On November 5, 2013 the city of Johns Creek will hold a municipal election to elect a mayor and three city council members. This week Patch will run Q&As for all eight candidates.
Today, Wednesday, Sept. 18, Patch presents Q&As for the two of the three candidates running for the Post 3 council seat. (The third candidate's profile will run tomorrow.) Each candidate was asked the same set of questions.
Name, age: Karen Richardson, 48
How long lived in city: 16 years
Occupations: Mother of three, Johns Creek City Council Mayor Pro Tem, HR Integration Specialist, Northside Hospital
What experience in your background do you think has best prepared you for serving on the Johns Creek City Council? I have been a participating member of the Johns Creek City Council since the incorporation of Johns Creek in 2006. I believe fundamental to representing the citizens of this community is to be an active participant in the community. In my seven years on City Council, I have worked cooperatively to grow our city, from starting up community based police and fire departments, approving zoning decisions supported by our Comprehensive Plan, setting policy in support of innovative infrastructure and transportation improvements and spearheading events like the Johns Creek Arts Festival and the Farmers Market which create a sense of home and place. Throughout that work, I have never been far from my roots in this community. I have consistently served on the local PTAs in my children’s schools on all levels—elementary, middle, high school and district. I have worked with our local non-profits, serving on the board of the Johns Creek Arts Center and Johns Creek Beautification. I am a member of Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann’s District 3 Advisory Board. Combined, all keep me connected and grounded to the issues important to the community of Johns Creek that I love and serve.
Tell Johns Creek Patch readers about your vision for the city and how you would accomplish it? We are moving from the fundamental, foundational work of standing up a city to implementing the visioning done over the last several years. There are opportunities to build our tax base through support of our economic development organization (Johns Creek Advantage). We need to define what it means to be a premier residential community and create a sense of place through community based programming, and park and sidewalk improvements. I’d like us to move forward with a plan for community gathering spaces. We have a history of diverse communities with their own unique ‘personalities’. Our comprehensive plan recognizes this diversity, and we should be looking for ways to develop gathering spaces, community meeting areas and parks in a way that respects the distinct differences.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Johns Creek, and how would you approach it? There has been much good work accomplished in the last seven years with significant improvements in our quality of life, public safety and sense of community. We have seen residential and business growth through judicious zoning decisions supported by our Comprehensive Plan. Johns Creek is no longer a fledgling city. And because of that good work, and conservative stewardship of our limited funds, we are positioned to creatively address the ongoing issue of maintaining aging infrastructure-roads, parks, and sidewalks. . I served on the team with both the Mayor and the former Mayor Pro Tem to negotiate our future LOST revenue – a potential revenue increase of more than 1.5 million dollars. We have been particularly good at turning one dollar of revenue into seven dollars of revenue. We have to utilize any increased revenue through LOST, business and residential growth and put funding systems in place that will leverage those dollars on a larger scale to gain ground, and do more, faster.
Do you have any suggestions for increasing city revenue and/or reducing expenses? I am the Council representative on the city Branding Committee and together with the Johns Creek Chamber and Johns Creek Advantage (economic development) we are working to define what it means to be a premier residential community. We need to grow our tax base and to do that we need to define who we are and what we have to offer so that businesses will want to call Johns Creek home.
Address an issue you think is important to the city. There are many important issues in a community of over 75,000 residents. Roads, parks, safety, quality zonings, quality of life all are competing and have critical importance to our city. Our conservative, limited budget requires that we balance the competing priorities and leverage our funds. What is important for our future is to continue to build on the foundation of efficient, cost effective, superior services. I have not been afraid to make the hard decisions. Fearless leadership and a clearly communicated vision is critical to our continued email@example.com