Jody Reichel, Incumbent
Candidate for Sandy Springs City Council, District 4
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1) What are three issues affecting your district that you would tackle as a council member?
As the incumbent District 4 councilwoman, I am proud of the progress that I have made working in conjunction with the mayor and other council members and my constituents. I will continue to support our police to ensure the safety and security of all residents. I will continue to preserve and protect our neighborhoods from unwanted, unnecessary high-density developments. I will support updating the master city center plan to provide additional green space, the addition of owner-occupied residences, especially for seniors, and the addition of restaurants, boutiques, and other commercial opportunities that benefit our tax base.
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 believe Sandy Springs should remain a diverse community with an existing mix of housing options, including affordable units for both rental and ownership. I have been and will continue to explore creative options for redevelopment that would help our city workers, seniors, renters, and others become part of the American dream of home ownership.
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?
I support the continued investment in the North End with road enhancements, parks, and other recreational areas. These enhancements will encourage local businesses that have previously focused on the southern part of Sandy Springs to consider additional locations and create job opportunities in the North End. I will continue to be a strong voice for those who rent in the North End to ensure they have safe, clean, well-maintained communities in which to live. There are plenty of opportunities for redevelopment in the North End without having to displace any residents. To the extent that there is displacement of affordable units, they could be built back into the redevelopment plan as part of a housing mix that includes market rate and workforce housing.
4) How would you work to improve equity and diversity in Sandy Springs?
The diverse population of our community is what makes Sandy Springs rich and beautiful. When I visit our schools, the farmers market, and restaurants, it makes me proud that I live in a racially and ethnically diverse city. I will continue to address the needs of all my constituents and partner with the many groups that care deeply about the future of Sandy Springs so that all residents feel heard and represented. I co-founded Citizens for a new North Springs to convince the Fulton County School Board to replace the antiquated North Springs High School building and it is now on the replacement list in the next E-SPLOST. This will make the facilities equitable to the rest of Fulton County.
5) If city finances were to decline, would you consider a tax hike, or would you rather cut city services and programs?
The Sandy Springs city charter mandates that any tax increase be approved via referendum – so the decision around any tax hike would be left to the voters and not to myself or to the five other councilmembers. Fortunately, however, as a result of both prudent fiscal management and nearly a decade of strong economic growth throughout our city, Sandy Springs has built a substantial reserve fund that can sustain unlikely scenarios such as unanticipated city expenses or a temporary depletion in our tax base.