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, Thursday, Sept. 18, Patch presents Q&As for the one candidate running for the Post 5 council seat. Each candidate was asked the same set of questions.
Name, age: Kelly Stewart, 46
How long lived in city: I am a Georgia native and have lived in Johns Creek since 2003.
Occupation: Vice President of Human Resources for Lucas Group, a national executive search firm.
What experience in your background do you think has best prepared you for serving on the Johns Creek City Council?
At the end of 2013, I will have completed my first term serving on the Johns Creek City Council. I have government experience at the local, state, and federal levels of government. At the local level, I served as a County Administrator; at the state level, I worked in the University System of Georgia; and at the federal level, I worked on Capitol Hill in the US House of Representatives. I have a Master's Degree from Georgia Tech in City Planning with specializations in Economic and Land Development and a Bachelor's degree from Brenau University in Public Administration. I was appointed by Governor Deal to serve on the Board of Directors for the Department of Juvenile Justice. I also have a strong work ethic, solid character, and conservative values.
Tell Johns Creek Patch readers about your vision for the city and how you would accomplish it?
It is hard to improve upon perfection. We live in a great city that has so much to offer its citizens with a high quality of life, blue ribbon schools, outstanding healthcare facilities, recreational amenities and events, wonderful residential communities, great shopping and dining, a variety of places to worship, and civic and service organizations. Going forward, my vision for the city is to be more pro-business. This can be done by revisiting ordinances, taxes, and fees to retain our current businesses and attract businesses that can benefit from our professional and highly skilled labor force. Focusing on business development to support continued planned growth will be an asset to the citizens of Johns Creek and provide the city with additional revenues.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Johns Creek, and how would you approach it?
Transportation. This a critical issue facing our city, region, and state. As the population of Johns Creek continues to grow so grows the transportation challenges and difficulties we must address. I will continue to work hard to improve all aspects of mobility throughout Johns Creek including automobile, bike, pedestrian and movement of goods and services as these greatly affect our quality of life, economy and business climate. I am dedicated to continue improving our roads, bridges, sidewalks and trails in Johns Creeks as well as working collaboratively with the other North Fulton cities and the Atlanta Regional Commission on the Comprehensive Transportation Plan for North Fulton to improve our transportation infrastructure. I am also committed to insuring that all phases of the city-wide Intelligent Transportation System are implemented to improve the flow of traffic.
Do you have any suggestions for increasing city revenue and/or reducing expenses?
It is imperative the City effectively and efficiently apportion its resources in order to not raise taxes, determine priorities, provide high quality services, and cut unnecessary spending without cutting services. I will continue to work to ensure that budgeted expenses are less than projected revenues when approving the annual budget, to see the city maintains a surplus, and assure that expenditures don’t increase by incremental budgeting or assuming what was spent in the prior year must be spent the coming year.
The best way to increase city revenue is to diversify our tax base. The way to do this is through economic development as this is an integral part of Johns Creek being a thriving and successful city. I will promote strategic economic development and am committed to working with the city's new economic initiative, Johns Creek Advantage, to enhance existing businesses through retention and expansion, attract new businesses, encourage the growth of start-up ventures, and assure the infrastructure is in place to support planned growth.
The best way to reduce expenses is to stop wasting money. As of now, there is no way to know the amount of money that will have been wasted on the investigation of the Mayor that began in June. The City wasted more money getting an outside legal opinion for guidance of executive session meetings that could have been provided free through the Georgia Municipal Association or the City's attorneys. The city also wasted over $37,000 by not completing and walking away from the Traffic Signal project on Brumbelow and Nesbitt Ferry Roads. These actions taken by the majority of the City Council do not represent good sound financial decisions or fiscal conservatism.
Address an issue you think is important to the City of Johns Creek.
Public Safety is the most important issue and there are two problems that must be addressed and resolved.
1. Massage Parlors. When there are more Massage Parlors on 141 than fast food restaurants or gas stations, there is a problem. When the Police have made multiple arrests at Massage Parlors, there is a problem. When Massage Parlors have blackened out windows and have open signs staying on 24-hours a day, there is a problem. When nearly 100 people show up to discuss Massage Parlors at a City Council meeting, there is a problem. The problem is it hurts the image of Johns Creek, the reputation of the few legitimate Massage Parlors, and creates a basis of illegal activities. Johns Creek cannot deny anyone a business license to open a legitimate business but the City Council must step forward to strengthen the Massage Parlor ordinance in order to preserve the legitimate businesses and to prohibit illegitimate businesses that conduct illegal activities.
2. Traffic Light at the intersection of Brumbelow and Nesbit Ferry Roads. This intersection is ranked the 11th most dangerous intersection in Johns Creek and is on the border of Johns Creek and Roswell but the installation of the traffic light would be located in Roswell. Roswell will never make this project a priority as this intersection only affects the citizens of Johns Creek. This project would mean that Johns Creek would be responsible for the cost of the traffic light and would have to construct the light according to the standards of Roswell since it would be located in their city. The citizens of Johns Creek who live on Brumbelow Road have been requesting a traffic light since November 2009. Johns Creek cannot make this project the responsibility of Roswell. After personally watching the traffic at this intersection where the citizens of Johns Creek make very dangerous attempts to turn on Nesbit Ferry Road, the City of Johns Creek must work with the City of Roswell to install this light. I do not want to regret the day where the majority of the City Council chose to walk away from this project.