October 28, 2004By JENNIFER J. HOWARD
Forsyth voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 2, to select a new District 2 county commissioner and coroner.
In the county commission race, Atlanta Subway master franchisee and sub-franchiser Joseph Hart of Suwanee is vying against Brian R. Tam also of Suwanee, and managing partner of the Outback Steakhouse in Cumming.
Hart is a member of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, a $400 million trust, and director of the board of Subway's parent company, Doctor's Associates, for the last three years.
"What people are most concerned about is the unchecked growth," Hart said. "The Board of Commissioners has to start acting as a Board of Directors of a strong corporation to make decisions based on the input of staff and consultants, and act as a board of oversight, rather than a board of invention."
Growth and infrastructure needs are two intertwined issues at the center of Hart's campaign.
He said he would push for more impact fees on developers to help maintain roads, water and sewer infrastructure.
"Developers need to share the problems that are brought from the development rather than leave the tax payers holding the bag," he said.
He said the Board of Commissioners has catered too much to the development community, and needs to listen more to its residents, the shareholders.
"From my perspective, the governance of Forsyth County has been more development-centric than resident-centric," he said. "It's clear when you have that many homes in the pipeline and the infrastructure is just not there to support it."
He said the development in Forsyth has not been well-balanced and it will ultimately result in tax increases and/or reduced services to residents.
"We need to put in a director of economic development to bring attractive businesses to Forsyth. We need more responsible businesses that will add to the tax base," he said. "There is an incredible hole in the net of Forsyth County, but the fish are there. When nobody makes the calls, you don't make the sales."
Tam, 44, is a 10-year Forsyth resident, co-chaired the SPLOST 5 campaign, and was in Leadership Forsyth's Class of 2004.
He is a member of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber and former chairman of Forsyth Restaurant Group.
Tam is a Settles Bridge Elementary Local School Council business partner and is active in Partners in Education.
Tam sees the top issues as planning for the growth that is coming, and trying to manage the growth the has already occurred in the county. "I`m a south Forsyth homeowner, yet work in the city, and have kids in the school system, so I have a variety of interests as to what goes on in the county. I can bring some unity among the different groups in the county- homeowners, city government, county government, board of education," Tam said. "It comes down to unity of the different groups in the county."