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, Monday, Sept. 16, Patch presents Q&As for the two candidates running for the mayor's seat. Each candidate was asked the same set of questions.
Name, age: Mike Bodker, 48
How long lived in city: Over 14 years
Occupation: Johns Creek Business Owner / Consultant – nexDimension Technology Solutions, LLC
What experience in your background do you think has best prepared you for serving as Mayor for the City of Johns Creek?
Having started out my career as a public accountant combined with my current experience of business and technology consulting, I am very experienced in delivering innovative, cost effective solutions to solve complex problems. My career as well as my role as a father of 11 year old twins makes me an excellent problem solver. Since the beginning of cityhood, I have engrossed myself in learning all I can about Johns Creek and how to provide good governance. I have also made it my mission to learn about what makes a city great. I have gotten involved in a number of other organizations to further that mission.
Today I serve on the executive board and am past Chairman of both the North Fulton Municipal Association and the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association. I also serve as an officer in both the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Municipal Association. In fact, if reelected as Mayor of Johns Creek, I will become the first North Fulton mayor to ever become the President of this statewide league of cities. Finally, I am one of only two mayors in our state to serve in a leadership role in the US Conference of Mayors. These positions demonstrate both my commitment to learning and practicing good governance as well as to provide our city with firsthand experience and influence to help us solve issues here at home. One additional benefit of my various leadership roles throughout our region, state and nation is the strong relationships I have built with elected officials in city, county, state and federal positions. These relationships are invaluable when we need help to get something done. Here in Johns Creek, I am also very involved serving in various civic and business organizations like the Johns Creek Civitan, Rotary, and Chamber of Commerce and as the current Chairman of the Johns Creek Foundation. Finally, having spent most of the last 14 years getting out into our community and listening to our citizens and businesses, I am able to act as an advocate to help address their concerns and use their feedback to make Johns Creek the best that it can be.
Tell Johns Creek readers about your vision for the city and how you would accomplish it?
My vision for the city moving forward is clear: continue to keep taxes low, attract new and expand existing businesses, expand road resurfacing projects, and work with our regional neighbors on projects that benefit our shared region.
This is accomplished with an eye toward expanding our revenue to offset cost increases while making careful investments that protect and enhance property values thus improving your investment in your home or business property. As our Mayor and our official spokesman, I will continue to advocate for economic development within our city. I will continue to aid our staff in securing state and federal funds to enhance our ability to get more roadwork done using less of your tax dollars. Finally, by leveraging the strong relationships that I have developed over these last seven years, I will build partnerships that will help us solve local issues. We must realize that many of the issues that we face here in Johns Creek originate outside the city and some that originate from within do not end at our border. Maintaining a positive working relationship and partnering with our sister cities, the state and federal governments allow us to address our issues in a holistic manner that brings about lasting solutions not just temporary fixes.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Johns Creek, and how would you approach it?
With our current tax base currently weighted so heavily towards residential uses, it is difficult to make long term investments in our city that will not force us to consider raising taxes to fund. I have fought against and continue to fight raising taxes and feel that the best way to avoid that outcome is to focus on economic development with an eye toward bringing more non-residential uses to Johns Creek. Economic development can come in the form of expansion of existing businesses as well as carefully focused effort to attract new businesses that ideally will enhance what is offered to our residents in the form of needed local jobs, services, retail offerings as well as family friendly recreation and fun. This effort will not only produce the much needed revenue to fund our city, but will also make it much more convenient to live here.
Do you have any suggestions for increasing city revenue and/or reducing expenses?
The best way to increase income is to continue to make our community more attractive to new residents and businesses. We accomplish this goal by constantly reviewing our policies and carefully balancing a move toward being more business friendly with protecting the interests of our citizens to enjoy living here free from visual and noise pollution as well as controlling traffic.
Expense reduction is something we have done a pretty good job at thus far. Given that we have had to cut expenses almost every year since incorporation due to a loss in revenue, we have sought and found ways to increase our service offering to you while decreasing our overall costs to do so.
Address an issue you think is important to the City of Johns Creek.
I believe that this election more than any so far in our brief history will send the message that our council must recommit to what I believe is our founding principles: Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility and Responsiveness.
These last couple of years has taken a toll on our ability to stick to our knitting. The current attacks coming from some on our council which are directed towards me combined with, as one of our citizens stated at a council meeting, a hubris that has developed directly fly in the face of these three important cornerstones of our city. I believe that when you gave me the honor to lead this great city, I become responsible for the almost 80,000 souls and thousands of businesses in our city. I know that government that is closest to the people is best, but it only works when the governed and government work in close partnership.
Today, transparency has been under attack through fights over who can address our council publicly or by not allowing the shedding of the brightest light on the actions of our policy makers. Fiscal responsibly has been challenged through the waste of taxpayer funds on personal politics and agendas. Finally, customer service is not always offered in a consistent manner dependent on who is requesting the help.
I look forward to this election and the opportunity it provides for you the people to send a message. Your reelection of me and my platform to move our city forward and recommit to our founding principles will provide us the best opportunity to regain our positive reputation, grow and prosper and provide us with the local conveniences and phenomenal quality of life we have grown accustomed to here in the great City of Johns Creek!