Andy Bauman, Incumbent

Candidate for Sandy Springs City Council, District 6

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1) What are three issues affecting your district that you would tackle as a councilmember?

Public safety and support for our first responders – police, fire and EMT – will always be the top priority for me and the citizens of my City Council District. I believe nothing unites our community more than our support for our outstanding first responders, and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure Sandy Springs continues to set the standard in emergency response. Period. While everything else pales in comparison, preservation of quality of life in our neighborhoods, investments in our infrastructure, and stewardship of our natural resources (especially our tree canopy) will also continue to be my focus. 

2) How would you encourage more housing diversity and affordability in Sandy Springs, especially for city workers and others who can’t afford to live where they work? 

I am proud to have been the Councilmember who conceived and proposed the very successful program we have had for the past 5+ years that makes surplus City-owned properties available to first responders and their families. That kind of creativity is needed to address housing affordability for the “working class” in our City, which includes not just rentals, but also a path to homeownership. We also need to ensure that all housing (existing and newly built) is maintained to high standards, with community safety being a top priority.  

3) How would you encourage redevelopment in Sandy Springs, such as in the city’s North End, while balancing issues of displacement for lower-income residents?   

Redevelopment is not limited to the North End, although that has been a focus of the City. Important work needs to be done in the area around the Prado, which has been a focus of mine. The City is only one stakeholder in the process, and we can help by continuing to make appropriate investments in maintaining and/or redeveloping our aging infrastructure inherited from Fulton County – especially green space, parks and trails. While the City can provide incentives to create or preserve workforce housing, it cannot be the sole actor. Market-based solutions are needed.   

4) How would you work to improve equity and diversity in Sandy Springs?

Sandy Springs is already a very diverse City, which you see when you visit our schools, parks, stores and restaurants. I am very proud to have founded the extremely popular and well-attended Saturday morning farmers market (in 2010), which has provided opportunities to many minority business owners. I am also very proud to have been the sponsor and author of the Sandy Springs Hate-Crime law, which was the very first enacted by a City in Georgia. I would like to see more diverse participation in City leadership roles, beginning with appointments to City boards and commissions.  

5) If city finances were to decline, would you consider a tax hike or would you rather cut city services and programs?

NO to a property tax hike, which only the voters can approve anyway. I support very conservative budgeting, including the substantial reserves and “rainy day” funds that we currently maintain and to which we have been increasing contributions (and which I fully support). I will never support a cut in our most important city functions: police, fire and emergency response.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.