Hotel/Motel tax. Council Members forget that this money had to be earned before it could be collected and then spent by volunteers on frivolous endeavors through the Convention Visitors Bureau(CVB).

IT IS NOT FREE MONEY

At 7% that represents revenues of 7.27 million dollars in hotel/motel sales to collect.

If you divide the $508,900 by an average hourly wage of $25 per hour, that equals 20,356 hours of labor. This is not volunteer labor, but effectively forced labor to support these endeavors such as painted pedestrian tunnels(A cultural attraction according to the CVB), gateway markers and kiosks in hotels that effectively do the same thing as Yelp and Google(only worse-you cannot carry it with you).

While the entire amount proposed to be spent on Gateway Markers is much less, the issue is the same.

Assume we spent $50,000 on Gateway Markers, that would represent 2,000 hours of labor at a minimum. Let’s weigh that against the time of “volunteers” in making these decisions.

Certainly the bar should be much higher on how this money should be spent other than “volunteers worked hard.” Certainly the money should be spent in a way that shows a real return on the investment by the taxpayers that paid it, even more so than the volunteers that offered to spend it?

If Council Member Broadbent and others feel that being a volunteer qualifies you to spend taxpayer money(and this is what we are talking about), then I would like to volunteer to decide how to spend some of the budget surpluses generated by this City each and every year.

And I would bring you a list of proposals AND return on investments that are specific and quantifiable, not pie in the sky “we should do it because some marketing people said so”.

What should concern you the tax payer is that if they are this frivolous with tax payer dollars on this issue what keeps them from being frivolous with spending on other issues?

The answer is they spend frivolously very often, rarely demanding a real return on investment for taxpayers(have you seen the lights along Kimball Bridge). Instead, it’s about optics. It’s about feeling good. It’s not about real returns.

Council Member Zaprowski wants to pursue the Gateway Markers now. He seeks it so much that he is willing to push aside a greenway along the river which would benefit all residents. Would residents benefit from Gateway Markers? Of course not. A greenway? Absolutely.

Just look at the activity in Roswell along the river or in Sandy Springs along the river. Is there any question that it attracts people and provides health benefits to boot? How can someone even question which would be best for Johns Creek in the long term?

The residents of Johns Creek have given this Council what it sought in past elections: A Parks Bond and a TSPLOST Tax. More and more money. Before you ever do this again, you need to ask yourself if you can trust them with millions if they are willing to waste thousands.

Residents have made it clear we want to get traffic moving. Yet we have spent more time on this issue and seen more passion from Broadbent and Zaprowski on Gateway Markers than we have seen on getting traffic moving. It took months and months to get the traffic signals back on the agenda. And somehow the CVB and Gateway Markers are so important, this Council seems to have to address the issues again and again until the CVB gets what they want. Is this Council here just to give the CVB what they want?

I challenge this Council to demand a real return on investment on these tax dollars. Do not simply go along to appease the CVB. If that was what was intended, then the CVB would NOT need Council approval to spend these funds.

I ask each of you the following questions:

  • How much do you expect business to be boosted by a Gateway Marker in Johns Creek?
  • How are you going to measure this return on investment?
  • Which of you has chosen to do business in a city because of a Gateway Marker?
  • Which of you does not know when you enter or leave the City of Johns Creek?

Isn’t it time we quit spending money just because we have it? And since we cannot really spend it on something worthwhile, we will just spend it just to spend it.

I’ll be blunt. The hotel motel tax should be eliminated. The CVB should be disbanded. This City Council needs to work on the REAL Issues.

We do not need outsiders to come in and define us. We do not need Gateway Markers to “reflect” who we are.

We know who we are. Unfortunately, this City Council seems hellbent on redefining who we are. Maybe it’s this City Council does not like who we are. Or maybe this Council does not know who we are. They certainly seem out of sync with the majority within Johns Creek.

More importantly, they seem unwilling to say NO to bad ideas.

If we are going to put up a Gateway Marker, I’d suggest Dollars flowing into a paper shredder and pennies coming out of the bottom.

Wasting taxpayer money is no way to run a City. And rewarding “volunteers” for bad decisions should never happen.

Can Gwinnett County Save MARTA?

Gwinnett County has the opportunity to join MARTA with the promise that the majority of tax dollars will be spent in Gwinnett. But is it too late to save MARTA?

MARTA ridership was below forecast for all of 2018 for buses and rail passengers. Will forecasting be any better with the addition of Gwinnett County?

The 3% Solution

So far MARTA is a 3% solution to the Metro Atlanta Urban population. If you assume that each MARTA patron takes a trip to and from their destinations, only 3% of the population uses MARTA on a daily basis.

That begs the question: How much more shall the 97% continue to vote and support the 3% solution?

MARTA has evolved into a two purpose system. The first is to get lower cost workers to employment areas.

The second is to transport those with private vehicles to both sporting events and the airport, where the hassles of drive times and parking fees can be avoided.

Will Gwinnett County voters be willing to commit large sums of money going forward forever for these purposes?

Or will they be wise enough to realize that MARTA just isn’t SMARTA?

For those that are supporting this push for MARTA, I have just one question:

Outside of the airport and sporting events, will you be using MARTA for your daily trips around your town, or are you hoping that your neighbor will be doing so?

That’s what I thought.

https://www.itsmarta.com/KPIRidership.aspx

“Haters” In Johns Creek

There is a term that has been used by both elected officials and their supporters over the last few years to describe individuals such as myself: “Haters”.

The term is used as a bullying tactic meant to silence those who have an opinion about Johns Creek’s government, what they are doing, what they accept in performance from City Staff, and where they are attempting to take a City that was a runaway success even before the City Council held it’s first meeting.

We know the term “Haters” is being used at City Council Meetings and behind the scenes between the Council Members (including the Mayor) in an effort to intimidate and push dissenting Council Members to go along with the grand schemes those on the Council have pursued at the expense of the majority of the Public for the benefit of the few.

In retrospect, “Haters” may be the best word that could have been chosen by those that are trying to silence us.

We do hate.

We have government overreach.

We hate wasteful spending.

We hate being told our traffic issues are because of neighboring communities instead of just doing the hard work and eliminating our bottlenecks.

We hate government contracts that are renewed despite less than stellar work performed for the residents of Johns Creek.

We hate the push for Johns Creek to be like every other City.

We hate the continued push for higher and higher densities.

We hate being lied to about how awesome the traffic lights were when in fact the lights were not even close to what they were advertised.

We hate the political games played to push agendas with statements that are blatantly false and misleading.

We hate seeing Council Members shut down when trying to discuss the issues on behalf of all residents.

Nearly every Public Comment is followed up with a “Thank you for your comment” from the Mayor. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Anything that questions, challenges or otherwise casts doubts on the direction of this City and the objectives of the current majority on Council is derided and dismissed. Items that are factually correct are portrayed as inaccurate. Even if you were to use the City’s own audited reports to make a point, it is likely you will be told that you are wrong if the point is not what the majority wants.

What should this City Council do with the “Haters”? It should embrace them. Time and again they have pointed out issues with the direction of the City that the majority of the residents simply do not seek If in pursuing their agendas, they cannot answer the questions or objections with honest answers, and instead must resort to chastising and bullying the “Haters”, then maybe the agenda is just not that good.

We do not need to run this City by personal agendas and legacy building. Instead this City needs to be run based on the Charter and what it says we are supposed to be doing as a City.

Until it does, we will continue to bring up as issues and concerns what we see happening. We will continue to challenge the decisions this City is making as it impacts all of us.

If you want to see Johns Creek become just an average City, just sit back, do nothing and hate those labeled “Haters”.

But if you want a truly exceptional City, listen to what the “Haters” are saying. See if there is truth in it.

It’s interesting that I and the others who have been labeled “Haters” are discussed in whispers and behind closed doors. We take our issues directly to the City Council.

And we will continue to do so.

2019: Recessionary Forces Cannot Be Halted

Economic Forces Affect Political Outcomes

If you look inside the economy, you need to find more than an empty box.

The US economy and how it functions is truly a mystery to most people. For the most part it operates on faith. For politicians, it is generally taken as a granted. When a recession strikes, no one knows what to do.

The outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election hangs in the balance, and Trump has less than 6 quarters to turn things around in a major way, or Trump will become the first one-term President since G.W. Bush.

The data is very clear. It extends all the way back to the mid 70’s, and it is a nearly perfect indicator for POTUS election results. I have written about it in the past. It has not changed. The rules are rather simple.

Corporate Profits Are Mediocre

If corporate profits as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is growing by more than 6%(more or less) year over year, then the party in the White House will maintain control of the White House. The ONLY exception to this rule since 1972 is Gerald Ford, who was tossed out of office because of the overwhelming desire for any new direction after Nixon’s resignation.

With that in mind, those that hold the office of POTUS really need focus on a few major things, and one of the most major things is the real health of the underlying economy.

Why corporate profits? It’s simple. Businesses are in business to grow profit. No one should run a business just to maintain the status quo. But watching the major financial networks, it becomes clear most are clueless to this rather simple truth.

But the networks seem to focus on two numbers that mask the real performance. The first is the top line, or sales. The second is the earnings per share. Both of these numbers are not worth 1/2 of what weighting analysts have placed upon them. Why?

Sales can rise 30% per year. But if you are not bringing any more profit per sale to the bottom line you are just working hard for the same result.

Earnings Per Share are Misleading

Earnings per share can make a company with less profit look like they are doing better than they really are. If a company’s earnings fall 3% but they buy back 4% of their shares, then EPS will rise. And this false signal seems to be embraced by analysts at every turn.

So why are we headed into a recession? The costs of doing business are rising, and rising fast, and there is nothing that will put the brakes on those pressures.

Back in 2008, the same two factors that accelerated the market collapse are happening once again. What are those two factors? Interest rates rising and minimum wages rising.

There has never been more debt being held by Americans in our history. And the increases in rates, while they appear small, relatively speaking, are really huge in their outcomes. Rates rising from 2 to 2.5% for instance, results in a whopping 25% increase in your interest costs. That is not insignificant.

Minimum Wages are Rising

Minimum wages increases, however, are going to push the economy over the edge. These increases are not happening because businesses have chosen to pay employees more because A) they are more productive and B) it is what is needed to get employees on the job. Rather it is the worst of reasons: despite the economic realities, government mandates it.

Minimum wage is increasing in 21 states in 2019. And by much more than what the rate of increase was back in 2008.

https://www.businessinsider.com/minimum-wage-2019-state-map-2018-12

Politicians never seem to grasp the affect of these mandatory wage increases on businesses. And the businesses they most affect are the ones with some of the lowest profit margins in our economy: Restaurants and retail sales are going to have to raise their prices to maintain their profit margins, despite the workers only producing as much as they did last year.

That of course, will inject just a bit more inflationary pressure into our economic system, which will put even more pressure on the Federal Reserve Bank to raise rates even higher.

We know that the the odds of states and cities reversing course and lowering the minimum wage is near zero. As for the Federal Reserve, who knows what they will do? They do not even know what they are doing today.

If Trump (and most of the Republicans) want to maintain the White House in 2020, they better start acting now to lower the costs of doing business in the United States. They will need to see this recession end quickly, which means it needs to be officially acknowledged sooner rather than later.

The summer of 2019 needs to be the low part for the economy. The rate of Federal Debt growth must be slowed dramatically. Home grown energy needs to be deregulated. The constant increase in local sales taxes fuel taxes and property taxes need to be reversed just to have a shot at this objective.

Otherwise, this recession is going to be far worse than 2008. And no business is actually prepared for that.

And I’d wager good money that no state or local governments are either.

Should They Be Begging Libertarians to Vote for Ted Metz?

Will Ted Metz Spoil The Govenor’s Race?

Ted Metz Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Despite the presence of Ted Metz, both the Kemp and Abrahms campaigns have had months and months to shape and promote their platforms and agendas.  Yet the race is too close to call.  This week they began to label Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for governor a spoiler.  Not even close to the truth.

The vote totals will include all three candidates plus the valid write-in candidates.  So for every vote for  Ted Metz or a write in candidate, it raises the number needed by the “winner” by 1/2 vote.  If Ted Metz gets 300,000 votes, for instance, the winner (Kemp or Abrahms) would need 150,000 more votes than their opponent to win without a runoff.

So who is winning?  And by what margin?  Do they want to go for the victory on Tuesday?  Or should they play the game as they have designed it?  One of these two candidates is NOT in the lead. Do their own parties have so much confidence as to ignore that fact?  The candidate who is behind should be begging for Libertarians to turn out en masse and vote.

And if neither campaign feels that confident about their numbers, then both should be begging for Libertarians to turn out and vote for their principles.

So do not tell me our votes are wasted.  Our votes just might save your candidate to make it to a runoff.

After Tuesday, if there is no runoff, rest assured one of the two candidates would have liked to have one.

They could reshape their campaigns and let the chips fall where they may.

Do you feel lucky Kemp?  Do you feel lucky Abrahms?  Do you feel confident that your side is in the lead sufficiently to win with 50% plus 1 of the vote?  Or should you play for the tie and go into overtime?

It’s not too late to encourage the Libertarians to vote for Ted Metz, for your own good.  In fact, it just might be the best move your candidate has ever made.

Georgia’s Gubernatorial Process is Broken-Will Ted Metz Highlight That Once and For All?

It’s a three way race for Georgia’s highest position and that race more than ever shows just how broken the process is.  It’s evolved into a race of popularity, not principles.  Truly principled candidates do not make it to the November race with one exception-Ted Metz. Ted Metz is the principled Libertarian candidate for governor.

Why might I say that?  It’s simple. A qualified principled candidate for governor for the State of Georgia will not get out of the primaries.  In fact, the truly principled candidates split their vote.  And the two names that move to the runoff?   They are more popular than principled.

Why might I say that?  During the primaries voters are repeatedly reminded that they should vote for a candidate that can “win” the primary.  And the primary is truly not about principles, but who has the greatest name recognition.  Look at the results below:

Georgia Governor Republican Primary
Candidate Percent Votes
Casey Cagle (Republican)  39% 236,486
Brian Kemp (Republican)  25.6% 155,037
Hunter Hill (Republican)  18.3% 111,206
Clay Tippins (Republican)  12.2% 74,047
Michael Williams (Republican)  4.9% 29,555

The leading vote recipient  LT. Governor, Casey Cagle received only 39% of the vote.  Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, received only 25.6%.  These two would go on to a runoff where Kemp eventually wins the nomination.

But be certain there were tens of thousands of votes who felt another candidate was more qualified, but voted for Cagle or Kemp only because they felt one of these two had the “chance to win”.  That’s the culture we live in.  Vote for the winner and not your principles.

Now we are facing the November election and Kemp, who only received 25.6% of the primary vote(74% of the Republican electorate thought someone was more qualified) faces Stacey Abrahms, who received 76% of Democratic electorate’s vote.

Which is why Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, is already being labeled incorrectly as a “spoiler” in this race.  Mr. Metz is not a spoiler.  Metz is highlighting just how flawed our system is.

A major party(The Republicans) eliminates the principled candidates systematically to select a “popular” candidate that will face the Democrats in November.  That is what I call flawed to the nth degree.  The Republicans have alienated a good number of voters prior to the November vote.  In reality, the more candidates you have in the primaries the more likely the principled candidates will fail.

What could address this issue? That’s simple.  Instant Runoff Voting. You can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

You, the voter, would not be forced to compromise between principled and popular.  Looking at the results above, you would have selected three candidates and marked your preferences 1,2 and three. If no one receives 50% plus 1, then  the lowest vote recipient is removed, and if that was your first choice, your second choice is used.  This continues until one recipient has 50% plus 1.

Imagine what the vote would be like in Georgia’s Gubernatorial race if we used the Instant Runoff Methodology this November.

First, we’d have NO runoff and campaigning after the November election

Second, we could vote our principles first and foremost.  Shouldn’t this be what we do in the first place?

Were that to happen then during the election cycle, all the candidates would need to expand their appeal to as many voters as possible, and not just their party.  It’s likely both the Democrats and the Republicans would now find it worthwhile to appeal to the Libertarian voters in particular, because it would matter.

Were that to happen, we’d have a better outcome for everyone.

But, on the first Tuesday, we’ll see just who happened to be the most popular recipient of votes and not who was the most principled.

And for that, we will all suffer.

You, however can send a clear message.  Vote for Ted Metz.  Vote for him by the hundreds of thousands.  Force the runoff. Make both parties appeal to those that voted for Metz

Then you can vote in the popularity contest in a few weeks and see if it makes a difference with their campaign rhetoric.

The choice is yours.

Johns Creek Property Taxes: Fifteen Minutes With Council Member Stephanie Endres

Council Member Endres discusses the ins and outs of property taxes and how they impact the residents of Johns Creek.

Property taxes are a fact of life.  But how they really work remains shrouded behind a wall of mystery.  How did they conclude your home rose in value by 27% without someone buying it?  Why are commercial properties not rising in value.  Why are commercial lots valued far below the actual market value?  What is a rollback rate?  Why am I paying so much more for City Services than my neighbor is?

These are just some of the questions many of us have and today Council Member Stephanie Endres will discuss a few of these issues.

 

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ejmoosa/2018/07/28/property-taxes-in-johns-creek-15-minutes-with-council-member-endres

A New Year-A New Look To The City Council

Johns Creek has a new look to the City Council for 2018, and I consider that a very good thing.

Residents returned Stephanie Endres to the City Council for 4 more years.  Endres has been asking the right questions since well before she was elected the first time, during her numerous Public Comments made challenging what the Council was doing.  We are very fortunate to have her back and continuing to do what she does best.

Lenny Zaprowski who also was re-elected, is now the Mayor Pro Tem.  This is a welcome change.  It is critical for the residents that this position is not just someone that represents the same positions as what the Mayor represents.

I expect Zaprowski to challenge on necessary and important issues.  There are questions that must be asked of the City Staff, and sometimes the answers will not be what people want to hear, but they must be heard.  Zaprowski took a step in this direction at Monday’s Work Session when he asked how much were we going to spend and how much time was going to be saved by drivers when we widen Kimball Bridge Road.  If Zaprowski can comfortably recognize that we must challenge what the Staff says because the Staff does not know every answer(they are human), then the residents can get better solutions for our problems.

If Zaprowski realizes that he can still be nice and ask the hard questions at the same time, the results will be beneficial for residents of Johns Creek.

John Bradberry rounds out the changes to the City Council for 2018.  Bradberry worked diligently to win this seat, and now the hard work really begins.  Bradberry has been an advocate for the residents from the time he was a member of the JCCA to the formation of Preserve Johns Creek.  Bradberry attempted to bring more attention to the Billboard issues, which are still a bane on the face of Johns Creek, as well as highlight that we have a Historical African-American Cemetery that was sitting neglected.  Hopefully we can get the proper signage and care in place for that location for future generations.

There are many changes set to be pushed upon the residents of Johns Creek.  Our eyes are wide open.  The biggest tax push this year will be another 1/2 cent sales tax for MARTA/Mass Transit.

The questions need to start with ” Are buses along 141 and State Bridge Road worth $10 million a year to the residents of Johns Creek? Are residents willing to pay $10 million for something that is unproven as an congestion relief tool?”

We’ve had buses running for more than a decade supplied by GRTA.  They are empty.

Where’s the return on that investment?  If they are so underutilized, why haven’t they moved to smaller buses for this “experiment” which would be cheaper to operate?

Let’s hope that this New-Look Council can start asking these and other questions BEFORE we are forced to make a decision with the legislative gun to our heads once again.

 

 

 

Johns Creek: At a Crossroads (Or Being Pushed Towards A Different Outcome)

The semantics are similar, and people can argue which is which.  But make no mistake about it, Johns Creek has been pushed for the last ten years towards change.

The affects of this change are readily apparent in our annual CAFR reports.  Our per capita income is declining.  Our density(number of people) per square acre is rising.

It seems that there are those among us that believe we just need more population to make all of the things we have in Johns Creek work.  More residents justify the need for more services.  More residents justify the need for Bus Rapid Transit.  And you need to have a place for all of these residents to live, and while mostly built out, the only wan to do this is to increase the density of our housing.

The recent “first draft” of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan was revealing.  While the CAC and the City have more or less dismissed this draft, it was they that brought it to us. Continue reading