Melody Kelley

Candidate for Sandy Springs City Council, District 2


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

I see opportunities in Sandy Springs. My approach to District 2 is rooted in our shared aspirations, (1) cultivating a community that allows young families to put down roots and our legacy residents to age in place, (2) supporting our public safety personnel by guaranteeing they have the resources they need, and (3) ensuring that every student in our city receives a quality education to succeed to their full potential.

Serving on several PTO boards and Sandy Springs Education Force showed the importance of maintaining high standards in our public schools. Heavy involvement in Leadership Sandy Springs and Sandy Springs Together, showed the significant role individuals and non-profits play in our city. The Citizens Police Academy showed the professionalism of our police and fire departments; and my nomination to the Sandy Springs Charter Review Commission revealed how our city government is structured. Finally, as a chemistry professor, I see the potential of our young people if we can give them a voice and good leadership. These experiences have taught me that we have great opportunity if we are willing to harness the power from all sectors to make equitable decisions so that no one is left behind.

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?

Years of civic engagement have taught me local government has considerable influence in redevelopment. Housing diversity and affordability in other cities starts with a statement of community values and policies that puts workers and families first. By doing this they shift the power to the people – all the people.  

As the daughter of a former police chief, I understand the value of having our first responders live in our city. Developers are part of the solution, and I’m not against development, but it needs to be SMART. I’d encourage decisions that would provide the balanced approach necessary to create and preserve housing affordability. But first, we need a council that represents our working residents of moderate-income. They need a “seat at the table.”

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?

Sandy Springs has to decide what type of city it wants to be. Are we willing to accept the consequences of not providing diverse housing choices in our community? 

The recent Housing Needs Assessment states “Sandy Springs’ status as a net workforce importer is threatened by increased housing costs.” We are a city where only “6 out 100 workers live and work in our city” (HR&A Housing Study). No wonder our traffic is getting worse…when 94 out of a 100 workers have to drive in every day.  

In 2018, residents voiced their desires for the North End, such as greenspace, a safer Roswell Road, improved retail options, a community center, and housing affordability. I continue to support this vision.

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

I know that the combination of my professional credentials, extensive service to our community, and lived experience makes me the only candidate qualified to represent everyone in District 2. 

I am devoted to equity in both the college classroom and broader community, where a commitment to listening and outreach can be transformational. I am prepared to deliver that for Sandy Springs. 

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

As a working parent and your council member, I will promote transparency and responsibility with taxpayer dollars and ask tough questions that are informed by constituent input.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.