I started attending Council meetings right after moving to Powder Springs and quickly became friends with several of the city’s department heads. People I really liked and I spent time speaking with them and learning about the city and many of the residents and other staff members. I also listened intently to citizens’ comments and concerns yet I see a genuine lack of consideration from several members of the current administration who appear to be ignoring the comments and more concerned about their projects.
LIST OF ISSUES
I see the city’s desire to grow and have heard from many citizens that they too want to see the city grow. I am concerned about the rate at which the city is spending money and apparently mortgaging their assets in order to create an environment whereby we might increase the density in the downtown area, especially at the neglect of the other parts of the town barely a half-mile away. We need to grow the city smartly and with a plan that does not chase longtime residents out of our great city. Powder Springs cannot afford to lose the scenic charm that makes us who we are by radically changing the face of downtown.
In previous years, each council member received financial statements every month which allowed them to make decisions based off correct accounting. Since spring 2018, this practice has ceased. Further, it appears the city is setting itself up to not be able to pay their bills and debts in 5-10 years if their current plan for the park and other amenities fails to bring in the desired businesses.
Spending over 30 years in and with the Army I learned how to manage budgets and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse. I take a hard stand when it comes to how taxpayer money is being spent. Too many government employees and elected officials I believe lose sight as to who owns the money they are spending.
I would like to see us have clearly stated budgets that allow citizens to know how your money will be spent and then look to see how it was spent. If we are to grow, we need to ensure our infrastructure can support the growth and that starts with the roads. Not doing the bare minimum but ensuring all roads are on a schedule for regular paving and repair. Road hazards such as potholes are reported by ALL city employess as they drive around our beautiful city and not rely solely on citizens reporting it. We might consider emulating the City of Atlanta with their open checkbook capability.
Business Tax Base
Our current tax base is heavily tilted towards home property owners and not enough from businesses. City income from businesses comes from them paying the commercial property tax rates and their annual business license which is based off two factors, Gross Annual Revenue and any additional special license(s) required such as alcohol. This means we either need a lot of small revenue-generating business or a few very large revenue-generating companies or be somewhere in-between.
I want to ensure maximum participation from citizens and in order to do that, we need to ensure we have truly open and transparent communication. Any plans to tear down the existing city hall and community development center should be made public in time for the citizens to state their opinion and vote in a referendum. Same goes for building any parking deck near downtown or wastefully using SPLOST dollars to build. I believe informed citizens are the best and will voice their views. I do not believe the citizens who themselves have heavy schedules should have to hunt for news on the city’s website. All meetings open to the public should be posted, with time and location, at least two full weeks prior to the event.