To the editor:
If you want to encourage maximum dialogue and citizen participation on significant city issues, when is the best time to hold community meetings? Whatever your answer may be, I doubt it would be the months June through August because families are focused on trips and time together.
Yet, that is exactly when meetings are scheduled on the city’s millage rate (the state requires three public meetings), city visioning/land use plan revision (the official word is that these are only initial discussions but the survey deadline is July 18), Abernathy Greenway South Side, Riverside Park RFP (request for proposals from contractors), and Ashton Woods (Glenridge Hall).
The Sandy Springs City Council has had a budget surplus of at least $8 million/year since 2009, but has refused to roll back millage rates as neighboring municipalities have.
In 2009, Councilman Doug MacGinnitie (later the State Revenue Commissioner) chastised the mayor and City Council for their irresponsible behavior of not making specific budgetary plans for present and future tax surpluses, not even for an emergency fund. Yet this intentional surplus continues and goes into a “slush fund” that is dispersed without any citizen input. And the city’s mandated public meetings are scheduled in this low involvement time period on two days (one meeting July 7 and two on July 21).
Governments run best when everyone’s input is encouraged. Summer meetings don’t accomplish this. If you agree, let everyone on the Council know your views.